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AT2020 or Perception 120 Condenser Microphones
Old 30th December 2009
  #1
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AT2020 or Perception 120

Hey everyone,

So I had been researching for my first large diaphragm condenser and had almost settled on an Audio Technica AT2020 for £89. However, the same site is now offering an AKG Perception 120 for only £69 with just 1 left in stock and this has made me consider it as an alternative.

What are your thoughts on which mic to choose? They would be plugged into a Presonus Inspire 1394 into Logic 8 and would mainly be used on acoustic guitar and vocal recordings.

Thanks,
Jamie

(p.s. I tried searching and could find some good and bad arguments on each but no direct comparisons. Sorry if I missed something and feel free to direct me there).
Old 30th December 2009
  #2
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See if you can demo them. I'm sure most people will tell you it all comes down to a personal taste, especially for vocals. I'm a big fan of Audio Technica, but see if you can find a used one in that price range and get a little more bang for your buck. I recently bought a 3035 for less than what a 2020 goes for new.
Old 30th December 2009
  #3
Gear Head
 
casey campbell's Avatar
 

at2020 all the way.
Old 30th December 2009
  #4
RTR
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RTR's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by casey campbell View Post
at2020 all the way.
+1.I had the 2020 a few years ago..wish I still had it...it works good for what it is !!
Old 30th December 2009
  #5
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I have both. The AT2020 is cleaner. The 120 has more low end.
Other than that, they are both inexpensive mics with shortcomings.
I think the Studio Projects B-1 is better than both, marginally.
Old 31st December 2009
  #6
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Thanks for the comments so far people. The At2020 is looking the better of the two so far.

@asap audio
What makes you say that about the B-1? Are there any particular applications you think it is definitely 'better' on and what do you personally take to be 'better' in that sense. e.g. more low end, less low end, cleaner, dirtier etc.
Old 31st December 2009
  #7
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Corran's Avatar
 

I figured I'd chime in since I directly compared these two mics one time when a friend got one of each when he wanted to mess around with recording equipment. The AT is very flat and boring sounding while the AKG is a little more exciting. I believe this is because the AKG had a bit of a presence peak that the AT didn't. While harsh Chinese condensers are no good, I didn't think the AKG was really harsh, it just had a brighter overall sound, and was more accurate really.

There are tons of topics on these two, I think there really isn't a solid consensus on which is better. For me, personally, at that price-point I prefer the Oktava 219, which is why I own 6.

Hey 2500 posts! Whoo!
Old 31st December 2009
  #8
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I've never used the AT2020, so I may be wrong about this, but I was under the impression that it isn't actually a large diaphragm mic. The spec sheet says it has a "custom-engineered 16 mm low-mass diaphragm [that] provides
extended frequency response and superior transient response"--that's about .62 inches, not exactly a standard LDC. It may sound good, but if you're after an LDC, the AT2020 might not be it.
Old 31st December 2009
  #9
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The 2020 is pancake flat from 80-20kHz, very neutral. Its only shortcoming from my experience is it's a little fizzy on high SPL upper mids like cymbals.
Old 31st December 2009
  #10
Gear Addict
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scopious View Post
...I'm a big fan of Audio Technica, but see if you can find a used one in that price range and get a little more bang for your buck. I recently bought a 3035 for less than what a 2020 goes for new.
Hey jc88,

I would recommend a used or clearance AT3035 as well. This is a vastly underrated mic, and can be had at ridiculously low prices on Ebay. I think that it is every bit as good as many of the AT40-series mics, at 1/3 or 1/4 the price at the moment (I own and/or have used extensively many of the AT40-series mics, so I feel qualified to make that statement). In fact, a pair of AT3035 mics might be the best budget mic investment out there at the moment.

I greatly prefer the AT3035 over Perception 120 (I own both). A quick perusal of their specs would reveal the AT3035's superiority on paper as well (specs are not as important as hearing a mic, but, I guarantee you that you'll hear higher self-noise in an unfavorable manner in certain recording circumstances).

I haven't recorded with the AT2020, but its specs are not as good as the AT3035.

