The Audio-Technica AT2035 occupies an important position in the market.
It is one of the few good microphones to bridge that gap between cheap and expensive.
For studio or home recording, you generally want a condenser microphone. But deciding which one to get is far from easy.
After doing a bit of research, it starts to seem like you have to choose between incredibly expensive quality mics and cheap models that just don’t deliver an acceptable sound quality.
Luckily, there are a few models in between the two extremes. Models that deliver good sound quality, but sell for a reasonable price.
And this is one of the best.
It sells for a much lower price than premium microphones, but does not lag far behind in terms of performance. In other words, it is a great value.
Let’s take a closer look and see what makes the AT2035 such a great option for anyone who needs professional level quality, but is on a budget and can’t afford to spend $500 to $1000 on a professional level microphone.
Audio-Technica AT2035 Mic Review: Overview And Features
The Audio-Technica AT2035 is more than just a decent condenser microphone that you only buy because you need to save money.
It has a large diaphragm, which makes for smooth sounds and true-to-life vocal reproduction. It covers the entire audible spectrum with its frequency range, which spans from 20 Hz to 20 kHz.
This mic has a regular cardioid pickup pattern, making it a great solution for lead vocal recording and some solo acoustic instruments. It also has a very high maximum input level, up to 148 decibels SPL, or even up to 158 dB SPL with the -10 dB pad switched on.
Aside from the 10-decibel pad, the AT2035 also has a control that filters out frequencies below 80 Hz. Apart from that, it has a very flat response.
There are a few bumps along the way, just slight boosts in the mid-section and some more prominent high-end boosts between 10 and 15 kHz. After the 15 kHz mark, it drops noticeably before hitting the 20 kHz top.
With the 80 Hz filter on, you’ll notice a gradual but significant drop in these low-end areas. It’s a pretty useful feature for removing unwanted hum and for getting rid of those low-end bursts when recording vocals. What’s more, the mic comes with its own shock mount and pop filter.
- Cardioid polar pattern
- 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz frequency range
- Very flat response
- Low-end filter (80 Hz and below)
- -10 dB pad
- Handles up to 148 dB noise, 158 dB with the -10 dB pad switched on
- 12 dB self-noise
As mentioned, this is a large-diaphragm microphone with a very smooth and flat response. The wide range, from 20 to 20,000 Hz, is certainly a nice feature, but don’t let that blind. What’s more important is the way a mic captures audio. And this one has a very flat line from the bottom-end up to the higher mids.
The addition of the low-end filtering option was definitely a great idea, especially for a mid-range microphone like this one. Recording without the filter switched on can bring in some unpleasant results. The self-noise can also be a bit of an issue for more experienced ears.
The AT2035 is a pretty straightforward microphone, with a few useful additions. Of course, we’re talking about the 10 dB pad and the low-end filter. Other than that, the mic is a simple one.
As for the design, it’s pretty robust. You won’t have to worry about damaging it due to rough handling. However, this comes with its price: the mic weighs about 400 grams, which is just below 0.9 pounds. This might be a bit of an issue in some settings. You’ll probably want a good microphone stand for it.
Having just that slight boost in the upper mid and the high register makes this a great microphone for lead vocals. To put it simply, the AT2035 is as good as it gets in this particular price range.
You obviously can’t expect a fully professional microphone that captures all the nuances, like Neumann’s TLM 103. But it’s more than great for home recording of music or podcasts and even find use among semi-professional musicians and producers.
With such a flat response and cardioid pickup pattern, it really comes in handy for vocal recording and for acoustic instruments. You’ll get a fairly good representation of how your voice or instrument actually sounds.
Because it has such a high tolerance for excessive noise, you can even use the AT2035 for loud electric guitar and bass amps. In that case, it would be a good idea to use it in conjunction with a standard dynamic microphone in order to capture all the desirable tone qualities. It can even come in handy for room ambiance when recording in a studio, but it’s not exactly its biggest strength.
