The signal from the mic should be more or less pure, with EQ, dynamic compression, and reverb added later in production. Any editing you do at the computer is being done to a signal that has already been digitally processed, with the maximum sampling and nitrate dictated by the microphone.
Each USB mic is essentially its own analog-to-digital converter (DAC), and often with its own gain knob built in (in the analog studio world, that gain knob is often on a different piece of gear entirely, usually referred to as a Mic PRE). The biggest differentiator between USB mics themselves is how they use digital signal processing (DSP).
And some mics not only employ DSP, but glob it on in thick coats that offer anything but a pure signal (and that can be fine, too, if it serves your intended purpose). Typically, most of the mics with heavy DSP are geared toward gamers, though that's not exclusively the case.
Outside the USB mic world, there are several styles of microphone (condenser, dynamic, ribbon) that, combined with the various microphone polar patterns (cardioid, hypercardioid, omnidirectional, figure-eight), produce a wide range of options for the recording engineer. Perhaps most surprisingly, Avid Pro Tools, which is more or less the industry standard for music recording software, requires a somewhat tedious workaround to enable the use of most USB mics.
You can search for “aggregate device USB mic Pro Tools” to get a better handle on that. Now that we've got that all out of the way, let's break down the three most typical uses for a USB mic, and discuss the various options, characteristics, and needs in each realm.
Some gaming mics up the ante by providing multiple polar patterns to choose from. Finally, most gaming mics are going to offer their own headphone jack, hopefully low- or zero-latency, so you don't hear a distracting slap back delay while talking.
Some mics can handle higher sound pressure levels, making them great for recording loud drums and amps, while some mics are ideal for capturing every bit of detail in a vocalist's dynamic performance. We could talk in circles here, but a USB mic for music recording should probably only have minimal DSP, if any.
And there are plenty of music mics, like the Sennheiser MK 4 Digital and the Blue Raspberry, that use no DSP whatsoever. If your goal is to get the highest quality recording possible, with a USB mic you also need to take into account sample rate and nitrate.
There's a wide price range among USB mics, and we've done our best to test models across the entire spectrum. Depending on what and where you plan to record, you might need your own mic stand, pop filter, or perhaps even a shock mount.
For some users, a mic that ships with its own stand and windshield or pop filter will be the more reasonable choice. In other words, don't base your decision on pricing and buy the most expensive thing, assuming you're getting what you need.
A quick word about a major limitation in the USB microphone world: You can typically only record one mic at a time. All your computer can do without an audio input/output to field the multiple signals is select a single input.
If you’ve thought to yourself, “Hey, I’d like to try my hand at that,” but didn’t know where to start on the hardware side of things. Editor’s note: this list of the best USB microphones was updated on January 14, 2021, to address an FAQ about Zoom exercise classes.
Though most of these are just fine (if not superb) for vocals streamed as a compressed MP3 file, there are instances where a non- USB microphone will better serve you. For one: if you make your living on recording and mixing audio, then you’ll want to look at an SLR mic like the Rode NT1A.
This dynamic microphone has a single cardioid recording pattern, and supports the simultaneous use of the SLR and USB outputs. The MV7 is a plug-and-play affair: it includes everything you need to start recording, though you may want to get a mic stand or boom arm to keep it steady.
It doesn’t require phantom power to operate, but you won’t damage it if you pair it with a Cloud lifter preamp. To hear all the audio samples, and see all the frequency response charts, head over to our full review.
Although the recording quality isn’t quite as good as the Sure SM7B, the MV7 gets close, and offers a much more reasonable price. However, while most the other items on this list are excellent choices, they’re most desk-bound options, which makes them a bit of a pain to transport.
This tiny microphone is built to work just about everywhere, just plug it into a laptop or computer and point at the sound you want to record. It’s built to clip neatly on top of any kind of monitor, but the folding stand can rest on any flat surface.
The Samson Go Mic record 16- bit audio at 44.1kHz, which is great for something in this form factor, though it won’t compete with the more premium options on this list. The mic doesn’t do a great job of attenuating background noise, but there is a -10dB setting to reduce distortion.
If you’re really worried about its audio quality, the mic is also compatible with Samson’s Sound Deck software, so you can tweak as much as you like. Whether you’ve been yearning to get a jump start on that “Which is better: Ketchup or mustard?” podcast idea, or you already have a substantial following, the Hyper Quad cast is the bestUSBmicrophone for you.
Its heart-shaped pattern means sounds directly in front of it get recorded while off-axis noises are effectively stifled. This affordable SB microphone features a large, front-facing condenser mic element easily registers vocals, while the cardioid pattern attenuates ambient noise.
