Another consideration is how many people will be speaking simultaneously. Design-wise, not much has changed — the microphone is a singular sphere, mounted on top of a tripod base. There's a wide price range among USB mics, and we've done our best to test models across the entire spectrum. But the key difference lies in recording patterns. As a condenser mic with a polar cardioid pattern, this microphone is best suited to quieter, vocal-only recording tasks. When improvements were made to this technology and the power-supplying circuitry was hidden within the mic, the term phantom power became commonplace. Excellent mic signal with strong clarity and the ability to add in analog compression. Clear, crisp signal with adjustable gain and subtle DSP. And for more gaming audio gear, check out our favorite gaming headsets. Gamers, more likely than not, need some of these things to be baked in from the outset, or at least to have some form of DSP that knows when to limit spikes in levels—say if you shout or laugh during a recording. An audio interface is useful if you’re plugging in instruments that require conversion, for example. So USB mics are essentially combining the roles of mics with some of the necessary associated gear in a pro studio setting, and simplifying the signal chain for you. You’ll always want this functionality if you plan on recording vocals over pre-recorded instrumental tracks, for example. Other than this, it has a reliable USB … Our expert industry analysis and practical solutions help you make better buying decisions and get more from technology. Just don’t expect it to be the best in the business at capturing your desk-based audio work. The Go Mic offers both cardioid and omnidirectional recording capabilities for less than 50 bucks. The Blue Yeti has been the best USB microphone around for quite awhile due to its relatively affordable price, solid quality and diverse recording modes. The affordable Shure MV5 microphone delivers quality audio and adjustable DSP and EQ settings through a free companion app. Sure, we could make a case for spending thousands on a mic — but we won’t. Records audio that syncs up with video taken on phones and tablets. Strong audio quality with four mic patterns, including cardioid and stereo. That said, the extra control buttons and knobs don’t come without their disadvantages when put to the test. Today we’re looking at a budget usb microphone, the FiFine K670. If you’re working in an environment with lots of background noise and recording simple speech, then this could be sufficient. Every USB microphone on this list has achieved a minimum average star rating of 4 to 4.5 on Amazon. Hence, the rise of the plug-and-play USB microphone. This newsletter may contain advertising, deals, or affiliate links. But what it lacks in recording pattern variety, it makes up for in other areas. But as we mentioned in the Rode NT-USB review, some microphones suffer from a short cable, and this is one. Though it’s a condenser mic that only offers cardioid recording, it’s pitched as being perfect for instrumental recording, something that numerous happy customers have attested to. The Samson Meteor is a seriously attractive microphone, contending with Blue for the best chrome or brushed metal aesthetics. USB cable won’t cause trouble with your computer setup, and it’ll work on both iOS and Windows. With USB mics, you can capture studio-quality audio at entry-level prices. In other words, don't base your decision on pricing and buy the most expensive thing, assuming you're getting what you need. Most of these factors simply depend on what you need. It offers multiple recording patterns and produces best-in-class results, all at a reasonable price. Investing in a microphone is a wise idea as this brings out your voice clearly and in crisp format. An audio interface converts an analog signal into a digital signal, though not all microphones require this step. Omnidirectional is the preferred choice for situations where you’ll need to capture sound from all directions, such as when you’re recording music. The Best USB Microphones for 2020 Don't rely on the wimpy mic built into your phone or laptop. JLAB Audio Talk USB Microphone review. If you're in the market for a USB microphone, you probably have a specific use in mind for it. The Blue Yeti microphone works great in many recording situations and offers a ton of useful features for the price.. And the same can be said for other professional work, such as providing voiceovers for film. Due to the design, it’s almost impossible to achieve a comfortable positioning of the microphone in front of your face. But either of these actions is likely to cause audible interference with the recording. The goal with any mic is almost always going to be about clarity, but for podcasts, we need to take into account the vocalist. The Snowball Ice from Blue is a USB microphone that delivers