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Audio-Technica occupies a fairly interesting position in the recording equipment market. They sit comfortably between upper echelon manufacturers whose builds are just that little bit above budget and the low-rent knock off merchants who plague them. Their headphones particularly are popular amongst the electronic music set whose penchant for fidelity is a good gauge of the quality of their units. Their mics compete with heavy hitters like RØDE’s NT range and Shure’s SM7 for accurate and nuanced renderings of either female or male vocals. With this in mind, the combo in question comprises two of their most popular units that happen to be perfectly suited for learning the recording ropes.



The AT2020 is a truly faithful representation of what a cardioid condenser is designed to do. Its range is lengthy enough for the most energetic of singers with a broader than average pick up around the outer edges of the heart shaped field. On the one hand there is a healthy amount of attention in the below 100Hz range which is great for bass and warm electric guitar but it really comes to life in some of the humps up around 10kHz. Male vocals receive a nice amount of presence and sparkle while female vocals and distorted guitars sit right in the sweet spot where some really magical frequencies are ripe for the picking.



The ATHM20x monitoring headphones are by far Audio-Technica’s most popular and visible product. The familiar circular casing houses a powerful yet subtle 40mm neodymium driver that is as close to completely neutral as you’ll ever get without splashing out on complete, active noise cancellation. They are lively when you drive them hard but tidy enough that you can hear ugly sub and low mid frequencies that need taming even at higher volumes. With frequency response between 15Hz and 20kHz, there’s nothing the mic will pick up that the cans won’t send back which is comforting and great for learning what to notch and what to leave.


On the whole the idea of a starter pack is too often synonymous with a lack of quality. Audio-Technica does well to buck this trend with just the right balance of affordability and fully usable equipment. The last thing you want when you’re getting the hang of something as fiddly as recording techniques is to hear in-built obsolescence creeping in and distracting you from the masterwork at hand. The AT Studio Recording Combo is the best way to avoid such a fate.