The microphone market is rife with really great-sounding microphones. Manufacturers are scrambling to innovate their products because the competition is quite stiff.
Audio Technica has a reputation for making good-sounding mics and good engineering, and in this industry, reputation is important. We’ll be talking about two of Audio Technica’s best-selling microphones, the AT2020, and AT4040.
CAUTION: The Audio Technica AT2020 and AT4040 are best used in small enclosed spaces like studios because of their sound detail and accuracy. If you’re looking for a microphone that you can use in bigger areas, you can check any of these great products:
But if you’re looking for a microphone that is ideal for podcasts, YouTube, studio recording, and the likes, read on because this comprehensive guide will show you which of these two microphones is better.
To summarize, the Audio Technica AT2020 is one of the top-quality condenser microphones in its price range. It has an attractive and sturdy design, the quality of the sound is pretty good considering its price. On the other hand, the Audio Technica AT4040 is an excellent cardioid condenser microphone with a large diaphragm. It has better sound quality than its predecessor but is also a bit pricier than most condenser microphones in the market.
- The maximum SPL for the Audio Technica AT2020 is 144 dB, while the Audio Technica AT4040 is at 145 dB
- Signal to noise ratio of Audio Technica AT2020 is 20 dB, the Audio Technica AT4040 has a ratio of 82 dB
- The Audio Technica AT2020 comes with a microphone pouch and a stand mount, while Audio Technica AT4040 has a shock mount, dust cover, and carry case.
- The diaphragm size of the Audio Technica AT2020 is 16mm, while the Audio Technica AT4040 has 20.4 mm.
- THE Audio Technica AT4040 has a -10 dB pad and a low-cut filter. The Audio Technica AT2020 doesn’t have any of those.
Design and Build
The Audio Technica AT2020‘s build and design feel pretty solid considering its affordable price range. It weighs around 12.1 oz or roughly less than a pound. The cast metal looks solid, with a rigid wire protecting the entire capsule.
The black speckles finish of this microphone gives it an elegant look. The Audio Technica AT2020 is also durable. This microphone is ideal for people who want an affordable product that will not look like an eyesore.
The Audio Technica AT4040 is a magnificent-looking microphone that will not disappoint its buyer. Just by the looks and the feel of it, you’ll know that this product is not flimsy and cheap. It has a nickel-plated brass body with black finishing.
The capsule, which is about 60% of the total body, likewise feels solid. The large housing prevents unwanted internal reflections, making the sounds clearer.
Here are the complete specifications of Audio Technica AT2020.
The Audio Technica AT2020 has a frequency response of 20 Hz - 20 kHz, similar to that of AT4040. It is powered by an XLR cable and has a high SPL handling. This affordable condenser microphone is designed and built impressively, but there are not too many features that we can rave about.
The Audio Technica AT4040, in contrast, is full of surprising features. The wider mesh allows you to see the quality hardware that is inside. A larger diaphragm is in place and has been tuned to attain perfection. It has a frequency range between 20Hz - 20 kHz. The microphone comes with an attenuation pad and low-pass filter.
The Audio Technica AT4040 has a dynamic range of 133 dB and a sensitivity level of -32dBV/Pa, which is a tad better than the Audio Technica AT2020, having a dynamic range of 124 dB and -37dBV/Pa sensitivity level.
The Audio Technica AT4040 allows use for vocals and different ranges of instruments. Another upside of this unit is that it is pretty easy to set up so that users won’t be frustrated with the often highly complicated instruction manual. It likewise comes with a carry case, a shock mount, and a dust cover upon purchase.
Of course, this is the most crucial factor when choosing the better microphone to use in terms of sound quality. For Audio Technica AT2020, it is pleasantly surprising to know that based on sound quality alone, it is impressive considering its low budget.
Expect mid-range warmth if you plan to use this for vocals. Various musical instruments sound great on this microphone too. While this microphone is not recommended for recording far-away instruments, you can expect excellent results for loud performances.
The Audio Technica AT4040 has a crisp sound with a quality that would be the envy of many of your friends and contemporaries. There seems to be nothing that this mic can’t do, whether live sound or studio recording, this high-end microphone gets the job done and does it well.
The large diaphragm is quite versatile, and its polar response is amazing. This is the ideal mic to have in your home studio.
It’s good to point out that we’re not dealing with exact contenders here since one of the products costs significantly more than the other. As of writing, the Audio Technica AT2020 is affordably priced at $95.99, and it is actually a steal considering its quality and durability in its price range.
For Audio Technica AT4040, it is easy to conclude that it is the perfect upgrade of the Audio Technica AT2020, but you’ll be getting your money’s worth with its excellent quantity and solid design. As of writing these lines, the SRP of this high-end condenser microphone is $299.00.
I hope this guide has done its purpose of giving you enough information to know which is better between Audio Technica AT2020 and AT4040. Based on the factors listed above, we can see that the hands-down winner of this microphone match-up is the AT4040.
You might feel a bit hesitant to purchase the Audio Technica AT4040 because of its steep price, but it’s worth every penny. So if you’ll be using the microphone professionally and budget is not an issue, then the Audio Technica AT4040 is the best option. Here’s a rundown of our winner by comparison:
- Design and Build - Winner: Tie
- Features - Winner: Audio Technica AT4040
- Sound Quality - Winner: Audio Technica AT4040
- Price - Winner: Audio Technica AT2020