excellent quality audio for just $50. But its latest releases represent a new line of USB microphones for streaming, podcasting, and gaming. However, we’d advise that you skip the headphones and look for a higher-quality, branded pair elsewhere. As such, it’s best for recording podcasts or voiceovers — it’ll work with game consoles, but there are cheaper alternatives that’ll do the job just as well. Some are Apple-only products, whereas others are suited for Windows PCs, too — and they all use USB connectivity. Or perhaps you conduct interviews on the road, and need a simple means of recording the conversation with your guests. Instead, the Yeti records straight to your device. We've tested a number of USB microphones to determine which ones work best for different scenarios, not to mention different budgets. The Shure MV88 is a useful, compact microphone for recording via iOS devices on the go, whether in stereo or mono, with or without DSP. Finally, most gaming mics are going to offer their own headphone jack, hopefully low- or zero-latency, so you don't hear a distracting slapback delay while talking. Go figure. But it’s less a question of whether or not it will work, and more so whether it’s worth the investment. The CAD U37 is a beginner’s USB mic that’s priced accordingly, offering the perfect solution for voiceovers or podcasting. But you could also use it to record your own podcasts, or even capture notes in the field. Two capsules provide cardioid or omnidirectional polar patterns. If you click an affiliate link and buy a product or service, we may be paid a fee by that merchant. But, as long as you use the following factors to help guide your decision, you can’t choose a bad product. With -10 dB attenuation, you’ll be able to capture louder sounds with greater clarity, and without the need for a separate dynamic microphone. But if you’re looking to mix simple tracks on your computer, then Audacity is a good start. Keep an eye on your inbox! There’s very little price difference between them — so if you want some extra flexibility, you’re probably better off with the regular Snowball. And the fact that this mic comes in at the bottom of the list doesn’t make it a sub-par option for home audio recording. But not all recording software plays nice with USB mics. But before we get to that, let's talk a bit about microphones in general. 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. Some mics also include onboard volume controls, or other physical buttons to switch between recording patterns on the fly. The biggest differentiator between USB mics themselves is how they use digital signal processing (DSP). See our full Blue Yeti X review. In this scenario, you're almost definitely talking about using XLR mics (since the interface handles the digital conversion for you and connects via USB or Thunderbolt, thus eliminating the convenience and need for a USB mic in the first place), and you're on your way to a setup that's more pro-level than what we're typically discussing when USB mics are part of the equation. The Razer Seiren Elite offers a solid, professional-feeling build and a clear signal for live streamers and podcasters. It has some convenient features that make it perfect for basic uses, like podcasting or video gaming with friends. The display of third-party trademarks and trade names on this site does not necessarily indicate any affiliation or the endorsement of PCMag. Depending on your budget and needs, here's how to pick the best USB microphone … But again, that is a lengthy and annoying workaround. Apple GarageBand, for instance, will typically recognize a USB mic immediately and ask if you want to use it as an input (if you want to use it as a headphone monitor, as well, set it for both input and output). In this Blue Yeti review, we’re going to take a look at all the features, sound quality, and let you know who it’s best for. If it's only one person talking in the room, a cardioid pattern mic is probably the best route. The Fifine K053 USB Lavalier Mic is a wired, lavalier lapel mic that connects to your computer via USB … The Elgato Wave: 3 is a solid USB microphone with a user-friendly design that's better suited for podcasters and streamers than musicians. Here's my full review + audio tests. If, on the other hand, the podcast routinely calls for interviewees who have little or no mic technique, you may wish to use a mic that has some protective DSP like in the aforementioned gaming mics, so that outbursts of laughter or sudden rises in level are not immediately turned into a distorted mess. These microphones would also be prone to picking up sounds like the clattering of keyboards, so they’re less suited to streaming. Still, the audio produced by this microphone is excellent and well suited to podcasting, vlogging, streaming, or recording music. Multi-pattern, including adjustable stereo images and mono cardioid modes. For a