Best Budget Multi-Pattern Mic | Audio Technica AT2050

best budget multi-pattern mic
best budget multi-pattern mic
best budget multi-pattern mic

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When I discovered multi-pattern microphones, I wanted one for my collection right away! However, I wasn’t planning to START a collection of multi-pattern microphones… Basically, I was looking for the best budget multi-pattern mic without compromise; THE ONE.

I started my search for the best budget multi-pattern mic to find the one and only product you’ll ever need; the Audio Technica AT2050. Multi-pattern microphones are extremely versatile and could also potentially replace many other microphones. The Audio Technica AT2050 was the most affordable multi-pattern mic that DIDN’T compromise. To be honest, it actually competes with some of the more expensive options! If you’ve been looking for that perfect multi-pattern microphone, you’ll want to keep reading.

The best budget multi-pattern mic to record drums with one microphone

The reason I even began researching multi-pattern microphones was because I was writing an article on how to record drums with one microphone. Long story short: I thought it would be interesting to use the Audio Technica AT2050 as your mono overhead mic.

The omni/bi-direction polar patterns could actually create the impression of stereo in mono!

However, I was still looking for something that could be used in recording environments that were less than ideal. That’s why having the ability to select between these polar patterns and experiment with the results is exciting!

It’s also a large-diaphragm condenser microphone, so it’s even better suited for drums.

For those of you who are more advanced, you can even combine the Audio Technica AT2050 with your other microphones to create interesting microphone configurations.

For example, using it in bi-direction mode with another cardioid microphone can result in the Blumlein Pair (stereo recording technique).

Using the omni-directional polar pattern in near/far room microphone placement is also an option. Whether you use it on its own or in combination with other microphones, the Audio Technica AT2050 can really do some of the heavy lifting.

If you don’t own any of these other microphone types, you can essentially have the all-in-one solution and expand your tonal palette (while staying on budget, of course)!

The best budget multi-pattern mic to record vocals with

While looking for the best budget multi-pattern microphone, I read many reviews that implied that the Audio Technica AT2050 was perfect for recording vocals on budget.

It’s only slightly more expensive than the RODE NT1-A (which I don’t own anymore).

However, the Audio Technica AT2050 is capable of so much more! One of the things that captivated me was its ability to handle plosives (consonants). Lots of reviews talked about this and explains why Audio Technica doesn’t include a windscreen.

You won’t even need it depending on your vocal style!

If you’ve ever dreamed of recording two vocalists with the same microphone, it’s really easy.

For example, you can record using the bi-directional polar pattern and have one vocalist on each side of the microphone for that classic “duo” sound.

Similarly, you can also use the omni-directional polar pattern to capture an entire vocal ensemble (like your community choir). And just as easily, you can switch back to the uni-directional polar pattern for solo performances.

In other words, the Audio Technica AT2050 is perfect for ALL your vocal needs.

The best budget multi-pattern mic has some useful features

If you’re looking for the “hatchet” of all microphones, you’ve definitely found one of them (the other one is the Zoom H4n Pro). Even after giving us three polar patterns to work with, Audio Technica took it even further with the AT2050.

You’ll also have the ability to attenuate your signal (-10 dB) and to use its onboard HP filter.

Most audio interfaces have the ability to attenuate your signal, but it’s more convenient to have it on the microphone itself. It’s especially true if you’re constantly plugging/unplugging instruments from your small audio interface.

I always forget to put it back on when I need it!

The HP filter can also save you some time once you’ve reached the mixing stage. It basically rolls-off any frequencies below 80 Hz which is great for vocals, guitar, etc…

To be honest though, I’m not the biggest fan of altering the sound of my microphone. I’d much rather capture the sound “as is” and make modifications later (you’ll have to anyways).

That being said, I still think these features can be useful for beginners and especially for performers. That’s right, you can absolutely use the AT2050 on-stage and make modifications yourself (the sound engineer will like you more for doing his/her job).

Just remember that your AT2050 requires +48V Phantom Power!

