Audio-Technica Releases The AT2020USB-XP Mic

Audio-Technica has always been one of the most popular audio companies for recording artists and broadcasters of all levels. More specifically, they are well known for providing high-quality audio equipment that fits any budget and is easy to use without the need to spend extra money on an interface. This is why their 20 series of USB microphones have become the most commonly chosen “first-time” microphones in the industry. With that being said, the Tokyo-based manufacturer has finally rolled out the next generation of their iconic microphones with the release of the AT2020USB-XP. The new microphone still contains all the useful features that were sported by its predecessors, such as its cardioid condenser design and built-in controls, while also bringing several additions to the table. These include higher sample rates, built-in noise reduction, and automated gain control.


To achieve these higher sample rates, Audio-Technica has upgraded the A-D converter to allow for 24-bit audio and sample rates capabilities up to 192kHz. This surpasses the previous model, which maxed out at 96kHz. Furthermore, the AT2020USB-XP now features a built-in DSP that provides built-in noise reduction abilities that help to eliminate unwanted background noise with a selector switch that lets the user choose between three levels of noise reduction. The last feature that sets the AT2020USB-XP apart from its predecessors is its automated gain control technology. This solves an all too common problem that makes the post-processing of vocals one of the most difficult tasks in audio engineering.


The highly dynamic nature of the human voice creates an inevitable challenge for mixing engineers that prevent the achievement of stable gain levels without the use of post-production techniques such as the use of automation lines for gain, compression, and limiting. While these methods will always be necessary for the mixing process to some degree, the golden rule that is taught to all engineers is that less is more. What this boils down to is that the first stage of the signal chain is always the most important to get right. The automated gain control featured in the AT2020USB-XP makes it easier than ever to dial in consistent levels in stage one, leading to countless time and CPU usage that ends up being saved further on in the mixing process, which ultimately leads to a better mix in the end.


The AT2020USB-XP is currently priced at $169 and comes with a custom desk stand, a pop filter, a thread adaptor, and a 3.1m USB-C to USB-A cable and adaptor. Additionally, the AT-8455 shock mount can be purchased as an add-on to eliminate any unwanted noise caused by an unstable microphone.


Image credit: Audio-Technica

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