AT2020 Microphone Mod Kit
The Audio-Technica AT2020 was near the top of the list when we polled customers to list inexpensive microphones they've outgrown. Audio-Technica products typically do not make good DIY upgrade platforms, due to the use of proprietary capsule mounts and surface-mount electronics, but we've avoided those pitfalls by replacing the entire signal path in this upgrade kit. In fact, this kit essentially builds an entirely new and better microphone inside the AT2020 housing.
The new circuit and capsule transform the AT2020 into a serious recording tool, with richer tone, fuller bass, smoother response, higher output, and more accurate transient response.
About the Mod Kit
For this mod, we use a circuit based on the Schoeps CMC5, although with a carefully contoured EQ filter built in. This is a high-resolution circuit with low noise and low distortion.
We use premium passive components that are widely recognized for their sound quality: Vishay-Dale resistors, Panasonic electrolytics, Wima polypropylene film capacitors, NOS transistors, etc. The circuit board is a premium 2-layer design, made in the US.
The capsule is the acclaimed TSB-2555. We bundle it with a custom capsule mount and deck plate, the latter designed and manufactured here specifically for the AT2020.
We include US-made, Teflon insulated silver plated copper wire to connect the new circuit to the XLR jack.
The only pieces of the AT2020 that are retained after this mod are the grille, mic body, and XLR insert.
This kit fits the Audio-Technica AT2020 with XLR connector. It is not compatible with the USB version of the mic.
The Digital Reference DR-CX1 microphones that we have seen are identical to the AT2020 in every way except the branding; therefore we believe this kit is compatible with the DR-CX1.
This kit is not compatible the AT2035; if you have an AT2035, see our new (2022) AT2035 upgrade kit.
The modified AT2020 works beautifully on vocals, acoustic and electric guitars, woodwinds and strings.
It sounds great on drum overheads, because it captures a controlled high end, reducing cymbal wash and harshness.
We do not recommend this mic on snare, kick drum, or toms; although it probably will not clip internally, it will probably clip your preamp, due to its high output level.
What's in the box?
The AT2020 mod kit is a DIY electronics project; you must solder components and wires to a PCB. If you lack the interest, skills, or tools to modify your own AT2020, we can upgrade your microphone for you -- contact us here.
The kit contains:
- Custom PCB
- All the components needed to populate the PCB
- Selected TSB-2555 capsule
- Custom capsule mount
- Replacement deck plate for AT2020
- Upgraded wires for internal XLR connection
- Vintage brass MP logo badge
- Detailed step-by-step mic build instructions
- AT2020 donor microphone
- Soldering iron and other required tools; see our recommended tools listing
Our custom Cutaway™ Shockmount fits the AT2020. It is superior to alternative shockmounts for these reasons:
- The metal frame provides long-term reliability as compared to plastic-frame mounts
- The isolation (shockmounting) comes from silicone O-rings rather than elastic cords. Elastic cords can resonate sympathetically with the sound in the room, causing audible ringing that the mic would record. The O-ring suspension is internally damped, and does not resonate.
- The mic attaches to the mount via metal threads, rather than friction pads. The screw-on attachment is much more secure, and faster to operate.
See the photo elsewhere on this page, showing the AT2020 in the Cutaway mount.