In addition to being a private violin teacher, Alecia started writing music-related articles 3 years ago and has been enjoying this experience greatly. Loves quilting and scrapbooking in her free time.
Marcus has a vast experience in digital audio and sound design. Thanks to his knowledge, he actively helps musicians with technical problems, improving their audio quality and even promoting their tracks so that thousands of listeners could enjoy some really good music.
Last updated: December 14, 2022
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If you ask a recording professional, they will tell you these USB microphones are nothing in comparison to professional recording mics. What if you have a limited budget or are not yet at that pro level?
With advanced technology, USB microphones are improving daily and can achieve most recording goals, if not all. Many podcasters, YouTubers, and home studio owners use a USB PC microphone to a good effect with a few add-ons.
To choose the best USB mic, you must consider its recording patterns and quality, compatibility, mic type, and other features based on your needs and preferences.
To help you with this, we’ve developed this detailed guide and a list of the market’s best USB microphones. So, read on to find the best option that meets your needs.
The Shure MV7 USB mic is an excellent option for recording, gaming, podcasting, and live streaming. This versatile, dynamic mic comes with inbuilt headphone output and has an all-metal construction for durability.
Durability is not the only thing that it has to offer. It is equipped with TeamSpeak and is Zoom-certified. So, you can hold discussions with other people with this device. In addition, you can purchase a boom arm or a tripod with it based on your needs. These features make it an ideal choice for gaming, streaming, and singing, as it is pretty convenient to set up and has a unidirectional polar pattern.
This mic is a top choice if you have an excellent acoustic environment with little background noise. This mic will work best in a room or a studio where you will do most of the recording while staying close to it. That’s why this mic works the best for all your recording and streaming purposes.
Shure has been one of the top brands regarding microphones, and this one is no different. The company ensures quality design with durability in mind and focuses on performance. This mic features XLR and USB output, so you can record both analog and digital.
We highly recommend this USB professional microphone for recording and streaming purposes. You might not get any voice effects with this one which can be a bit of a downside. If you want to record something original and use your mic for other communication purposes, you don’t need to look any further.
The Yeti condenser mic by Blue Corp is a good option if you are slightly short on budget but don’t want to compromise on quality. Setting up this mic is simple, and you can purchase it with a few add-ons, such as a webcam, a light, or a wireless headset.
If you don’t want to spend much but don’t want to compromise on quality, this mic will work for you. Anyone looking for a mic for gaming and streaming purposes on their personal computer can benefit from this USB mic.
The multi-pattern mic comes with its studio microphone USB and has an audio sensitivity of 120 dB. So, it will work better for anyone who likes online conversations. It might not be the best option for you to use when it comes to singing, but if you are looking for a mic that can record music or podcast and stream, it will work fine.
We loved this mic’s onboard controls that simplify usability. From pattern selection to headphone volume and mic gain, you can use these controls according to your needs, and they are easily accessible. You can optimize your sound quality by adjusting its desktop stand to track the sound source in real-time.
The best part is that this mic has built-in voice effects that you can use in recording and other purposes. We have noticed that it’s a pretty big mic. You will need a lot of space on your desk to place it alongside your system and other accessories.
Why did it make our list?
Comes with different voice effects
Available in different colors for a nice setup presentation.
Delivers clear audio results with four different pickup patterns
What is not ideal about it?
It is massive and will cover a lot of space on your desk
The Rode NT condenser mic is the best option for singing. Its connectivity is one of the main reasons we have listed it so high, which is why it is so popular. We loved the fact that this mic is compatible with so many devices. You can link it with your personal computer, an iPad, a camera, or a headphone.
This USB PC microphone features a pop filter that will keep the audio quality in check and only record the best tones from the audio source. It has a unidirectional polar pattern; you will need to place it directly in front of the sound source for the best results.
For the price, this is a pretty good mic, and it can deliver awesome audio quality. However, we suggest you use it in your studio where there is not much noise in the background. For the price, it is a pretty good option, but we strongly recommend that you don’t move this mic around too much because the stand that comes with it is not that durable.
This mic is great for singing specifically as it comes with a pop filter, and you can position it in any way you like. The overall build quality is pretty solid, and most components feature metal. However, the tripod that comes with it and those o-rings should have been better quality.
What are its best features?
A pretty good choice for singing and recording music
The Hype Mic, as it is called, features analog compression, and it can conveniently capture instruments and vocals. However, you can use it for gaming, podcasting, streaming, and much more. The premium-quality microphone is durable and comes with a 3.5mm jack and USB connectivity.
This mic comes with various accessories, including a robust tripod, carrying case, and a pop filter. It features a PureDIGITAL connection that can record audio at 24-bit/96 kHz with the studio-quality analog compressor that it is equipped with. Moreover, this mic is compatible with headphones, gaming consoles, and personal computers. So, connectivity won’t be that much of an issue for you.