It also has a bass-reduction toggle that’s great for immediately reducing room noise; again, this allows for your subject to take center stage when it comes to listener’s auditory attention spans. And like all the best USB microphones listed here, the CAD U37 is a universal mic that works with both Macs and PCs.
If you want a pop filter, you’ll have to make a separate (online) shopping trip for that, but it’s easy enough to get. If you’re still on the fence, just know that CAD has been in the audio game for over 85 years, so it’s safe to say that the company knows how to manufacture a solid microphone.
This USB mic includes a high-output, internal headphone amplifier, delivering a clear reproduction of your subject. Below the microphone’s grill, you’ll find two horizontal dials that allow for basic audio mixing as you go.
The left dial mixes vocals with pre-recorded audio; if done correctly, this could save your ample time in post-production. Oh, and lest we forget, this includes an external pop filter, mic mount, and carrying pouch.
The Beyer dynamic Fox Microphone includes a bright orange USB -C cable, which is easy to find in an overstuffed suitcase. AmazonBasics Mini Condenser Microphone : Amazon’s been making big strides in the affordable consumer electronics space for a little while now, and its recent mic entry is a strong budget contender.
This unidirectional desktop condenser mic will work with just about every recent version macOS, Windows, and Linux. Racer Screen Mini : This little gaming microphone has an unobtrusive design, meaning it can easily be used for your video conference calls.
Sure MV5 : It’s easy to set up and takes up less space than a majority of our picks, save for the Samson Go Mic. Ultimately, we want this site to serve your needs and understand that researching audio products can be tiresome and time-consuming, albeit enjoyable too.
None of us may benefit from championing one USB microphone over another and, while the site makes money from referrals, the writers are paid based on their work, period. They have not yet reached the level of replacing the SLR connected condenser microphones to an audio interface setup, but they have earned the trust of numerous podcasters, singers, and other professionals as a great alternative.
They will save your time as you don’t need to spend hours learning how to set up the audio interfaces, mixers, and microphones. So, if you need a recording device that has more options, can capture two or more sources, and can detect more nuances in vocals and acoustic instruments, this microphone is not for you.
Such a mic features a circuitry where a thin conductive diaphragm is placed near a metal disk is known as a backplate. The voltage variation converts to a digital output that is recorded in the connected device or projected through a sound system.
Such a mic produces a detailed output response, which makes it an excellent choice for recording vocals, acoustic guitars, and a variety of other sound sources. They are compatible for handling high sound pressure levels without requiring a phantom power or an external energy source, unlike the condenser microphones.
You’ll find a broad range of USB mics when it comes to price points. However, professional microphones with better audio quality come with bigger price tags.
For example, some smaller models are there that are suitable for business meetings or podcasting as you can easily clip onto the screen of your laptop monitor. On the other hand, comparatively expensive and high-quality models are perfect if you need them for recording vocals in a professional studio.
You have to put your mouth or the sound source right in front of those mics at the time of recording. Most USB microphones are similar to standard CDs in terms of the audio bit and sample rate as they function in 16-bith depth and 44.1 kHz resolution.
However, mics with small diaphragms are better for capturing instrumental sounds featuring lots of resonance and overtones. Without making any fine-tuning, the recorded voice should sound good in a headphone or a speaker.
Samson G-Track Pro Professional USB Condenser Microphone with Audio Interface Allows for three different sound pick-ups patterns$$$4.63. Blue Yeti Pro USB Condenser Microphone Cutting-edge A-D converter chip and separate analog circuit path$$$4.2 11.
CAD U37 USB Studio Condenser Recording Microphone Bass-reduction switch reduces room noise$$4.014. Samson Go Mic Portable USB Condenser Microphone Custom compact design that clips to a laptop or sits on a desk$$4.015.
One of the best sounding and sonically flexible UBS mics that money can buy, the Blue Yeti is popular among both the professionals and amateurs. Nowadays, it seems that every company has stepped up to capitalize on the growing popularity of USB mics whether it has enough expertise to manufacture high-quality products.
However, the Blue Yeti comes from a company that specializes in producing professional, quality microphones. Although the Blue Yeti is inconvenient for portable applications, it’s a good build USB microphone that has an excellent sound pattern and comes with a modest price tag.
The Blue Yeti Microphone is made of a kind of sturdy metal, and the overall build quality is very solid. When most traditional mics use only one capsule, Blue Yeti’s tri-capsule array can record almost any situation.
Not portable The control buttons feel flimsy Most shock mounts don’t fit because of the non-standard dimensions This microphone provides very high quality to streamers, podcasters, content creators, singers/writers, etc.
It has a standard 1/4-inch input, and it allows instruments like bass, guitar, keyboard, or even any line-level device to be connected to it. The construction of the microphone is from a very tough die-cast zinc and heavy gauge mesh grille, and it carries an integrated desktop base.