Good luck with your mic decision,

Joe

P.S. - standard disclaimer - I don't work for AT, or sell mics.
Old 31st December 2009
  #11
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i second the at3035 as well. for the money, i like the at3035 and mxl v67g way better than either the perception and at2020. i have used all of the above and the perception series to me is just a sad group of mics. the at2020 is a good performer for what it is, but i find in to be harsh in the top.something that i DON'T find in the at3035 or v67g. the perception series i have found to have the same type of top end and more bottom, but find the bottom to be mushy and indistinct. not really great performers for that level of preamp choices either. the at3035 and v67g are great...in lieu of typical lower end pres. not to try and sway your decision, but i just feel that there may be options that you haven't looked into based on what may be in the latest catalog that your looking at this week.
Old 31st December 2009
  #12
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"@asap audio
What makes you say that about the B-1? Are there any particular applications you think it is definitely 'better' on and what do you personally take to be 'better' in that sense. e.g. more low end, less low end, cleaner, dirtier etc."

To my ears the B-1 just sounds a bit "bigger" if that makes sense. Nice warmth in the 200hz area.
Old 31st December 2009
  #13
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Wow, the AT3035 has some rave reviews. Unfortunately, there aren't any on the UK ebay, but in some cases it looks cheaper to buy a used 3035 from the american ebay stores/sellers and get shipped to the UK than to buy a new 2025 in England. I don't get the logic!

So I am watching a used one at the moment, but there is also this which appears new and with audiotechnica headphones all for £86 converted......what are the chances of it being legit? I know you have generally cheaper prices for musical goods in the US but is this 'too' cheap?

Audio Technica AT3035/ATHM20 Condenser Mic/Headphone Pk on eBay (end time 16-Jan-10 02:40:28 GMT)

Last edited by jc88; 31st December 2009 at 01:56 PM.. Reason: Added a bit....
Old 31st December 2009
  #14
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Another shameless fan of the 3035 here, I own 3 of them. They get used more than any other mic I own.
Old 31st December 2009
  #15
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rty5150's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jc88 View Post
Wow, the AT3035 has some rave reviews. Unfortunately, there aren't any on the UK ebay, but in some cases it looks cheaper to buy a used 3035 from the american ebay stores/sellers and get shipped to the UK than to buy a new 2025 in England. I don't get the logic!

So I am watching a used one at the moment, but there is also this which appears new and with audiotechnica headphones all for £86 converted......what are the chances of it being legit? I know you have generally cheaper prices for musical goods in the US but is this 'too' cheap?

Audio Technica AT3035/ATHM20 Condenser Mic/Headphone Pk on eBay (end time 16-Jan-10 02:40:28 GMT)
looks legit to me. the fact that the at3035 has been discontinued makes it pretty damn cheap. the bundled phones are not the AT pride and joy, so it is a stellar deal. no need to sleep on this deal. the at3035 is a fantastic mic for very little money. imo, it was one of AT's biggest mistakes on discontinuing a mic.
Old 1st January 2010
  #16
Gear Addict
Quote:
Originally Posted by jc88 View Post
Wow, the AT3035 has some rave reviews....
I will mention that the I tend to choose the AT3035 over some other LDC mics because it is flatter in the highs and is fairly flat through the mids and lows as well (compared to some others), which allows it to pick up a fairly neutral, life-like image. That's often what I want. If you start with great sounds, the mic doesn't have to hype anything. It seems that some people really like a hyped high-end, which can certainly be exciting at first but not as life-like and a bit fatiguing in the long run, IMHO. Although, to be fair, mics like that certainly do have their uses, since there are some sound sources can benefit from a little help in the high end....

I am mentioning this because if you know you want hype and sparkle, you may find the AT3035 a bit lacking. It is by no means dull, but some people whose experience consists primarily of using sizzly Chinese mics might perceive it that way, by comparison. If, on the other hand, you want accurate and natural with plenty of detail, the AT3035 will probably suit you well, especially given the price range.

As for typical Ebay prices, the AT3035 often goes for $100USD or less.

Joe
Old 4th January 2010
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeDeF View Post

It is by no means dull, but some people whose experience consists primarily of using sizzly Chinese mics might perceive it that way, by comparison. If, on the other hand, you want accurate and natural with plenty of detail, the AT3035 will probably suit you well, especially given the price range.

Joe
Natural, accurate and detailed is the aim!

Well thank you to everyone who voiced their opinions. I took the plunge on the AT3035. I managed to get one for about $90 on eBay US and even with shipping it reached a grand total of £72, quite a bit less than the £90 for the 2020 and better quality. Just gotta wait for the USPS to deliver now!
Old 4th January 2010
  #18
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rty5150's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jc88 View Post
Natural, accurate and detailed is the aim!

Well thank you to everyone who voiced their opinions. I took the plunge on the AT3035. I managed to get one for about $90 on eBay US and even with shipping it reached a grand total of £72, quite a bit less than the £90 for the 2020 and better quality. Just gotta wait for the USPS to deliver now!
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