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The Audio-Technica ATR2500x-USB is a Mic Worth Streaming About

The Audio-Technica ATR2500x-USB is a Mic Worth Streaming About

The Audio-Technica ATR2500x-USB now constitutes the newest member of the Japanese audio giant’s ATR series microphones. Like other models in the series, this new mic offers a prosumer recording option for the budget-conscious. But it also provides an all-in-one tool for podcasters, gamers, and streamers. But taking a look at this enticing new mic, one question remains: can the quality live up to its price tag?


Features and Accessories

The 2500x feels less feature-heavy than some of the competition. It comes with useful accessories: a desktop tripod stand, a clip for standard mic stands, and two cables: 1x USB-C to USB-A, and 1x USB-C to USB-C. I used the latter to test the microphone on my Samsung Galaxy S10+. While producing a healthy signal, the battery strain on the phone caused frequent disconnections. The inclusion of the USB-C cable seems purely intended for computer usage.

While setting up the ATR2500x-USB on Windows 10, everything worked as smooth as you’d hope for. It was simple plug-and-play without the need for any awful proprietary control software in the middle. I didn’t need to go manually fetch a driver to get the mic to function with a computer or DAW. The volume control buttons on the front of the microphone digitally control the computer’s volume. However, I soon realized what would be my single biggest criticism of the mic: the input monitoring. 

From the headphone jack, you can hear the audio output of your connected computer or device. Additionally, you’ll hear your mic signal mixed in at a fixed level. I’m a little bummed that no button exists to turn off this feature. I didn’t like hearing myself breathe while I was taking notes for this review in google docs. I decided to plug my headphones back into the computer.

Sound

The Audio-Technica ATR2500x-USB sounds good. It records audio cleanly, with a wide and fairly unbiased frequency response. Its input gain is fixed, but the level of audibility remains fairly ideal with ample headroom. For a mic designed to record conversation-level voices, and it functions admirably.

Having  an Audio-Technica AT2020 USB+ on-hand,  I thought a comparison would be appropriate. I recorded myself speaking with the mics just over a foot away. The similarities between the two actually amounted to a pretty shocking difference. They recorded at nearly the same level. However, the higher ranges of human speech were brought out a bit more efficiently in the AT2020. For higher pitch voices, the AT2020 would be the obvious weapon of choice. For most male voices, though, I’ve gotta admit that I’m impressed with the ATR2500x’s sound. 

I did hear what sounded like phasing in the sibilance region of the 2500x’s signal, but overall this seems neither consistent nor too problematic. There wasn’t any phasing to be heard on the AT2020. However, when I recorded the ATR2500x-USB at 24/192kHz, I didn’t hear any phasing either. And, it’s not impossible that during the recording I spoke differently or sat in a slightly different position. I should note here that the AT2020 doesn’t record any higher than 16/48kHz.

ATR2500x-USB Dutch Angle

Overview

Audio Technica’s new ATR 2500x-USB is a great product. It’s easy to use, sounds great, and isn’t going to empty your savings. I would’ve liked to see mobile compatibility, but I’m also hard to please (I wouldn’t be surprised if a powered USB hub could get it working). It sounds similar to the AT2020, and it records at a higher bit depth and sample rate. It also seems to be best suited for low voices. In summation, the ATR 2500x-USB should be great for some and good for many. I highly recommend it for anyone getting into podcasting or streaming.

 Pros

Cons

  • gain level and headroom
  • nonadjustable gain level
  • clear, voice focused signal
  • nonadjustable input monitoring
  • easy setup
  • very slight issue with sibilance
  • easy use
  • high bit depth and sample rate

If it sounds like it's right for you, we have it at Audio46.

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