Audio Technica AT2100 USB/XLR Microphone: The Swiss Army Dynamic Mic

AT2100 USB Dynamic Mic

Ahhh, the AT2100 USB / XLR combination mic.

First off, the AT2100 is a dynamic microphone. It’s rugged. Just pick it up and feel the build quality. You could truly hurt someone with it.

The price? An incredible $69 US.

As far as dynamic mics go, it’s not going to replace my EV-RE320 anytime soon as a workhorse mic for eLearning and podcasting type applications, although the rich sound this little guy can produce is way beyond its sticker price. But its main selling point is that it can be plugged directly into a laptop via USB, or can be used with a professional recorder or audio interface via XLR connection.

My favorite use for it is in the photo above. With a simple Apple Camera Adapter, I use this mic to record directly to my iPhone when I need professional “insert” audio on the go. Sometimes a client will need a quick line of audio added to a course, and I need to replicate the sound of the RE320, so I will record to Twisted Wave on my iPhone and email myself the file. A quick post EQ and Normalization later, and I am bringing it directly into my ELearning course in minutes! The thunderbolt cable provides a better recording experience than even USB.

The other application is plugging it into my Zoom H4N via XLR, for a good street reporter microphone that eliminates background noise and holds up to a rugged pounding. If my workflow was a lot of ENG type audio work with stand up, my obvious choice would be the Electro Voice RE-50N.

With all that this guy has going for it; ruggedness, rich sound, versatility and price point, it does hand out “pops” and “plosives” with no apology. Mic placement really needs to be below your mouth, but within 3-4 inches. For that reason, I don’t have much use for the little tripod stand it comes with. You’d want to hand hold this mic in the field, or make sure you have it on a well positioned boom arm if you are going to podcast or record eLearning with it.

All in all, I could not pass up its remote versatility for only $69. If you are on a tight budget, and need a travel ready and podcast ready solution, the AT2100 may just be your mic.