The Best USB Microphones for Home Recording [2020 Guide and Reviews]
Nowadays, go-to gear with easily available input ports is gaining a lot of popularity. The USB studio microphones are a standard tool of trade now. However, they have not yet reached the level of replacing XLR connected condenser microphone to audio interface setup but are getting there.
Several well-known podcasters, DJs, vocalists, and singers have shifter to USB studio microphones. The main reason behind their popularity is the easy usage and plug-n-play nature of these headphones. Also, they are significantly less expensive since most people don’t consider them as professional studio microphones.
Over the years via constant development and refinement, the USB Studio microphones have truly evolved, which is why they are being somewhat used in a professional capacity. While buying a pair of USB Studio microphones, you have to choose from a different range of specifications and features. However, that can get pretty daunting, especially for beginners.
In this article, we have reviewed the top 10 best USB studio microphones for beginners, along with an extensive buying guide. Read on to find out the perfect USB studio microphones for yourself.
USB studio microphone buying guide:
What is a USB microphone?
A USB studio microphone is simply a microphone that has all the necessary wiring. It only needs the user to connect it to a USB port and start recording. Most of USB studio microphones come with a set of headphones as well, hence, while recording you can also listen to whatever you are recording. USB studio microphones are the easiest way to record anything since they need minimum equipment and set up preparation. The best part is, they are portable and cross-platform which means, these microphones don’t need special support instead, they can be used with almost any PC, Mac, iPad, and laptop without causing any issues.
We also have listed and reviewd the best studio microphones under $300, and the best microphones for recording vocals under $1000.
Before buying anything, there are a few points that you need to keep in mind. USB studio microphone is no different; the guidelines you need to follow while purchasing one are:
The intended use of a USB microphone is one of the most important factors that you need to consider. Most of these microphones are useable for a wide variety of applications, which is one of the main reasons behind its fame. However, if you are looking to use the USB microphone in your recording studio, you might need to up your game. For instance, go for a high-end model, so the mic is compatible with the already present studio and mounting stand. On the other, if you are a beginner and want something basic, you can easily invest in budget-friendly models. They will work ideally. Moreover, if you are not going to record music rather want it for podcasts, Skype, gaming, etc. you can get smaller models with a snug fit.
Another important factor while choosing the right USB studio microphone is a pick-up pattern. Every receiver has a different pick-up pattern based on the manufacturing process used. Some might pick-up sound from all directions, while others might be uni-directional. The type of pick-up patterns you will find in USB studio mics are:
Budget is something you cannot forgo while getting a good USB studio microphone, especially if you are a newbie. When it comes to USB studio microphones, there is a broad range of prices available. There are smaller, less expensive and portable smartphones as well as professional microphones that might cost a fortune. Hence, choose wisely based on your needs.
The Top 10 Best USB Microphones – Reviews
We have listed down the top 10 best USB studio microphones for you. All of these products feature top of the line specifications yet will not dent your pockets. There are no additioal tools required, such as audio interface, to start using the USB microhpones we have listed below.
Rode NT- USB Studio-Quality – Cardioid Condenser Microphone
This Rode NT USB gear mic is one of the best on the market and is a favorite when it comes to building, stability, and overall sound quality. As a matter of fact, almost all Rode mics have these features. From simple operations to cardioid directional pattern, on-the-mic mixing control, and a subtle pressure gradient with SPL of 110 dB you get it all. For simple and easy control as well as sound monitoring and mixing, you get two dials. Honestly, there could not be a better and simpler set up. The best part is, all you need to run the microphone comes in the box. On top of everything, the microphone comprises a built-in stereo headphone jack which provides the users with zero latency.
The headphone jack helps the user hear whatever is being recorded in absolute sync with zero-latency monitoring capabilities. The manufacturer has eliminated all loathsome latency issues to improve convenience and maximize comfort. The pop shield that it comes with is premium grade quality and is supposed to sit at a certain distance from the mic, making it ideal for interference and harsh plosive sound spikes free recordings. The package comes with a complimentary ring mount and tripod stand compatible with the mic. Both comprise of sturdy construction, solid build, and a dandy design.
Blue Yeti Nano Premium USB Mic
This Blue Yeti microphone is one of the best all-rounders you can find on the market. It is unparalleled when it comes to the USB condensation. Apart from the amazing built-in presets this microphone comes with basic controls like mute toggle, adjusting gain settings as well as a 3.5 mm audio jack for real-time recording listening. Towards the innards, we have a tri-capsule array which comes with three condensers angled in a different direction, making this microphone an omnidirectional microphone. Hence, it is ideal for recording studios and professionals. We would not recommend it for casual use since it might record a lot of noise as well.
