The JLab Audio Talk USB Microphone is a really good addition to any work-from-home or podcasting setup. Unfortunately, there’s no pop filter included, which is a shocker given the price tag — you’ll need to buy one separately. It’s a cardioid-only microphone, which utilizes 10 dB overload protection to reduce loud noise distortion, much like the Blue Snowball. For such a small, inexpensive mic, the Blue Snowball pulls off some fancy tricks. But not all USB microphones have this feature, so be sure to check before you buy. Of course, the compression or dynamic limiting is often in place to prevent distortion on peaks, so it's there in the name of preventing distortion from getting into the recording, which is the whole purpose of DSP to begin with. USB mics also often have headphone jacks, which is another anomaly compared with the analog studio mic world. 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. Go figure. Our expert industry analysis and practical solutions help you make better buying decisions and get more from technology. Of course, things are different if you’re a streamer. Some gaming mics up the ante by providing multiple polar patterns to choose from. It supports multiple recording patterns, which are quickly accessible via a physical switch mounted on the microphone. The mic is suitable for MACs, laptops, or Windows. We recommend products based on unbiased research from our editorial team. Design-wise, not much has changed — the microphone is a singular sphere, mounted on top of a tripod base. Subscribing to a newsletter indicates your consent to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. The Fifine K053 USB Lavalier Mic is a wired, lavalier lapel mic that connects to your computer via USB … All mics are going to be able to do 44.1kHz/16bit, but if fidelity is a top priority, you may want to consider mics with higher sampling rates like 48kHz or even 96kHz, and 24-bit capabilities. Determine what you need first and see what options meet your criteria. And the same can be said for other professional work, such as providing voiceovers for film. Currently, the best usb microphone is the Rode NT Condenser. 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. Of course, there are paid alternatives available with greater levels of built-in functionality, so it’s all about what you need. Wit a pretty decent range available at either end and the assistance of our guide and USB port mic reviews we have no doubt you will be able to narrow it down for yourself. Don't rely on the wimpy mic built into your phone or laptop. What if all you want is the quality of a studio microphone, with the convenience of a USB connector? Any editing you do at the computer is being done to a signal that has already been digitally processed, with the maximum sampling and bitrate dictated by the microphone. But this brings up another point—if your podcast is going to involve on-location recording, you may want to consider a mic that can record directly to mobile devices. 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. Phantom power is a commonly misunderstood area of microphone operation that we want to cover in brief detail. Though it lacks omnidirectional or even bidirectional recording, it still performs very well with its cardioid pattern in numerous scenarios. A Royer R-121 ribbon mic, for instance, is a figure-eight pattern ribbon mic favored by engineers going for a richer, smoother sound (along with perhaps picking up some of the room), compared with a Shure SM7, the Michael Jackson-famed vocal mic also popular in broadcasting because of its crisp clarity. Check what accessories come with your microphone as well. Hobbyists aren’t the only ones who can benefit from using this kind of technology. You may mute your microphone during a conference call, or you may fiddle with the headphone volume during a recording. And don’t get me wrong…that’s awesome. Strong audio quality with four mic patterns, including cardioid and stereo. Most of these factors simply depend on what you need. There are 3 commonly used recording patterns, or polar patterns, that you’ll want to be aware of when you’re shopping for a USB microphone. Just don’t expect it to be the best in the business at capturing your desk-based audio work. Reviews for the real world. The Best USB Microphones for 2020 Don't rely on the wimpy mic built into your phone or laptop. The best USB microphones are more important than ever – thanks to increasing bandwidth and new internet-based technologies, we’re going through a communications revolution right now. For shoppers on a budget, there’s the best budget USB microphone, which is the Blue Snowball. But since it serves no real purpose, we feel that the design would be better off without it. In this post, I will tell you about FIFINE Studio Condenser USB Microphone and is it worth buying for you if you wanted to record your audio. Like the Yeti, it boasts compatibility with both Windows and Mac, as well as a headphone out and mobile compatibility. Some gaming mics will also have switches built in to work with specific consoles. The Rode NT-USB microphone is solely a cardioid pattern mic, which may sound limited compared to the Blue Yeti. 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). 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). The Apogee MIC PLUS is a studio-quality microphone, and it looks the part — it’s exactly what we’d picture if we visualized a professional recording microphone. When you make your purchase, you’ll have the option to pair the microphone with numerous helpful accessories. The hybrid Shure MV7 microphone delivers strong vocal quality and the versatility of dual USB/XLR connectivity. By Benjamin Abbott 09 ... It’s impressively sharp and is perhaps the best standard of sound I’ve heard on a USB microphone. Depending on your budget and needs, here's how to pick the best USB microphone for gaming, podcasting, or recording music. That's where we come in. The Blue Yeti microphone works great in many recording situations and offers a ton of useful features for the price.. And some mics not only employ DSP, but glob it on in thick coats that offer anything but a pure signal (and that can be fine, too, if it serves your intended purpose). To start, you should know how