Blue Yeti vs. AT2020 vs. Samson C01 [Definitive Guide]

2,341 word post, approx. 7 min. read

Updates:

  • 11/12/2020. Article posted.

At A Glance

Title
Most Versatile
Blue Yeti USB Mic for Recording & Streaming on PC and Mac, 3 Condenser Capsules, 4 Pickup Patterns, Headphone Output and Volume Control, Mic Gain Control, Adjustable Stand, Plug & Play – Blackout
Audio Technica AT2020 Condenser Studio Microphone Bundle with Pop Filter and XLR Cable
Samson C01 Large-Diaphragm Cardioid Condenser Microphone
Preview
Blue Yeti USB Mic for Recording & Streaming on PC and Mac, 3 Condenser Capsules, 4 Pickup Patterns, Headphone Output and Volume Control, Mic Gain Control, Adjustable Stand, Plug & Play – Blackout
Audio Technica AT2020 Condenser Studio Microphone Bundle with Pop Filter and XLR Cable
Type
USB Condenser Microphone
XLR Condenser Microphone
XLR Condenser Microphone
Phantom Power Required?
Polar Patterns
Cardioid, Stereo, Figure 8, Omni-Directional
Cardioid
Hypercardioid
Frequency Response
20Hz – 20kHz
20Hz-20kHz
20Hz-18kHz
Max SPL
120dB
144dB
136dB
Color
Many, varies.
Black
Black, Grey, Silver
Weight
Weight: 1.2 lb. 2.2 with stand.
0.76 lbs.
2 lbs.
Prime
-
-
Price
$149.00
$129.00
$76.07
Most Versatile
Title
Blue Yeti USB Mic for Recording & Streaming on PC and Mac, 3 Condenser Capsules, 4 Pickup Patterns, Headphone Output and Volume Control, Mic Gain Control, Adjustable Stand, Plug & Play – Blackout
Preview
Blue Yeti USB Mic for Recording & Streaming on PC and Mac, 3 Condenser Capsules, 4 Pickup Patterns, Headphone Output and Volume Control, Mic Gain Control, Adjustable Stand, Plug & Play – Blackout
Type
USB Condenser Microphone
Phantom Power Required?
Polar Patterns
Cardioid, Stereo, Figure 8, Omni-Directional
Frequency Response
20Hz – 20kHz
Max SPL
120dB
Color
Many, varies.
Weight
Weight: 1.2 lb. 2.2 with stand.
Prime
-
Price
$149.00
Learn More
Title
Audio Technica AT2020 Condenser Studio Microphone Bundle with Pop Filter and XLR Cable
Preview
Audio Technica AT2020 Condenser Studio Microphone Bundle with Pop Filter and XLR Cable
Type
XLR Condenser Microphone
Phantom Power Required?
Polar Patterns
Cardioid
Frequency Response
20Hz-20kHz
Max SPL
144dB
Color
Black
Weight
0.76 lbs.
Prime
-
Price
$129.00
Learn More
Title
Samson C01 Large-Diaphragm Cardioid Condenser Microphone
Preview
Type
XLR Condenser Microphone
Phantom Power Required?
Polar Patterns
Hypercardioid
Frequency Response
20Hz-18kHz
Max SPL
136dB
Color
Black, Grey, Silver
Weight
2 lbs.
Prime
Price
$76.07
Learn More

Table of Context

Click to navigate the article!

Build
Sound
Mic Tests
Video Shootout
The XLR Condenser
Final Word
Photo Gallery

Greetings comrade 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 .. all over again, so..

Before we get started, all links to these products, as well as any articles related will be here in this post. Check out my Gear Recommendations below as well for most of my top picks, all in one place!

If you do purchase through one of my Drop or Amazon links, I will get a small kick back depending on where you live. Purchasing through my links is a great way to thank me for helping you make a sound decision.

Quick Links:

As always, your continued support means the world to me, so thank YOU!

Now, let’s get into the Blue Yeti vs. AT2020 vs. Samson C01, and find out how they compare.

We’ll start with build.

Build

All 3 feel pretty durable in your hand, but the Yeti is rather light and feathery when it’s not attached to it’s desktop stand.

With the stand, it feels like an incredibly premium product. Without it, it’s a tad underwhelming but still fairly solid, all things considered.

The AT202o feels great in your hand, but the Samson C01 is the heaviest out of these. It feels like you actually do bicep curls with it. Like sets of 40-50. Slow down. Concentrate on feeling the muscle contracting. 😂

He’s just a big Teddy Bear.