The AT2035 also finds good use in podcasts or any type of live streaming. The low-end filter comes in handy in such settings. This mic is a great upgrade from the standard cheap USB mics that most podcasters or streamers use.
AT2035 Microphone Review: Advantages And Disadvantages
- Wide frequency range and flat response
- Good value for money
- High noise tolerance
- -10 dB pad and low-end filter control
- Could use more polar patterns
Audio Technica AT2035 Vs AT2020
The AT2020 is basically a cheaper alternative to the already decently-priced AT2035. Both have the same frequency range and the same overall response in the higher end. The main difference is that the 2020 doesn’t include the functionalities of the AT2035.
It does not have the -10 dB pad or the hi-pass filter. The low-end is slightly more reduced than the AT2035, but it still faces potential issues with proximity effect.
Another noticeable difference is the AT2020’s louder self-noise, reaching about 20 decibels. It is 12 dB for the AT2035. 20 dB is pushing it and is probably the maximum tolerable self-noise.
If you absolutely can’t afford the AT2035, then the AT2020 makes a good lower-priced option. But if you can swing the slightly larger price, the 2035 is simply a better mic.
AT2035 Vs AT4040
With the AT4040 we have a completely different story. This is a more advanced microphone that’s designed for professional work.
It has fundamentally the same configuration as the AT2035. There’s the cardioid polar pattern, the very wide frequency range, and the two additional controls we mentioned above.
The difference can be seen with the frequency response in some areas. While the bottom-end is roughly the same, the mids are completely flat on the 4040, and the high-end has some more pronounced peaks, somewhere at 6.5 and 12 kHz. With the AT4040, we also have a sharper drop after the 15 kHz mark.
The top noise levels on the AT4040 are also slightly lower, hitting 155 dB, and 145 dB with the -10 dB pad switched on. However, this is not a significant difference, and it’s not something that’s easily noticeable. The self-noise levels are exactly the same for both mics.
While design and build quality are roughly the same, the 4040 is somewhat lighter, weighing in at about 360 grams.
Overall, the AT4040 provides more character to your audio recording and it is basically a less “dull” version of AT2035. It is the much better sounding mic, but it also costs quite a bit more.
Audio Technica AT2035 Vs Rode NT1A
The Rode NT1A is actually more on the level of AT4040, as they’re both in the same price range and have other similar qualities. The significant advantage here is an extremely low self-noise of only 5 dB PSA. Other than that, we also have a condenser mic with a cardioid pattern on our hands. The maximum noise levels are lower here, with 137 dB SPL.
The recording quality, however, is most certainly at a higher level with the Rode NT1A. In most cases, it is much preferable to the AT2035. Naturally, that also means that it is more expensive.
One thing the NT1A lacks is the additional functionality of the AT2035 and AT4040. It does not have a low-end cut feature, or a -10 decibel pad here. If you need either of those, the AT mics are better. They are also better if you are on a budget. But if you don’t need either of those features and you can afford it, the Rode is the best option.
Audio-Technica AT2035 Review: Conclusion And Rating
Over the years, we’ve seen many mind-blowingly great products by Audio Technica. This goes for microphones of any price level. They’re always one of the top choices for beginning and experienced producers, vocalists, and instrumentalists alike.
The Audio Technica AT2035 is a mid-range microphone that’s still capable of delivering some great recordings. It lacks some brightness and overall character in vocal recording, but those are hallmarks of much more expensive models. In this price range, you can’t really expect a better capture quality than this.
One of the top features is the addition of the two controls. This gives the mic more versatility than even many higher priced options.If you’re choosing between the 2035 and the 2020, we defnitely recommend the 2035 as it offers some significant improvements, but the price increase is not that big.
Overall, this is a great microphone for anyone wanting to record vocals or a podcast at home, but without the budget for a fully professional level microphone. It loses some points, because it simply can’t compete with higher quality mics, but gains a lot of points for it’s price to performance ratio. The final Musicaroo rating is 4.4 out of 5.