Audacity not recognizing AT2020

For my set-up, I’m using:

  • AT2020 Cardioid XLR
  • Scarlett 2i2 3rd Gen
  • Audacity 3.2.1.

I haven’t used Audacity since this past June (2022), but I swore that through the programs Audio Setup, it recognized both AT2020 as well as the Scarlett 2i2. At the time, I was recording on my Dell desktop, and have now shifted over to my HP laptop, and that placed next to my audio recording booth. I’m using Windows 10.

My “Audio Settings: Devices” reads:

  • Host: MME
  • Playback Device: Speakers (Focusrite USB Audio)
  • Recording Device: Analogue 1+2 (Focusrite USB A
  • Channels: 1 Mono

I have a few questions, but I’ll stick with just the 1 for now.

Does Audacity recognize that it’s specifically an AT2020 mic passing through the Scarlett 2i2 audio interface? Moreover if it is listed (because I’m not seeing it), where would the AT2020 mic appear on the Audio Settings, drop down listings?
To be clear, I have everything mic → audio interface → USB to laptop → w/48v on, prior to starting my Audacity program; and I’m already familiar with Transport → Rescan Audio Devices if I set up everything after the fact.

Audacity (nor any other software) will be able to tell what mic you’ve plugged into the audio interface.
Audacity can just “see” the audio interface.

There is a USB version of AT2020 which plugs directly into the computer.
If you used the USB version, (no audio interface), Audacity could “see” that it was AT2020.

USB plug

Thank you for your response.

Do you think that the set up for my Audio Settings: Devices is about right?

I’ve done - and am still in the process of doing - voice-over work for various YouTube videos on my channel, would you recommend that I stick with Mono?

Any feedback/advise is appreciated.

AT2020 is a mono microphone, no advantage in recording in stereo.
You can add stereo-ness in Audacity , a/k/a pseudo-stereo …

But it could undermine intelligibility if it’s over-done.

Scarlett 2i2

That’s the one with the knobs that light up to tell you the voice volume, right? Do they light up? Do you get the green knobs when you’re recording? I like splitting the system into chunks and halves and make sure the chunks work before you tackle the whole system.

Never blow into a microphone, but you should be able to make the knob turn red if you yell into the microphone and turn the volume up. That’s only for testing. It’s supposed to turn red in overload.

Audacity will ignore you if the Stereo/Mono doesn’t match. The 2i2 is a stereo interface and I would expect setting everything to stereo should work.


Another system note.

Make sure there are no other sound apps running or napping while you’re recording. Zoom, for example, takes over the computer sound adjustments while it’s running and what you want doesn’t matter.

When you start having troubles like this you might do a Clean Windows Shutdown. Shift+Shutdown > OK > Wait > Start. Start Audacity with a fresh machine.


Another quick note. The AT2020 is a side-fire microphone. You speak into the grill above the company name. Do not speak into the round end or the side labeled “BACK.”


Yes, listening to those 3 examples, I’ll be sticking with mono for recording. Thank you for the sample.

That’s right, the colors (lights) on mine are the default settings, green → yellow → red.

I’ll be sticking with mono the whole way through; just to stay on the safer side. Although there are varying tutorials all over the place on YouTube, one of the takeaways I got was to basically do all of your recordings in mono.

Honestly, that’s where I get a bit confused. Not with the no speaking into the “BACK” part - though I know that’s a common mistake for people - rather the part about “speak into the grill above the company name”. There seems to be varying opinions on this, some people suggest speaking over the mic, others say speak off to the side, and some say just what you’ve just stated; all 3 ways hovering around what’s considered the front end of the mic of course.

Maybe it’s just specific to my voice, the higher tone at times, a certain pitch, because it feels like I’m always in a battle to get the precise placement as to where it’ll pick up my voice the best. I’ve been playing around with this mic for roughly 15 months now, and I’ve yet to be fully satisfied with how it works for me. I know for it’s price point, and working in conjunction with the 2i2 it’s supposed to be great, but thus far, I feel pretty underwhelmed by its output.

I recently got a vocal booth, which seems to be pretty good (I’ve only ran a few tests thus far so I’m not 100% sure if it’s as effective as I think it could be). But one major problem I’ve had - a mental block if you will - was that my uploaded videos, specifically the audio, has been very disappointing.