Gotta get that pump training in!! YEAH! WOO!!! FOCUS!!

Both the AT2020 and C01 are XLR condenser microphones, and do need 48v phantom power via audio interface, mixer, etc. to function.

This basically takes the faint low level analog signal from the mic and boosts it to line level. What does an Audio Interface Do?

The Yeti is a USB mic and simply plugs into your PC via micro cable. You can also plug it right into your PS4 and it’s instantly recognized.

I’ve been using the Yeti on my YouTube channel for over 3 years now and really love it. In the future, I do plan on combining it with a scissor arm, which I do recommend as it will ensure good placement and a great sound.

Speaking of sound, how do these mics sound in relation to one another?

Sound

I actually prefer the sound of the Samson C01 most out of these 3. The AT2020 sounds pretty similar, but is a bit more sterile. The Yeti is the cleanest and most articulate sounding out of the bunch, but does tend to pick up more background noise.

I was pretty surprised that neither the AT2020 or Samson C01 picked up hardly any noise at all, even despite the fact that I live right next to a major highway and recorded near a window.

The Yeti by contrast does pick up more ambience and miscellaneous noises that should be filtered out with something like a DBX286S Signal Processor, or Acoustic Room Treatment.

In fact, I would go ahead and pick up a 286S regardless of if you’re using a Condenser mic or dynamic mic. It’s an incredible investment and gives you the peace of mind knowing your recordings are always going to sound crisp and clean with no other misc. artifacts present.

Check out this great amazon review with video to see what I’m talking about.

With that, let’s have a gander at the sound differences between these 3 mics. For the C01 and AT2020, I was using a first generation Focusrite Scarlett 2i2. Focusrite has since come out with a 3rd generation Solo and 2i2, which I will be investing in soon.

Which you go with depends on how many mic inputs you need. 🙂

Blue Yeti Test

Here I mention the Tonor TC-777. If you’re interested in that shootout, check it out here: Tonor TC-777 USB Condenser Microphone Review & Shootout

Samson C01

Audio Technica AT2020

Blue Yeti Guitar Test

Here I recorded the first verse of “Day in the Life” by the Beatles using stereo mode.

 

I think the AT2020 combines the radio warmth of the C01 and the clarity of the Yeti to achieve an almost perfect balance. I would have liked to re-record the Samson to get it a bit louder, but I unfortunately do not own the mic anymore. Still, you can hear how great it sounds. It’s interesting to note how you can hear some more ambience with the C01, but during the shootout video which I will link below, I wasn’t hearing any.

All 3 are great microphones, but I do prefer the more professional sound of both the 2020 and C01 over the more sterile and less refined Yeti.

Blue Yeti USB Microphone Review
All purpose wonder.

Let’s take a look at a shootout I did and see how they stack up. In the video, I got a really good recording from the C01, so definitely check it out!

Blue Yeti vs. AT2020 vs. Samson C01

So, what’s in the box?

With the Samson C01 you’re getting:

  1. Owners Manual
  2. Warranty Card (3 Year!)
  3. Stand Mount
  4. The Microphone
  5. And a pretty nifty carrying case

With the AT2020:

  1. Zippered Pouch
  2. Stand Mount
  3. Microphone

With the Yeti:

  1. Microphone
  2. Heavy Duty Desktop Stand
  3. USB Cable
  4. Misc. Paperwork

The Yeti also comes with a plethora of features that add to it’s overall value:

It’s got a mute button, volume control, gain knob, headphone jack for live no latency monitoring, and 4 different polar patterns for added flexibility (Cardioid, Omni-Directional, Figure 8, Stereo mode). All of the knobs feel really solid as well, and don’t seem like they would break very easily.

The other microphones don’t have these features, but you’re getting arguably better sound quality and a more professional type of presentation with them.

If you’re just a podcaster or do YouTube videos/voice over, it’s really hard to beat the Blue Yeti. Having it makes you feel pretty exceptional in that you always know what you’re going to get from it. It’s also highly versatile to boot.

If you do plan to go the XLR route, here are some things to keep in mind:

The XLR Condenser Microphone

Audio Technica AT2020 Review
A perfect budget XLR condenser.

For your PC, something like a Focusrite Scarlett Solo USB Interface + Audio Technica AT2020 with an XLR Cable would be a good start. Add in a Scissor Arm, Shock Mount, and Pop Filter as well and you’re pretty much set. A Shockmount isn’t mandatory but can help if your mic tends to pick up vibrations.

