Does An AT2020 Need A Shock Mount?


The AT2020 does not come with a shock mount when you purchase it, and the quality of the microphone is pretty good considering the price. Hence, does it really require a shock mount for it to work correctly or for it to work better? Let’s find out. 

Since the AT2020 is a cardioid condenser microphone, you should always use it with a shock mount. The AT2020 has inner circuitry and a preamp that requires power, and because of this, the microphone is very sensitive, making it susceptible to resonance and other noises or interference. Using a shock mount will help alleviate this. 

This article will look at why mics need a shock mount and if the AT2020 indeed does need one to produce higher quality audio. Then we will look at how good the AT2020 is, what you can use it for, and some common mistakes that individuals who use this microphone make. 

Why do microphones need a shock mount?

Let’s first discuss why any microphone would require a shock mount, and by understanding this, we can determine if the AT2020, in fact, does need one in order for it to operate effectively. 

Essentially they are two ways to connect a microphone to a mic stand. The first way is via a hard clip. This means that the mic connects directly to the mic stand and is vulnerable to various factors (which we will discuss).

The second method of connecting a mic to a mic stand is via a shock mount. This means that the mic sits in a “basket” of sorts where it is suspended, and the shock mount connects to the mic stand. Due to the fact that the microphone is suspended in the shock mount, it is able to move freely. 

There are two scenarios where you would want to use a shock mount. The first is in a live application where the band would set up on stage, and the stage is hollow or wooden.

If the microphone was not connected to a shock mount, the diaphragm of the mic would pick up every little sound that resonates from the stage, such as the kick drum or a member of the band tapping their foot. As you can suspect, this would cause unwanted noise, interference, and feedback from the microphone. 

The next reason you would want to use a shock mount is due to scenarios where accidental contact is made to the microphone stand. This means an individual accidentally bumps or knocks the stand inadvertently. This scenario is relevant to both live and studio applications and is more common than you think. 

The same principle will apply to the hollow stage example we gave. When the mic stand is hit, it will resonate, and the mic will inadvertently pick up that unwanted sound and resonance, causing a hiccup in your recording or in severe cases, feedback. This is not optimal when it comes to recording, and as such, a shock mount should always be used. 

Does the AT2020 need a shock mount?

The AT2020 is a cardioid condenser microphone. This means that it has inner circuitry that needs to be powered, and it also has a built-in preamp that needs to be powered. Condenser microphones are typically very sensitive because of their built-in preamps, which allow them to pick up more subtle sounds more clearly. This means that having them pick up noise, interference, and resonance for the mic stand will be amplified, and the AT2020 is no different.

We discussed under the previous heading why you should opt to use a shock mount in various situations, and you should also choose to do so when using the AT2020, especially because it is a condenser microphone. 

There are some instances where you may not need a shock mount (or think you may not need one), but the general consensus is that if you wish to always produce and record high-quality audio, you should use a shock mount with any condenser microphone. 

Take note, though, if you opt to purchase an AT2020 today, it comes with a boom arm, mic stand, or as a standalone microphone with no shock mount, which means you will have to purchase the shock mount separately. Furthermore, you get two variants. 

Do All Condenser Microphones Need A Shock Mount?

It is recommended that a shock mount be used with all condenser microphones. This is due to their design and sensitivity. Without a shock mount, you are likely to pick up unwanted noises and vibrations from the microphone stand or other surfaces. A shock mount suspends the microphone allowing it to move slightly and not pick up unwanted noises.

Is The AT2020 A Good Microphone?

The AT2020 is a critically acclaimed cardioid condenser microphone at an affordable price. It brings professional quality audio into the homes and studios of musicians, producers, podcasters, and voiceover artists alike. It has been around for over 15 years, and you will be hard-pressed to find someone or a review that does not give it outstanding merits. 

It is everything you would expect a good cardioid condenser microphone to be. It delivers clean and crisp vocals with an added airy quality to it. In conjunction with the right preamp, compressor, and plugins, it is a perfect choice and go-to microphone for many individuals who require high-quality vocals. 

What can you record with the AT2020?

The AT2020 is robust and versatile, allowing you to record pretty much anything you wish. Used for recording vocals for music, recording podcasts, and voiceovers, it can also be used to record instruments. 

The AT2020 is truly a microphone that deserves all the recognition it gets. Check out this video here, where a recent review was conducted to see whether the AT2020 still holds true to its glory. 

5 Other Common Mistakes When Using An AT2020

Although the AT2020 is a great microphone, it is not without many individuals using it incorrectly. Let’s quickly take a look at the five most common mistakes that people make when using this microphone. 

  • The first thing to note is that it will require phantom power due to it being a condenser microphone. That means it will need an external power source that powers the microphone; otherwise, it will not work. Be sure to check what voltage the AT2020 needs and power it correctly. 
  • The second most common mistake is that many individuals do not realize that this mic is a side-addressed microphone. That means you will speak or sing in to from the side and precisely form the one side rather than the other due to it being a cardioid microphone. Many people speak or sing into the mic from the top, which is incorrect and will produce a lower quality audio sound. 
  • Following that, many people do not use a pop filter when using this microphone. In most instances and cases (except live performances), a pop filter should always be used with a microphone. A pop filter breaks up the plosive sounds when you speak or sing, allowing for a much cleaner audio sound. 
Pop filters are essential when using sensitive condenser microphones
  • Second, to last, you should always keep the correct distance from the microphone. This means you should not be too close or too far away from it when you are using it. A general rule of thumb is that you should have the width of a fist between your mouth and the microphone. 
  • The last factor to consider and that individuals make a mistake with is not using a shock mount. If you had not already guessed it, this would have to be on the list as it is a crucial aspect of producing higher quality sound.

Conclusion

We discovered that even though the AT2020 is a great microphone, it is beneficial to use a shock mount with it. Just because a microphone does not come with a shock mount when you purchase it does not mean that it does not need one. 

We discussed the benefits of using a shock mount and why you would specifically need one for various scenarios. Lastly, we looked at a few common mistakes when using the AT2020, and hopefully, by now, you should know precisely how to get the best quality audio from your mic. 

Rob Wreglesworth

Rob has come to terms with the fact he will probably never be a famous rock star....but that hasn't stopped him from writing and recording music in his home studio. Rob has over 15 years experience of recording music at home.

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