Can't record properly with AT2020 USB Mic

Moderator: Split to new topic on Windows board and given relevant title

I need some help…I have to make some voice over recordings and all I have is an audio-technica AT2020 USB mic (at least for now until I buy a conventional one). I am running Windows 10 on my PC. For some reason, Audacity recognizes my microphone (I can see it and select it from the pull-down menu), but I can’t record properly. The recording is very very faint with a lot of hiss. It’s as if something is blocking it (??).

Which version of Audacity? See the pink panel at the top of the page.

How close are you to the mic? Tap it gently. What happens?

Do you have the recording volume turned up in Mixer Toolbar?


and all I have is an audio-technica AT2020 USB mic (at least for now until I buy a conventional one).

In case you don’t know this, a “conventional” studio or stage mic won’t work properly with the mic input on a laptop or regular consumer soundcard. You’ll need an [u]Audio Interface[/u] with a proper low-impedance, balanced (3-wire) microphone input and an XLR connector. Or, you can use a preamp or mixer with a proper mic input and connect the line-output on the preamp/mixer into the line-input on your soundcard.

I have Audacity 2.1.1 and I do know that I need an interface along with the conventional mic, but I need to record with this USB mic for now until I can afford to buy the other stuff. And yes, my record levels are up all the way.

Also, I literally have to scream into the mic to see even a slight level.

Triple-check in Audacity’s Device Toolbar and make sure you are actually selecting the AT2020 as Recording Device.

Has this problem only just happened? Try a different USB port. Try a different USB cable. Try a different computer, if you have one.


Can you make it worse? If you turn down the volume control in Audacity, does the volume actually go down, or does it completely ignore you?

Does your computer have a built-in microphone? Do a scratch test. Start a recording and scratch the fronts of the 2020 and your laptop microphone.

Does the microphone have a light that comes on when everything is OK?

Does it work when you plug your headphones into the microphone?