How do USB Studio Microphones compare to XLR options?
May 4, 2013 at 8:33 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 3


New Head-Fier
Apr 13, 2013
Hey there Head-Fi!
So I've been looking for a nice Microphone to use for online commentating and online videos in general. I've narrowed down my search to the Audio-Technica AT2020. Now some of you may know that there are two versions of this microphone. One that is USB, and the other that relies on an XLR cable.

My question is: Are XLR and USB comparable options in terms of sound quality? I've given myself a budget of $200 for a complete recording rig. Microphone, stand, pop filter and shock mount. Now I know that XLR microphones need pre amps to work. So I'll need to buy one in the case of taking the XLR option.

Anyway, what are your suggestions?
May 6, 2013 at 10:23 PM Post #2 of 3


500+ Head-Fier
Dec 8, 2001
Have very limited experience with the USB mics.  But for what is worth, the USB mics always seem noisier.  I think some of it is the USB units are having to run off a 5 volt signal supplied by the USB cable.  So I am pretty sure an XLR with a separate pre-amp supplying 48 v phantom power will work out better for you. 
I don't have any concrete suggestions.  The AT2020 you are looking at has a good rep. But I think you need to abandon the USB route if you care about good sound quality.  Now a Mic pre that feeds the result over USB to the computer will be fine.  Just doesn't seem to work for mic itself.

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