The best budget multi-pattern mic is ready for anything

You’ve probably come to the same conclusion I have… The Audio Technica AT2050 is perhaps one of the most versatile microphones out there. If you were to own only ONE microphone, I would’ve most likely considered it when starting out.

Audio Technica includes the carrying case and the custom shockmount!

The only things you’ll need to purchase on the side are XLR cables and an appropriate microphone stand (recommendations at the end). Most microphones come with these basic necessities, but it also proves that Audio Technica hasn’t made compromises with the best budget multi-pattern mic.

Some other useful facts about the AT2050:

  • 149 – 159 dB SPL
  • 120 ohm output impedance
  • 20 – 20,000 Hz frequency response

If you’re not an expert of sound pressure levels (SPL), you’d most likely go deaf before reaching 159 dB, so your drum kit won’t distort/clip your microphone.

The extended frequency response is also part of what makes the AT2050 so versatile. From “boomy” kick drums to shimmering cymbals/vocals, you’ll hear it all!

The Audio Technica AT2050 is the best budget multi-pattern mic

It wasn’t really difficult to come across the Audio Technica AT2050 because there aren’t many budget multi-pattern mics on the market. However, they managed to provide the community with something affordable, yet remarkable.

The Audio Technica AT2050 is a must-have for any serious and/or beginner musician.

If you’re shopping for your first microphone, I think it’s an excellent option. I’ve also reviewed the AKG P5 S which is also an exceptional choice for starters (read my review here).

However, I want my readers to keep in mind that I mainly considered this microphone for drums. It’s one of the microphones I recommend in my article “how to record drums with one microphone” and highly recommend reading it if you’re planning to record drums at home.

The Beatles recorded in mono at first, so that’s proof that it’ll sound great!

With clever usage of polar patterns, ordinary mono signals can actually create the perception of stereo. How do you think bands like Pink Floyd/The Beatles managed to create such wide sounding mixes in mono?

So, I also highly recommend the AT2050 for my fellow minimalists!

Before leaving you, I simply wanted to provide you with a shopping list if you’re thinking of purchasing any of the items I recommended… 

Audio Technica AT2050 Multi-Pattern Large-Diaphragm Condenser Microphone:

Pig Hog PHM10 (XLR Cable):

K&M Microphone Stand:

If you were looking for the best budget multi-pattern mic, I hope you’ll consider working with the Audio Technica AT2050. It’s probably the most versatile microphone when it comes to exploring various stereo techniques and even using it on its own. Having access to three polar patterns in the same microphone is a luxury musicians didn’t have until recent times. If you’d like to find out about interesting products like the AT2050, consider subscribing to my weekly newsletter. I’ll also keep you posted on new content that could potentially make your music career flourish. I appreciate your time, thanks for reading!


Stefan Chamberland

Stefan Chamberland

Stefan is a highly proficient sound professional who specializes in sound for picture. His journey into sound production began at the young age of 16, where he initially produced music that went on to feature on local television. Today, Stefan utilizes his extensive expertise to record production sound and lead the audio post-production process for a variety of projects in the TV, Film, and New Media industry. Driven by his passion for sound for picture, Stefan founded Decibel Peak, a platform designed to empower and support emerging sound professionals while contributing to the growth of the industry.

2 thoughts on “Best Budget Multi-Pattern Mic | Audio Technica AT2050”

  1. I was very impressed with your review of the Audio Technica AT2050. I know nothing about recording and the hardware involved to make a decent recording, but with your review I was able to learn a few things that would be helpful. You broke everything down to where a novice or amateur would be able to make an informed decision on which mic to buy.


    • Hey Jerry,

      I’m glad to hear that you’ve found some educational value in this product review. Recording music at home isn’t much more complicated than you think it is. You’ll also need an audio interface and recording software, but other than that it’s pretty simple.

      Depending on what you’re planning to record, the Audio Technica AT2050 might be the perfect first microphone.

      Let me know if you need any more guidance. Thanks for dropping by!

      – Stefan


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