Best USB Microphone
Over the past 10 years USB Microphones have become increasingly popular and their future looks promising, especially with the rise of podcasts and home recordings. Since they have to plug straight from the microphone into the computer, there are a couple elements that must exist inside these mics. A USB microphone is not only a mic, but also a preamp and an analogue-to-digital converter, two units necessary to get your signal into your digital audio workstation (DAW). Everything else in a signal chain (equalizer, compressor, etc) is to improve the sound.These two lists focus on the current leaders in USB microphones overall as well as those in the budget category.
Best USB Microphone Overall:
It’s not difficult to understand the growing popularity of USB microphones. After all, everything that we do related to recording of audio seems to have shifted almost exclusively into computer/software recording, and the USB mic itself makes the process as simple as can be; simply plug it in and you’re powered and ready to start recording. USB mics also cut out other components such as the preamp and analog-to-digital converter, making the recording process simpler and more affordable than the older, more traditional setup. There are many great-sounding USB microphones available today. Here are the best USB microphones overall, with each one listed here equipped with a built-in or included tripod, stand, or base for easy tabletop setup. They're also ultra-compact with each weighing in at less than two pounds, and they all include the necessary USB cables so that you can plug in and get started the instant you take them out of the box.
Rode’s NT-USB microphone provides studio quality sounds and is so simple that you can begin using it the instant that you take it out of its box. It also includes many accessories that will not only make your recording process run smoother, but sound better, too. Read Full Review
USB microphones can sometimes get painted as being cheap or non-professional, but the Blue Yeti Pro easily disavows all of those stereotypes. This device is great for desktop recordings, but also includes a stereo XLR output that allows you to use this as a stereo mic as well. Read Full Review
IK Multimedia has definitely done a great job at bringing the traditional recording experience into the more digital modern era. Their iRig Mic Studio allows you to use a professional-sounding mic with your desktop, laptop, Android, or iOS device. Read Full Review
No one can doubt the level of expertise and experience that Shure has with microphones. So it only makes sense that the company would be able to produce a high quality, fully-functional USB microphone like the MV51, bringing their legacy into the 21st century. Read Full Review
Audio-Technica’s AT2020USBi is a condenser microphone equipped with lightning and USB outputs. Whether you’re looking to do home studio recording, field recording, voiceover work, or podcasting, this is a device that's been designed to meet all of your needs. Read Full Review
Best Budget USB Microphone:
Many people who use USB microphones find themselves working within a constrained budget. This isn’t some outlandish stereotype, but rather it speaks to the general nature of what a USB mic is meant to do. Many podcasters and those doing casual recordings (i.e. nothing that would require the use of a big professional recording studio) favor USB mics due to their ease of use and instant compatibility with mobile laptops and home recording setups. This doesn’t speak to the detriment of these tools’ sonic quality and capability, though; on the contrary, you can get some great sounds out of a USB microphone, even if it’s priced modestly. These are the best budget USB microphones available today, with each one listed here equipped with a USB cable for quick and easy setup right out of the box, they're compatible with both Mac and PC computers, and each features a cardoid pickup pattern to eliminate room noise and provide a clear and direct signal.
Named after its Loch Ness Monster-like design, the Blue Microphones Nessie USB mic includes some special features that set it apart from the other microphones in its peer group. This is a device that was clearly made while thinking about all the potential uses and challenges that might come along with said uses, making it an ideal tool for music demos, podcasts, broadcasts, and more. Read Full Review
Samson’s Meteorite USB microphone offers a quick and great-sounding way to capture vocals wherever you take your setup. This is enhanced by the fact that the Meteorite weighs just half a pound, and can instantly start recording as soon as you plug it into your computer. Read Full Review
They say no two snowflakes are alike, but you’ll be able to confidently capture the same great sound every time you use the Blue Microphones Snowflake USB microphone. This cardioid condenser mic takes up a small footprint that makes it an ideal addition to laptop or desktop setups. Read Full Review
Samson’s C01U Pro USB microphone holds the distinction of also containing a built-in headphone amp that allows you to monitor your signal clearly and easily. Based around the design of the company’s popular C01U USB condenser mic, the Pro offers a reliable and more affordable option for those who want great sound and easy use. Read Full Review
Blue Microphones’ Snowball USB mic has a distinct look and a design that makes it perfect for podcasting, video conferencing, and recording room audio, thanks in no small part to its cardioid or omni-directional pickup patterns and dual capsules. With an included stand and USB cable, you’ll be able to get started as soon as you break this device out of the box. Read Full Review