The Audio-Technica AT2022 is a stereo condenser microphone that is just 9.5 ounces and 7.5 inches long, with one end of the narrow body sprouting a pair of cardioid capsules arranged in an X-Y configuration. The angle between these two capsules can be altered to either 90 or 120 degrees on a swivel mount. The mount clicks into place at each angle, and the capsules are decoupled from the mount with rubber, helping to absorb some of the jolts and knocks you expect with a portable recording device. For storage and transportation purposes, you can fold the two capsules down flat.
The body of the Audio-Technica AT2022 unscrews to expose the battery compartment. A single AA battery powers the mic, which has an on/off switch on the body. As well as turning on the power for the AT2022, this switch can also engage a high-pass filter with the turnover frequency fixed at 150 Hz with a 6 dB/octave slope. As a stereo microphone, it may initially appear odd that the base of the Audio-Technica AT2022 terminates in a standard three-pin XLR connector, but this is an unbalanced output with pins 2 and 3 carrying signals, with pin 1 common.
Along with a padded microphone case, clip, and furry “monster-type” windshield, the AT2022 is supplied with a short cable that converts this XLR output to a mini eighth-inch jack.
I tried the AT2022 out with two different devices. First, I attached the microphone to an HD Flash camcorder to record a number of different types of event, including auto racing, an outdoor music gig, and some general dialogue examples. The supplied windshield is an absolute must, and thankfully didn’t make any significant changes to the frequency response of the AT2022, which was full ranging with good levels of high-end detail and convincing lows. I used the HPF in most applications, and also without it with open-air music and low throbbing engines to see how well the sound was represented. I was not disappointed.
Handling noise was an issue with this microphone, but when fixed securely, or in an appropriate suspension, the problem goes away. The quality of both the microphone and the supplied accessories is very good indeed and all felt robust and up to the task.
For the second test, I used the AT2022 with a Zoom handheld stereo recorder to capture a number of sound effects and various instruments within a few different studio spaces. When capturing ambient effects I noticed that the output of the AT2022 was generally quite low and needed a good degree of gain to capture sufficient detail. It was only with this type of recording I really noticed this, and I ended up with some low-level background noise that might be an issue in some circumstances, though this was the only scenario where it was apparent during the review. In the studio, using the AT2022 to record drums and other instruments in a more ambient fashion was definitely the way to use it and, in this application, did a very good job.
In application, the AT2022 capsules in both the 90- and 120-degree settings presented significant differences in stereo image; it was more than I expected. In general, I found the standard 90-degree setting was “the one to use.” The 120-degree setting offered a special dynamic effect that worked well with things such as wide ambiences and vehicle passes.
The Audio-Technica AT2022 is a well-designed and solidly built great value. It is ideal for achieving increased quality when capturing audio in the field with any variety of portable audio/video devices.
Price: $439 list
Contact: Audio-Technica | audiotechnica.com
Simon Tillbrook is the principal music tutor at Islington Music Workshop in London and a regular contributor to PAR’s sister publication, Audio Media.