AT2020 vs Blue Yeti Mic Shootout (Who Wins?)

Disclosure: We may receive commissions when you click our links and make purchases. Read our full affiliate disclosure here.
  • In the market for a new mic?
  • Can’t decide between AT2020 or Blue Yeti? Read on.
  • Also, check out our other shootout for AT2020 vs At2035

In this article, we explore two of the most popular USB microphones so you can decide which one is the right for you. We’ll go over the differences, pros & cons of each, as well as some insights to help you grab the microphone that suits your personal needs better.

AT2020 vs Blue Yeti: Which Is Better?

If you’ve decided that a USB microphone is the right type of microphone for your recording needs, then you can’t go wrong with either the Blue Yeti microphone or the AT2020 microphone.

If you care more about the quality of the sound and are a musician or a singer, I would recommend the AT2020. If you care more about the simplicity, ease of use, and extra functionality, go with the Blue Yeti. 

What Is The Difference Between A Blue Yeti And An AT2020? 

Blue Yeti Blackout Microphone

A long-time bestseller, this USB condenser microphone features a triple-capsule array so you can record in four polar patterns — cardioid, bidirectional, omnidirectional, and stereo.

Why We Love It:
  • Extremely flexible
  • Has stayed a favorite for over a decade
  • High-quality condenser capsules
View Price On Guitar Center View Price On Sweetwater
Audio-Technica AT2020
$87.00

The AT2020 gives you classic Audio-Technica sound quality at an incredibly low price! Capture the subtleties and nuances of vocals and acoustic guitars, then take on screaming guitar amplifier cabinets - all with one mic.

Why We Love It:
  • Ideal for home studios
  • Superior transient response
  • Great dynamic range
View Price On Guitar Center View Price on Sweetwater

While both microphones are the top two USB microphones on the market and are very similar in a lot of ways, they have some distinct differences.

The overall sound is obviously different, giving the AT2020 a slightly improved frequency response and a brighter tone.

The Blue Yeti is much bigger in size than the AT2020 and is also far easier to use than the AT2020. It offers completely different functionality and 4 different pickup patterns.

Blue Yeti 

The Blue Yeti is Blue Microphones’ most famous microphone which works through USB and is plug n’ play, meaning that all you need to do is connect it and that’s it, it’s ready for use.

It is known for its giant size, quality sound, and simplicity

AT2020

The AT2020 is one of Audiotechnica’s flagship microphones which also works through USB. The build quality is great, it feels durable and is an overall quality microphone. 

Signal-to-Noise Ratio

The signal-to-noise ratio is the ratio between the input signal and the background noise received from the microphone. It can either be represented as a ratio or expressed in decibels. 

The higher the number, the less unwanted noise in the mix. Between these two microphones, the Blue Yeti mic wins with 100 dB of S/N. The AT2020 has 26dB less at 74 dB.

Blue Yeti Blackout Microphone

A long-time bestseller, this USB condenser microphone features a triple-capsule array so you can record in four polar patterns — cardioid, bidirectional, omnidirectional, and stereo.

Why We Love It:
  • Extremely flexible
  • Has stayed a favorite for over a decade
  • High-quality condenser capsules
View Price On Guitar Center View Price On Sweetwater

Functionality

The Blue Yeti offers more functionality than the AT2020. The Blue Yeti comes with a mute button as well as a few other knobs that give you complete control over the recording process.

The microphone comes with a volume knob for the headphone circuit, a gain knob, and a “direct headphone monitoring” option. 

Sound Quality

Every microphone’s sound is basically the frequency response or the frequency range that it’s covering, as well as how exactly it covers every part of the audible range.

Firstly, both of these microphones cover the entire audible spectrum, anything from 20 Hz up to 20 kHz. 

On the other hand, the distribution of frequencies is different. According to the official data and practical experiences, they do cover the spectrum a bit differently.

For instance, Audio Technica’s AT2020 has a significant bump in the area between 5 and 15 kHz, adding a bit more presence there.

Blue Yeti, on the other hand, is a bit “flatter” in this area and it also has slightly fewer bottom ends.

Maximum SPL

The sound pressure level (SPL) is all about a microphone’s ability to handle the pressure before unwanted distortion occurs. The higher the level, the more room you have to work with 

Audio Technica AT2020 has a significant advantage here and comes with a 144 dB max SLP. Meanwhile, the Blue Yeti measures at 120 dB for this particular parameter.

This gives AT2020 much more room if you want to make it very loud in certain scenarios. 

Connectivity

The AT2020 USB mic features the conventional XLR connection, just like you’d find on any other condenser or dynamic microphone intended for studio work.

It’s the same old formation that you’d expect to see on any microphone. The Blue Yeti is simply plug n’ play without having to install any drivers. 

Which One Is Better? 

Sound Quality

Sound Quality with microphones usually comes down to the quality of hardware and its frequency response of it.

Some microphones offer a unique and interesting sounding frequency response while others may sound dull. 

Winner: AT2020 

This may be a bit of personal preference or maybe it might not, but I prefer the sound quality of the AT2020. It features a better EQ response than the Blue Yeti and the voice or instrumentation recorded sounds brighter than the Blue Yeti. 

Functionality

Functionality is important to offer users features that enhance the product. 

