It’s not uncommon for a world-class brand to release several models in the same series that serve different purposes, and such is the case with AT2020 and AT2035.
That’s exactly the reason why you maybe want to give them both a chance, especially if you’re a sound engineer or a technician that likes to experiment with different toys in the studio.
Essentially, both of these microphones are Cardioids that feature a standard frequency range, a slightly different dynamic range, and pretty decent STR; however, they also have a very recognizable set of hardware that puts its own imprint on the end result.
You’ll find that no matter how similar these microphones are, you’ll get different sounds and tones with them while sticking to the same parameters.
Now, what we’ve set out to do today is compare AT2020 and AT2035 in action; they’re both mid-range microphones that offer tremendous value for the buck, and given the fact that they’re so diverse and eclectic we also wanted to show you when and why you should consider each of them.
Without any further ado, let’s get straight to this versus match:
Basically, the AT2020 is AT2035’s predecessor, and in that regard it can be considered a bit ‘obsolete’ since the fresh, new AT2035 comes supplied with improved features and technologies.
This is a cardioid microphone that sports 20 Hz to 20 kHz frequency range, 124 dB dynamic range, 100 Ω impedance rating, -37 dB sensitivity rating, and 74 dB STR. It’s also nearly half the price when compared to its successor, but it’s still relatively expensive on its own.
The AT2020 is also a relatively small microphone that can be used in a variety of situations; its lightweight, compact size allows it to be used handheld or mounted pretty much anywhere.
However, the field where it shines the brightest is in a studio room next to cabinets and amps, waiting to be used for recording of acoustic and electric instruments.
Overall, the AT2035 is also a cardioid microphone with the same frequency range as its predecessor, but that’s pretty much where their similarities stop spec-wise.
In terms of size, it’s roughly as ‘small’ as AT2020, and the good folks at Audiotechnica didn’t really touch its design much as far as durability and construction materials are of concern.
There are obvious differences regarding its ergonomics, as it features a brand new stabilization pad that offers a bit more flexibility and reliability.
As far as its general specs are at stake, AT2035 boasts an enhanced dynamic range that spans up to 136 dB; the impedance rating of 120 Ω, superior STR (82 dB), and a slightly chipped sensitivity rating of -33 dB.
It’s as light and portable as AT2020, although it is also much crisper when compared to it; furthermore, its enhanced dynamic range, impedance, and STR also provide a drastic boost to clarity, meaning that it will bring out the most from acoustic instruments.
Design, dimensions and durability
Both of these microphones share the same type of design – they are cardioid microphones.
Essentially, a Cardioid mike’s sensitivity is focused on its front side while its rear side is the least sensitive.
This dictates the game plan for recording in a studio, although other applications allow for more flexible approaches.
The dimensions of AT2020 measure 9.76 inches by 9.6 inches by 2.6 inches, and it weighs approximately 1.32 pounds; obviously, this is a small, very portable microphone that can be either handheld or mounted.
The dimensions of AT2035 measure 9.75 inches by 9.75 inches by 2.75 inches, and it weighs 0.8875 pounds.
That being said, these mikes are roughly the same size, although AT2035 is clearly lighter and a bit easier to use in general.
Even so, both are considered tiny and portable in comparison to similarly sized microphones of the same type.
Now, even though most studio engineers and technicians use microphones such as AT2035 and AT2020 to record instruments, these two models are also great for podcasting, streaming, and such.
The minimal sensitivity coming from the back and sides reduces the amount of noise that can be picked up from ambient sounds (for example, the humming of the pc, noises in the house, and such), which is why gamers and influencers tend to get the most out of them.
Live performing musicians can also safely rely on these microphones for the exact same reasons.
The noises coming from the audience fall short if these microphones are positioned correctly.
Even so, we must say that AT2020 fares just slightly better in such environments due to its superior minimal sensitivity rating (-37 dB versus -33 dB of the AT2035).
On another hand, AT2035’s STR rating is also a bit better, which means slightly more clarity and substantially less undesired noise.
Knowing this, professional musicians will always pick AT2035 over AT2020, even though the former is a bit pricier.
As a home microphone used in online communication and amateur sound recording, we’d have to recommend AT2020 simply because it’s available at a far more approachable price.
The AT2035 could do the same job (potentially even better), but some of its features are overkill in such a scenario.
Impedance, Frequency and Dynamic range
Now, this is the part where things get a bit more technical, so let’s start from the very top.
Generally speaking, Impedance (in this particular context) refers to the ability of an electrical contraption to utilize, filter, and ultimately ‘accept’ different amounts of electrical current.
High impedance is necessary for power-starved microphones to function properly, so in short – the more, the merrier applies here perfectly.
The impedance rating of AT2020 is 100 Ω while the impedance rating of AT2035 is 120 Ω.
However, the difference of 20 Ω is barely even noticeable when put under a sonic ‘microscope’; both of these microphones are considered as low-impedance mikes.
However, they were engineered in such a way where they don’t actually require more juices in this field.
The Frequency range is basically the coverage of the lowest and highest audible noises; the higher the range is, the louder and chirpier the sounds are that can be picked up on (and vice versa).
Both AT 2020 and AT 2035 have the ‘average’ frequency span of 20 Hz to 20 kHz.
Lastly, the dynamic range is a bit more complex; in a nutshell, it refers to the microphone’s ability to convey information while also representing the difference between its noise ‘floor’ & SPL (sound-pressure level).
This is where AT2035 is superior with 136 dB (as opposed to AT2020’s 124 dB); its performance remains consistent and clear of ‘gain’ at higher volume levels.
Price and Value
Price, given the fact that it is the ultimate, most defining factor for pretty much everyone, does not always correlate to the amount of value you will be able to squeeze out of any given product.
Now, when we’re talking about Audiotechnica’s AT2020 and AT2035, this is beyond obvious, as these mikes are staggeringly more valuable than they are expensive.
While the AT2020 belongs to the middle section of the mid-range, the AT2035 hangs around the borders of the upper section of mid-range, leaning towards the boutique price point category.
Although it’s beyond clear that AT2035 is nearly twice as expensive, it does come supplied with vastly improved and largely different features and technologies.
Similarities between AT2020 and AT2035
First and foremost, both of these microphones belong to the same price point category, even though they’re not exactly in the same sections of the same price range.
Furthermore, they’re both Cardioids, and they are made of the same materials.
The last similarity they share between themselves is their frequency range, which spans from 20 Hz to 20 kHz.
Aesthetics-wise, most people wouldn’t be able to tell the difference though.
Differences between AT2020 and AT2035
Everything aside from design and frequency range is different when we’re talking about AT2020 and AT2035.
Starting with dynamic range – AT2020 offers 124 dB while AT2035 offers 136 dB; the impedance rating – AT2020’s level is 100 Ω while AT2035’s level is 120 Ω; the STR – AT2020’s signal to noise ratio is 74 dB while AT2035’s is 82 dB, and so on.
Additionally, the AT2020 doesn’t have the customizable pad, filter controls, or the shock mount while AT2035 has all three of these features.
That being said, AT2035 is clearly much more versatile than its predecessor, and it can be used in a much wider array of fields and scenarios.
At the end of the day, AT2020 and AT2035 are two completely different microphones; unlike their names suggest, they in fact do not share many things in common, although their biggest and most notable similarity is that they are both microphones of tremendous quality.
It’s pretty safe to say that whichever you choose you wouldn’t be wrong; it’s just that they are supposed to be used in different settings and scenarios, which makes them even harder to compare.