Audio-Technica AT2022 X/Y Stereo Microphone Review

Audio-Technica combines reasonable price with solid quality in the AT2022. Equally at home, in the field or in the studio this little microphone produces big audio without busting the budget.

Impressive

Right out of the box, one is struck by the AT2022’s weight and appearance. At 9.5 ounces, its metal construction feels very well built and solid – like you could drive nails with it, though we don’t recommend doing so. Its other distinguishing feature is the head. Perched atop the seven-inch long cylindrical body is the approximately 2.5-inch wide head, which is home to two unidirectional condenser capsules situated across from, and facing one another in an X/Y configuration.

The capsules may be pivoted between 90 degrees and 120 degrees to custom select a narrower or wider pickup pattern. The underside of the head is clearly marked at 90 degrees and 120 degrees to aid in the accurate positioning of each capsule. When not in use the capsules may be folded flat for storage or transporting. Each of the capsules is fixed in its own shock mount, which is a great feature, but care must be taken not to damage them when pivoting. Grasp the metal base behind the shock mount to change the angle of the capsules – not the capsules themselves.

The body unscrews and slides open to reveal the battery compartment. A single AA battery is required (alkaline recommended) and one has thoughtfully been included. It is important to know, and remember, that this microphone has been designed for battery power only and that damage could result if phantom power is used.

Power is controlled using a three-position switch located on the upper third of the body nearest the head. Available positions are Off, L-Cut and Flat. The L-Cut position switches the unit on, as well as the built-in low-cut filter, which initiates a roll-off of 6dB per octave at 150Hz. This feature is useful for reducing the capture of low-frequency noise like air conditioners and cars driving by.

At the base of the microphone is a typical 3-pin XLR-type connector. There is a difference here, however. While XLR connectors usually provide for a balanced audio signal, the AT2022 produces an unbalanced output. The unbalanced signal uses Pin 2 and Pin 3 for the left and right channels respectively, with each using Pin 1 as its ground. The audio signal travels from microphone to recorder via a 1.6-foot cable having a 3-pin female XLR-type connector at one end and a 1/8-inch TRS connector at the other. Having a standard 1/8-inch connector, and battery power, allows the AT2022 to be used with a wide variety of audio and video recording devices.

Sounding Off

Now, while all this sounds pretty impressive, the fact of the matter is that the AT2022 performs as well as it sounds. While out and about, wandering through a busy park and tethered to an Olympus portable audio recorder, many great sounds were recorded. People talking, children laughing, dogs barking, cars driving by and a partridge in a pear tree. Well, maybe not the last one. At any rate, we discovered that while quiet sounds don’t pick up terribly well, sounds at moderate volumes and loud sounds pick up nicely. We also found that even a little bit of wind creates quite a bit of racket, so the windscreen is definitely needed when outdoors. Overall, sound reproduction was very good with a frequency response that delivered a nice, full bottom and a crisp upper end.

Regardless of venue or application the AT2022 provides very good quality at a reasonable price. Definitely capable of delivering the goods, it is certainly worth considering the next time you’re in the market for a portable, quality stereo microphone.

Tech Specs

Elements: Fixed-charge back plate, permanently polarized condenser

Polar Pattern: X/Y Stereo

Frequency Response: 20-20,000Hz

Low Frequency Roll-Off: 150Hz, 6dB/octave

Open Circuit Sensitivity:-41dB (8.9mV) re 1V at 1Pa

Channel Balance: <2.5dB

Impedance: 200 ohms

Maximum Input Sound Level: 122dB SPL, 1kHz at 1% T.H.D.

Dynamic Range (Typical): 103dB, 1kHz at Max SPL

Signal-To-Noise Ratio: 75dB, 1kHz at 1Pa

Switch: Off, on/flat, on/roll-off

Weight: 9.5oz

Output Connector: Integral 3-pin XLRM-type

Dimensions: 7.56 inches long, 2.56 inches maximum head diameter; 0.83-inch body diameter

Battery Type: 1.5V AA/UM3 (WARNING: The AT2022 is designed for battery operation only. Do not attempt to use when phantom power is present. Possible damage to the microphone may result.)

Battery Current/Life: 1.2mA; 500 hours typical (alkaline)

Cable: 1.6 feet long, three conductor, shielded, vinyl-jacketed stereo cable with 3-pin XLRF-type connector at microphone end and 1/8-inch TRS connector at output end

Accessories Furnished: AT8405a stand clamp for 5/8″-27 threaded stands; fuzzy windscreen; battery; soft protective pouch.

Strengths

  • Quality + Cost = Good Value
  • Adjustable stereo pickup pattern
  • Lo-cut filter
  • Solid construction
  • Windscreen, battery and cable included
  • Standard AA batteries are convenient power source

Weaknesses

  • Output unbalanced
  • Shock mounts = weak point; possible damage if rotated by the capsule(s)

Summary

For stereo audio on a budget Audio-Technica’s AT2022 stereo microphone may well be a sound investment for producers at every level.

Audio-Technica U.S., Inc.

www.audio-technica.com

Price: $439

Mark Holder is a video producer and trainer.

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