We may earn a commission when you buy through links in our articles. Learn more.

Audio Technica AT2040USB review

The AT2040USB is an affordable podcasting microphone, but it offers pro-quality vocal-capture and incredibly easy USB plug-and-play.

Audio Technica review image showing the microphone on a well lit desk.

Our Verdict

A perfect podcast and streaming mic with all the controls you need built-in, plus real-time headphone monitoring and plug-and-play set-up, the Audio Technica AT2040USB is an ideal choice for those looking to go pro.

Reasons to buy
  • Crisp, warm vocals
  • Excellent build quality
  • Silent soft-touch mute button
Reasons to avoid
  • Needs a stand (not included)
  • Design bland for some

Some people simply love the sound of their own voice – they’re the ones you can’t avoid overhearing holding over-opinionated court in coffee shops across the country. But the reality is, when most folks have their own dulcet tones played back to them, they can’t stand what they hear. There are reasons for this, but one thing experts in the aural realm agree on is that poor-quality recordings don’t help.

If you’re into live streaming and content creation, it makes sense to invest in one of the best streaming microphones to deliver enhanced audio free from all the fuss and background noise. Audio Technica presents just such a mic, in the pleasingly compact form of its all-new AT2040USB Hypercardioid Dynamic Podcast Microphone.

Building on all the best elements of the company’s much-loved AT2040 XLR microphone, the addition of USB connectivity makes this mic more flexible and easier to use than ever for streamers, podcasters and chatty gamers alike. If you’re after a mic with high-quality audio, and you just want to plug it in and go, it could be the right choice for you.

Why you can trust our advice ✔ At PCGamesN, our experts spend hours testing hardware and reviewing games and VPNs. We share honest, unbiased opinions to help you buy the best. Find out how we test.

Audio Technica AT2040USB Specs

These are the Audio Technica AT2040USB specs:

Sample rate 44.1-96kHz
Frequency response 80-16,000Hz
Audio patterns Hypercardioid
Connection USB type C, type A
Size 5.7 x 2.0 inches (14.5 x 5.2cm)
Weight 0.6kg

Audio Technica review image showing the microphone on someone's desk near a box and a keyboard.

Audio Technica AT2040USB design

Right out of the box, on build quality alone, you can tell that this has been designed to impress. Constructed from solid metal, the AT2040USB feels utterly robust and has a reassuring heft to it that other, more plasticky microphones in this price range do not possess. At 615g, it’s much heavier than the Joby Wavo Pro, for example, and feels reassuringly well-made.

With so many streaming microphones on the market, the latest Audio Technica AT2040USB needs to do something to stand out. And speaking of stands, this microphone is designed to be stand-mounted on a boom (more on that below). It’s worth noting this, though, as you won’t be able to stand it up easily on its own.

Coming complete with a mounting clamp attached, around the back is a built-in headphone jack with a high-output amplifier and volume control, USB-C output, and a mix control that allows the mic signal to be blended with prerecorded audio. Round the business end, meanwhile, we have a multistage foam mesh windscreen that combines a non-woven filter with foam mesh to protect against pop. Finally, up top sits a rather neat soft-touch mute button, complete with a red and blue LED light indicator. And that’s it – almost minimalist in its aesthetic simplicity, yet featuring all you need to operate it.

Audio Technica review image showing the microphone from the side.

Audio Technica AT2040USB performance

All you need to do to start using the Audio Technica AT2040USB is to plug it into a computer – an act of simplicity itself thanks to the bundled USB-A to USB-C cable. And once that’s done, the AT2040USB is ready and raring to go, on any recording platform you personally favour, just like that.

Created to focus like a mic possessed on vocal capture alone, the unerringly directional, hyper-cardioid pickup pattern ignores all else around it with a singularly impressive single-mindedness. Indeed, tested in my home study on a hot day, not only did I have a desk fan whirring away next to me, post-school day kids playing noisily outside my window, but also – to add extra test conditions – a radio playing on low nearby. The result of my recordings? My voice was crystal clear, and I picked up no absolutely no other ambient audio.

With responsive mix controls and that strangely satisfying soft-touch instant mute button proving its worth during multiple instances of interruption by my own kids, overall, I found the performance of the AT2040USB to be pretty damn faultless.

Audio Technica review image showing the microphone being held by a model.

Audio Technica AT2040USB boom options

Keeping things simple yet again, the AT2040USB comes fitted with a pivoting stand mount featuring a standard 5/8″-27 to 3/8″-16 threaded adapter. As it doesn’t come with a stand of its own, this makes your boom options wide-open, but for a desk such as mine, I’d recommend keeping it in the family and pairing the mic up with an Audio Technica AT8700.

Costing $89 (£69) and coming with 4x USB cable clips, 4x XLR cable clips, and a table clamp, the AT8700 offers full freedom of movement thanks to 360° rotation, fits the AT2040USB like an audio glove and delivers stability as solid as a recording rock.

Where to buy the Audio Technica AT2040USB

The swish AT20240USB and associated accessories can be bought directly from Audio Technica for a very, very reasonable $149 (£129). It’s also available from major retailers like Amazon.

Should you buy the Audio Technica AT2040USB?

  • Yes: If you’re looking for quality in all quarters
  • Yes: It’s child’s play to set up
  • Yes: It is enormously well-priced for the performance it gives

Podcasters, streamers, and gamers gather around; if precision, professional-level vocal capture is what you seek but the price is a factor, the Audio Technica AT2040USB is your money-saving, broadcast-sound quality savior.

If the Audio Technica AT2040USB isn’t for you

Read our lists of the best gaming headsets and the best wireless gaming headsets for even more ways to enhance your online communications.