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Audio-Technica AT2020 vs AT2035 – What’s the Difference?

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AT2020 VS AT2035

Choosing between the Audio Technica AT2020 and AT2035 can seem challenging, given their similar acclaim in the audio world.

Yet, a closer examination reveals key differences that could sway your decision. This AT2020 vs AT2035 comparison sheds light on those distinctions, guiding you to the microphone that best suits your recording needs.

From nuanced sound quality to versatile features, find out which model is the superior choice for your studio or live recordings.

Key Takeaways

02/18/2024 12:13 pm GMT
Cardioid polar pattern for focused pickupCardioid polar pattern with enhanced sound isolation
Fixed-charge back plate, permanently polarized condenserFixed-charge back plate, permanently polarized condenser with a larger diaphragm
No pad or filter options includedIncludes a switchable 80 Hz high-pass filter and 10 dB pad
Requires 48V phantom powerRequires 48V phantom power, optimized for more headroom
Rugged construction for durable performanceRugged build with a shock mount included for reduced handling noise
Ideal for project/home-studio applicationsSuited for both project/home studios and live settings with higher SPL handling

This table provides a concise comparison to help discern the differences and

AT2020 Overview

The AT2020 is a cardioid condenser microphone for entry level users, but you wouldn’t know it based on the specifications and, more crucially, the audio quality this instrument delivers.

Because of the quality of the audio it generates – a very faithful reflection of the original sound – this microphone is best suited to voice recordings and is recognized as a fantastic equipment for capturing singing.

It also has a black cast metal structure, with two levels of wire mesh shielding the main capsule and aiding in pop reduction – but, as a general rule, one should always try to record with an extra pop filter anyway.

🔊🛑 Why Do You Need a Microphone Pop Filter?

Pros and Cons

Pros 👍Cons 👎
🎤 Excellent audio quality for the price🛠️ Lacks advanced features like high-pass filter and pad
💰 Great value for entry-level users🔌 Requires external pop filter for optimal performance
🏗️ Robust metal construction for durability📡 Limited versatility compared to higher-end models
🎧 Good off-axis noise rejection🎛️ No built-in attenuation options
🎙️ Ideal for voice recordings and singing🔄 Fixed cardioid pattern only

AT2035 Overview

The AT2035, which was released some years after the Audio-Technica AT2020 Cardioid Condenser microphone was released and much loved by the world, intends to expand on the success of the AT2020 by providing a similarly great value proposition, superb audio, build quality, and numerous important advancements over the original AT2020 design.

The AT2035 is a large diaphragm condenser microphone with a fixed-cardioid pattern and has a similar style and black cast metal construction as the AT2020.

And, like the AT2020, it has outstanding off-axis rejection of noises from the unit’s back and side angles.

Pros and Cons

Pros 👍Cons 👎
🎤 Superior sound quality with detailed highs and rich lows💰 Slightly higher price point than AT2020
🛠️ Includes high-pass filter and -10 dB pad for versatile recording🎨 Design is not significantly different from AT2020
🎧 Excellent off-axis noise rejection and sound isolation🔌 Might require additional accessories for optimal setup
🏗️ Durable metal construction and sleek design🔄 Fixed cardioid pattern only
🎵 Broad frequency response for versatile recording applications🎛️ Some users may not need the extra features for basic recording tasks

Build And Design

at2020 vs at2035 build and design

In the realm of build and design, both microphones shine with their sleek aesthetics and robust construction, marrying elegance with durability.

Design Aesthetics and Durability

The Audio Technica AT2020 showcases a straightforward yet elegant design, featuring a glossy black finish that adds a touch of luxury.

Its construction is robust, ensuring long-term durability. Similarly, the AT2035 maintains a sleek and slim profile, indicative of thoughtful design considerations that extend beyond mere performance.

Accessories and Functionality

Both microphones come equipped with essential accessories, enhancing their usability. The AT2020 includes a pivoting shock mount compatible with most microphone stands, allowing for versatile mounting options.

