Audio-Technica AT2020 vs AT2035: Overview

It’s no secret that Audio-Technica makes killer pro audio gear. From budget starter mics to world-class monitoring headphones, they have a lot of what you’d need to build a solid recording studio. In this AT2020 vs AT2035 comparison, we’ll dig into some of the information surrounding two of their well known entry-level mics.  We’ll look at things like the frequency response graphs, polar patterns, specifications, pros and cons for each mic, and some audio samples to gauge the way each sounds and performs in practice. If you’re looking to buy one of these, this data is crucial to look at in order to make an informed decision that fits your needs. Let’s get started.

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Last Updated: 10/12/2021

Audio-Technica AT2020


AT2020 Specs

AT2020 Pros & Cons

AT2020 Frequency Response

at2020 vs at2035 frequency response
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Starting with the treble, we can see that AT2020 has a definite and clear increase starting at roughly 15 kHz and ending at 3500 Hz. This boost of 1 to 2 dB adds a subtle sparkle and brightness to the sound of the AT2020. 

Traveling further down the spectrum, things begin to level off. Mids are relatively flat for both mics, with the AT2035 hugging the 0 dB line a bit more vs the AT2020. 

Where things begin to differ is in the low-end responses of these two mics. The AT2020 sees a gradual decline beginning at roughly 350 Hz, which becomes even more apparent beginning at 200 Hz. The lowest point in bass response for the 2020 is between -4 and -5 dB at 80 Hz. While the response curves of the 2020 and 2035 in this region mirror each other almost exactly as far as the shape goes, the 2020 shows more of an exaggerated cut.

AT2020 Polar Pattern

a2020 pickup pattern
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AT2020 Sound

Audio-Technica AT2035

AT2035 Specs

AT2035 Pros & Cons

AT2035 Frequency Response

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As with the 2020, the 2035 also has a nice boost roughly between 15 kHz and 3500 Hz. The AT2035 appears to have an extra 1 – 2 dB of gain in this area in comparison to the 2035 though. Treble response peaks at around 13 kHz with a 3-4 dB gain.

There isn’t much of a difference in these two between around 500 Hz and 3500 Hz. Mids are mostly flat for both, but again, the 2035 seems to be just a hair flatter. 

In the low-end, we can really see the effects of the -12 dB per octave roll-off filter. This filter has a cutoff frequency of 80 Hz, and it can help to cut back on any added muddiness that the AT2035 may have over the 2020. With the filter deactivated, the bass response of the AT2035 definitely shows less of a cut. All in all, the filter only adds to the versatility of the AT2035 when recording low-frequency sounds.

AT2035 Polar Pattern

at2035 pickup pattern
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AT2035 Sound

Audio-Technica AT2020 vs AT2035 Conclusion: Similarities & Differences


Pickup Patterns Similarities

At first glance, these mics look nearly identical in a physical sense. The 2035 is slightly taller. As far as polar patterns go, they’re about just as similar as they are in appearance. There are just some slight differences in the shapes of the pickup patterns on the rear sides of the microphone. I’d expect these mics to have identical sensitivity when recording sound from the front.

Microphone Type Similarities

Both the 2020 and 2035 are categorized as large diaphragm condenser microphones . They utilize an electret design, which means the back plates that form the capsule along with the diaphragm are permanently charged.

You can use these mics to record nearly anything. They’re very well rounded. On the other hand, there are definitely mics that are more specialized. But for someone just starting out, these are an excellent choice.  Don’t forget to account for phantom power. Most entry-level audio interfaces have phantom power built in, so you’ll just need a solid 3-pin XLR cable to make the connection.

Frequency Response Differences

These mics differ slightly in their frequency response curves. The AT2035 looks to have a slight edge in the warmth vs the AT2020 (with filter switched off). At the same time, this may make the 2035 sound muddy without the filter if you’re recording bass-heavy instruments. The AT2035 has a bass roll-off switch that can alter the frequency response and get your low-end under control if needed.

Specification Differences

The specs for these mics contain quite a few differences. The 2035 wins out on many of these, which may be reflected in its higher price tag. These critical differences are outlined below:

  1. Noise – the 2035 is 8 dB quieter (20 dB vs 12 dB)
  2. Impedance – the 2035 has 20 more Ohms of impedance (100Ω vs 120Ω)
  3. S/N ratio (SNR) – the 2035 is 6 dB higher (74 dB vs 82 dB – higher is better)
  4. Max SPL – the 2035 is 4 dB higher (144 dB SPL vs 148 dB SPL)
  5. Sensitivity – the 2035 is 4 dB higher (-37 dB vs -33 dB)
  6. Dynamic range – the 2035 is 12 dB higher (124 dB vs 136 dB)
  7. Size & weight – the 2035 is longer and heavier

Differences in Features

Some other critical differences between the AT2020 vs the AT2035 lie in the 2035s -10 dB pad and -12 dB per octave high-pass filter at 80 Hz. These ultimately add to the flexibility and capability that the 2035 has  over the 2020.

The attenuation pad lowers the overall gain of the mic by 10 dB. This allows you to record louder sounds by basically adding 10 dB to the 2035s max SPL specification, bringing it from 148 dB SPL without the pad to 158 dB SPL with the pad activated.

The other feature is the filter. The 2020 lacks a filter, but also has less of a bass response than the 2035 without its filter activated. If the 2035 is giving you a muddy sound, it’s nice to know that you can switch on the filter to cut back on post-processing and EQ work in the future.

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