As for XLR mics, the Samson C01 is a personal favorite of mine, and one that I relied on for many years.

XLR vs. USB

For most folks just starting out in podcasting/YouTube/streaming etc., a USB microphone is perfectly fine. Yes, an XLR condenser typically does sound more professional, but not everyone is going to want to mess around with an audio interface right away. Add to that the extra cost. A basic XLR setup will run you around $200-250 or so, while something like a Yeti or Yeti X is cheaper and easier to get started with right away.

Even though I’ve had plenty of experience with XLR condenser mics, I still use a Yeti when I make videos for YouTube because of how convenient and versatile it is.

Shock Mount

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

Pop Filter

Pop filters are rarely talked about, but anyone who records vocals knows how imperative it is to have one. Not only do they tame the S’s and P’s of your voice, but a filter also ensures that you’re nasty spit and miscellaneous particles don’t get inside the diaphragm and damage it.

Scissor Arm

I’ve used both a regular mic stand and a desktop stand, and I really don’t like either of them. My next purchase will most certainly be a scissor arm because of how versatile they are. A good one will be mostly out of your way and leave room on your desk for your other gear. It will also be adjustable enough to ensure that the mic is at the correct height and distance away from your mouth.

Desktop Stands/Boom Arms

Not the greatest stand.
Right before I sold it.

Desktop stands, while very sturdy, are a pain in the a**. I had one for a few years and not only was it extremely heavy, but it always seemed to be in the way (The AT2020 pictured earlier is attached to a desktop stand). In the shootout video above, I was using the desktop stand to record with all 3 mics.

Boom arms (regular mic stands) are a bit better, but they usually aren’t heavy enough to hold your mic properly and prevent it from drifting. One of the most annoying things on the planet is a mic that won’t stay in place. If the mic is too heavy for the stand, it will float from one side to another and make you want to pull your hair out trying to achieve equilibrium.

Even if you get a stand that’s decent, you still may have these same issues. In addition to that, they take up quite a bit of space. If you’re going to record acoustic guitar, I think they work a lot better because it’s easier to get the right placement. Just make sure the mic in question is light enough, and also make sure the stand is fairly heavy duty.

For vocals and voice-over work, a scissor arm is definitely your best bet. I had a Boom Arm for a long time before selling it, and I really didn’t like it at all.

So what’s my final word?

Final Word

It really depends on which sound you prefer and your intended usage. If you’re doing anything more than voice-over, i.e. singing, rapping, or even instrument recording, I’d probably go with an XLR condenser microphone as you’ll want to invest more into getting a better sound.

For that, the AT2020 or C01 are both great microphones.

 

 

If you’re just doing YouTube, voice-over, podcasting, etc. the Yeti or Yeti X is the solution because of how versatile and flexible they are in many different types of recording scenarios. The Yeti X adds:

  • Four-capsule array – capture legendary Blue broadcast sound with greater focus and clarity than ever for professional-level gaming, Twitch streaming, podcasting and YouTube Productions.
  • High-res LED metering – visualize your voice level with the Yeti X Microphone 11-segment LED meter. At a glance you can check if your voice level is too high or too low and adjust accordingly.
  • Multi-function smart knob – easily adjust mic gain, mute and headphone volume, as well as the blend of microphone signal and computer sound in your headphones.
  • Blue Voice broadcast vocal effects – download Logitech G HUB or Blue Sherpa (for PC and Mac) and gain instant access to a suite of Blue Voice broadcast effects for achieving Professional on-stream sound quality.
  • Customizable LED lighting – personalize the color of Yeti X’s LED lights to match your on-stream aesthetic.

 

 

Well that’s about it for today my friend! I hope you’ve enjoyed this discussion on the best mics for gaming, and are better equipped to make a purchasing decision!

If you love what I do here and want to support the blog and channel in a more personal way, check me out on Patreon and discover all the value I have to offer you.

There are many other different ways that you can help support the blog and channel. Check out my recently updated portfolio website and store for some goodies! The Kick Back and Relax Homie T-Shirt is live!! 15% OFF your first order. 🙂

Questions? Comments? Requests? Did I miss the mark on something? Please let me know down below or Contact me!!

Which of these options sounds best to YOU? I would love to hear your thoughts. Until next time..

All the best and God bless,

 

 

-Stu

[Xtr@Ba$eHitZ]

Can’t decide which headphones to purchase? Interested in a complete buyers guide outlining over 40 of the best options on the market? Click on over to the best audiophile headphones to learn more!!

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

Photos..

Photo Gallery

Click to see them in action!

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *