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Equipment for Practising Vocals - Earphones, Headphones, Microphones

I have found that the following microphone is good for practising vocals

Audio-Technica AT2020USB+

  • Relatively good sound quality for the price of USD 169.
  • USB plug and play so no need to buy audio accessories to make the microphone work.
    Plug right into the laptop or computer.
  • Hear how you sound like to others through your headphones/earphones.
    Headphone jack where you can plug your headphones into the microphone.
  • Comes with a microphone desk stand (not the most stable and adjustable but it is good enough for me)

If you plug your headphones into the headphone jack, you can hear yourself in real-time while recording on Audacity for example.
Core Audio refers to the microphone in this case.
1 (Mono) Recording refers to the output sound in this case so speakers or earphones.
Choosing AT2020USB+ allows you to output the sound through your headphones that you plugged into the microphone's headphone jack.

I would say that the sound quality, convenience, price, ability to hear your voice in real-time are the attributes that make this USB microphone good.

There is a non-USB version of this microphone which is cheaper but harder to set up.
I preferred the convenience so I went for the more expensive USD version.


I use the Sony WH-1000XM3 Wireless Noise-Canceling Over-Ear Headphones.
I'm aware that Sony released a newer version of Sony WH-1000XM4.
Sony WH-1000XM3's noise-cancelling is fantastic.

I've been using the headphone for video calls with its inbuilt microphone before getting the standalone microphone AT2020USB+.


No jack.
Not suitable for connecting to the AT2020USB+ microphone.
But I thought that I should include a few personal opinions of this earphone pair here.

The Jabra Elite 75t Earbuds are quite handy while travelling about and exercising.
They are slightly waterproof. Good enough to withstand sweat.
Noise-cancelling as well.

You take out one earphone and the audio automatically stops.
You put the earphone back in and the audio resumes.
And they have handy buttons on the side to control volume, pause, etc.

Rock on, Matthew!

You think the standard, in-built recorder of either phone or laptop/PC wasn't good enough?

Matthew Whitewood has reacted to this post.
Matthew Whitewood
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

The standard, in-built recorder of either phone, laptop, a headset is definitely good enough for most purposes.
I think that the laptop and smartphone are great inventions.
You can really get around to do so much with these 2 devices.

My Personal Decision

Sometimes I do go too far in a certain direction.
It becomes a bit obsessive.
I have to be careful whenever I feel like upgrading things for the sake of upgrading things.

At the same time, I am also a maximiser when it comes to decision-making.
I had this question in mind.
Does buying a better microphone actually have any worthwhile benefits?
I spent quite a bit of time researching price, audio quality, etc.

I also asked my friend who does gigs in photography and videography.
He told me that AT2020 is a good microphone of choice for podcasts as well.
I am considering doing podcasts, videos and webinars, so that seems to be another plus point.

My voice coach once told me that the voice can provide an outlet for emotional leadership.
Which is consistent with what Roger Love teaches in his course as well.
You can set a lot of the vibe in social situations with your voice.

Finally, I made the decision to go ahead and buy this microphone.
I don't think I need any more audio equipment for a while.
I have spent quite a bit of time researching my purchases for my microphone, earphones and headphones.
I'm satisfied with the purchases.
I could be biased though.
As we know, we like to rationalise our purchases.

How to Listen to How Your Voice Sounds to Others in Real-Time?

It could be my lack of knowledge in sound editing and engineering.
I have not figured out a good way to listen to my actual voice in real-time.

The AT2020USB+ microphone with headphones allows me to hear in real-time how the person I'm conversing with over video conferencing actually hears my voice.
My voice in real-time sounds like my recorded voice.
This is really good for paying attention to how I speak.

The Reviews on this Feature of the AT2020USB+ Microphone

I can now do all of this simultaneously:

  1. Speak and listen to my voice from a third-party listener perspective in real-time
  2. Record my voice
  3. Video conference

Real-time feedback is really great in my opinion.
I don't even need to record myself to know how I sound like.

Sound Pickup Pattern

One downside is that this microphone picks up noise quite well in all directions.
So if you live by a noisy neighbourhood, I would not recommend this microphone.
The sound engineers call this the cardioid pattern.
Unless you sound-proof your whole room.
I am not that much of a fanatic to go that far.

I would suggest NOT buying the AT2020 USB+ microphone.
Now that I have done more research.

The XLR microphones tend to produce better recordings.
The difference between USB and XLR is the jack.

With all that being said, USB microphones are convenient because you can easily plug them into your laptop.

Lucio Buffalmano has reacted to this post.
Lucio Buffalmano