Audio-Technica Australia | audio-technica.com.au | Expect to pay: $449
When you’ve got more content to make than experience wrangling cables and connecting audio interfaces, you’re probably looking for a conveniently simple solution to record audio at home. USB microphones are designed to simplify the audio signal chain and save precious desk real estate without compromising audio quality.
The Audio-Technica Creator Pack Pro provides new-comers to audio production, or those looking for a mobile audio recording solution everything you need to get recording. It combines the popular AT2020USB+ condenser microphone with ATH-M20x headphones, cables and two microphone stands, saving the need for an audio interface.
The AT2020USB+ (and all Audio-Technica mics for that matter) have long been revered for their uncanny ability to perform well above their price-tag, being something of de-facto audio life-hack brand for all a whole manner of DIY recording and content applications. The USB incarnation of the cult classic AT2020 offers that same highly useable broadband capture, exhibiting the same versatility across vocal and instrument recordings, as it’s XLR counterpart (but with the added no-fuss immediacy of USB recording).
You simply connect the included USB cable to both your microphone and a computer and it’s off to the races. In practice, I found the workflow on the AT2020USB+ to be incredibly quick and convenient, capable of recording clean, professional-sounding in literally a matter of seconds. Bear in mind, I’m pretty quick on my DAW of choice, but this kind of simplicity and rapid workflow is absolutely a plus, especially for songwriters or those prone to tracking ideas as quickly as they come.
There’s no software to install or drivers to download: the AT2020USB+ is automatically recognised by your computer, which is as painless as painless gets. Like most USB mics, there is a headphone port that allows for direct connection to the microphone which has two dials to control the balance between the mike (great for latency-free live monitoring) and your computers audio (so you can play along to your recorded tracks) and the headphone volume. The microphone’s gain is controlled via your computer.
The Creator Pack Pro includes a desk stand, a desk mount and a boom arm, allowing you to choose the microphone arrangement that best suits your workflow. The boom arm will suit podcasters or YouTubers looking for a professional radio-style setup, or any vocalist that needs space for expressive arm movement whilst recording, while the desktop stand will sit neatly in place to capture live instrumentation.
The mic itself is more than capable of holding its own in terms of capturing rich detail across a broad range of sources, even taking to distance surprisingly well. That being said, it is undoubtedly vocals in the nearfield where the AT2020 shines the brightest, with its upper-mid definition making it an awesome mic for capturing diction.
The AT2020USB+’s cardioid pattern has a slightly broader pickup than most comparable condenser mics, so it’s probably better suited to musicians, YouTubers, budding voice-over artists, gamers and other single source track recording, that is unlikely to yield any phase/spill issues or the requirement for multiple speakers, live instruments in the same acoustic environment.
In terms of monitoring, you’ll probably recognise the ATH-M20x headphones, as their popularity makes them a borderline ubiquitous product at this point. Their impressive performance represents only the entry point of the much-lauded M-Series professional monitoring headphone line, but even then, are a cut above what you would normally expect to find in a bundle like this.
They’re lightweight and comfortable with a modern, satisfyingly sleek and smooth build quality. The contoured earcups work well at isolating noise so you can focus on making your recording shine. The M20x frequency response covers 15Hz to 20kHz, covering the full range of what the AT2020USB can record combined with m-series stellar reputation for translatability, makes them a great combination for accurate monitoring.
Make no mistake, there’s no cheap filler in this combination, Audio-Technica has combined two very popular products (along with some handy, high quality extras) into a convenient pack that offers a quality recording solution for anyone on a budget. The Creator Pack Pro offers a world of quality audio technology in a compact and skilfully simple package.
Want to win a Creator Pack Pro for yourself? We’re giving one away this month to celebrate our new print issue – head here for all the details!