Do you remember the first time you spoke into a microphone? It was an exciting experience, wasn’t it? How a stick-like instrument can make your voice so strong and beautiful is something impressive! But that’s not the only way you can use a microphone these days. You can use it to record sound on your laptop – no need for extra speakers or other instruments.
You can also use it to stream sound using state-of-the-art technology and know-how. Suffice it to say that you can set up a studio in your home, produce sound as perfect as you can get in professional studios, and no one will notice the difference. This is only possible if you invest in the best USB microphone.
Before you start learning about this sound instrument in online and offline stores. Here are a few things to consider. These are basic reminders, so feel free to add whatever you want to the list.
- What exactly do you need – to record voices or play games on your Xbox? In the latter case, you can choose pretty much anything you want, but if it’s to record vocals, you may have to limit your search to better quality and a little more versatility. At the very least, you should be able to mount it on a stand or on your desk.
- Choosing the best USB microphone for singing or any other audio need depends largely on your budget. If you’re looking for a high-quality microphone, you may need to save money if your budget allows it. There are inexpensive microphones available for beginner musicians and others. You may want to check them out to see how they work for you.
- You should also pay attention to how the microphones are used when you buy them. Different brands have different models, but in most cases, you will see many that are designed to have condenser characteristics. Other models you may encounter are bi-directional, cardioid/unidirectional and omnidirectional.
With these three tips in mind, you are certainly on the verge of getting what you want. With that in mind, we’ve put together a list to help you. On this list, you will find the best affordable USB microphone at an affordable price, with a wide variety of models.
How to Choose Best USB Microphone
If you do your research properly, you would come across different suggestions, some of which are great and backed by expert verification, and some others, not so much. Despite what you come across, it is still entirely up to you to put two and two together and make a choice that best suits you.
However, there are a few things you need to keep in mind while making your choice so you do not make the wrong decision. We have listed and explained them below.
What brand you decide to go for can make all the difference in the product you choose. It does not have to be one of those high-end ones that are outrageously expensive, but at the same time, you should not be a cheapskate about it if you intend to get a quality product. Here are some highly recommended brands you can check out – Blue, Rode, Fifine, and Shopsimple.
The sound quality of the microphone you choose has to do with its type and quality. Except if you are setting up a very high-tech studio, you can make do with the condenser and dynamic types. The former is more expensive, efficient, and tend to be louder than the latter with better sound quality. The latter is known for its durability and an average to fair sound quality compared to other types.
The more portable the product is, the better you can work with it, even when it is not fixed on a stand. A portable mic is also one that does not hog your desk space, typically smaller in size, but quite effective. An ideal portable mic should not weigh more than half a kilogram.
Ease of Use
The best USB microphones are quite easy to operate for even children. There are no unnecessary buttons and each function key is straightforward without any ambiguity.
Check to see if the product you are considering has the in-mic volume gain control, a simple function that can increase the convenience that comes with using the mic. This function allows you to conveniently control the volume function of the microphone as you record. This control is quite useful for live recordings. Other great controls include mute, mobile compatibility, pop filter, etc.
This refers to the analog to digital conversion ability and quality of the mic. The higher the resolution of the device, the better the sound production would be, both theoretically and practically. Talking about numbers, 96kHz resolution with 24-bit depth is fair and decent.
This has to do with the physical shape, size, and general aesthetics. Based on this point, you should ask questions like – is it portable enough? Is the layout compatible with my grip? Is it compatible with cell phones? If your answers to these questions are satisfactory, then you are probably on the right track.
Top 5 Best USB Microphone to Choose
Based on the above-mentioned advice, experience, and opinions, we have been able to develop these highly recommended products.
5. Kinobo Makio Mic for Laptops and PCs
- Dimension of 4.3 x 3.8 x 0.3 inches
- Weighs 0.6 ounces
- Frequency response range of 100 Hz to 16 kHz
- Black minimalistic design
This is the smallest USB microphone on this list, and probably in the whole wide world. It is so little that you can comfortably hold it with two fingers. It is the most portable on the list, great for anyone who may not have enough space for a tabletop microphone.
- It is so small that you can take it with you anywhere and no feel discomforted
- It works without drivers
- Cancels noise and picks up sound from a distance
- Very affordable
- Not a great option if you are looking for a high-quality audio
- Not very effective on desktops compared to laptops
It works without drivers, once you plug it, it starts working. It may be very small, but it is also very efficient. With a frequency response range of 100 Hz to 16 kHz, it can produce a wide range of high-quality sound. This makes it suitable for recording any type of audio.
4. USB Microphone Fifine Plug and Play
- 50Hz – 16 kHz frequency range
- Weighs 10.6 ounces
- 4.88 x 2.6 x 7.28 inches dimension
- Omnidirectional pick-up pattern
- A portable plug and play feature
This model was first launched in early 2015, and has remained relevant since then, owing to its impressive features and efficiency. It is easy to use – plug and play, relatively portable, and compatible with any USB port except game consoles and phones.
