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AT2020 vs Blue Yeti: Which USB Mic is the Better?

AT2020 vs Blue Yeti_ Which USB Mic is the Better_

Whether you’re looking to upgrade your current mic or are a complete beginner, we’re pretty sure you’ve come across the Audio Technica AT2020 and the Blue Yeti microphones.

Everyone has at least considered one or both of these mics for the job.

Not sure about which one to get? We feel you.

These microphones are popular for several good reasons and we’re here to break down these two products to help you decide.

Table of Contents

Audio Technica AT2020 Overview

Audio Technica AT2020 Overview

Audio Technica is one of the more well-known companies when it comes to mics.

At its core, the AT2020 is a condenser microphone with a cardioid polar pattern and instead of a USB cable, it utilizes an XLR plug.

The Audio Technica AT2020 has Neodymium magnets up its sleeve, giving amazing studio-quality recording for:

  • Musicians
  • Podcasters
  • Live streamers
  • Content creators

The cardioid polar pattern makes the sound source crystal clear, reducing the sounds of pick-up patterns from the side and rear areas.

This feature also makes sure that it has superior isolation functions.

AT2020 comes with a low-mass diaphragm that’s made for extended frequency response. This means it can absorb a wide range of sounds.

Depending on the adjustments, it can practically record instruments, like an acoustic guitar, clearer than other microphones.

This mic comes with a threaded adapter and a soft protective pouch.

It’s also important to stress that this mic has an XLR output, and the XLR cable does not come with the product.

Aside from needing the additional XLR cable, you would have to need an audio interface and a USB mixer to operate and process the output.

So if you’re strict on your budget or prioritize convenience more, this is probably another thing you want to consider with this product.

Pros

  • Great for sound isolation
  • Picks up songs and musical instruments beautifully
  • High-end and sleek design

Cons

  • Needs additional equipment
  • Only has one polar pattern
  • Knobs are not clear indicators

We have to note that the AT2020 actually has USB version which don’t need additional controls for recording. But this pro version needs a USB mixer to work.

Blue Yeti Overview

Blue Yeti Overview

Main Features

If we’re talking about USB mics, Blue Yeti is the leading brand for it.

This Blue Yeti microphone comes with:

  • Three condenser capsules
  • Four polar patterns

The USB mic itself comes with an integrated headphone amplifier, great for vocal recordings like live streaming, podcasts, or youtube videos.

USB mics are very convenient and easy to use. Just plug it into your computer or recording device and you’re pretty much good to go! No additional equipment or technology is required to get started.

Blue microphones deliver excellent audio which also removes the pressure of having to purchase an expensive program or be intimidated by editing or post-processing needs.

The Blue’s USB microphones can record four different polar patterns:

  • Cardioid
  • Bidirectional
  • Stereo mode
  • Omnidirectional

Perfect not just for streaming and podcasting, but you could also use these multiple polar patterns in a group setting.

Otherwise, if you’re new and want to try different things and audio modes that would work for you, then this is it.

The Yeti also comes with a cable length and a desk mount that can hold the microphone and props it up at different angles. Makes it incredibly useful and easy to use.

Plus points for convenience. Definitely one of the best USB mics with fantastic broadcast quality sound.

Pros

  • USB plug convenience
  • Four different pattern settings
  • Good control with the knobs and buttons
  • Solid base and stand

Cons

  • Can be quite bulky and heavy for traveling

Blue Yeti also has a USB mini version of the same microphone type.

Blue Yeti vs Audio Technica AT2020: Performance Review

Blue Yeti vs Audio Technica AT2020- Performance Review

Still can’t decide? We broke down the features of the microphone types for you.

Let’s take a look at how well these mics go up against each other and if they’re as good as everyone says.

Build and Design

If you’re the type of user who would be more likely to show video content that would require putting the mic in front of the camera, it’s a win for the AT2020.

The AT2020 also comes in the colors black and silver.

If you like the retro chunky vibe, by all means, go for it!

The Blue Yeti (contrary to its name) comes in several colors like blackout, midnight blue, silver, slate, and teal.

Aside from the aesthetics, one clear difference between the two mics would be the buttons and knobs on the Blue Yeti which greatly increase its convenience.

It comes with a headphone volume control and a mute button which is very handy for beginners.

These knobs could guide you and properly tell you which of the four polar patterns the mic is on just by feeling it.

You could also:

  • Easily switch off the mic
  • Change the headphone output volume
  • Manage the headphone knob
  • Switch modes
  • Adjust gain control

Setup and Usage

When it comes to usage, we’ve gotta give it to the Blue Yeti condenser mic for this one.

The desktop mount is super sturdy and reliable so you won’t ever have to worry about your mic toppling over. It could also be adjusted and angled around.