Moving on, the microphone can record 16-bit audio at 48kHz, making it perfect for studio use where you want to capture the ambiance of the room. As far as the hardware is concerned, the Blue Yeti microphone comes with its own stand. It also had kicked out adjustable legs. Thus, the user can record virtually anywhere as long as the place is quiet. The mic offers to shift between Cardioid, omnidirectional, and bi-directional, making it easy for recordings. Apart from the multiple pattern settings, it is compatible with all major operating systems and is ideal for pristine vocals.
Samson G-Track USB Condenser Professional Microphone with Audio Interface
This USB studio microphone is specifically designed for podcasters, streamers, singer/songwriters and content creators. It is equipped with top of the line audio interface, condenser capsules, and latency monitoring. It comes with two one-inch condenser capsules that will capture all the details as well as the nuance of your sound. From low pitch to high pitch, everything is captured in detail for your recording, live streaming, or broadcasting. Apart from being a mic, this microphone is also an amazing high-quality audio interface with a standard input port. You can also connect your guitar, keyboard, or any other instrument to the microphone for capturing your vocal and instrument performances simultaneously.
As far as the pickup pattern is concerned, this fantastic mic can switch between Cardioid pattern, omnidirectional pattern, and bidirectional pattern depending on what you need it for. This all in one USB studio microphone is a plug and play kind of device that does not need installation of any specific drivers. The user can also connect it to a headphone set for listening to whatever that is being recorded with very low latency. The solid build and die-cast construction make it durable and sturdy. The integrated desktop base and heavy gauge mesh grille ensure longer usage.
Thronmax MDrill One Streaming USB Microphone
Are you always on the move? Do you need something easy to handle yet efficient? Well! This plug and play device, once you get it, will be your go-to. All you will have to do is connect it with a device and choose the microphone as your input in any software of choice. It supports all the major operating systems as well. Hence, you don’t have to install any kind of software or drivers. Moreover, the microphone comes with 48kHz/16bit studio-grade recording, which is considerably brighter since it blocks out or cancels out background noises but still captures the essence of the room, which is always the required result. The manufacturer ensures that all your audio will reach as it is to the audience without any noise.
The microphone comprises of the four sperate recording modes including cardioids, stereo, bidirectional, 360°Omni-directional. The omnidirectional pickup line is for close-talk while the other can be used for far talk, recording HD voice and long-distance recording. Hence, whether you are in a studio, at a coffee shop or in your room, you will be able to record high-quality sounds. It also has a headphone output which lets you hear anything. Also, everything is recorded with zero latency and wide frequency response for a crisp and clear sound. This microphone is ideal for studio recordings, online conference meetings, Google voice, YouTube video recording as well as steam. The best part is, unlike most microphones, it comes with 12 months warranty.
Audio-Technica AT2020USB PLUS Cardioid Condenser USB Microphone
You would have probably heard about Audio Technica since it is one of the leaders in the audio world. This particular USB Studio microphone is one of the most popular in the industry. With its innovative USB functioning and high-level recording, it has been a favorite for a long time now. The mic is a typical example of a side-address cardioid condenser mic. Apart from being a professional top of the line recorder, this mic has a small footprint; hence, it can be set anywhere from your house to your studio to your minivan. The microphone has an amazing range and does not lose affectivity with distance.
Apart from the features mentioned above, this Audio Technica microphone also offers very low almost negligible latency for the headphone outlet. The headphone jack is similar to what we saw in the previously mentioned Rode NT. With a low mass diaphragm and extended frequency, it also provides a very low self-noise on top of the consistency and natural sound pick. The input levels are also controllable. The microphone has a very smooth frequency response, easy direct to DAW recording, and a superior transiency response overall.
Razer Seiren X USB Streaming Microphone
This professional-grade desktop USB microphone has a special design that offers live streaming directly from your desk. It is a digital condenser mic with background noise reduction and filtration abilities. The microphone also optimizes sounds. With sleep and stylish design, this Razer Seiren X USB Microphone also features a built-in shock mount. That dampens any kind of unwanted vibrations to send out a clear and crisp sound. It has a beefy sort of black housing with aluminum brushed texture with a standard USB port which is pretty durable. The digital audio converter it comes with works at the rate of 24-bit 192 kHz.
The built-in sound card allows the user to monitor the audio out with the help of a headphone or a speaker. This Razer Seiren X contains a triple membrane diaphragm which allows the users to pick between four polar patterns: Bi-Directional, Cardioid, Stereo, and omnidirectional much like the Blue Yeti we discussed. Since the microphone is very sensitive, it can even pick up a whisper from three to four feet away. The internal design of the microphone elevates the sound quality, it has zero-latency monitoring and lastly, the cardioid pick up pattern it features is better than other mics.