Winner: Blue Yeti 

The Blue Yeti microphone features a multitude of pickup patterns like cardioidomnidirectionalstereo and bidirectional, which makes the Blue Yeti a very versatile microphone

The cardioid pattern exclusively picks up sound from the front, the omnidirectional pattern records at a 360-degree angle, the bidirectional pattern records only from the front and the back, and the stereo pattern records the sides separately. 

But, it’s going to be rare that a user will find omnidirectional or bidirectional useful for their needs.

The real useful feature here is the stereo mode, and the other two sound better on the surface than what they will actually do for you. 

Audio-Technica AT2020
$87.00

The AT2020 gives you classic Audio-Technica sound quality at an incredibly low price! Capture the subtleties and nuances of vocals and acoustic guitars, then take on screaming guitar amplifier cabinets - all with one mic.

Why We Love It:
  • Ideal for home studios
  • Superior transient response
  • Great dynamic range
View Price On Guitar Center View Price on Sweetwater

Design

The design of a microphone is the first thing the user will see and is unconsciously a huge reason why many people buy tech products. 

Winner: AT2020 

The design looks more like a standard condenser microphone. The black color and superior finish make it look like a high-end microphone, and give a sleek look of quality tech.

But the main reason for the AT2020’s win in terms of design comes from just how big the Blue Yeti is. The Blue Yeti is almost twice the size of the AT2020, and bigger does not mean better if the two devices are performing equally.

The cast metal is thick and maybe even a little chunky, while the wire mesh protects the capsule and acts as a natural screen to eliminate noise. 

Price

Nobody wants to pay more for things that are identical. 

Winner: Tie 

The price of these equals out between the two, you can find them around the same price depending on the store you buy them from. 

Which Microphone Is Better For Podcast? 

It would depend on what you’re after for your podcast.

I’d personally go with the AT2020 because I have a good knowledge and experience in audio and prefer the sound of the AT2020, but if you are not a tech person at all the AT2020 could be a little more confusing to set up.

I’d definitely take a listen to the sound of each in an online review and decide for yourself. 

Which Microphone Is Better For Music? 

If you’re searching for a budget microphone for music and you’re just starting out, I’d say go with the AT2020 over the Blue Yeti.

However, if you’re experienced and you’re serious about music, then I’d urge you to invest in an XLR microphone such as the Neumann TLM 103 or the Shure 7M7b.

Neumann TLM-103
$1,277.77

The cardioid capsule, derived from the legendary U 87, is acoustically well-balanced and provides extraordinary attenuation of signals from the rear.

Why We Love It:
  • Ultra-low self-noise
  • High SPL tolerance
  • Crystal clear sound
View Price On Guitar Center View Price On Sweetwater

The Shure 7M7b is my favorite if you don’t have a great natural room sound or if you’re on the go, while the Neumann TLM103 sounds good if you are already in a nicely treated acoustic environment. 

The Bottom Line

So far we have looked at how both the products compete in each category, and now it’s time to decide which of the two is better overall. 

And the winner is … neither. It depends on what you’re after.

Either way, you can’t go wrong with either of these microphones, and the worst decision would be to buy a USB microphone that is not named Blue Yeti or AT2020. 

If you want to take the next step for your vocal recordings then I would recommend you go with an XLR microphone like the Shure 7M7b along with an audio interface. 

FAQ’s

What Mic Do Most Streamers Use? 

According to data from the top 250 streamers on Twitch, 44.5% are using the Shure SM7b Microphone, 8.5% are using the Blue Yeti microphone, and 5.7% are using the AT2020 USB, and 5.3% are using the AT2020 XLR.

What Is An XLR Microphone? 

An XLR microphone is one that uses a big XLR cable instead of a USB cable. These microphones often have better sound than USB microphones, but come at the cost of having to buy an audio interface.

If you have an audio interface, I would also recommend the Shure SM7B microphone. This microphone is awesome and unique because it delivers excellent sound quality in rooms that don’t have great acoustics.

So, with this microphone, you don’t ever have to worry about the room environment, or even background noises, and can expect a high-quality sound. 

What Is An Audio Interface? 

OUR PICK
Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 Studio (3rd Gen)
$279.99

The Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 Studio recording bundle gives you a great front end that includes everything you need to record.

Why We Love It:
  • Super-low latency
  • Intuitive halo feature
  • Simple, compact, and eye-catching design 
View Price On Guitar Center View Price on Sweetwater

Audio interfaces convert input signals from your microphone or instruments into a format your computer and the software on your computer will recognize.

The interface also routes audio signals from your computer out to your headphones and studio monitors. Audio interfaces improve the quality of sound because they do this task exclusively, rather than having to go through USB. 

Why Is Blue Yeti So Popular? 

Blue Yeti is popular for the same reason that iMovie is popular. It’s extremely easy to set up, use, relatively simple, and does a good job at what it does for users who just need the basics of a microphone.

While it doesn’t go into the details and depths of microphones like an XLR microphone such as the Shure SM7B or Neumann TLM103, it does a good job and meets the expectations that the average user might need. 

Do Both Microphones Work On Windows And Mac? 

Yes, both microphones work with both Windows and Mac. The Blue Yeti will only work on a laptop or computer, though, while the AT2020 will work on other USB devices.