The AT2020 on the other hand comes with no mic stand, only a mic adapter.

Also a feature we need to highlight would be the USB plug vs the XLR connecter.

Between the blue yeti vs AT2020, t’s no question that the USB plug of the Blue Yeti would make it tremendously easier to use than the AT2020’s XLR plug.

With a simple USB condenser mic, the Yeti doesn’t need anything else. While the AT2020 would need extra equipment and would ultimately need you to shell out some more cash.

That being said, we think that the Blue Yeti is the more user-friendly option being a USB plug and play microphone no need for extra power or a dedicated phantom power to supply it.

Also no prior technical knowledge, just plug it, use it, then start recording.

Oh yeah, before we forget to mention, it comes with free software you can use to edit the audio itself.

You don’t need to think about latency or driver issues.

Sound Quality

Okay, we hear you. A product can look nice and have all these fantastic features but what about its performance?

Yes, that’s true. Performance is still important when it comes to the products we use.

What’s the point of having the product if it looks good and has all these features but doesn’t deliver the most basic thing I need it to do?

So let’s get down to it, how do these two products fare when it comes to the sound quality they produce?

Music Industry

It’s important to remember that both the Blue Yeti and the AT2020 are condenser microphones.

With the products being both condenser microphones, they still produce great sound quality but are very different.

The Blue Yeti delivers such high-quality sound considering its price point. Compared to the AT2020, the Blue Yeti’s sound quality is rounder and heavier.

Don’t get us wrong, the AT2020 is a great microphone but theirs is more crisp and light in comparison.

We’ve also seen some comments from musicians and artists who claim that the AT2020 XLR mic produces better quality sound for music.

The Blue Yeti also produces good quality music but if you’re really after that studio feel, we suggest going for the AT2020.

Polar Pattern Selection

Another point that’s worth discussing is the versatility of the Blue Yeti and its multiple pickup patterns.

The AT2020 can only record Cardioid in one pattern, while the Blue Yeti can record with four different patterns, including Cardioid.

Since Cardioid can only pick up audio when speaking directly in front of a microphone, this would only be good for one user or for doing voice-overs.

If you want to record in a group setting for a podcast guesting, video guesting with your friends, or multiple sound sources, the AT2020 would not be able to deliver on that.

But if you have no plans of doing this whatsoever and just want to focus on solo-acts, then AT2020 would be able to fulfill that need.

However, if you’re the kind of person who would need a microphone for recording music, or instruments like acoustic guitars, then the AT2020’s quality would be unmatched.

Even if the AT2020 only has the cardioid pattern available, this microphone type does this well and has better isolation of the audio source.

The AT2020 is still relatively cheap if you would compare it to other XLR mics in the market. Its recording quality is still well worth its price.

Pricing

So let’s tackle another point that could be a dealbreaker for some people.

Both products are known to be the top contenders when it comes to their affordable price points.

However, it’s very important to note that as we’ve mentioned, the AT2020 would need you to buy additional equipment such as an XLR cable and an audio interface.

This means shelling out more cash than some might hope to avoid.

Then again, you might have this equipment already on hand, but one thing is for sure. You would need more equipment to run this thing.

Again, if you’re tight on budget, this is a big thing to consider regarding the AT2020.

For this round, we have to give it to the Blue Yeti because of its plug-and-play advantage.

So convenient to use and definitely worth your money if you consider the polar patterns, flexibility, and user-friendly experience.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions-

Now let’s delve a little bit deeper into the most asked questions we get about microphones:

Why Does Diaphragm Size Matter?

So the Blue Yeti has a large diaphragm size and the AT2020 has a small diaphragm.

All of these factors depend on the diaphragm size:

  • Dynamic range
  • Frequency response
  • Frequency range
  • Frequency sensitivity
  • SPL handling capacity
  • Overall natural noise of the microphone.

With small diaphragm microphones, will sound a bit more light and airy, due to the reduced mass which gives it a tendency to follow air disturbances.

Large diaphragms, on the other hand, can capture the depth of low-frequency sounds, giving that whole and big sound to audio recordings.

Diaphragm Size of Blue Yeti and At2020

As we’ve talked about, the AT2020 has a smaller diaphragm, so you can expect a lighter and airy frequency response. The Blue Yeti has a large diaphragm so naturally, it would produce sounds that are heavier and lower.

If we compare the polar patterns of a large-diaphragm condenser microphone and a smaller one, it’s the smaller diaphragm mic that could pick up a more consistent cardioid frequency response.

An advantage for the AT2020, which could only do cardioid mode, and do it well, might we add. Bigger doesn’t always mean better though.

In this case, larger diaphragms are harder to move because of their size. Thanks to this, the frequency range of a large diaphragm isn’t the best.

