USB Microphone ATR-2100 Field Test Review

atr2100 microphone picture

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The Audio-Technica ATR-2100 USB/XLR Mic is available at Amazon and other retail outlets. I recently purchased one for myself and have been testing it with various programs and equipment. Check out the video below to see the results.

The mic has not been as good in some ways as I’d hoped, but in others it has been really great.

I was thrilled to get this mic, then I used it and I hated it. Then I used it some more and I liked it. Now I really like it and think is an awesome bargain, well worth considering. At least I think so. Let me tell you why.

The big draw for me, then and now, is the USB and XLR connection. The XLR does nothing for me as is, but using the XLR to mini-plug cable I can connect to my camera and to my audio recorder. If you’re not familiar with the term XLR, just look at the photo below. It’s the fat plug connector that most professional microphones have been using for years to plug into mixing boards and other equipment you and I have never had.

XLR cable with mini-plug

The ATR-2100 comes with an XLR cable but it does me no good as I have nothing to plug that into. What I purchased was an additional cable, which is XLR on one end with a standard mini-plug on the other. This allows you to use the mic withabout every camera and device there is.

The other add-on i recommend is the foam windscreen cover. For me it’s about the looks but it also helps for better audio too. Without this cover the mic looks a little too goofy, and phallic. Yech. Get one.

This mike is a type called Dynamic cardioid. The short version of this is that it takes in sound from straight ahead and close by. It doesn’t pick up too much sound from the sides or further away. This is where you need to figure out if this is what you need. This is the part I never considered before I ordered it, and why it took some time to learn to work with it.

I had wanted to use this mic on a stand on my desk for voice-overs and short talking head segments. The other intended use was for Skype and Google hangouts. I was glad to see the mic comes with a nice little desk stand. It looks cool in your space, and that’s important to me.

Now the cool looks are a plus, but for my use and tests I find the stand totally worthless. Now I have to buy another accessory, a desk stand. I’m shopping them now and have no recommendation. The problem is that the stand is too short. The mic doesn’t work for me when it’s 6 inches away. It needs to be like 2 inches from my pie hole or it doesn’t work.

This could be a good budget mic for podcasts and screen capture voice-overs. ¬†Want some proof? ¬†This is the mic used by Dave Jackson for his show “School of Podcasting” [.com]

Out in the field this turns out to be a benefit. As you can see in my video test, the background noise is minimal even in a loud environment. If you film in noisy place this will be a good mic choice. Just a little practice and you’ll get the hang of it.

The bottom line is that I’m now very happy with this mic. The sound is very good and the price is very low. I’ll work through the other issues with very little fuss.

As you can tell I’m no audio techno guy. I don’t understand the physics and don’t care to know a lot more than I really need to know.

I hope this may help you out in some way. Watch the video if you haven’t and you’ll get a better idea of what’s what.

I recommend two microphones for your Zi8, or other video camera

If you have Kodak’s newest pocket video camera, the Zi8 then you’ll need to look at external mics to take full advantage of the best feature of this camera. Here I have 2 great recommendations that are highly rated and widely available.

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