It would seem like the race to create the ultimate Blogging/Podcasting Microphone to capture these lucrative markets is still in its infancy. I must say, there sure is plenty out there for all budgets to get excited about. I recently reviewed the Samson Technologies Q2U, which I felt was hard to beat for its price and features.
Now I have the pleasure of reviewing another versatile and very reasonably priced professional quality, entry-level microphone, the Audio-Technica ATR2100x.
Audio-Technica state that with the ATR2100x’s smooth extended frequency response, it is without doubt suited for podcasting, field recording, home studio recording, and voiceover work.
So, let’s find out if it is in my in-depth Audio-Technica ATR2100x-USB review…
It’s really not hard to see why this is such a popular budget microphone. The ATR2100x is a professional quality microphone built for podcasting, and it really does sound crystal clear with plenty of definition. This microphone, like the Samson Q2U, comes with both USB and XLR outputs, so you can easily plug it in directly into your computer or mixer.
Also, like the Samson Q2U, this is a dynamic handheld microphone with a cardioid pattern. This is useful because it picks up what it is pointed at and reduces back and side noise, which is superb on a noisy, windy location.
Superb value for the money…
This microphone really does sound like a far more expensive microphone than it is. It comes with a very high-quality analog-to-digital converter and has excellent fidelity (24-bit, up to 192 kHz). The Low-mass diaphragm provides excellent frequency response.
One great feature which is perfect for on-location shooting is the addition of the headphone jack with level control. They are positioned on the bottom of the microphone next to the USB C port and XLR connectors and allow direct monitoring in real-time from the microphone.
Audio-Technica have definitely been more adventurous in their design than Samson’s Q2U, which sticks more to the classic Shure Sm58’s rugged design. Audio-Technica have gone for a very modern design. The ATR2100x is very light, clean, and comes in a brushed aluminum finish instead of the standard black.
The body is metal, including the head grill, and only features a power switch and a power LED indicator. It really is a great looking microphone for the price and feels like it’s been built to last.
I am a fan of Audio-Technica microphones, and the ATR2100x can handle particularly unforgiving environments very well. And this microphone picks up far less background noise and echo in a room than many other USB entry-level microphones.
The size and weight of this microphone makes it a pleasure to travel with, and it feels robust enough that it wouldn’t easily get damaged.
Up close and personal…
Placement of your included microphone desktop stand at optimum level in your podcast is important, though. For best results with the ATR 2100x, you will need to get up close and speak up close.
However, if you are interviewing a guest in the same room, you will need two of these microphones for your podcast. Keeping in mind that they pick up where they are pointed at and reject sound from the sides and the back. But, at the very competitive price, if you’re serious about podcasting, then it’s worth investing in two anyway.
No latency monitoring…
The addition of a jack input to listen in real-time without latency is fantastic. I’m not sure really how much level you will manage to get to your headphones if you are in a very windy location, though. It does allow you to hear any issues in your recording, and by hearing yourself talking or singing, you can figure out best where you should position yourself in front of the microphone.
As I mentioned in another article, being able to record to two devices simultaneously is something you should never take for granted. It will give you peace of mind, knowing that your precious interview will be safe on one format or the other.
What’s also in the box?
- Two 2 meter (6.6’) USB cables (USB-C to USB-C, USB-C to USB-A)
- A 3 meter (9.8’) XLRF to XLRM cable for maximum versatility.
- Sturdy tripod desk stand with folding legs for use on tabletops.
- Element – Dynamic.
- Polar Pattern – Cardioid
- Frequency Response – 50 – 15,000 Hz
- Power Requirements – USB power (5v DC)
- Bit Depth – up to 24- bit
Audio-Technica ATR2100x-USB Review Pros and Cons
- Great sounding microphone for the price.
- Jack headphone input with level control.
- The facility to record to two devices simultaneously.
- Plug and play compatibility.
- Works well with both Windows and Macintosh.
- You will need two of these microphones for a podcast interview.
- The XLR output seems to sound slightly duller.
- Average tripod microphone stand.
Looking for more great Podcasting options?
Well, one is the microphone I have mentioned a few times in this review, which is featured in our Samson Technologies Q2U Review. Or, if you’re a Samson fan, you may also enjoy our in-depth Samson CO1 Review.
As for other microphones for particular roles, check out our reviews of the Best iOS Microphones, the Best Computer Microphones, the Best USB Microphones, the Best Microphones Youtube, and the Best Vocal Mics currently on the market.
You might also be interested in our review of the Best Podcast Headphones you can buy in 2021.
Audio-Technica ATR2100x-USB Review – My Verdict
I particularly like Audio-Technica microphones, and you will not be disappointed at this fine addition to their professional entry-level range of microphones. The sound quality at this low price point really is like that of a far more expensive Microphone. But I kind of expected that from Audio-Technica.
I was very pleased with the modern design and the brushed Aluminium finish. This really makes it stand out from other entry-level microphones at around the same price range.
A versatile performer…
Audio-Technica do mention the use of the ATR 2100x as being for home studio applications also, but I think podcasting and out on the field location work is where this microphone really shines.
Earlier models used the mini-USB connector instead of the USB-C, which I liked, and not that it matters. It is as much about keeping up with advancements in cabling as they both worked well.
The accompanying Microphone stand isn’t great, but it is functional. The very fact that most bad reviews mention only the very average microphone stand tells me it’s something Audio-Technica should take a second look at. I think with the addition of a good shock mount and a windscreen; you should have no issues.
There are many great microphones for podcasting available at such reasonable prices these days that it’s hard to figure out which is the right one for you. Audio-Technica have a great history of making quality professional audio equipment. And in my opinion, you can’t go wrong with this microphone!!
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