Home Microphone Comparisons AT2020 vs. Blue Yeti – Polar Opposites?

AT2020 vs. Blue Yeti – Polar Opposites?

by Stuart Charles Black
Blue Yeti Review

Don't forget to share if you found it helpful!

Greetings mate and Welcome aboard!

Stuart Charles here, HomeStudioBasics.com helping YOU make sound decisions leading to a beautiful audio experience that will make you fall in love with music (NOT gear) all over again, so…

In this AT2020 vs. Blue Yeti review/comparison, we’ll go over build quality, features, sound, and more.

By the end of this article, you should have a clear idea of which will be best suited for your needs.

Now let’s get started!

Audio Technica AT2020 USB (Old Model)

Price: Check Amazon! | Check Sweetwater! | Check eBay! | Official XLR review: Here!

In The Box

Audio-Technica AT2020USB+ Cardioid Condenser USB Microphone (Dark Gray)

Pivoting Stand Mount for 5/8″-27 Threaded Stands

Tripod Desk Stand

5/8″-27 to 3/8″-16 Threaded Adapter

Soft Protective Pouch

10′ USB Cable

Limited 2-Year Manufacturer Warranty

Specifications

  • Microphone Type: Condenser. Condenser mic vs. Dynamic mic.
  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid. What is a Cardioid Capsule?
  • Frequency Response: 20Hz-16kHz
  • Bit Depth: 16
  • Sample Rate: 44,000 kHz. Bit depth vs. Sample rate.
  • Color: Black
  • Connector: USB
  • Weight: 13.2 oz (374g)
  • Included Accessories: Pivoting stand mount for 5/8″- 27 threaded stands, 5/8″- 27 to 3/8″- 16 threaded adapter, soft protective pouch; tripod desk stand; 10′ (3.1 m) USB Cable
  • Manufacturer Part Number: AT2020

Audio Technica AT2020 (XLR version)

Price: Check Amazon! | Check Sweetwater! | Check eBay! | Official Review: Here!

In The Box

 

Audio-Technica AT2020 Cardioid Condenser Microphone (Black)

Stand Mount for 5/8″-27 Threaded Stands

5/8″-27 to 3/8″-16 Threaded Adapter

Protective Pouch

Limited 2-Year Manufacturer Warranty

Specifications

  • Microphone Type: Condenser. Condenser mic vs. Dynamic mic
  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid.
  • Diaphragm Size: 0.63″ (16mm)
  • Frequency Response: 20Hz-20kHz
  • Max SPL: 144 dB. What is SPL?
  • Output Impedance: 100 Ohms
  • Signal-to-noise ratio: 20dB
  • Color: Black
  • Connector: XLR. What is XLR?
  • Weight: 0.76 lbs.
  • Included Accessories: Stand Mount, Microphone Pouch
  • Manufacturer Part Number: AT2020

Summary

The AT2020 USB is well suited for a plethora of different applications, including pretty much anything voice-over-related.

Some say it gives off XLR quality even being a USB mic and goes well with an iPad, adobe audition, garage band, audacity, and even your PlayStation 4.

It’s also so easy to use that even your grandma could hook it up.

You plug the USB into the port and BAM! You’re done.

Your mac or PC will recognize it instantaneously, as well as your PS4.

I’ve also read a ton of reviews from people that have had this for over 6 years.

It’s an excellent long-term investment and even has a lifetime warranty.

Speaking of,

it’s also a great value.

There are reviewers that have had this thing for 2 to 6 years and it still works like a charm.

Sound

It delivers XLR quality results that you typically would get if you had an audio interface and XLR cables. What is XLR?

Many people commented on just how pristine the sound is.

It’s also really easy to EQ with and works well with a variety of different programs such as Audacity, Adobe Audition, and Garage band.

I have heard it doesn’t work with Pro Tools, so be wary of this.

The remarkable thing about this mic is that it does well with not only voice-over applications, but vocals as well as instrument recording.

I’ve heard it endorsed for acoustic guitar, violin, vocals, video games (gameplay audio), youtube, interviews, streaming, webinars, etc.

It has a rich full sound, and your vocals will come out crystal clear.

“Do I make myself clear, Mr. Bender? Crystalll.”

What you will frequently encounter is other people, friends, fans, etc. commenting on the amazing sound that comes out of this puppy.

Be aware though that it is very sensitive, and could pick up a wee baby crapping his diaper 2 houses down. Lol. If you don’t have a treated room, turn the gain down some.

