Microphones: AT2020 vs Blue Yeti

Noob-a-sito, don’t come to me all desperito, let’s talk about microphonito’s! Okay, enough of that before I offend someone. I recently put together a list of Recommended Microphones for Streamers. And this list is curated not only by myself but by evaluating what others in the community are recommending as well.

I’ve decided I wouldn’t include anything on these lists that I wouldn’t give an honest to goodness chance of me buying it. So on that list I included some common mics. The Blue Snowball, Blue Yeti, Audio-Technica AT2020, Elgato Wave3, and the Shure SM7B.

Having this in mind, I only personally own 2 of these mics. The Blue Yeti (USB) and the AT2020 (XLR). So let’s jump into these two microphones compare, and when I’d use them.

Audio-Technica AT2020 (XLR)

Audio-Technica AT2020
Audio-Technica AT2020 XLR

The AT2020 is an excellent microphone. Personally I use this as my daily driver for meetings and gaming. But, this device uses an XLR connection, this means you’ll need an Audio Interface to connect it to your computer. It also requires 48v phantom power to properly work. If you check my recommended Microphones & Audio Equipment, you’ll see a couple of interfaces listed near the bottom.

This microphone has a cardioid polar pattern, which means its great at picking up sounds in front of it, and helping block out sounds behind it. This makes it great for podcasting, and gaming because it really does a good job of picking up your voice! However, its a condenser mic, so its very very sensitive to sound.

Since the mic is so sensitive to sound keyboards, loud air conditioning, or even voices in your area are very likely to get picked up. The more you can direct the sound source directly in front of the mic, and anything unwanted to the back, the better. But, this only goes so far before you need to tweak your audio settings in your OS, the interface, or use vst’s to alter how your voice sound.

In short, this is a high-quality mic, with very minimal features. It does one thing, record audio, and does it very well!

P.s. While I discussed an XLR version of this mic, a USB edition does exist here. I can’t speak to its quality though.

Blue Yeti (USB)

Blue Yeti Grey
Blue Yeti Grey

The Blue Yeti is another often recommended microphone for Twitch streamers looking to up their audio quality. This is a mic that I used for a long time, and it was great! It worked exactly how I needed, and to be honest I believe both the AT2020 and the Yeti have a very similar audio sound out of the box. But, I’m no audiophile, so correct me if there are some major differences in the sound quality.

So what makes this mic different? Well, a few things, its standard connector is USB, it has mute/gain built into the microphone, and it has toggle-able polar patterns!

So first, its USB. This means it effectively has the audio interface built right into the mic! Any analog sound picked up by the microphones inside will be converted directly to a digital signal for your OS to understand right on board.

The fact it has the audio-interface built into it, we’re able to effectively control gain and mute it directly from the device itself!

Lastly, it has four polar patterns to choose from.

Which should I choose?

When it comes to these 2 microphones, they’re both good choices! I don’t think you’ll go wrong unless you have specific needs. So let’s go over why you should choose the Yeti.

  • It is USB, meaning plug & play
  • No additional hardware costs
  • Multiple polar patterns for your needs
  • A stereo polar pattern for ASMR

Now why you should choose the AT2020.

  • Small and lightweight
  • Cheap introduction into XLR equipment
  • Good rich sound

Now I love my AT2020 and it is what I encourage for most people. But I think the 2 scenarios that you should prefer the Yeti for are: Podcasting and ASMR.

With the AT2020 you have no option to ASMR with just the singular microphone, you won’t get any stereo output unless you fake it with software. And while I can podcast just fine on the AT2020, I’ll need an additional mic if I have a guest. On the Yeti, you could just use the bidirectional polar pattern and save some money.

I don’t do those two things, so for me, the AT2020 won because the Yeti is just so dang big. It would cover my view of the screen anytime I had it mounted in front of me.

So, let me know what microphone you decided to go with down in the comments below! Or if you have any other Mics you want to hear about let me know!