While I’m hitting the target on “Content Loudness” (YouTube) - which ideally should be at -0.1dB - it still sounds too low (and metallic); mind you, this is prior to recording in a vocal booth. I was using a room with moderate treatment.

Here’s an example of one of my videos (my most recent upload) from a few months back. The audio portion starts roughly 35 seconds in. If I’m not allowed to share a link, my apologies in advance.

I’ve studied (and written down plenty of notes), on what I perceive to be an optimal audio chain (in Audacity); old threads on this forum first mixed in with plenty of YouTube tutorials. Unfortunately, the more I try to learn, I’m getting further away from getting a clear path on what to do.

It might sound ridiculous, but I get overwhelmed (especially with the audio), versus anything to do with video/editing/scripts/etc. I was spending a ratio of at least 10:1 on audio, vs anything else.

Any help would be appreciated.

I like the show.

Of course, if you actually work in Hollywood, none of this is a shock. When someone famous retires, they have a retirement party and you find out all the thousands of shows, presentations, plays, movies, and parts they played over the years. EGOT is a thing. Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony. There are EGOT performers.

If I’m not allowed to share a link, my apologies in advance.

Links are fine then they help explain a problem or damage. Do Not try to sell us anything. Anything a forum elf tells you is OK, is usually OK.

Don’t feel too bad about being overwhelmed with sound problems. I’ve been doing sound and video since the ice age and I still get surprised. There is an outdoor YouTube performance that originates about five miles from here. The voice quality is perfect and clear in spite of wind, environment, traffic, and production problems. I wanted to know how the frog they did that, so I drove over and got them to tell me the techniques and part numbers. I gave him the ultimate compliment. I said, “You sound exactly like you.” Turns out they had no formal training and kept trying things until they got something to work (the show was a year old). In addition, they said there are multiple people who post suggestions on how to do his show the formal, legacy way, which would have been more awkward, inappropriate, expensive, and not have worked as well. This is me writing that down.

Yes, don’t announce into the BACK (or into the round top). I got my post directly from the manufacturer’s instructions. That’s not my opinion.

There’s only two variations I know of. Distance from the microphone and left-right positioning. Distance, in addition to the obvious getting louder and softer gives you a presence or intimacy shift, similar to announcing directly into someone’s ear.

Left and Right can give you slightly odd tonal shifts, but can be insanely handy when you need to get louder and your mixer or interface runs out of moxie. The tonal shift also means much less mouth, tongue, and lip noises, since most noises go straight in front of your face. I am particularly sensitive to mouth noises because that’s why ACX rejected my audiobook audition.

Your voice does sound funny. I’m playing it multiple times to try and figure out what’s wrong. You sound like you’re announcing into a wooden box. Honky. You should sound flatter and crisper. Given two things are not wrong: the microphone is broken and you actually sound like that, there has to be something we don’t know. Can you post a picture of the microphone inside the booth?

How are you reading the script? Tablet? Does the 2020 come with a stand? How are you holding it up? Is the desk padded?

Do you have a sound sample announcing without the booth? I know it’s going to have room echoes, but I want to hear what the voice quality does.

Are you a Hawaiian Shaka away from the microphone?

Most microphones don’t care if they’re upside down.


no speaking into the “BACK” part - though I know that’s a common mistake for people

It’s worse than you think. The super popular Blue Yeti microphone instruction book came with performing instructions close to the back of the book. Nobody saw it and the microphone became popular with most people using it wrong. OK, Blue Company Promotion and Publicity, now what do you do?

The later instruction books have large clear announcing instructions near the front.

You didn’t post which booth you bought.

Are you using a pop and blast filter, either wind sock, dead cat, or tennis racket? Those can cause tonal problems.


The Scarlet 2i2 Third Gen has an AIR button on the front. That’s a tone shifter. Did you push it?


As an experiment, I took a segment and did a simple Tone Control bass reduction. The patch starts at 6 seconds.

That more like what you’re looking for? The patch is slightly crisp, but that honk is gone. I bet that sounds a lot more like you.

I gotta drop for a while.


First off, I appreciate all of your posts. Thank you for taking the time to help me out.

Yes, that sample that gave me (JoeDonBakerPatched), does sound a lot closer to my voice. It’s clearly better.

When it gets to be daytime again, I’ll collect the fragments and post how I did it. That was actually three simple tools. Your post had subsonic earthquake/thunder rumble tones and there is a relatively simple way to get rid of those (it’s an audiobook tool).

