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It’s been almost 20 years since Audio-Technica launched its first USB microphone for podcasters and streamers. The AT2020USB was an instant hit and soon became the most popular choice with people wanting to record audio at home. Since then, the technology has moved on and other brands like Blue, AKG and RØDE have entered the market and given Audio-Technica some competition.

However, the original AT2020USB+ was so good it remained a popular choice for many years, especially with people who didn’t want to invest in a mixing desk and XLR microphones. It was a well-regarded microphone with superb construction and one of the first USB condenser mics to offer zero-latency headphone monitoring and a blending control to balance the sound from the computer and microphone.

Audio-Technica has now decided to refresh its microphone with the launch of the AT2020USB-X. This cardioid condenser USB microphone is slightly lighter than the old model but feels as though it has the same solid build quality. As a reimagining of the popular AT2020USB+ model, the new version has been specifically designed for capturing the best possible sound for podcasting, streaming and other creative projects like music and voiceovers. It’s a great choice wherever premium sound quality is essential. The new version offers the same award-winning warm sound of the original AT2020USB+, but with all the convenience of plug-and-play USB-C operation.

The AT2020USB-X’s directional pickup helps to maintain the focus on the voice or sound source. At the same time, the high-resolution A/D converter offers a sampling rate that goes as high as 24-bit/96kHz, capturing clear and natural sound directly to a computer. The AT2020USB-X will work with almost any computer that’s USB 2.0 compliant and it’s equally at home with Macs as it is with PCs.

The new AT2020USB-X has the same built-in 3.5mm stereo headphone jack as its predecessor, plus a headphone volume control. As a result, the user can monitor the microphone’s output directly and hear everything with zero delay. In addition, Audio-Technica has provided a mixing control that can blend the microphone’s signal with sound from the host computer, ensuring the two sounds can be perfectly balanced.

Should a tickly cough or barking dog interrupt a recording or live streaming session, a touch-sensitive mute button on the front can be pressed to disarm the microphone. An LED indicator glows red when the mic is in mute mode and blue when it is live.

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Unlike the original AT2020USB+, this new version uses a USB-C port for connecting to the host device. There’s a two-meter cable included in the box and Audio-Technica helpfully provides a USB-C and USB-A adapter for connecting with a broader range of devices.

Instead of the mini tripod that shipped with the original AT20202USB+, the new version has a sturdy desk stand that’s far more stable when used on a desk. In addition, the stand can be removed so the microphone can be mounted on a boom arm or mic stand thanks to a 3/8″ to 5/8″ threaded adapter. I would have preferred to see a full-sized thread on the base of the microphone, but as the included stand is so well made, that’s not such a big issue.

Verdict: The new Audio-Technica AT2020USB-X is a great update to the original AT2020USB+. It keeps all the excellent features and build quality of the first-generation model but introduces higher bit depth and sample rates with the convenience of USB-C connectivity. In addition, the mic has the classic warmth of the original design and is ideal for recording voiceovers or for use on live streaming, Zoom meetings and any other application where high-quality sound is required.

Pricing & Availability: The Audio-Technica AT2020USB-X will be available from August 17 and will cost £129 / €149.

More info: www.audio-technica.com

Tech Specs:

  • System requirement: USB2.0 compliant.
  • Supported OS: Windows 8.1, Windows 10, Windows 11,
  • macOS Catalina, macOS Big Sur, macOS Monterey.
  • Element: Fixed-charge back plate, permanently polarized condenser.
  • Polar pattern: Cardioid
  • Frequency response: 20 – 20,000Hz
  • Power supply: USB power (5 VDC)
  • Bit depth: 16 bit/24 bit.
  • Supported sampling rates: 44.1kHz/48kHz/88.2kHz/96kHz.
  • Controls: Headphone level control, Mix control, Mute
  • Output connector: USB Type-C
  • Headphone output: 110mW (at 1kHz, 1% THD, 32Ω)
  • Headphone jack: 3.5 mm (1/8″) stereo mini-jack.
  • Adapter: 5/8″-27 to 3/8″-16 threaded adapter.
  • USB cable: (2.0 m (6.6′), USB Type-C – USB Type-A).
  • Dimensions: 14 mm (5.6″) long, 52mm (2.0″) max diameter.
  • Weight: 373g.
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