Advice needed on using AT2020 mic


I am using Audacity 2.1.0.

I have just purchased a Native Instruments Komplete Audio 2 i/f and Audio Technica AT2020 mic with the purpose of recording my child playing acoustic piano for an exam. I would like some advice on how to do this with Audacity please.

The mic requires 48V which is activated. I find that the mic gain control on the hardware interface needs to be near maximum in order to hear a reasonable signal. Is this normal?

Audacity shows the the input signal level as very low. Even increasing the gain to 25dB does not significantly increase the signal on Audacity’s graphical i/f. Any advice on how to improve this please?

Any advice on getting a good result would be much appreciated.


There is a mic gain (recording) slider in Audacity, try sliding that all the way to the right (+) …

I’d go as high as you can on the recording level.

Once you’ve captured the audio I’d amplify the entire thing to 0.0 peak. This will beef up the audio (but also the noise)

Then I’d do a noise reduction on a small segment of the piece–look into the mechanics of using that effect.

Finally, tweak the filter Curves to enhance the audio in the areas you feel it needs it.

Do one last Amplify to make sure you didn’t go over 0.0 (might need to actually remove some db).

Try this out on a short sample–maybe 1 minute with lots of dynamic highs/lows.

You can also work on mic placement–ideal placment would give you more piano and less noise.

The Audio Technica AT2020 is a side-address microphone. You don’t play into the end like many other microphones, you play into the side grill just up from the company name. It’s a directional microphone, so if you pick any other orientation, the volume will be lower and/or you could have tonal distortions. Enough people got this wrong they printed “BACK” on the back.

Home microphones almost always feature low volume. Low volume can mostly be fixed in post production effects and tools, but high volume can produce overload and obvious distortion (and makes you want to send the microphone back).

Select the whole track in Audacity with the Select button on the left > Effect > Amplify > New Peak -1dB > OK.

On the Native Instruments Komplete Audio 2, turn Gain 1 almost all the way up and Gain 2 all the way down. Watch the bouncing sound meter on the top and reduce Gain 1 if you see the red light. Play a loud passage as a test and then don’t touch the knob during the show.

Capture in stereo with sound only on the left and that may give you twice as much volume as capturing in mono. Use the drop-down menu to the left of the Audacity track > Split Stereo To Mono and delete the dead track.


Thanks very much for the replies to my question. Your answers were very helpful.

I do have a follow-up question. Native Instruments supplies an ASIO driver for the Komplete Audio 2 but it is not offered in Audacity as an input device. Is that because Audacity doesn’t support ASIO?

If I select MME + ‘Microsoft Sound Mapper - Input’ I do get the output of the Komplete Audio 2. Is there a better choice of input that I could use for that device?

Short answer: Yes.

Long answer: ASIO Audio Interface - Audacity Manual