It should really help out in mitigating ambiance and other extraneous noise.

Build Quality

The AT2020 is also a durable, heavy piece that can withstand a ton of abuse which goes to show how solid metal can contribute to the longevity of this monster.

It pretty much functions like your standard-issue barbell. Haha just kidding, but really I’m not.

I’ve read about people dropping this thing, kicking it (not on purpose), and what have you. Still holds up.

If you enjoy abusing microphones, this may be the one for you. 🙂

Pros

  • Plug and play; recognized immediately. Works with Mac and PC.
  • Does well with a variety of programs including audacity, adobe audition, garage band, your PS4, and your iPad.
  • Called the best mic for gameplay audio.
  • Good with a variety of studio and in-home applications such as guitar, violin, ukulele, video games, voice-over, you-tube, interviews, podcasts, tutorials, Skype, etc.
  • Delivers XLR quality recordings with a crystal clear, rich sound.
  • Durable and heavy. Lasts a long time. So many reviews were from people who have had it anywhere from 2-6 years.
  • Comes with a nice zipper pouch.
  • Responds well to EQ.
  • Portable, you can take it anywhere.

Cons

  • The stand/tripod that comes with the AT2020 is awful. Nearly every review pointed this out. As a separate stand, I would recommend the DS7200B.
  • There isn’t a headphone jack built into the mic. This means there will be a delay in your voice when recording live.
  • Low audio complaints about users on Windows 8, 8.1, and 10. The issue may be with a specific port on your PC. Try using different ports first to remedy the problem.
  • If you change the locations of the mic, i.e. different rooms, or different places in one room, the mic may give you driver installation errors.
  • Very sensitive and picks up a lot of noise, keyboard clicks, etc. Can emit some echo. Make sure you treat the room or use some acoustic studio foam around the mic to block out some of that noise. Turning down the gain also helps.
  • has limited settings and features.

Who this mic benefits?

Napoleon Dynamite says that this mic benefits everyone… Wait he’s right here and has something to say: “Yeah, it’s pretty much my favorite mic ever.”

Lol, really though it’s great for everything from voice-over to vocals, to instruments. A jack of all trades.

What you will need?

  • A better stand, as alluded to above. I currently use the Inno Gear and really enjoy it.
  • A pop filter. I do recommend the Samson PS01, as I’ve had it since 2007. The one that is frequently bought with the DS7200B mic stand (above) also works fine.
  • Shock-mount is optional but recommended to reduce vibrations from the mic.
  • Acoustic Sound Treatment. Because cardioid condensers tend to pick up a lot of background/ambient noise, you will want to invest in the proper treatment. Bass traps and acoustic foam shields go a long way to start out. You could also opt to line the walls with old comforters or thick blankets. Some even go so far as to record themselves underneath a blanket! Anything to deaden the sound helps tremendously.

From Adventures In Audio:

The function of a shock mount is to prevent vibration traveling up the mic stand from getting to the diaphragm of the mic. If you have ever recorded with mics set on stands on a portable staging system, then you will know how bad things can get. (Worse still with older designs where the space under each stage element is enclosed and resonates.)
Some microphones are naturally more prone to this kind of noise than others, and need a shock mount to guard against even a small amount of vibration. Other mics are less sensitive and rarely need any special treatment.David Mellor

Keep in mind that a Shock Mount isn’t mandatory.

Determine if you’re having issues with the recording, and then act accordingly.

If you are in doubt, set up your microphone. Set your preamp to the amount of gain you would typically use for vocals. Start recording, then walk around the microphone. If you can hear vibrations on playback, then you need a shockmount. If you cannot hear vibrations, and there are no subsonic frequencies visible in the waveform display, then you don’t.David Mellor

Consensus/Conclusion

Amazing sound quality and is super easy to set up and use.

Does well in a variety of situations, and is built to last like Duralast.

The tripod stand however is terrible, and you will need to invest in a new one should you purchase this mic.

Blue Yeti

Price: Check Amazon! | Check Sweetwater! | Check eBay! | Official Review: Here!