- The wide frequency response allows for transparent quality sound
- Portable and lightweight
- Cost-effective considering what it has to offer
- The interface is easy to use
- Not loud enough for some occasions
- Takes up a little extra space
With this model, you are sure of high sound quality with its distinctive omni pick-up pattern. This pattern helps with noise cancellation for quality sound production both in and outdoors. Another interesting feature is the smooth frequency response which measures within the range of 50Hz to 16kHz, wide and excellent enough for any form of sound production.
3. Rode NT-USB
- Unidirectional polar pattern
- 3.5 mm Jack USB connector type
- 82dB signal to noise ratio
- Weighs 1.15 pounds
- Zero-latency stereo jack
This is a high-quality studio microphone with interesting specifications, enough to get it e spot on this review. With a 16-bit resolution, 20Hz-20kHz frequency range, and a cardioid polar pattern, you would get great functionality and high productivity.
- You can monitor the microphone input in real-time with the help of the zero-latency stereo jack
- Compatible with all mainstream recording applications on windows and mac operating systems
- High-quality sound recording
- Comes with a number of useful accessories
- A little bit on the high side
- Not so easy to set up
- Some of the accessories are designed with inferior plastic materials
It has dimensions of 2.44 x 1.97 x 7.24 inches, and weighs 1.5 pounds, so it is quite compatible with a great form factor. Just like most other items on this list, the Rode USB mic is easy to set up, all you have to do is connect it to your apple PC and you are good to go. The pop shield is great for improved sound quality, and with the included tripod desk stand, you can easily set it up on a desk while you record.
2. Blue Yeti
- Great condenser properties
- Tri-capsule technology
- Multipattern polar
- 20Hz to 20,000Hz frequency range
- 120 dB audio sensitivity
This is another awesome device courtesy of the Blue company, and for a lot of experienced users, this device deserves a top spot on every review list. So, what is it about this device that makes it so special? The polar pattern is multipattern, it has a frequency range of 20Hz-20kHz, an audio sensitivity of 120dB, and weighs about 3.5 pounds.
- The 4 different patterns make it more versatile and useful
- Works well with the windows and mac operating systems
- Produces perfect sounds for musical instruments, conference calls, field recordings, voice-overs, etc.
- The tri-capsule technology allows for greater advantage
- May have issues with repairs if it breaks down
- Customer service not so helpful most of the time
- Does not come with accessories
This device is highly compatible with PCs, tablets, and notebooks that have USB ports, and is quite easy to set up. On a more specific note, there are four different multi patterns to work with in this case. They include cardioid, Omni, bidirectional, and stereo pickup patterns all with interesting unique features to offer you great flexibility.
1. Blue Snowball Ice
- Decibel control property
- Quality frequency response; 40 – 18KHZ
- Mid-range equalization
- Weighs 0.46 kg
- Cardioid condenser capsule
- Comes with an adjustable stand
From experience and expert recommendation, we concluded that the Blue Snowball USB microphone is quite versatile, durable, and records some of the best-sounding vocals for both professional and non-professional purposes.
- A cost-effective way of recording crystal clear audio
- Great value for money
- No drivers required – simple plug and play
- Peculiar design
- Not the best equalization
- The polar response is not fine-tuned
It has a unidirectional pattern, a frequency range of 40 – 18 kHz, designed for PC hardware platforms, and comes with a custom condenser capsule for crystal clear audio production. The sample per word rate is 44.1 kHz/16 bit. It weighs less than half a kilogram, comes with a 2-year warranty, and is quite easy to set up. All you have to do is connect it to the USB port on your PC – no drivers to install – and you are good to go.
Best USB Microphone FAQ
What are the benefits of investing in a USB mic?
They are cost-effective, portable, and easy to set up compared to the high-end ones. When it comes to sound quality, their offer is quite decent and can be used anywhere.
Can I use one USB microphone for everything?
If you are not expecting extremely perfect and serious results from your recordings, then yes, you can use one USB microphone for everything. With a good product, you can get a fairly decent noise cancelations and good-quality sound.
What type of USB microphone should I get?
There are three basic types of USB microphones – cardioid, omnidirectional, and figure of eight. The most common ones fall within the first two categories as they can be used for decent sound production.
In case you’re wondering, if you get the best USB microphone for yourself, you do not have to worry about the set-up because it’s pretty easy and straight forward. Here is what you should do.
- Plug the wire into your computer’s USB port.
- Install it with the installation CD. Once you have entered the CD, you will see instructions on the screen on how to proceed. Follow them carefully to the end.
- Immediately afterward, you have to restart your computer for everything to be in order and to work properly.
And that’s it. For settings, just go to the taskbar to adjust the audio properties. You can simply follow the on-screen instructions for the hardware test wizard.