The Audio File: Microphones Made for Streaming, Podcasting and Recording

The Audio File: Microphones Made for Streaming, Podcasting and Recording
Photo: Audio-Technica

If sound capture is a crucial element of your creative process, the importance of a quality microphone cannot be understated. As part of their legacy creating problem-solving audio equipment, Audio-Technica has long offered a line of high-performance microphones that excel in a variety of recording roles.

Whether you're songwriting in the home studio, lounging on a livestream, getting the squad together for a game or preparing a broadcast-ready voiceover, Audio-Technica's condenser and dynamic microphones ensure clarity and quality in sound captured for any creative pursuit.

Condenser Class

Choosing the right type of microphone is essential to recording clear and accurate sound, and for those in search of a unit readymade for capable capture in any application, Audio-Technica's AT2020 condenser microphone is a widely revered, affordable choice.

Condenser microphones capture sound using a lightweight membrane (known as the diaphragm) that is suspended by a fixed plate. Acoustic vibrations cause the diaphragm to move, and are converted into an electrical signal that is sent to your recording device or speakers. The sensitivity of condenser mics makes them ideal for use with a range of dynamic sources including voices and instruments.

Leading the pack against other mics in its class, the AT2020's low-mass diaphragm is custom-engineered for extended frequency response and superior transient response, allowing the user the ability to capture a wider range of frequencies at greater accuracy. The AT2020's cardioid polar pattern ensures reduced pickup of sounds from the sides and rear of the mic face, improving isolation of the sound source if the user is without a secluded studio.

While the AT2020's XLR connection makes for ease of use in-studio, further portability is achieved with the AT2020USB+. Based on its XLR-connected relative, the mic's USB output easily captures articulate digital recordings at a 16 bit, 44.1/48 kHz sample rate, while the built-in headphone jack and volume control allow the user to monitor their microphone signal with no delay. The unit's extended frequency response is ideally suited for voiceovers, podcasting, home studio and field recording. Both the AT2020 and the AT2020USB+ come complete with respective stand and shock mounts, and protective pouches, ready to use out of the box.

A step up from that pair, the AT2035 delivers exceptional detail and low noise, along with packing in a few more professional extras. Maintaining the rugged construction and high-performance specifications users have come to know from Audio-Technica, the AT2035 comes equipped with a switchable 80 Hz high-pass filter and 10 dB pad, allowing users the option of cutting down on the capture of low-end frequencies. An included custom shock mount offers superior isolation, while the mic's large diaphragm makes for smooth, natural sound and low noise.

Dynamic Duo

Dynamic microphones are best deployed when working with loud sounds. Unlike a condenser, this type of mic uses a wire coil surrounding a magnet within its body to amplify sound vibrations picked up by its diaphragm. Highly touted for their ruggedness and reliability, dynamic microphones offer smooth, extended response required for quality recordings — sometimes at a fraction of the cost of a condenser mic.

Versatility is the defining feature of the ATR2100x-USB, ideal for performance, podcasting and voiceover use. The handheld unit comes equipped with two different outputs: a USB-C digital output to connect to Windows or Apple computers, or other recording devices, and an XLR analog output for connection to more conventional mic interface for live performance.

Like its adept condenser counterpart explored above, the ATR2100x-USB allows for audio monitoring via a built-in headphone jack, while a dial on the bottom of the unit allows for easy headphone volume adjustment. The mic's high-quality analog-to-digital converter allows for recording at a 24-bit, up to 192 kHz sample rate, while included USB-C to USB-C, USB-C to USB-A, and XLRF to XLRM cables affirm that users will never be without a way to get plugged in.

While its durable metal construction guarantees long-lasting performance, the ATR2100x-USB also comes complete with a sturdy tripod desk stand and threaded mic stand clamp for hands-free operation.

Podcasters in the market for a sonic upgrade should find a perfect match in the AT2040; a dynamic microphone presenting professional-quality broadcast sound in an affordable package. In addition to its large diaphragm, the combination of an integrated shock mount, internal multistage windscreen, and hypercardioid polar pattern work to create a highly directional, accurate pickup that reduces external noise while retaining warm, classic tone.

The mic's superb isolation allows for multiple AT2040 units to be used in close proximity without feedback. Despite being designed for podcasting, the units would not sound out of place in live streaming, gaming or voiceover setups. Of course, the AT2040 is ready to record anywhere using its own pivoting stand mount, a threaded adapter clamp and soft protective pouch.

The Complete Package

Whether you're piecing together a home recording studio, launching into the world of game streaming or starting a podcast or vlog, Audio-Technica's CREATOR PACK is the perfect way to kick-start any kind of creation in an instant.

The recording starter kit provides some of the company's best-selling equipment, outfitting creators with the ATR2500x-USB cardioid condenser microphone, a pair of ATH-M20x professional monitor headphones, a desk boom arm sporting a solid clamp and cable management solutions, and a microphone tripod stand.

For budding podcasters, the CREATOR PACK strikes a balance between quality and affordability. When suspended on the included boom arm, the ATR2500x-USB microphone provides immaculate isolation without the need for a soundproof environment. Go further into the mix and hear precisely what your mic picks up with the upgraded ATH-M20x headphones, which now feature punchier bass, enhanced sound isolation and improved sound reproduction.

The tools of the CREATOR PACK also make for an immersive gaming and streaming bundle, with the ATH-M20x headphones ensuring that nothing goes unheard in your virtual worlds. The ATR2500x-USB microphone is prepared for play right out of the box, ready to capture reaction of all kinds, whether for your party or livestream audience.

In the home studio, the ATR2500x-USB microphone can record vocals, instruments and more with excellent frequency range and response, while the ATH-M20x headphones provide the perfect method for instant sound monitoring via the mic's built-in headphone jack. That feature will surely sound sweet to vloggers and voiceover artists, allowing them to hear every word while watching their levels against background music or field audio.

The CREATOR PACK can also prove valuable for those working from home, with the ATR2500x-USB microphone offering the clarity that video calls and remote presentations require. Compatible with all leading video conference platforms, the mic's cardioid polar pattern works to isolate the voice, rather than keystrokes and mouse clicks, while the over-ear ATH-M20x headphones ensure comfortable, peaceful workday use.

No matter how you're trying to be heard, Audio-Technica's selection of quality wireless and wired microphones ensure the capture of outstanding audio and award-winning sound. For further details on Audio-Technica's complete line of microphones and accessories, visit their official website.

When making a purchase, enter the coupon code "ATGIFT15" for a discount. Valid until December 2021.