CAD Audio U37 USB Studio Condenser Recording Microphone
This is the most budget-friendly USB studio microphone of the lot. As compared to other models, it is literally at one half of the price. Mind you, don’t consider it low or modestly spec-ed. The CAD U37 has a larger cardioid pick up the pattern as compared to other mics as well as great sound isolation. On top of these top of the line features, we also have a 10dB overload-protection to avert distortion. A bass-reducing switch that provides you awesome custom options. In case you want to record your voice along with other instruments, this mic might be your holy grail since it is known to record instruments very well.
The switches on the front provide easy controls. Moreover, you can experiment with them to find out what works best for you. For example, keeping at 0 records strings and voices very efficiently. If you want to compare it with an overpriced professional USB studio microphone, then it is not as efficient as you want it to be. Since we are talking about beginners here, then this microphone is ideal for a person who is new to the business and is on a budget. The whole package includes a 10 feet long USB cable as well as a desktop mic stand. Other accessories are also easily available for buying online.
Samson C01U Pro USB Studio Condenser Microphone
This USB studio microphone takes professional audio recording with USB microphones to the next level. The Samson C01U is a USB condenser mic and is designed to be used specifically in studios. Hence, anyone looking for a professional recording microphone at a price that will not break the pocket, this mic will be nothing but the best for them. The higher accuracy and zero latency legacy of Samson microphones stay strong in the C01U. It has a zero-latency for the real-time output on top of the improved signal to noise ratio. The microphone also has a peak LED indicator for use with the home-based studio recordings.
The plug and play operation of this microphone makes it very easy to use. The recordings are hassle-free thanks to the plug and play operation. The microphone is compatible with most of the major operating systems and does not require special drivers or software. The construction is extremely solid. It is made of die-cast metal with a heavy-duty mesh grill. Hence, with high performance, you also get durable and sturdy construction. The Samson C01U Pro USB Studio Condenser Microphone comes with a mini tripod stand, a swivel mount, and a user manual.
Blue Snowball USB Microphone
This chic and dandy looking USB studio microphone, ideal for recording music, podcasts and live chats, comes with an award-winning dual capsule and circuit design. Apart from being compatible with Mac and windows, it has excellent sound capturing abilities as well. The crisp, clean, and clear recordings recorded with the snowball are distortion and feedback-free. It has a unique pattern of switching, which allows you to toggle between three different types of settings making the recording process more flexible. Like almost all the other microphones, it comes with a plug and plays operation that makes recordings hassle-free.
The innovative design features by the snowball are inspired by the classic recording equipment. The retro style is not to be confused with anything light and breakable. Rather, the metallic grill with brushed aluminum frame has a solid build making it durable, sturdy, chic, stylish, and dandy at the same time. It comes in six different colors and has a hassle-free setup, making it ideal for beginners. The package includes a snowball USB microphone (of course), an adjustable stand that is useable in the studio, at your home or even on your desk, a USB cable and user’s guide.
UHURU USB Podcast Condenser Microphone
Specifically designed for professional use, this UHURU microphone comes with an advanced system of the chipset, making it perform very well during the recordings. It has an impressive sampling rate up to 192KHz/24bit much higher than other microphones in the category. Hence, the end result is a smoother and cleaner sound. It has a polar cardioid pattern which enables the microphone kit to cancel all the noise in the surroundings, making the recording sound real and natural. As all USB studio microphones, this one also comes with a plug and play operation. Also, it comes with support for all major operating systems.
The microphone kit has an adjustable scissor arm just like the XLR ones we see in professional studios. It also has a mask placed at a certain distance from the microphone to prevent echo and noise. Everything of this item embraces steel, making it extremely durable and sturdy. Even though it is a little expensive, the build of the microphone, as well as its internals, do justice to the price. The package comes with suspension scissor arm, double-layer pop filter, USB condenser microphone, metal shock mount, and an easy to install windscreen.
These were our top 10 picks for the best USB condenser microphone of 2020!
Check out how to build your home recording studio for under $600, and find the missing pieces to start recording and produce music.
USB studio microphones have been constructed for maximizing convenience and comfort. The technology is still in its developing phase. However, cheap audio interfaces have been out of the picture thanks to these microphones. Whether you want to record a song, go on with a live chat, make a podcast or just record your thoughts a USB condenser mic is an easy, cheap and hassle-free way to go about it.
In this article, we have listed the ten best USB studio microphones for beginners making things a little easier for anyone new to the business. Feel free to drop your comment below and let us know your experience.
Before you go, take a look at the best free audio recordng software and best music producrtion software to properly record, edit and save your ideas.