My Early Christmas Present!

So I just received a text.

A text I’ve been waiting on since Sunday.

“Your package was delivered at 9:29 a.m.”

Hip hip hurray!


So going back to Sunday, I finally gave in and purchased a microphone! I thought I would feel guilty about spending so much money on a mic, but I’m just really excited to finally get it. Technically, I didn’t spend the money, because my boyfriend intervened and threw his credit card at me. He was planning on getting me one for Christmas and I ruined it by trying to order one on Sunday.

The horrible thing is I don’t want to wait for Christmas to open it. In other words, I’m not going to wait for Christmas to open it. I’m going to break that bad boy open today and give it a go!

I should probably wait to open it, I realize that. I do feel like a terrible person for not waiting, but I’m trying to cross the first-draft finish line by the end of this month. And that means writing in yet another busy month. Where I could really get to know my beautiful new microphone.

So I’m being a Veruca Salt and opening it as soon as I get to the house today. Although this is the first time I’m mentioning that on my blog, I’m frequently compared to Miss Veruca. By my parents of course. They mean it lovingly…I promise.

Now, come young grasshoppers and join me on an epic journey as I decide which microphone to buy.

Or just read about me recapping my panicked and frustrated path to buying this lovely mic.

Look at it. It’s so beautiful. I’m thinking of naming her. Veruca? I’m drumming my fingers against one another cryptically right now.

To the point!

As you can see, I purchased an Audio Technica (AT) 2020 mic of the USB variety.

For those of you that don’t know, there’s two types of microphones classified basically by the way they plug in to your computer. XLR microphones have a three-prong connection. You require a pre-amp for this microphone to basically serve as an adaptor between the three-prong connection and a USB.

USB microphones already come with this built in, so you don’t have to worry about buying extra pieces of equipment.

Most microphone brands sell both an XLR and a USB version of the same microphones (save for Blue, from what I’ve seen).

Why did I go with the AT2020 out of all, ALL, ALL, of the microphones available to buy?

Several reasons which I will fully discuss below.

But first! Let’s just talk for a second about how many microphones are available out there. Hundreds. Thousands. Millions! Just kidding, I got carried away. In all seriousness, there’s a lot of options out there and it’s difficult to choose which one best fits your needs.

While I bought the AT2020, that might not be the best fit for you. It depends greatly on your budget and your personal preferences.

I originally wanted to stay under $50 but realized that quality costs more, and you get what you pay for with a mic. While I did find some great deals on Craigslist and eBay for really great mics (and I completely recommend trolling those sites, as long as you’re safe when you use Craigslist), I couldn’t bring myself to purchase them. Some required that dreaded pre-amp I talked about earlier and at the end of the day I would spend around $80 anyway. So why not get a brand new one that already comes with USB capability? I also realized that I would have to bring my laptop when meeting said stranger to confirm that the mic actually worked.

In all honesty, I was too lazy.

I didn’t want to convince my boyfriend to accompany me and go get the cash, and then bring my laptop. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but you can sympathize with me if you’re also a homebody.

My budget ended up growing to around $100-$120. I didn’t want to purchase a $50 mic to end up breaking down and buying a more expensive one later. To me, that was a waste of $50 and a hassle I didn’t want to go through. I also am very blessed to have the money to purchase a microphone at that cost, and a boyfriend who is ever so generous with his credit card (isn’t he the best?).

At that price range there were a few options for me.

If you look around on Youtube at all for podcasting-level microphones, you will surely come across the Blue Yeti, or Blue Snowball (the cheaper, $50 version). I took a serious look at both of these for quite some time.

At the end of the day, I crossed the Snowball off my list for one very silly and vain reason: I couldn’t get over the fact that it looked like a giant eyeball. I mean, what were they thinking?

The Blue Yeti comes with more features than the AT2020 does, with the option to plug your headphones directly into the microphone, volume control for your headphones, a mute button and various pattern modes. These modes affect the type of noise the microphone picks up. You can choose from stereo mode, cardioid, omnidirectional, and bidirectional mode.

Basically, unless you’re recording music we’re only interested in the cardioid pattern. It picks up only what’s directly in front of it and tries to tune out any background noise.

Although the Blue Yeti has a lot of options, I wasn’t interested in any of them. I knew that I only wanted a cardioid pattern, and I wasn’t going to be hooking headphones into it. I’m using it solely for the purposes of dictation.

Also, I think the Blue Yeti is atrociously big. I realize to include that many options, the microphone obviously has to be bigger, but heavens! It’s huge! If you look at any Blue Yeti vs AT2020 comparison videos, the Blue Yeti looks like a tank next to the Audio Technica. Again, this is probably silly, but I didn’t want to walk around the living room holding a huge hulk of a mic.

Before purchasing any microphone, I urge you to do plenty of homework. I watched countless videos before settling on just these two and even then I listened to every audio comparison video I could find. A lot of it comes down to what you think of the looks of the microphone and the sound of each of them. These two options will both be excellent choices for dictation and podcasting if you later get into that. But their sound is very very similar – I just found I typically preferred the AT2020 over the Blue Yeti.

Pricewise, the AT2020 USB is more expensive than the Blue Yeti by about $100 on Amazon. I purchased a used one through Amazon, though, and saved about $70 on the base price of the Audio Technica…don’t ask me how that works. I definitely recommend doing this if you don’t mind it being slightly used. I feel pretty safe purchasing through Amazon as I know they’ll work with me if I have any issues crop up.

I wrote in a post HERE and HERE about upgrading my microphone at the end of NaNoWriMo, and it took me until a few days ago to pick the microphone that I wanted. I went back and forth and sideways and upside down hunting for mics. I looked at Behringers, MXL, AT, Blue, Samson…the list goes on! In the end, I wanted to go with something that was highly recommended, and from a trusted source.

Speaking of recommendations, the AT2020 is the microphone that Monica Leonelle uses for her own dictation purposes. She actually has the XLR version, but I liked the idea that this mic was already tried and tested by someone using it for the same purposes as I. If you haven’t checked out any of her stuff, her website is chock full of useful information on increasing your writing speed and productivity. One of those ways is by using dictation. She even wrote a book about it (click HERE to check it out).

I’ll be posting an update here shortly on how the new microphone compares to the $15 one that I have. Dragon will still sometimes throw a random sentence of gobblydeegook out there and this is what I’m trying to avoid.

Someone please tell me I’m not the only one opening Christmas gifts early! Do I get brownie points if I put up all my decorations on time?

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