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AT2020 Vs SM57 Microphones – Which is better?

If you are thinking about choosing a microphone between the AT2020 and the SM57, microphone, then you should go for the AT2020

Here is a link to get this at the cheapest price from Amazon.

The AT2020 is a large diaphragm microphone while the SM57 is a dynamic microphone.

As a large diaphragm microphone, this means that it will deliver crisp, clear audio recordings in your home studio.

Also the AT2020 is far more versatile and very good for picking up quieter nuances which makes your audio recordings very clear.

It is also incredibly warm without any of the frustrating bass sounds that other mics give off and a beautiful mic for this price.

In this article, I will be comparing both microphones, showing you their pros and cons and how they compare against each other.

Related: Check out this article I also wrote reviewing the AT2020 vs SM 7b Microphone

AT2020 Review

The AT2020 is one particular microphone that provides pleasant surprises in several areas.

It’s body and construction is made from solid metal which brings it to weight at about 12 oz.

It comes supplied with a metal swivel mount and a comfortable travel pouch

The flexibility of the swivel mount makes it very great to place on a mic stand and use it anyway you prefer.

Given it’s price, the AT2020 is targeted towards home studio owners and small studio producers.

While comparing this microphone with my other mics in the studio, I noticed that the AT2020 had a slightly more developed bottom end and the sound was clearer.

Also while testing it for vocals with other microphones, I noticed that the AT2020 provided the most depth and kept the highs smooth without going harsh.

I also tried the AT2020 on other sources like tambourines and congas and what I noticed about this microphone was pleasantly surprising.

In all tests, the AT2020 handled itself very well

It is generally flat across all tests with a slight rise in the high end – this ensures that you get clear, audio signals when recording instruments such as tambourines and congas.

The AT2020 microphone is proof that not all inexpensive microphones are the same.

It is well built with premium material, comes with useful accessories and offers awesome audio quality at an amazing price.

If you are in the market for an amazing microphone for your home studio, then ensure that you put this mic on your short list.

We don’t need to spend too much time discussing the positive points of the Audio-Technica 2020, because we have already highlighted so many. 

Also, we have already discussed that at this price point, it represents great value. 

It may well be that for the money this is the best mic on the market.

If you consider its attributes, cardioid condenser microphone are really designed for the studio. 

It excels with vocals and also with other instruments as wide-ranging from drums to acoustic guitars.

Yes, it can work on stage, but it is in the studio that it will excel. 

As the first microphone for a new or developing studio, it is hard to think of a better microphone.

The Audio-Technica 2020 is quite simply one of the best microphones you can buy at its level and price.

What I Like

  • It has a clear defined sound
  • Very versatile and can be used for any recording situation
  • It has excellent transient response
  • Low mass diaphragm
  • Very affordable

What I don’t like

  • It only has a cardioid pattern
  • It works really well for studio recordings and not so much for live stage performance.

Also check out my comprehensive guide on the best microphone to choose

Shure SM57 Review

Looking for a microphone that delivers exceptional sounds when recording instruments then you should get the Shure SM57.

At this price, you are getting a die cast steel microphone that comes with an integrated pneumatic shock mount that eliminates all vibration induced movement.

If you are just starting out in your home studio music production journey, then this is an introductory microphone for you.

It is a dynamic microphone that does not require any external power to operate.

It can easily handle external sound pressure levels which then eliminates all forms of distortion and squealing.

It also has a cardioid polar pattern that then minimizes background sound and records just the intended sounds.

The microphone is meant to record instruments, but works just fine with vocals. 

The shape differs from a conventional microphone

It’s not meant to be handheld. Instead, Shure provides a swivel stand adapter, which can be angled to your liking. 

That way, the mic capsule is always directly receiving instrumental soundwaves. 

Shure also provides a zippered carrying pouch. 

It’s fine, but unnecessary, seeing how the SM57 is lauded for its toughness.

And, boy, is this microphone tough. 

The die-cast steel looks and feels great. 

I’m not concerned about tossing it together with other recording equipment.

It’s also built to handle loud sounds without issue: it has a sensitivity of 94dB SPL. 

For those without a frame of reference, this is louder than a commercial truck just 10 meters away. 

On the bottom of the microphone, you’ll see an XLR input

This mic is as no-frills as it gets and does its job exceptionally well.

If you are on a budget and really want a microphone that works really well for you then you want to get the SM57 Microphone

It excels at being a durable microphone that records clear audio.

It’s compact size allows you to travel with this easily and it’s premium build quality makes it durable and resistant to falls and scratches.

Comparison of Specs and Features

1. Sensitivity and Audio quality

While both microphones are good mics when it comes to audio quality, the AT2020 is a more versatile microphone than the SM57

Versatile in the sense that with this mic you can easily record vocals and instruments and it still delivers awesome sound quality.

The SM57 microphone is ideally suited to recording just instruments and as such might not be very clear when recording vocals.

As for the sensitivity of the mics, if you are in an apartment with lots of background noises then you want to stick with the SM57 mic.

2. Build quality

The AT2020 microphone comes with quality and premium build materials that makes it very durable and resistant to fall and scratches.

Without a doubt this is something you want in your home studio because accidents and falls do happen and you want a microphone that can withstand all that pressure.

Also the Shure SM57 microphone also comes with superior metal build quality that protects it from falls and scratches.

This is one thing I like about both microphones –  you can be sure that the quality of the mic build is well thought out and will last for a very long time

3. Cost

Finally the cost of the microphone is something you also want to take into consideration.

At this price range both mics are within the same range but one thing you can be sure of is that they both deliver awesome audio quality when used.

But like I always tell everyone when buying musical equipment, you always get what you pay for.

My Verdict

If you have been worrying about the AT2020 microphone and the Shure SM57 microphone, then I suggest you get the AT2020 mic.

It is an all purpose microphone that is ideal for recording both vocals and instrument.

At this price point, it delivers crisp, clear audio and does not distort or squarl at loud volumes.