I have been doing more mic testing and trying to find the optimal recording setup for my studio room. I think if I just rented space at a local studio I would have another album out by now… But I enjoy the process of learning to do it myself, and being able to record and edit without having to worry about how much money I am spending will be good. I could not afford the nice Gefells or 184’s I was borrowing, so my goal now is to find a suitable quiet clean mic that costs less.
I have been borrowing a pair of Audio Technica 2020 mics from my friend. I was encouraged to check them out after Doug Young posted some nice sounding sample clips on a Zoom H6, which is the same recorder I have. He was also in his untreated spare bedroom, and not a professional studio room.
At the same time I was also able to borrow a pair of Audio Technica 3035’s from a local store, Portland Super Digital. They will let you borrow mics and a hold a credit card number, which is great. I find the best way to evaluate a mic is in my room on my gear.
Both the 2020 and 3035 are technically medium diaphram condensors. The 3035 is a discontinued model that was made in Japan, and has been replaced by the 2035. The 2020 has a built in low end roll off starting at what looks like 220 hz and a self noise of 19db. The 3035 has a low cut and pad switch and a rated self noise of 11db. I was happy with my initial recordings with the 2020, but could hear a bit of noise from the mic. I was mostly curious if the lower noise rating of the 3035 would make a difference. Both mics are affordable, so if the 3035 was better I was inclined to go with that. Below is a simultaneous level matched comparison of the two. Ill post the answer at the end, so listen before you scroll down.
I did not expect much difference in tone from both mics and to me they both sound the same. Even though the 3035 is much hotter on paper I found the preamp gain was more or less equal on each mic. Depending on what you are looking for and your budget either could work well on acoustic guitar. One nice thing about the 3035 and its successor the 2035 is that it comes with a shockmount. The 2020 only includes the hard mounts.
Ill let you make up your own mind about which mic is better. The answer key is below.
A is the 2020
B is the 3035