Its dual 1-inch condenser capsules capture the nuance as well as the details and raise the quality of the live stream, recording, or broadcast. The microphone has been built for a recording or sound studio and boasts a maximum SPL of 120 dB.
The microphone easily filters the background noise, and thus only the relevant audio is streamed or recorded. It is ideal for gaming purposes as well as for professional use as it has got a very sleek design, which does not cause any obstruction.
Sound abnormalities do not affect negatively due to the shock mount which dampens the vibrations. The microphone is made out of anodized Aluminum and has got a very elegant Matte Black finish.
The microphone picks up nuances in vocals and streams accurate and detailed audio. The microphone’s sleek design does not cause any obstruction in the view of the audience during a live performance or a TV show.
For good performance, the microphone requires setting the rate very accurately which might be difficult for non-professionals. The MONO Microphone Kit 192KHZ/24BIT has been designed and constructed to allow individuals to record, stream, or use in live performances.
The design of the microphone kit allows for protection for long-distance transport as it includes a lockable Aluminum organizer storage box. However, to connect it to the smartphones, it does require an OTG adapter, which is not included in the package and has to be bought separately.
The USN microphone does not allow any interference as it has got a very powerful anti-interference function as a result of having the magnet ring on the USB microphone cable. The entire structure of this USB microphone has been designed as a highly professional sound chipset.
The USB microphone, therefore, has got a very high sampling rate, which allows for different details and nuances to be picked up easily and accurately. The extended frequency response of this microphone is an ideal solution for speech, voice-over and myogenic.
The system performs superbly when it comes to reproducing the sound on the internet due to the high sampling rate. The USB microphone is very easy to transport due to the Aluminum storage box.
The design of the USB microphone is such that it is easily placed on a tripod stand, which keeps it stable and ready to record or stream audio. The manufacturer recommends plugging the microphone in the back of the computer rather than on the front USB ports.
The USB microphones ensure that regardless of whether the audio is being recorded or live-streamed, the sound quality would be very high. The signal output is very high, and as the noise has been canceled out, the recorded or streamed voice cuts through nicely.
The microphone can be used on the Laptop or the PC for a variety of purposes like Skype, Google Voice Search, etc. It has been equipped with plug and plays feature, and this enables a quick set up, and it starts to work immediately.
The microphone can be used directly on the computer to record for such applications as Skype, YouTube videos, etc. The microphone has been constructed with solid metal ad therefore, ITIS very sturdy and durable.
The condenser microphone has got a USB output for the digital recording, and it has got a cardioid pick up pattern, and this enables it to pick up the main sound but cancels out the background noise and thus the recorded or streamed audio contains only the vocals or the main sound. The sound quality on an overall bass is very clear, crisp and quite loud due to the smooth and noise-free capture of the microphone.
The USB microphone produces such a quality sound that you can easily compare it with expensive audio units. The AT2020 Microphone is made of a durable metal that looks perfect for taking a good amount of abuse and providing a long-term service.
The metal framework holds a sturdy wire mesh, which again protects the mic capsule element. However, if your intention is to podcast or making some decent videos for your YouTube channel, the AT2020 is perfect at a fair price.
Well, you can call off your search as the Blue Snowball Microphone offers a package of better sound, good looks, and easy setup and use! The Blue Snowball sits somewhere in the middle of high-end mics and cheap models that you typically find built into your computer.
Just like the Blue Yeti by the same company, the Snowball has become the absolute favorite of podcasters and amateur musicians since its release in 2005. The back side has a pattern switch that offers three different modes, two for speech and one for music, for various recording applications.
The Blue Snowball produces recordings that sound crisp and clear, free of any distortion. So, if your work requires recording multi person podcasts, interviews or music with a whole symphony, buy something else.
The company has been manufacturing quality microphones for decades, and the MV5 Microphone is another excellent product added to that inventory. It is a condenser mic that can also be used for podcasting, voice overs, and recording vocals and musical instruments.
However, the plastic is not cheap, so the mic won’t crack or chip even if you drop it on the hard floor. The stand allows slightly backward and forward adjustment to the position of the microphone to achieve various firing angles.
However, you can use it with a broad range of shock mounts or stands as it features a standard ¼-inch camera tripod thread at the bottom. The rear side of the microphone has a volume control switch, a 3.5 mm headphone output, and a mode changing button.
It also has a mute button that makes it easier to keep your podcast or vocal recordings clean of sudden coughs or other background noise. The microphone is ideal for vloggers, aspiring musicians, gamers, podcasters, and regular users.
The DSP settings coupled with the MOTIF app make it possible to tune the sound to specific environments. The app offers lots of nifty features so that the users can fine-tune and optimize the recorded sound on the move.