In The Box

Blue Yeti USB Microphone (Blackout)

USB Cable

Stand

Limited 2-Year Warranty

Specifications

  • Microphone Type: Condenser.
  • Polar Patterns: Cardioid, Omni-directional, Stereo, and Figure 8.
  • Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20kHz
  • Max SPL: 120dB SPL. What is SPL?
  • Signal-to-noise ratio: 100dB
  • Colors: Many, varies.
  • Connector: USB.
  • Weight: 1.2 lb. 2.2 with the stand.
  • Impedance: 16 Ohm
  • Sample Rate: 48 kHz. Bit depth vs. sample rate.

Summary

This is a really popular mic and for good reason.

Standing about a foot tall on your desk, it’s got a great sound, is really solid, reliable, and most importantly it’s convenient.

By nearly all accounts, the Blue Yeti is the AT2020’s biggest competitor.

Value

At its price, it’s a quality investment due to its performance and convenience.

Like the AT2020, it’s also a USB mic so you won’t have to tinker around with extraneous gear.

Some folks get scared off USB setups because they seem cheap and easy like a 3-dollar hooker but aren’t satisfying like a Snickers.

And you’re not you when you’re hungry.

What you’re getting here is a versatile piece of equipment with great sound quality. Speaking of,

Sound

Blue Yeti Review

Called exceptional, this mic handles a variety of applications very well.

I’ve seen it endorsed mostly for Skype, conference calls, podcasting, YouTube, and anything that requires voice-over.

You may not want to pick this up as your primary vocal mic, but it has been known to handle that as well.

I’ve had a Yeti in my studio since 2017 and don’t regret it one single bit.

It’s worth every penny I bought it for and I’ve used it with almost anything you can think of: Rap vocals, singing, recording ambient sounds, etc.

It’s been my workhorse mic since I started my YouTube channel as well!

Build Quality

Blue Snowball vs. Snowball Ice vs. Yeti

Here’s mine in studio.

It has a very nice build, is made of metal, and feels solid in your hand 🙂

Some have complained that it leaves a rather large footprint on your desk, because of the fact that it stands about a foot tall.

That said,

it can detach from its stand and be fitted with a separate scissor arm such as the one pictured above.

If you were curious, this is the exact arm I bought from Amazon in 2021.

I actually love it a lot, but if there’s one small nitpick I have it’s this:

The arm adjustment doesn’t move quite as freely as I would like and could use some WD-40. 😛

Detached from the stand, the Yeti isn’t nearly as heavy, but still feels robust and I haven’t had a single issue with it.

Blue Yeti Review

Pros

  • The sound quality is exceptional.
  • Solid build (made of metal) and a great mic stand that comes with it.
  • Convenient, just plug and play.
  • Recognized by all windows platforms.
  • Has a mute button. Simple knobs and design.
  • Versatile. you can record almost anything in any type of circumstance.
  • 4 different polar patterns for amazing versatility.
  • Gain control and a headphone jack with zero-latency monitoring. What is latency?

Cons

Who benefits from this mic?

  • People who do video conferencing
  • Podcasters, people who need to do voice over
  • Youtubers
  • People who want to Skype
  • People who need to record videos or animations

What you will need?

As far as accessories go, just a windscreen (here’s the one I have), but you’ll probably also want to invest in a stand later on down the road depending on what you’re doing.

Blue Yeti Review

Consensus/Conclusion

So many people rave about its sound quality, build, convenience, and versatility, and they’re not wrong.

The glowing reviews are actually a huge reason why I purchased one for myself and it was one of the best decisions I’ve made regarding gear.

The Yeti is an all-purpose mic that is super easy to use.

Complaints include size (a bit large), and you can’t include a standard pop filter unless you Jerry rig it.

People were also saying it’s hyper-sensitive, but recording in the right environment greatly helps.

I can greatly attest to this one caveat. The mic is so clear, articulate, and clean, but sometimes at the expense of sounding a bit thin.

It almost feels as if you’re recording in a giant empty room, but the distinction can be pretty subtle. I will provide some samples in a bit!

In any event,

The Yeti is one of the best options you can go with if you’re looking to record with Skype, YouTube videos, video conferencing, podcasting, and anything similar.

The 4 different polar patterns, its rugged build, and remarkable versatility make it a valuable option.

Blue Yeti vs. Snowball

Similarities & Differences

Similarities

  • Both connect to your PC via USB.
  • Both do well with voice-over-type stuff.
  • Both are extremely solid and durable and have a similar build quality.