Then use the Bass and Treble tool to get rid of the honk and then Amplify to make up the volume loss from the first two tools. I have actual numbers for all this.

As we go.


I’ve done recordings with it on and off. I had it on in early recordings (not in the video that you saw), but I was under the impression (YouTube tutorials), that I should leave it off, because it’s better to use if you’re doing (for example) a musical recording in a room. To which I’m not, and ideally I want something that has less ambience, and more of an intimate setting; in terms of sound.

When I had done this particular recording ( the video in the link), I was doing so in a very lightly treated room. I did most things incorrectly, in terms of how I was placing everything. I bought a bunch of foam panels a year ago, but I was under the impression that they should be placed on the wall that’s directly behind the mic. I also didn’t put much thought into the downside of reading my scripts directly off of my desktop monitor, with my mic placed just off to the side of it; surely sounds are bouncing off of the slick surface of the desk and the monitor. I also put myself in a tight space, with little room to move, probably tightening up the way I was speaking. I was also speaking a little too close to the mic.

And I shouldn’t overlook, that I think I did too much with the audio production; likely ruining everything that you heard. I devoted a lot of time, from November of 2021 through to June of 2022, doing trial and error trying to find the right audio-chain. I took a course, by Josh Meyer via YouTube, which helped me get up to speed, and I learned how to use the Filter Curve & Graphic EQ (or I at least have a decent idea as to how to manipulate it). But I don’t think his tutorials/courses are specific to videos on YouTube, rather he focuses on audio books and such.

Also, I’ve yet to be satisfied with any of the tutorials on how to use Audacity (via YouTube videos), how to get the right audio chain, at least for all of the dozens of videos that I’ve watched. One takeaway I have while watching their videos, is that I always ask myself, “Do you like the quality of the sound of their video?”, and the answer is always “No”.

They’re all over the place on settings, some have Normalization set to -1.0, others have it at -3.0. Some say on the Limiter, go with Hard Limit, others say Soft Limit. And they’re all over the place with their Compressor settings. And then I have all of the plugins that I bought, to help “correct” things. I bought Voxessor, and it sounds wrong to me. I use FinalLoud3 to make sure that I hit the Content Loudness -0.1 on YouTube, and it does just that, but I feel like I’m blowing up the audio, and it’s almost distorting it in the process.

The more I studied, the more lost I got, the more overwhelmed I got. So I started to trust my own ear, and did what made most sense (from everything I’d studied), and log everything down. But I’m sure you know what I’m talking about, that when you’re listening too closely for so many hours, and so many days, you’re not hearing straight.

I became so fed up, having to re-record, and not getting the sound anything close to what I’d consider “good”, that I just stopped recording altogether (June of this year).

Since then:

  • I’ve purchased a Snap Studio Vocal Booth
  • I’ve been practicing Chi-Yi for controlled breathing
  • I’ve moved my vocal booth/set up to the basement, so I don’t have to do recordings just at night time when there’s less ambient coming from outside

I won’t be reading my scripts off of a computer monitor going forward (and all of that sound that comes with it), hopefully I can relax a bit more while reading (I was feeling very constricted speaking from my chest), so some of this should help out with my recordings going forward.

That’s great! Again, thank you for your help.

I’ll take some pics tomorrow, of my newer setup, just to give you a clearer idea of what I was talking about in my previous post.

I’m getting Friday running.

Fair warning, these are first-pass tools and adjustments. No fine tuning or operator optimization (design) was done.

The first tool I used was the Rumble Filter Low Rolloff for Speech. See if you have it. Effect > Filter Curve EQ > Manage > Factory Presets > Low Rolloff for Speech. Steve designed this for the maximum low pitch trash suppression with a minimum effect on mostly male voices. It’s designed after the filters and effects used in field broadcast and film sound recording. It’s built into Audiobook Mastering. And you thought it was a simple curve.

If you can’t find it, I think I can still post the raw programming.

Next is the wild guess that turned out to work pretty well.

Effect > Bass and Treble… > Bass -12dB. Everything else flat. This is the actual honk filter, but all it does is tilt mid/low pitch tones out of the performance. It leaves the overall volume low.

I brought the overall volume back up to approximate the original performance with Effect > Amplify +4dB (top number) > OK.

This is where you step in to the scene. What is the YouTube sound specification? I didn’t know there was one.

I designed the overall process for Audiobook Mastering and I think I can design a similar one for YouTube—once I know what it is.