If you are interested in a mic that offers durability and convenience and delivers experience performance, you don’t need to look any further. It comes with a wide range of accessories, including a stand adapter, a USB-to-lightning cable, a tripod, a USB-A to USB-B cable, a USB-B to USB-C cable, and a full setup guide.
We loved the cardioid condenser in this mic as it is one of the best in terms of recording details. Therefore, it is your ideal tool to capture instruments or vocals. Furthermore, there are three different presets for compression settings that you can choose according to your preferences.
It comes with a stereo headphone out, so you can directly link your headphones with it. You can start recording without delays as soon as you listen with zero latency. This mic is better for professional gamers and streamers, as it comes with a pretty hefty price tag.
What are its best features?
Solid construction with a list of accessories included
Ideal for gaming and live streaming
Fully compatible with headphones, personal computers, and gaming consoles
AKG is one of those brands in the industry that need no introduction whatsoever. It is highly regarded for its top-quality products, and this USB mic is among them. This mic has a solid construction and can record in UHD format with its four capsules. It has a multi-capture mode and is ideal for gaming, streaming, and recording.
One of the reasons why this mic has made our list is that it not only delivers exceptional sound quality but also features a modern design. The plug-and-play universal compatibility of this mic keeps things simple. It comes with a 2m USB-C to USB-A cable.
The mic is ideal for recording and streaming with background music or noise if you want to capture that too. The cardioid and omnidirectional polar patterns it supports will enable you to use this mic in studio settings. Therefore, it is one of the better options for recording music.
The feature we liked the most is its ability to record sound in 24-bit/192kHz high resolution. There are four different capture modes with a mic array, and you can use them for different applications. Setting up this mic is pretty simple, as it’s all plug-and-play.
We were amazed that this mic has a headphone output and mix controls. It means you will have full control over your music output, mute, and mic gain directly from the mic itself. It has an appealing look, so you don’t have to hide your mic during your screen sharing.
We have noticed that this mic has its cobalt connection at the bottom. So, it will prevent you from placing your mic with pitch-forward on your desk. Moreover, its gain knob doesn’t have any gradient, and there is no direction where the gain increases or decreases. So for first-time users, it can be a bit difficult to find out. Therefore, trying it out a few times would be a better option for you.
Otherwise, this mic is a pretty good choice for various applications. You can use it for recording and live and it will deliver a sensational sound. It comes from a quality company and you won’t have to break your wallet to get it either. So we highly recommend using this microphone for your audio work.
The Behringer Bigfoot lives up to its name because it is slightly heavier. It is one of the most affordable options on the market without compromising quality. The corded electric microphone has a neat-looking design and will look nice sitting on your desk.
This mic has multiple polar patterns with omnidirectional, unidirectional, and bidirectional patterns. So, the mic is highly versatile under the hood. You can use it for signing, gaming, and streaming. However, we think that this mic is not the best option for you to go for if you are looking for top-notch quality and performance.
It works well for anyone who is looking for a more budget-friendly option. If you want to try something out for the first time, maybe this is the right choice. Or perhaps you want to have a second USB mic in stock. These are the ideal scenarios in which you can use this mic. It does get the job done for the price, but there are not many customization and editing options available with this one.
A budget USB mic features a multi-capsule condenser that works for vocals, conference calls, studio sessions, and field recordings. Podcasters can benefit from it. Just plug it into your system, and you won’t need any other hardware.
We were impressed by the frequency response it can generate. and with the results, we would surely suggest that this mic is a good option for recording vocals and instruments. However, we would say that this mic is not the best choice for gaming or streaming. It requires the sound source to be very close to it. Otherwise, you will have to deal with some distortion and background noise.
This mic is a great option if you try broadcasting or recording for the first time. It has enough options for you to explore and get more comfortable. It works well for anyone short on budget. This mic comes with limited options when it comes to editing and adding effects. But if that is not your concern, this mic is highly recommended, because it will save you your hard-earned cash.
What are its best features?
Comes at a pretty good price
Features multi-capsule design with an inbuilt USB interface
Can produce a quality frequency response
Multiple polar patterns for maximum flexibility
What could be improved?
Only suitable for beginners or trials.
Things to Consider
There is a wide range of USB mics available on the market. If you don’t know what to look for, you might buy the wrong option altogether. Therefore, we have developed this guide, so you know exactly what to look for.
Features to Consider Before Buying a USB Microphone
There are all types of USB microphones available for you to choose from. However, not all of them are going to work for you. Hence, you need to identify your needs and demands first.
If you don’t understand what purpose you are looking to achieve with your USB mic and what features you need in your mic, you will always end up making poor choices. We have developed this guide to sort things out for you.
So, here are the features that you must consider before buying a USB mic.