most professional microphones function. It’s an inexpensive, entry-level device that’s highly portable — though it isn’t light for its size and the attachments aren’t particularly tight-fitting. By Joe Porletto / July 30, 2020 July 30, 2020 / Reviews / microphone / Leave a Comment. Among USB mics, it's mostly (but not always) condenser mics, and mostly (but not always) cardioid patterns. Here is a special selection of a conference microphone that you can now rely on for top-notch services. Blue Yeti X Professional USB Microphone Closer Look The Yeti X is presented in a large and pretty heavy box. That means no batteries required. There are a few other negatives that sink this microphone down to the lower half of our ranking. We may receive compensation if you click on a link. Otherwise, our pick of the best overall USB microphone, based on the most positive feedback, is the Blue Yeti. (If you’re already an expert in audio tech, you may skip ahead.). This means you can be sure that all of our winners are high-quality microphones for producing top-notch recordings. Still, overall, this is a reliable, high-quality product from one of the most respected brands in audio. Read honest and unbiased product reviews from our users. Some mics also include onboard volume controls, or other physical buttons to switch between recording patterns on the fly. Luckily, many of the mics we include here ship with one or the other. Records audio that syncs up with video taken on phones and tablets. The Apogee MiC Plus delivers excellent clarity and ease of use, whether on a laptop or an iOS mobile device. 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 … Simply plug one into your laptop and you’re ready to go, without sacrificing on audio quality as you would with a basic voice recorder. ... USB audio that makes it inherently better than what you’d get from an analog headset that uses traditional headphone/microphone jacks. 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. We've tested a few that ship with cables to connect directly to the Lightning port on iOS devices, for instance. But the key difference lies in recording patterns. 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. But they’re not ideal for a conference call or round-table discussion, where speakers are seated to the sides. Headphone jack with low-latency monitoring. Basically, most USB mics already have their mic pre's built in, and they also have built-in analog-to-digital conversion. https://www.pcmag.com/picks/the-best-usb-microphones. Delivers crisp audio in a cardioid recording pattern. But again, that is a lengthy and annoying workaround. But our best budget USB microphone has a little brother, and it’s the iCE. While there are some models that employ DSP, like the Beyerdynamic Fox, the DSP in these scenarios is really subtle compared with a typical gaming mic's DSP. The CAD U37 is a beginner’s USB mic that’s priced accordingly, offering the perfect solution for voiceovers or podcasting. 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. 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. The reasonably priced Blue Yeti Nano USB microphone delivers high-quality, crisp audio with two selectable polar patterns and a DSP-free signal chain. Whether you’re a vlogger, streamer, podcaster, or singer, a USB microphone is perfect for capturing vocals. It’s clear from the design and the inclusion of omnidirectional recording that this mic is intended primarily for interviews. And first-time setup is a breeze — simply plug and play, with the necessary drivers automatically installed. If you’re a musician who needs a quality method of recording new ideas while on the road, USB microphones are the perfect choice. Copyright ©2020 Rave Reviews, All Rights Reserved. While cardioid (single-direction) is the standard pattern, maybe you want to capture more than one voice with an omnidirectional or figure-eight pattern. The Blue Yeti USB microphone has been the most popular USB microphones in the last several years, but I wouldn’t recommend it to everyone.. For some users, a mic that ships with its own stand and windscreen or pop filter will be the more reasonable choice. After that, you take into account the mic's specific characteristics that make it bright or dark. We could talk in circles here, but a USB mic for music recording should probably only have minimal DSP, if any. Instead, the Yeti records straight to your device. It’s not the highest-scoring mic on our ranking, but it’s a studio-quality recorder and cross-functional. The Best USB Microphones for 2020 Don't rely on the wimpy mic built into your phone or laptop. Contributing Editor Tim Gideon has been writing for PCMag since 2006. There’s very little price difference between them — so if you want some extra flexibility, you’re probably better off with the regular Snowball. The Samson Go Mic earns its name — it’s highly portable and designed to be used when traveling. Don't rely on the wimpy mic built into your phone or laptop. As a condenser mic with a polar cardioid pattern, this microphone is best suited to quieter, vocal-only recording tasks. PCMag.com is a leading authority on technology, delivering Labs-based, independent reviews of the latest products and services. But you could also use it to record your own podcasts, or even capture notes in the field. You want a mic that provides an accurate, clear signal, but there's no denying that engineers and producers consistently go to certain mics because of their particular characteristics. And don’t pick up an omnidirectional mic if you’re trying to podcast in an environment with lots of ambient noise. It offers multiple recording patterns and produces best-in-class results, all at a reasonable price. You’ll also want to think about your microphone’s transducer. DSP can be adjusted or disabled completely. But what if you don’t want any gimmicks? For example, the microphone head can swivel a full 360 degrees, so stand positioning is less important than with other mics. The Best USB Microphones for 2020. Therefore, if you are looking for the best desktop microphones, then FIFINE Technology 669B USB Microphone … Find helpful customer reviews and review ratings for FIFINE Studio Condenser USB Microphone Computer PC Microphone Kit with Adjustable