For a budget microphone, the ATR2100-USB has a few unique features – most notably the fact that it can connect via both USB and XLR. With such versatility, it proves one of the more popular dynamic mics that falls into the budget price range and today we’re taking a closer look.
The ATR2100-USB shares one major thing in common with all other Audio-Technica products – it places the emphasis on function over form. That’s something we can all appreciate, in whatever price range we shop. Ultimately, we’d always rather an item that works better than it looks.
In the case of the ATR2100-USB, this handheld dynamic mic still looks quite attractive though. It’s a bit brighter than some of its competitors, with Audio-Technica opting for a brushed aluminum finish instead of the standard black, with the body featuring nothing more than a power switch and a power indicator LED. This body is made entirely from metal, as is the grille portion of the head, which is dark gray in color. Overall, it’s sophisticated and quite rugged, which is more than you can ask for in such a low-priced mic.
Under the hood, there’s nothing to write home about, but plenty of tech to get the job done. In terms of raw specs, the ATR2100-USB offers a cardioid polar pattern with a frequency response range spanning from 50Hz to 15kHz. It features a decent AD convertor, along with a 16-bit, 44.1/48 kHz sampling rate.
One unique feature that sets it apart is that, even though this model is marketed as a USB mic (which, by the way, is compatible with both Windows and Mac systems), it also features an analog XLR output as well, allowing you to plug into audio interfaces and mixing consoles. This is found on the bottom panel of the mic, which is also where you’ll find a headphone out jack and a volume knob – another pretty unique feature for a handheld dynamic mic.
Finally, in addition to the mic itself, the ATR2100-USB comes with pretty much everything you need to get started – a USB cable, an XLR cable, a mic stand clip, and even a mini tripod mic stand for a desk, so you are good to go right out of the box.
What does this all boil down to? We found that, for home use (podcasting, YouTubing and home recording) through the USB connection, the ATR2100-USB does a great job. The sound is crystal clear and there’s more than enough definition, remaining well balanced through the registers.
Oddly, the XLR connection makes the mic feel a tad dull in its output, but for a budget mic the sound is still decent and could be used for on-stage vocals at a push. However, if singing in a live scenario is your main aim, there are much better budget dynamic mics out there. Still, all things considered, the ATR2100-USB offers an all-round solid performance.
At the end of the day, Audio-Technica’s ATR2100-USB strikes a good balance of performance and versatility for such an affordable dynamic microphone. Undoubtedly, its strengths are in offering clear vocals to anyone looking to get into podcasting/YouTubing, with everything you need out coming in the box. For that reason, the value on this sub-$100 mic is very good indeed.