mic that’s made from plastic rather than metal, this is quite impressive. Once we have a long-list, we cross-reference review scores, pros and cons, and the number of times a product is recommended on similar rankings. That in itself takes care of one of the most common complaints about USB mics: annoyingly short cables. USB (digital) and XLR (analog) connections, Shure Motiv app provides real-time EQ and basic controls while recording. For example, the microphone head can swivel a full 360 degrees, so stand positioning is less important than with other mics. For some users, a mic that ships with its own stand and windscreen or pop filter will be the more reasonable choice. Gamers who want to record or live stream their gameplay would appear to need the same things musicians who want to record clear vocals need. Why Blue Yeti is still the best USB microphone after all this time. This pattern is well-suited to scenarios such as interviews, where you’re sitting directly opposite your guest speaker. After all, they won our best overall and best budget titles. If you’re recording audio at home for any purpose, USB microphones are the standard tools of your trade. How to Free Up Space on Your iPhone or iPad, How to Save Money on Your Cell Phone Bill, How to Find Free Tools to Optimize Your Small Business, How to Get Started With Project Management, how to create your own successful podcast, Humans Are Listening to Google Audio Recordings Again, But Only With Your Consent, How I Got My Stupid Album on Spotify and iTunes (and You Can Too). While cardioid (single-direction) is the standard pattern, maybe you want to capture more than one voice with an omnidirectional or figure-eight pattern. And some users have reported a delay on the headset monitoring using the 3.5mm headphone jack, which could be either mildly annoying or seriously problematic depending on what you’re doing. When producing content for an online audience clear audio can create or break your audience. If you’re already intending to get a USB microphone, then there’s nothing to lose by plugging it into your console as an added bonus. Your subscription has been confirmed. Here you'll find the best mics we've tested, along with a guide to their various uses. Lack of DSP presets not for those seeking EQ/compression baked into signal. Digital mics that use USB cables are a totally different beast. It doesn’t skimp on functionality either: You can choose between bidirectional, omnidirectional, and cardioid recording patterns, making this mic suitable for all types of recording. WTOP-FM, an all-news station in Washington, D.C., has compiled a list of the best USB microphones at different price levels for high-quality Skype audio. Admittedly, this microphone isn’t the most aesthetically pleasing. 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 bitrate. By Jorge Jimenez 05 June 2020 Comments Check what accessories come with your microphone as well. We’ve sourced these product recommendations from audio professionals and everyday customers, using both real consumer feedback and reviews from respected authorities in audio tech. PCMag.com is a leading authority on technology, delivering Labs-based, independent reviews of the latest products and services. No pop filter or adapter for standard mic stand. With microphones in general, check out the specific model you plan to buy so you know what you’ll need. The Talk series of mics attempt to cover every … The price is very affordable for the quality of the microphone, included tripod, and … There may seem like a lot of factors to keep in mind when purchasing a USB microphone for gaming. By Benjamin Abbott 09 ... It’s impressively sharp and is perhaps the best standard of sound I’ve heard on a USB microphone. There’s a telescoping arm included for height adjustment on your desk, plus it’s aesthetically pleasing to boot. Thus, the concept of a "pure" signal is a bit misleading—what you're really usually after is a clean signal, which should be a given with pro mics. Besides that, the only other negative to note is that the microphone’s weight tends to imbalance the monitor mount. When you make your purchase, you’ll have the option to pair the microphone with numerous helpful accessories. Just remember to check if a particular microphone includes a headphone out, because you can’t monitor recordings in real-time without one. There’s a volume knob for the headphone out, plus a “Mute” button for conferencing — a hard-to-find feature on USB mics. Expert Tip. There are a few minor negatives to the Snowball (including reports that the cardioid modes pick up excess background noise), but nothing that should put you off if you’re looking for a great entry-level USB microphone. Otherwise, our pick of the best overall USB microphone, based on the most positive feedback, is the Blue Yeti. 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.
2020 usb microphone reviews