It also features a pop filter, which is crucial for reducing plosive sounds and protecting the microphone from saliva, extending its lifespan.

This inclusion highlights the attention to detail in Audio Technica’s design, considering both audio quality and microphone longevity.

Technical Specifications and Connectivity

Both the AT2020 and AT2035 require phantom power and an external power source like a preamp or an audio interface.

As XLR microphones, they need XLR cables for connection, with the AT2020 notably coming with a 20-foot XLR cable for added convenience.

The power requirements slightly differ between the two, with the AT2020 needing 48V DC and 2mA and the AT2035 requiring 11-52V and 3.8mA.

The AT2035 also boasts a superior carrying case compared to the AT2020’s simpler offering, underscoring the slight distinctions in the product offerings.


at2020 vs at2035 performance

Performance-wise, the AT2035 edges out the AT2020 with its enhanced features and superior sound quality, offering a richer and more versatile audio experience.

Enhanced Features and Sound Quality

The AT2035 represents a significant leap forward from its predecessor, the AT2020, offering notable upgrades for a modest price increase.

For an additional $50, the AT2035 brings to the table advanced features such as a high-pass filter at 80 Hz with a 12 dB/octave slope and a -10 dB pad, catering to louder sound sources without distortion.

The fixed cardioid pattern remains consistent with the AT2020, eliminating the need for any adjustments.

🆚🎤 Check out how the AT2020 Compares to Blue Yeti.

Sound-wise, the AT2035 excels in delivering a detailed and expansive condenser microphone experience. It boasts a rich and even low-end response, with a minor dip in the 50 to 100 Hz range that levels off around 150 Hz.

The midrange remains stable until it reaches 2 kHz, where the microphone exhibits a unique wavelike boost pattern.

The top end of the AT2035 is airy and crisp, peaking between 10 and 15 kHz, designed to produce a sound that is both natural and full-bodied, with a pronounced clarity in the higher frequencies.

Frequency Response and Versatility

The AT2035 outshines the AT2020 with its broader frequency response, granting it greater flexibility in capturing a wide array of sounds.

This extended range is particularly beneficial for recording instruments such as guitars and pianos, which require a microphone capable of handling their vast frequency spectrum.

With a sensitivity of -33 dB, the AT2035 is more responsive than the AT2020, and its lower self-noise level of 12 dB SPL ensures cleaner recordings.

While the technical specifications of the AT2035 are in line with what’s expected in this price bracket, the microphone’s true value lies in its balanced and natural sound output.

Ultimately, the choice between the AT2020 and AT2035 will depend on personal preference and the specific requirements of the recording situation.

Ease of Use and Setup

at2020 vs at2035 ease of use and setup

Both microphones exemplify ease of use and setup, with the AT2020’s plug-and-play simplicity making it an ideal choice for beginners and the AT2035’s added features offering greater control for seasoned users.

Plug-and-Play Convenience

The AT2020 is renowned for its straightforward setup, embodying the plug-and-play ethos that makes it a favorite among beginners and professionals alike.

Its simplicity doesn’t require extensive audio knowledge to get started, making it an ideal choice for home studios, podcasters, and musicians seeking quality sound without the complexity.

Versatile Mounting and Compatibility

Both the AT2020 and AT2035 are designed with versatility in mind, compatible with a wide range of stands and mounting options.

The AT2035 further enhances this with its shock mount, reducing handling noise and providing recording stability.

This adaptability extends to their compatibility with various audio interfaces, thanks to the standard XLR connection, ensuring seamless integration into most recording setups.

Durability and Longevity

at2020 vs at2035 durability and longevity

Both of these Audio-Technica microphones are paragons of durability and longevity, built to deliver consistent, high-quality performance over time, with minimal maintenance required.