USB vs. XLR
If you need a mic with a more printable design and don’t need to go through a learning curve, you must consider a USB mic.
Most of these USB mics are pretty good for MP3-compressed vocals. However, they work if you want an on-the-go, budget-friendly option.
On the other hand, there are other cases where a non-USB mic will work better for you. For example, if you are a professional recording and mixing artist, you should consider an XLR mic.
These mics have much better audio recording capabilities. However, you will need an external recorder that doesn’t come cheap. Some mics come with USB and XLR options, such as the Shure MV7. All other options available on our list above are USB mics.
The XLR mics produce a much better sound quality due to their inner mechanisms. USB mics have electrical currents that go out of the mic and share the channel with the current that enters it.
However, XLR mics have separate channels for outgoing and incoming currents. Both these channels don’t interfere with one another, and there is no distortion. This is where the 3-pronged output comes in handy.
USB Mic Pros
You don’t need additional gear with a USB mic and can directly connect your mic to your system.
These mics are much more portable as they don’t need additional gear.
These mics are much more budget-friendly and are a good option for new users if you want to try something.
USB Mic Cons
Not the ideal solution for recording with multiple mics.
They don’t work well if you are planning to upgrade later on.
XLR Mic Pros
They are high-end mics that can produce exceptional audio recordings and are used by professionals.
If you want to record two or more individuals, XLR mics work best.
These mics are far more durable and work better with any upgrades.
XLR mics are outed via an interface, and you can always upgrade your interface.
XLR Mic Cons
These mics are far more expensive than their US counterparts.
They are heavy and not as profitable as USB mics.
Condenser vs. Dynamic
These USB microphones have two different variants: one is a condenser, while the other is a dynamic one. Consider using a condenser mic if you plan to record vocals and instruments.
A condenser USB mic such as Blue Yeti, Rode NT-USB, and others on this list will be much closer to a studio condenser mic.
However, dynamic mics, such as Shure MV7, tend to be more durable and are excellent for all other scenarios, such as recording outside. These mics work better for broadcasting, so they are great for streamers and podcasters.
Dynamic Mic Pros
These mics are best for live performances, as they are more durable than condenser ones.
These mics work well for recording instruments and vocals and won’t catch any background noise.
Dynamic mics don’t need any power source.
They are much more affordable than condenser mics.
Dynamic Mic Cons
These mics don’t work for recording higher frequencies.
They tend to miss certain sounds because some require more pressure to move the coil.
These mics aren’t as accurate as condenser mics in a studio setup.
Condenser Mic Pros
Condenser mics are more sensitive, so they can quickly pick up complex sounds.
They are great for vocals.
These mics are superb for recording sound effects and ambient sounds.
Condenser Mic Cons
These mics need phantom power, so you will need a power source to make them work.
Condenser mics are expensive.
Some of them are pretty fragile and can easily get damaged.
They tend to pick up any unwanted background noise as well.
There are different recording patterns available that you can use on your USB mic, but you can’t find them all in the designs available.
The rule of thumb here is to understand that a cardioid mic works well for recording purposes. While for broadcasting purposes, you should consider buying an omnidirectional mic.
Some mics come with multiple polar patterns. So, they equally work well for recording and broadcasting purposes. If you do both frequently, you should consider going for a mic with multiple polar patterns.
If unsure, consider going for a cardioid pattern mic, like Shure MV7, Apogee Hype, or Rode NT-USB. They are pretty good for recording; you can place them directly in front of your sound source.
If you want to record certain background music, consider going for an omnidirectional mic such as the Blue Yeti or the Behringer Bigfoot. The two mics come with other polar pattern options.
You will need a USB mic with a headphone jack to hear what you are recording in real time, like vocals or instruments.
If you go for a mic that doesn’t come with this jack, you will only be able to monitor the audio from your computer system. The overall audio performance will entirely depend upon how powerful your system is.
This is something referred to as latency. Some mics come with a headphone jack like the Shure MV7 or all others mentioned in our list above. Therefore, you can use these mics to listen to what the mic is recording with zero latency.
With USB 2.0’s theoretical maximum bandwidth, you can record slightly over 24-bit/96kHz audio. If you halve the sample rate to 48 kHz at 24-bit, you can get 80 tracks. Therefore, USB 2.0 is an excellent option for audio recording.
As mentioned above, a wide range of USB mics are available on the market. We think the best one and our Editor’s Choice is Shure MV7.
This dynamic mic is available in both XLR and USB formats, so it is highly versatile and can be for broadcasting and recording.
Our second runner-up is the Rode NT-USB which is an ideal option for singing. This condenser cardioid mic has a pop filter and will handle any background sound very well to ensure crisp recording quality. It is one of the best options for receiving purposes.
You can find a good quality mic according to your budget based on your needs and requirements. Therefore, before you buy a USB mic, identify what you want to achieve and how much you want to spend.