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It may not be much to look at, and there are cut corners here and there, but the Audio-Technica AT2020USB+ is a steady performer that will suit plenty of home audio setups.


  • Clear, clean audio
  • No software required
  • Plug and play USB connection


  • A few odd and dated design choices
  • Pop filter and shock mount require separate purchase


  • UKRRP: £135
  • USAdiscontinued

Key Features

  • Simple connectionA single USB-A port is all you need to get started, with no audio interface or even software required
  • Multiple mounting optionsA mini tripod and mic arm adapter are included in the box to fit straight into a range of setups
  • Zero latency monitoringAn onboard 3.5mm headphone jack offers real-time tracking of your audio


For a brand with a heritage dating back more than 60 years, Audio-Technica probably doesn’t come to mind for many streamers and creators. The Audio-Technica AT2020USB+ deserves a spot in the conversation.

The Japanese brand’s reputation is strong in the professional world though, and that experience with quality audio is evident in the rather clunkily named Audio-Technica AT2020USB+. A USB cardioid condenser microphone, the AT2020USB+ is looking to bring professional gear home with a mid-range price point to boot.


  • All-metal construction
  • Small overall footprint
  • Onboard audio monitoring and controls

Audio-Technica’s roots are in the studio and that’s clear from the design of the AT2020USB+. Other streamer-focused microphones, like the Logitech Blue Sona, have put obvious effort into looking as good as they sound, the AT2020USB+ takes a more practical route. This six-inch, matte grey cylinder is not ugly necessarily, but it’s certainly not winning any beauty contests.

Tripod Mounted - Audio-Technica AT2020USB+
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

There’s a surprising weight to the AT2020USB+, thanks largely no doubt to the all-metal construction. It’s not too heavy though and it gives the microphone a reassuring sturdiness. Everything feels solid and machined with no hollowness even when I went looking for it. A majority of the weight is in the bottom half of the AT2020USB+. So, despite weighing in at 386g overall, it hung happily in all positions on any mic arm I tried it with.

For the most part, the AT2020USB+ rocks a pretty classic microphone style with little to complain about. There are a few design oddities that let down the overall experience.

The entire body is covered in a black speckle pattern… why? The effect ends up looking like you forgot to throw a dust sheet down before painting the ceiling, rather than something I want to see on a microphone. The two plastic wheels on the front feel cheap and like a stock part on any mass-produced, non-brand item. They also don’t sit centrally in their cutout slots, which is needlessly irritating. 

Details - Audio-Technica AT2020USB+
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

Rather than RGB, Audio-Technica has just gone with B. A single blue LED sits behind the mesh grille. It’s disappointingly obnoxious as, while it does give the internal cavity a nice coloured glow, the effect is ruined when you can see the cheap diode itself – some kind of diffusing panel would go a long way here. Also, it’s constantly on when the microphone is connected, even with my PC off, with no way to control this through software.

None of these qualms is a dealbreaker, they’re relatively minor complaints in the grand scheme, but they’re a constant reminder that the Audio-Technica AT2020USB+ is a middle-of-the-road choice. These little touches are a chance to impress and go a step ahead, but can also cheapen a product which is the unfortunate case here.


  • 120° Cardioid pickup pattern
  • Strong vocal clarity
  • Balanced overall sound but can get roomy

For home studio setups, the Audio-Technica AT2020USB+ is a solid all-rounder that should suit a variety of creators. The spec sheet reads well, with a 20-20,000 Hz frequency and 44.1/48 kHz sample rate bringing it neatly in line with other microphones in this and even higher price range. It’s also great to see a USB mic play nice with both PC and Mac setups.

Through specific vocal testing and streaming on Twitch, I found the AT2020USB+ delivered a clear but slightly shallow sound. There was no issue with the quality of the audio itself, it was detailed and crisp, I’d just have liked a little more bottom end and punch to my voice. This kind of sound isn’t necessarily surprising from a condenser microphone, but other options like the Rode X XCM-50 do manage to offer more oomph if you have a little extra budget to work with.