Build Quality and Materials

The Audio Technica AT2020 is recognized for its robust build, featuring a solid metal construction that ensures durability and resistance to wear over time.

Its premium materials contribute to its reputation for longevity, making it a reliable choice for users who prioritize sustainability in their recording equipment.

The AT2035, sharing a similar design ethos, also boasts a durable construction, focusing on maintaining quality and performance even under frequent use.

Long-Term Reliability

Both microphones are designed with long-term use in mind. The AT2035, with its additional features like the shock mount and high-pass filter, not only enhances recording quality but also contributes to the microphone’s overall longevity by protecting it from physical and sound-related stress.

Users of both the AT2020 and AT2035 report high satisfaction with their long-term performance, noting that these microphones maintain their sound quality and functionality even after years of regular use.

Maintenance and Care

To ensure the longevity of each microphone, Audio Technica emphasizes the importance of proper maintenance and care.

Simple practices, such as using pop filters to protect the microphone element from moisture and regular cleaning to prevent dust build-up, can significantly extend the life of these microphones.

Both models are designed to be low-maintenance while still offering high durability, appealing to professional studios and home users.

Personal Insights

Having tested both microphones in my home studio, I found the AT2020 to be of exceptional value, delivering clear and reliable audio for various projects.

However, the AT2035, with its advanced features like the high-pass filter, truly stood out when I needed extra control in varied recording situations.

It’s remarkable how these subtle enhancements in the AT2035 can elevate the recording quality, making it my preferred choice for more complex setups.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use the AT2020 and AT2035 for live performances, or are they strictly studio microphones?

While they’re both optimized for studio settings due to their condenser designs, the AT2035 can be more flexible for live use.

This is due to its design features like the -10 dB pad and high-pass filter, which can help manage louder environments better than the AT2020.

Are these microphones suitable for recording instruments other than vocals, like acoustic guitars or drums?

Indeed, the AT2020 and the Audio Technica AT2035 can clearly capture a broad spectrum of instruments.

The AT2035, in particular, might offer a slight advantage in recording diverse instruments thanks to its expanded frequency response and sound-shaping controls.

Do I need any special equipment to use these microphones, or will they work with any standard audio interface?

No special equipment is necessary beyond a standard audio interface that provides an XLR input and 48V phantom power, which are required for the AT2020 and AT2035 microphones.

Most contemporary interfaces should accommodate these needs, allowing seamless integration of either microphone into your setup.

How significant is the difference in self-noise between the AT2020 and AT2035, and does it affect recording quality?

The difference in self-noise between the AT2020 vs AT2035 is minimal, with the AT2035 boasting a slightly lower figure, contributing to marginally cleaner sound captures.

This might be beneficial in tranquil recording environments, but the disparity is unlikely to impact the overall recording quality notably for general use.

If I’m just starting out with home recording, which microphone would you recommend between the AT2020 and AT2035?

For those new to home recording, the AT2020 presents an excellent entry point, offering straightforward operation and impressive sound quality at a great value.

However, if you’re considering the AT2035 vs AT2020 and have the budget for it, the AT2035’s enhanced features might provide additional flexibility as your recording needs evolve.


which is better AT2020 vs AT2035

Neither will let you down, and both will provide excellent audio quality for your podcast, especially when combined with the appropriate audio interfaces, boom stand, and mic stand.

Keeping this in mind, despite being around for what feels like an eternity, the AT2020 remains a good choice for an XLR cardioid pattern microphone for things like podcasts.

It is among the best options for microphones that you can get for under $100 on the market today, representing excellent value for money while providing professional build and sound quality.

If you’re on a tight budget and need to save the extra $50 over the AT2035 for other components of your podcasting setup, you’ll still receive a microphone that does all you need it to.

Furthermore, the AT2035 isn’t going away anytime soon, so the option to upgrade later on is always available.

Matt Brook

With a background in Journalism and years of experience in the industry, Matt brings a wealth of knowledge to the WiredClip team.

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