Mic Comparison & Demo – Audio Technica AT2020 vs. AT4033a

Video demo and comparison between AT2020 vs. AT4033a, a couple of large diaphragm condenser mics by Audio Technica. Vocals courtesy of Ruth Danon.

Gear-heads and audio enthusiasts, I’ve got another mic demo for you. Third in this series of videos, this one checks out a couple of large diaphragm condenser mics by Audio Technica: AT2020 vs. AT4033a (an earlier edition of the newer AT4033/CL).

Although they belong on two different price ranges, I was almost equally pleased by their output. A new AT2020 retails at less than half of a AT4033CL and around a $100 cheaper than a used AT4033a.

Technical Specs. for the Audio Nerds

Polar PatternCardioidCardioid
Frequency Response20-20,000 Hz30-20,000 Hz
Open Circuit Sensitivity–37 dB (14.1 mV) re 1V at 1 Pa-32 dB (25.1 mV) re 1V at 1 Pa
Impedance100 ohms100 ohms
Maximun Input Sound Level144 dB SPL, 1 kHz at 1% T.H.D.145 dB SPL, 1 kHz at 1% T.H.D.;
155 dB SPL with 10 dB pad (nominal)
Noise20 dB SPL17 dB SPL
Dynamic Range (Typical)124 dB, 1 kHz at Max SPL128 dB, 1 KHz at Max SPL
Signal-to-Noise Ratio74 dB, 1 kHz at 1 Pa77 dB, 1 kHz at 1 Pa
Phantom Power Requirements48V DC, 2 mA typical48V DC, 3.2 mA typical
SwitchesN/AFlat, roll-off; 10 dB pad (nominal)
Low Frequency Roll-offN/A80 Hz, 12 dB/octave
Weight12.1 oz (345 g)13.4 oz (380 g)
Dimensions6.38″ (162.0 mm) long,6.69″ (170.0 mm) long,
Output ConnectorIntegral 3-pin XLRM-typeIntegral 3-pin XLRM-type

Overall Impression

The AT2020 gives a great bang for the buck. It avoids a very common drawback of condenser mics in its price range – that infamous high frequency glassiness you get with on-axis recordings. I was surprised by how little de-essing was required. Its self-noise was a bit more evident in comparison to the AT4033a, but nothing I’d worry about, even in an acapella setting.

The AT4033a provided an even more pleasing result around the highs with a slight emphasis on the low-mids. Combined with being the quieter mic, that’s definitely something I’d prefer to work with. Having said that, if you’re running a home studio on a budget, the AT2020 isn’t far behind and would be a great way to start your mic collection.

Which microphone sounds best to you? Share your thoughts below!

Vocals courtesy of Ruth Danon
Visit her channel: http://www.youtube.com/ruthdanon
Song: “Down by the Salley Gardens” (W.B. Yeats)

This Post Has 9 Comments

  1. Rohan

    Thanks Oren, great stuff. May I ask what stand-filter combo you’re using there? I’m using the stock stand and it’s not ideal.

    1. Oren Gilad

      Hi Rohan, glad you liked it! I also use some generic stand and it works fine.. as for the shock mount, I used the one that comes with the AT4033a for both of them, if I recall correctly.

  2. harisasta

    hi oren, can i ask what is a good mic for acapella group? 5-6 people singing along…

    1. oren

      Hi Harisasta, there are many types of microphones that could capture this kind of performance. It also depends on how you’d be positioned together and in what kind of acoustic space. I’d suggest either a stereo pair of condensers or a ribbon mic. However, maybe there’s already something in your arsenal that could do the job. What have you got?

      1. harisasta

        seems not have, because I am very amateur for this job .

  3. Jeremy

    Hi Oren, I was wondering what kind of mixer and what EQ settings you used for this test?

    1. Oren Gilad

      Hi Jeremy, no mixer.. just plugged it into my M-Audio FireWire 410 and did some VERY basic EQing.. probably just some hi-pass and slight colorization of a channel-strip simulator of some sort.

  4. Claymind

    Wow I could hardly tell the difference! Means AT2020 is really good!

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