Main Shot - Audio-Technica AT2020USB+
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

When gaming, the AT2020USB+ mic’s wide 120° cardioid polar pattern was susceptible to picking up a chunk of general desk noise, like mechanical keyboard clacker. This wasn’t overbearing, but it was certainly noticeable in the background and some creators may find this an annoying distraction. It was particularly prominent when using the included tripod, as this put the AT2020USB+ in the firing line, lifting it just a few centimetres off the desk.

Unless you address the AT2020USB+ from up close, there’s some roominess to the sound, which quickly increased the further back I moved. Where possible I try to keep my microphone mounted off-camera when live streaming, which puts me around 30cm from the mic. I never sounded distant to a fault from this range, but it did start to water the sound down further and do away with any level of ‘broadcast’ feel that some creators may like.

Getting close enough to the grille to reduce that airiness brings other challenges. There’s no internal pop filter, which leaves the AT2020USB+ vulnerable to hard plosives. Audio-Technica does offer an external pop filter and shock mount, but you’ll need to buy both separately though. It’s a shame there’s no included treatment, as this is something we regularly see with other condenser microphones, even at this price level.


  • Simple USB connection
  • No additional software
  • Realtime audio monitoring

The AT2020USB+ is the very definition of a plug-and-play USB microphone. Everything you need to get going is in the box, including a bonus padded carry bag, which is a surprisingly generous touch at this price. There’s no app needed, just plug in a single cable and you’re away. Audio-Technica has opted for a USB Type B connector, that’s the rounded square one you’ve probably seen on a printer, which is a unique choice but ultimately harmless.

You’ll find a standard 3.5mm auxiliary headphone port on the back of the AT2020USB+, which offers zero-latency audio monitoring, not likely to be a big deal for streamers but handy for podcasters or voice-over artists. Across the front are two control wheels for this output, allowing you to balance headphone volume levels and the return audio mix from your PC.

Laid Out - Audio-Technica AT2020USB+
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

The included tripod stand is fine and, thankfully, brings a smaller overall footprint than the one Rode included with the XCM-50. Though any creator looking to take their production seriously should be using a mic arm anyway. Adjustments and positioning can be a little tricky with the heavy-bottomed AT2020USB+ often overbalancing if you get your angles or feet placement wrong. Unless it’s an absolute necessity or you have a unique setup like recording instruments, do yourself a favour and stick it on a proper mic arm.

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Should you buy it?

You want good-quality audio on a budget

The AT2020USB+ can often be found on sale and does an impressive job for a lower-priced microphone.

You’re looking for a rich studio sound

This condenser microphone offered a shallower vocal performance than other options.

Final Thoughts

On the whole, Audio-Technica has done a good job with the AT2020USB+. For a microphone that can now often be found below £100, it delivers an overall audio quality that exceeds that price point in most situations. Vocals are clear and detailed and while it might lack the depth of other options, this can be overlooked given the investment.

There are also some shortcomings and a couple of odd design choices to be found, but these aren’t hugely bothersome. However, the Rode X XCM-50 is an overall improvement and is available for not that much extra money, at around £140. Or, there’s the much pricier, but excellent, Logitech Blue Sona (£282) if your budget is far higher.

Nevertheless, those about to start their content journey or looking for a nice upgrade from a headset microphone should find the AT2020USB+ an enticing option at under £100.

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How we test

During each microphone review, we conduct a series of recording tests that include sampling audio during ideal settings, with background noise applied and in an outdoor setting (where possible), to give you the best idea of how each device performs in real-world use.

Performance tested in a variety of conditions

Tested all available features


What is the difference between Audio-Technica AT2020 and 2021?

The AT2020USB+ is better suited to vocal recording while the AT2021 is tailored for instruments like acoustic guitar or piano.

Is USB or XLR better for microphones?

XLR microphones are the industry standard when it comes to broadcasting, streaming and the like. Quality is paramount with XLR. However, USB microphones continue to improve and typically come in at a cheaper price.

Full specs

Size (Dimensions)
Release Date
First Reviewed Date
Model Number

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