If you’re looking for a professional USB microphone that can capture perfectly the sound of vocals and instruments without adding any color, it’s time for you to upgrade to the Blue Yeti Pro. Many users may think that the Pro model doesn’t sound any different from the original Blue Yeti.
Utilize the audio bit and sample rate and use the relevant software required, and get blown away by the amazing sound! The black textured metal body with hints of silver accents and the large grilles at the top give it a beautiful look.
The stand is also a silver colored metal, and when attached to the mic, it looks handsome with a clean, professional look. It has an SLR output, and you can tune up the audio bit and sample rate to a maximum of 24bit and 96 Hz.
With loads of features, pickup patterns, and high-quality, digital sampling, the Blue Yeti Pro is more than just a mic! The Yeti Pro features three custom condenser capsules that are not superb for noisy environments, but they are enough to produce an accurate, full-range representations of vocals and acoustic instruments.
Not portable Need complementary software Price is higher compared to other USB microphones The Audio-Technica ATR2100 is a value-packed USB microphone that stands apart in the crowd not only for its ability to make different connections but also its low price.
The inclusion of an SLR output, which is rare to find even in some expensive microphones, allowsto connect it to a mixer or a mega sound system for mind-blowing live performance. On the other hand, you can do seamless digital recording through the USB output connected to your preferred device.
In a word, it is one of those rare budget microphones that provide flawless and exceptional performance for both home use and live performances. A windshield and strongly built steel mesh at the top protect the capsule inside.
It weighs around half a pound, which is perfect for giving you a handful feeling without causing arm fatigue. The bottom part lodges a volume control dial, Mini-B USB port, a 1/8-inch headphone jack, and a three-pin SLR connector.
It has a unique capacity of picking up low or high sound frequencies of both vocals and acoustic instruments. The microphone function in a cardioid polar pattern that does not allow unwanted sounds from the sides and rear to interfere with the recordings.
Cannot capture extremely low and high frequencies Sometimes create a fuzzy sound in the background The same theory applies to the Samson Meteor Mic USB Studio Microphone.
The Samson Meteor Mic has a compact build, good looks, and provides a reliable voice quality. It just oozes retro charm with its capsule-like exterior and a double layer of fine wire mesh.
Another nice thing about its design is the black rubber semicircles at the end of each leg. Those rubber tips reduce vibration transfer and keep the microphone from slipping on a surface.
The front side of the mic features a single on/mute button set inside a volume control knob. It doesn’t feature any switch for gain control or pattern change, unlike its more expensive counterparts.
It is loaded with value and will give you the best bang for your buck with a nice look, strong build, and decent performance at 48 kHz/16- bit sound, a complete package that you can hardly expect from a mic under $50. Spending a little more will surely add up to the quality, but that will be a waste if you want a microphone for basic recording work.
The double-layered design of the metal grilles is attractive and provides proper protection for the capsule inside. The mic has a bass reduction and anoverload-protection switch, which allows reducing noise and distortion respectively.
It is a side-address microphone featuring a condenser capsule that can capture small nuances of audio sources. The CAD U37 seems a bit sensitive to plosives, but you can avoid the problem by either using a pop filter or placing the audio source at 3-5 inches away from the mic.
It comes with a nice, little stand that keeps the mic clamped to your laptop or other recording devices. Besides, it is a plug-and-play mic in the true sense, because you absolutely don’t need any driver or software to play it.
The silver microphone with hints of black looks like a perfect companion of a MacBook Pro. However, the microphone’s body is made of plastic except for the grilles at the upper front side that appear to be a kind of metal.
The mounting clip/stand is heavy duty though that has enough weight to sit firmly on any flat surface. It offers two polar sound pickup patterns and a 1/8-inch headphone output for no latency monitoring.
It operates at smooth frequency response between 20 Hz and 18 kHz while the digital sampling rate is 16- bit /44.1kHz. Considering the price, the Samson Go Mic provides a decent sound quality in recording instruments and vocals.
Its range is quite good because it can catch even the distant sound from another side of the house when using the omnidirectional mode. The microphone delivers loud and clear vocals and crisp and precise acoustic sound.
The company also markets a couple of USB microphones too at surprisingly low prices. The CAD U1 is an entry-level USB microphone that will help you to create compelling sound stage in your small home studio.
Despite the plastic body, the mic doesn’t look cheap and feels very comfortable to hold. The mic is ideal for any kind of desktop recording, voice overs, video chats, and other similar work.
The CAD U1 records sound at a decent quality, and it picks up audio well when the source is placed between 6 inches and 4 feet. The cardioid pickup pattern helps to block background noises and to focus solely on the sound source in front of the mic.