Scissor Arm Stand Shock Mount for Instruments Voice Overs Recording Podcasting YouTube Karaoke Gaming Streaming-T669 at Amazon.com. The Talk series of mics attempt to cover every … Why Blue Yeti is still the best USB microphone after all this time. Another consideration is how many people will be speaking simultaneously. Besides, there are features built into the AT2020USB+ that are clearly intended for more professional use. Condenser microphones are best suited for vocals, but they’re typically not great for louder audio sources. Microphones in music recording have always been one of the more mysterious elements of the signal chain. There are workarounds, of course—there's recording software that will allow you to record multiple mics at once—but the catch is that they'll all record to the same track. But musicians recording vocals with a pure signal are then likely to mix the recorded vocals in a multi-track scenario, applying EQ, dynamic compression, and perhaps reverb. As a microphone with multiple recording patterns, it is sometimes prone to picking up ambient noise, but this can be minimized by finding the right settings. 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. Can be used with USB ports on computers or Lightning ports on iOS devices. You can easily spend more than $100 on those three items alone. 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 tiny, wireless, app-controlled Sennheiser Memory Mic records high-quality audio to accompany video recorded by your phone. There’s a volume knob for the headphone out, plus a “Mute” button for conferencing — a hard-to-find feature on USB mics. 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. Essentially, it is DC electrical power that’s passed through complex circuitry to operate the microphone. Some mics avoid DSP completely and offer you the purest high-bitrate signal they can. Is Windows Defender Good Enough to Protect Your PC by Itself? Shaped more like a voice recorder than a traditional mic, it’ll fit comfortably on your desk, or in your pocket when not in use. Home Latest Reviews Earther Science io9 Field Guide Video. PCMag Digital Group. © 1996-2020 Ziff Davis, LLC. 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. Most phone/tablet cases will need to be removed in order for mic to connect. If you click an affiliate link and buy a product or service, we may be paid a fee by that merchant. Rode NT-USB microphone review Focused, clear, and user-friendly. 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 engineers will record with a little EQ or compression as part of the signal chain, but that offers less flexibility down the road, as those effects are now baked into the recording. August 29, 2020 August 13, 2020 by Sam. 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. It's possible to record video without the mic recording audio. If you buy one of these microphones, you’re not going to need an audio interface. No pop filter or adapter for standard mic stand. Again, the convenience of a USB microphone can’t be overstated — they’re small, portable, and capable of capturing multi-directional audio. But not all recording software plays nice with USB mics. Quality mic signal capable of rich lows and crisp highs. This is a condenser microphone that offers a cardioid recording pattern, as well as a lag-free headphone output. The Blue Yeti X offers incredible audio quality for a USB microphone, and it has lots of fun features. And it’s a common feature of most condenser microphones, including many we’ve listed here. This is a question that needs to be considered on a case-by-case basis, as the answer differs between microphones. A plug-and-play USB microphone is one of the simplest ways to capture quality audio, requiring none of the setup and expense of professional recording equipment. This thing is huge--like, disturbingly huge. Spending more doesn't necessarily mean you get a better product, but there does seem to be a fairly sensible scale of quality associated with price. It’s a free program that’s compatible with both Windows PCs and Mac computers. But before we get to that, let's talk a bit about microphones in general. There's a wide price range among USB mics, and we've done our best to test models across the entire spectrum. Wiki researchers have been writing reviews of the latest usb microphones since 2015. But either of these actions is likely to cause audible interference with the recording. With USB mics, you can capture studio-quality audio at entry-level prices. If you want a microphone for this purpose, consider the Blue Snowball, our best budget microphone. Depending on your budget and needs, here's how to pick the best USB microphone … Don’t forget that you may also want a webcam, meaning you’ll have to think carefully about microphone positioning. Customers have reported — through accidents with handling — that the microphone is highly durable, even after being dropped. But as we mentioned in the Rode NT-USB review, some microphones suffer from a short cable, and this is one. Your subscription has been confirmed. That will allow you to monitor the recording in real-time, which is invaluable when recording music, for example. Or perhaps you conduct interviews on the road, and need a simple means of recording the conversation with your guests. This pattern is well-suited to scenarios such as interviews, where you’re sitting directly opposite your guest speaker. What’s more, our recommendations come directly from audio professionals and real consumers who have tried and tested these products. For a mic that’s made from plastic rather than metal, this is quite impressive. 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. In other words, don't base your decision on pricing and buy the most expensive thing, assuming you're getting what you need. Expert Tip. There are now thousands upon thousands of people using them for producing their own content. Thus, most gaming mics aren't going to be shy about employing DSP to reduce distortion and clipping. And you’ll probably also want a headphone output so that you can monitor game volume alongside the recording. Since its launch in 2009, the Yeti has become synonymous with the rise in podcasting , streaming and vlogging, with users loving its plug-and-play simplicity.