Hi friend and Welcome!
The MXL 770 vs. AT2020. Hold onto your butts, this is gonna be one heck of a ride to the wild side. Just kidding no it’s not. But grab a snack anyway, sit back and relax because…
You’ve come to the right place!!
What I will bring you in this review
of each headphone:
- Sound Test (AT2020 only)
- Video Review or Sound test
- Who this mic benefits?
- What you will need?
- Similarities & Differences
- Final Word
Now without further ado, let’s get rolling!!
- Microphone Type: Condenser. Condenser mic vs. Dynamic mic.
- Polar Pattern: Cardioid
- Diaphragm Size: 22mm/.87 in.
- Frequency Response: 30Hz-20kHz
- Max SPL: 137dB
- Output Impedance: 150 Ohms
- Color: Black/Gold
- Connector: XLR. What is XLR?
- Weight: 1 lb.
- Included Accessories: Shock-mount, Case.
The MXL 770 is a great entry-level mic and really flies under the radar. I don’t really see it appear in best-of lists, despite the fact that it gets such amazing reviews. Its strong suits include being really good for recording rap vocals (it has a natural low-end sound), a crisp high end, and it’s very versatile! It can handle a variety of applications from rapping, to pod-casting, to recording instrumentation as well as female vocals.
- Picks up a wide range of frequencies.
- Sturdy, good build quality.
- Great for rap vocals (has that natural low-end sound).
- Good for people with high voices.
- Crisp and clear, picks up the highs well.
- Has switchable bass cut and -10dB pad.
- Works great with Windows 7.
- Has a very high tolerance and can record very loud.
- The shock mount that comes with it isn’t amazing.
- It can be a bit bright/sibilant. What does sibilant mean?
- Has some feedback issues at times.
- It’s very “raw” sounding.
Check out the female vocal test!
Who benefits from this mic?
- Female vocals
- Drum overheads
What you will need?
For this mic, you will need:
- 48v phantom power via an audio interface. What does an audio interface do?
- Pop Filter.
- XLR cable(s).
- Mic Stand.
- You may need to purchase a separate Shock-mount. My advice? Try out the one that comes with it first, then decide.
Also, a rudimentary understanding of how sound works in conjunction with your room is also very important. Basically, you want to deaden the sound as much as possible, eliminating echo and sounding like you’re in a tin can. Lol. Learn more about what you can do to ensure a good recording: Acoustic Sound Treatment!
It’s a very versatile mic at a great value. It does particularly well with rap and female vocals. It’s crisp and clear and picks up a wide range of frequencies. It is sort of a best of both worlds scenario. Be aware that it can sound a bit bright and raw. Shock-mount needs to be upgraded.
Check out the Rap demo!
Audio Technica AT2020 (XLR version)
- Microphone Type: Condenser
- 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.
- Weight: 0.76 lbs.
- Included Accessories: Stand Mount, Microphone Pouch
- Manufacturer Part Number: AT2020
A good majority of the 1-star reviews that the AT2020 received were from people who had no idea what they were getting into prior to purchase. Guys, this isn’t a USB mic. It’s an XLR condenser mic that will only run off of 48v phantom power. Know what you are buying before you buy it!
There are so many good qualities about the 2020, that it’s hard to sum up. It does really well with husky, deep male voices. It’s well built and durable and comes with a nice carrying pouch giving it an added portability. Really it’s built like a tank and can take a lot of abuse.
As for its sound, it’s extremely sensitive and boasts a flat, neutral response. It also greatly benefits from some EQ’ing. Adding a bit of EQ and compression can really make this mic sound amazing. Know that above all, it is still an entry-level mic but proves to be extremely versatile. You can record just about anything with it, and do it well! More on that a little later.
Check out my mega-awesome sound test!!
with Pop-Filter under a blanket:
with Pop-Filter, under a blanket, farther away:
- Bold and crisp sound. Better with darker sources more so than brighter ones.
- Extremely Versatile & can handle a wide variety of studio, as well as general applications.
- Very sensitive and picks up a lot.
- Very well built and durable. Will last you a long time. Built like a tank.
- Great for small home studios and beginning musicians.
- Gives a nice flat response that can be EQ’d very easily.
- The storage bag is a bit flimsy and doesn’t have any padding. Some disagree, for example, the guy in the video below 😛
- Doesn’t come with XLR cables or shock-mount.
Check out the video review!
Who this mic benefits?
I’ve seen this thing used for nearly everything:
- Acoustic instruments
- electric guitar
- spoken word
- twitch shooter commentary
- conference calls
What you will need?
Before you buy this mic or any mic that is XLR, you will need the following:
- 48v Phantom power via audio interface, or some sort of mixer.
Here are a few options I recommend
- Focusrite Scarlett 2i2. I have this one and recommend it highly. It’s extremely reliable and will work wonders with the AT2020. You can also upgrade your mic in the future and still use it. A great piece of equipment.
- Roland Tri Capture. Saw this mentioned by a very reliable source. It comes bundled with the AT2020 AND an XLR cable on amazon as well, so you can’t go wrong.
- Behringer Xeynx 802 Mixer. If you’re just starting out, you may not want to spend an arm and a leg on an interface. The 802 comes in handy because it has two XLR mic inputs, so you can record your vocals. It also gets really nice reviews on Amazon.
- XLR cables.
- Mic Stand.
The AT2020 is a good starter investment because it comes from a reputable brand with a long line of great mics. It’s also a great workhorse mic that excels with many different applications. It’s well built and durable, and most of the complaints came from people who didn’t know USB from XLR. One negative I came across is that it may sound a tad bright, not unlike the B1. Also, make sure you add a bit of EQ and compression before you write it off. The raw vocals may not amaze you.
Similarities & Differences
- Both are cardioid condenser microphones. What is a cardioid capsule?
- Both are very versatile.
- Both are XLR microphones and require 48v phantom power.
- The 770’s diaphragm is a little larger.
- The 770 handles a bit higher SPL. 144dB compared to 137.
- The 2020’s frequency range extends a bit farther than the 770.
- Weight. The 770 is a bit heavier.
To be honest, I haven’t been able to find much in the way of differences between these two bad boys. From what I’ve read on amazon, a couple of people said they were very similar, and it’s easy to see why. They excel in many of the same instances and are in that entry-level price bracket.
I would say this: If you’re looking to record rap or female vocals, The 770 is your best bet in this price range without a doubt. It’s versatile but not as versatile as the 2020.
If you desire a mic that can handle almost anything you throw at it, the 2020 is perfect. If you have a naturally lower voice, you may consider the 2020.
All in all, this is essentially another coin flip!
Well, that’s about it for today my friend! I hope you’ve enjoyed this article on the MXL 770 vs. AT2020.
Questions? Comments? Requests? Did I miss the mark on something? Please let me know down below or Contact me!!
Which of these tickles YOUR pickle? I would love to hear from you. Until next time…
All the best and God bless,