Differences

  • Functionality. The Blue Yeti comes with its own stand, but can also be detached and used with a separate stand. The AT2020 comes with a useless tripod stand that needs to be upgraded.
  • Size and color. The AT2020 is significantly smaller than the Yeti and is black while the Yeti is silver.
  • Features. The Yeti has onboard controls and more features. It has a mute button, gain sensitivity, headphone input, and 4 different recording modes.
  • Aesthetic. The AT2020 has a blue LED that shines through the grill. The Yeti has a red light, and it remains solid red when active and flashes red when not active.
  • Sound. The Yeti sounds a bit brighter and crisper, while the AT2020 sounds warmer.
  • Delay. There is a delay in The AT2020 in real-time due to there being no headphone jack on the mic itself. The Yeti doesn’t have this issue because it has its own headphone jack. One thing to note: The AT2020 plus (an upgraded version) has this feature, and may be the solution to your dilemma if you were planning to go with the AT2020.
  • Versatility. The AT2020 does well with not only voice-over but instruments and vocals as well. The Yeti is really only suited for voice-over applications.
  • Overall. Across the board, many people raved about the AT2020 over the Blue Yeti, even in reviews that had nothing to do with the Yeti. It’s safe to say that the sound quality from the 2020 is better, and should be at a higher price point.
  • Protection. The Yeti uses a windscreen, while the 2020 utilizes a traditional pop filter.

Sound Samples

Blue Yeti (Original)

No Windscreen, No gain, and no post-processing

Windscreen Used, No gain, and no post-processing

Stereo Mode – Windscreen used, no gain and no post-processing

Figure 8 Mode – Windscreen used, no gain and no post-processing

Omnidirectional Mode – Windscreen used, no gain and no post-processing

 

AT2020

Pop-Filter/Desktop Mic Stand, Focusrite Scarlett 2i2

Under a blanket

A bit farther away, still under a blankie

Video Discussion

I also included the Samson C01 here. Don’t forget to leave me some love and subscribe!

Final Verdict

Blue Yeti Review

It’s a close call here, but overall I feel like the Blue Yeti is the better all-around microphone.

Some say that the 2020’s sound edges it slightly, but that may be a matter of taste.

I would say the 2020’s sound is a little warmer and has a radio broadcast type of character, while the Yeti is brighter, crisper, and more detailed.

I love the raw sound of the Yeti, but it does pick up more room sounds than the AT2020.

The Yeti has a sense of clarity but isn’t harsh or sibilant.

Nowadays, I still have the Yeti but I actually prefer another mic over it. One that improves on the Yeti without sacrificing what made it great in the first place.

Interested?

Learn More:

 

Well, that’s about it for today my friend! I hope you’ve enjoyed my comparison review of the AT2020 vs. Blue Yeti, and have come away with some knowledge and perspective on which may suit your needs better.

Speaking of, which of these sounds more useful to you? Which to you seems more valuable?

Let me know down below!! If you have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out. I look forward to speaking with you…

All the best and God bless,

 

 

-Stu

[Xtr@Ba$eHitZ]

Be sure to check out my Reviews and Resources page for more helpful and informative articles!

Photo Gallery

Save

Don't forget to share if you found it helpful!

You may also like

6 comments

TangentLife November 6, 2017 - 10:20 am

Awesome comparison and review man. I’m a big fan of the at2020 though.

Reply
Stuart Charles Black November 6, 2017 - 11:40 pm

Thanks bud! Why do you prefer the AT2020 over the Yeti if I may ask?

Reply
Krys December 18, 2017 - 3:25 pm

I’ve listened to vocals from this artist I’m working with and the Blue Yeti is honestly bad because it picks up everything in the room, even the reverb. I also like the slightly warmer audio signature that the AT has. And I might be a little biased because I already have their M50x headphones and I love them. I also don’t like the USB in the Yeti. I feel like XLR is the best option because it’s more versatile.

Reply
Stuart Charles Black December 19, 2017 - 8:24 pm

I like both to be honest. Yeah the 2020 is a bit more professional via XLR, but I find the Yeti to be the best USB mic on the market. I use it for my Video Reviews and it’s incredibly clear and clean. I actually think both sound very similar. The great thing about XLR and an audio interface is that you can upgrade mics, so yeah you’re definitely right about flexibility.

Reply
Flannery Quinn Holton January 5, 2018 - 12:30 pm

Would you recommend the blue yeti for voice overs?

Reply
Stuart Charles Black January 8, 2018 - 8:11 pm

Yes this is where the Yeti performs best!

Reply

Leave a Comment