You’ll feel the difference if you’re a group of singers. After a certain point, larger diaphragms won’t be as responsive.

Something to think about if you’re leaning towards the Blue Yeti.

With all of this in mind, at the end of the day, it all goes back to what type of audio are you looking for? Or what kind of sound quality would you be more inclined to?

How Do I Find the Best Microphone for My Voice?

Of course, everyone buying a microphone would one million percent want their voice to sound its best.

No two voices would ever sound completely alike.

We embrace everyone’s uniqueness and acknowledge that we all have different voices with their characteristics.

With this, we would also have different needs.

We also have to acknowledge that this might work for you but not work as well for others.

So it’s not just about picking the best mic on the market, it’s more about picking the right mic for you and your voice.

For those with deep voices, microphones with larger diaphragms are better suited to pick up these frequencies.

For those with higher voices, we suggest going with a small-diaphragm mic.

Finding the right microphone will pull the best out of your vocals and will do the justice it deserves.

Also, a good mic would greatly enhance your vocals before adding any effects.

What Is Latency?

If you have ever done voice recording, some of you have probably experienced this but maybe didn’t have a word for it.

Latency is a term used for the delay between the creation of the sound and its recording.

It can be extremely annoying when this kind of problem appears. Especially when you feel like that take was perfect but it wouldn’t sync with the track.

That single millisecond could potentially ruin the whole track and throw the entire audio off.

Also for your peace of mind, latency is not caused by the microphones themselves.

The problem that happens is a technical issue from the:

  • Computer
  • Operating systems
  • Audio converter

Out of the two microphones we have mentioned here, the external XLR and audio interface needed by the AT2020 would make it more prone to latency.

Some USB microphones like the Blue Yeti, would have an audio converter already built into the microphone, hence its plug and play feature.

Final Verdict: Which is the Better Mic?

Final Verdict- Which is the Better Mic

So with the battle between Blue Yeti vs At2020, we had to come to our final verdict.

After our detailed and lengthy review, our winner would be the Blue Yeti.

We picked this for several reasons.

Unmatched Versatility

One would be the versatility of the product. To be able to record in four different pickup patterns is a huge huge plus.

If you’re someone who likes to experiment with different styles and would use this microphone for various reasons, you should get this one.

The AT2020’s singular cardioid mode feels very limiting in our opinion.

Another reason for our Blue Yeti pick was its unmatched convenience. The USB plug-and-play feature was a convincing factor for sure.

Just the thought of having to buy additional equipment for the AT2020 is a big turn-off.

Aside from buying the cables and the additional software, you would also need a computer fast enough to keep up with the interface and not to mention, now add that to the additional memory you would need to clear up.

Not very convenient if you ask us. Too heavy on the technical side for home recording and would also take quite some time to set up.

Practical Buttons

We also gotta give it to the Blue Yeti for the button designs.

With the knobs and external controls on the microphone itself, you’d know exactly where you are at with the microphone.

You can also just as easily adjust the settings and switch between polaroid patterns.

As for the AT2020, since it doesn’t have any buttons, you would have to go over to your computer and manually manage from there.

We didn’t expect it but the led mute button on the Blue Yeti is an actual life-saver.

This saves you so much from having to re-record and edit out bits you want to be cut off. Imagine suddenly hearing loud sounds in the middle of recording or when you’re simply live-streaming.

With the Blue Yeti mic, you can just press the mute button then you get rid of any unwanted noise or use the volume control button.

Great Recording Quality

Overall, the Blue Yeti gives you so much user control, features, and more than one polar pattern. Not to mention, the USB cable which adds to the convenience.

The audio quality, of course, is also absolutely excellent.

For its affordable price and its easy use, Blue Yeti is our clear winner and is guaranteed to be one of the best USB microphones on the market.

Conclusion

Both condenser microphones are great and easy on the wallet. These mics have also been known to produce amazing quality.

At the end of the day, what’s important is a mic that fulfills all your needs and gives you that amazing sound quality that you are looking for.

With that being said, we recommend the Audio Technica AT2020 if:

  • You only plan on recording with a cardioid pattern
  • You are a musician or a singer in the music industry
  • You are a solo act and only plan on recording solo
  • You already have extra equipment readily available to support this mic

We recommend the Blue Yeti if:

  • You want more flexibility with your product and more options
  • You prefer a mic with a USB connection
  • You plan on using this in group settings
  • You don’t want to purchase additional equipment and support

About the author

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After becoming obsessed with the beats that were the soundtrack to his youth, Nick became a student of hip hop, digging for vinyl records, looking for the perfect break. Before he got his hands on an MPC sampler, he would mash these records, beats, and breaks into mixtapes and live DJ sets.