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Nowadays, A USB microphone have become a favorite gadget. The old school microphones alongside the required devices needed to use them somewhat curtail mobile production.
You ever wanted to turn your bedroom into some kind of recording studio? Where you can easily record music, do voiceovers or podcasts? Step forward USB microphone, – it is all that you need alongside your PC.
Nonetheless, buying a computer microphone can be a daunting task, especially for newbies. Don’t fret, because here at pcadvent we are going to give you an extensive guide on what to watch out for when you go shopping for a pc microphone.
Best USB microphones 2018
|Blue snowball||plug and play, two-capsule design, switchable mic patterns||condenser||check price|
|Blue yeti usb microphone||tri-capsule array, multiple pattern array, gain control||condenser||check price|
|Rode nt-usb||built in mix control, cardoid polar pattern, pressure gradient||condenser||check price|
|Shure mv5||apple mfi certified, 3 dsp preset modes, built-in headphone output||condenser||check price|
|Apogee mic 96k||plug and play, cardioid condenser, microphone preamp, a/d converter||condenser||check price|
|Audio-technica atr2100-usb||usb digital & xlr analog outputs, built in headphone jack, cardoid polar pattern||dynamic||check price|
|Audio-technica at2020usbi||mic gain control, extended frequency response, a/d converter||condenser||check price|
|Rode podcaster||a/d and usb interface, cardoid polar pattern, analogue signal conditioning||dynamic||check price|
|Samson g-track pro||polar pattern: cardioid (unidirectional), dual 1″ (25mm) condenser capsules||condenser||check price|
|Razer seiren||4 dedicated recording patterns, zero latency headphone output, microphone gain control||condenser||check price|
1. Blue Snowball - Best Affordable USB Microphone
- Plug and play design - no software required!
- Professional studio quality performance - record both vocals and instruments
- Mac and PC compatible
- Blue's renowned circuit and unique two-capsule design
- Switchable mic patterns for a variety of recording applications
2. Blue Yeti USB Microphone
- Tri-capsule array - 3 condenser capsules can record almost any situation;Power Required/Consumption: 5V 150mA
- Multiple pattern selection - cardioid, bidirectional, omnidirectional & stereo
- Gain control, mute button, zero-latency headphone output. Dimensions (extended in stand) : 4.72 x 4.92 x 11.61 inches
- Perfect for vocals, musical instruments, podcasting, voiceovers, interviews, field recordings, conference calls
- Compatible with Windows 10, Windows 8 (including 8.1), Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP (Home and Professional), and Mac OS X (10.4.11 or higher), and requires a minimum of 64 MB of RAM(remove existing and upload)
3. Rode NT-USB
- High quality studio microphone with the convenience of USB connectivity
- Ultra-low noise. Compatible with Apple iPad
- On-mic mix control
- Includes Tripod stand, pop shield and ring mount
4. Shure MV5
- Apple MFi (Made for iPhone/iPod/iPad) Certified for direct connection to any iOS device without the need for any additional adapters or connection kits
- 3 DSP Preset Modes (Vocals, Flat, Instrument)
- Automatically applies gain, EQ, compression and limiting for optimal results
- Built-in headphone output for real-time monitoring
- Custom-tuned microphone capsule provides best-in-class audio
5. Apogee MiC 96k
- Studio quality cardioid condenser microphone
- Designed for vocal and acoustic instrument recording. Also great for recording interviews, podcasts, voice overs, and audio for DSLR video.
- Up to 96 kHz/24-bit HD recording
- Works with iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac. Lightning and Mac USB cables included.
- Powered by connection to iPad, iPhone or Mac (no batteries or external power required).iOS Device Compatibility:iPhone, iPad, iPod touch
6. Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB - Affordable Cardioid Dynamic Microphone
- Handheld dynamic microphone with USB digital output and XLR analog output
- USB output connects to your computer for digital recording, while the XLR output connects with your sound system conventional microphone input for use in live performance
- Smooth, extended frequency response ideally suited for podcasting, home studio recording, field recording, voiceover, and on-stage use
- Built-in headphone jack allows you to directly monitor your microphone output without audible delay
- Cardioid polar pattern reduces pickup of unwanted sounds from the sides and rear
7. Audio-Technica AT2020USBi
- Condenser microphone with digital output for convenient, high-resolution recording
- High-quality A/D converter with 24-bit/96 kHz sampling rate for superb, high-resolution audio
- Mic gain control allows you to adjust input level on the mic itself
- Smooth, extended frequency response ideally suited for podcasting, home studio recording, field recording and voiceover use
- Compatible with Windows 8, Windows 7, Vista, XP, 2000, Mac OS X and iOS
8. Rode Podcaster - Best USB Dynamic Microphone
- Broadcast sound quality
- 28mm dynamic capsule
- 18-Bit Resolution, 8 - 48 kHz sampling
- Windows and Mac compatible
- Tight Cardioid pattern for superior off axis sound rejection
9. Samson G-Track Pro
- All-in-one professional USB microphone with audio interface
- Ideal for podcasting, gaming/streaming and recording music
- Dual 1" (25mm) condenser capsules
- Cardioid (unidirectional), bidirectional and omnidirectional pickup patterns
- USB output for connecting to any Mac or PC device
10. Razer Seiren RZ05-01270100-R3U1
- With an aluminum base as a stabilizer, the mic sits securely on your home or studio desktop without the need of an additional mic stand, making it perfect for recording and streaming
- Whether you're using the mic for streaming, podcasts, voice-overs, instruments, vocals, conference calls, events, interviews or even duets, the Razer Seiren has you covered
- It can easily switch up to four different dedicated recording patterns to suit a variety of audio capture needs;Headphone amplifier: Impedance: > 16ohms;Power output (RMS): 130mW;THD: 0.009%;Frequency response: 15Hz - 22kHz;Signal-to-noise ratio: 114dB
- With zero latency output when plugged directly into the Razer Seiren, accurately monitor your recordings in real time
- Ensure you sound exactly the way you want your audience to hear you, and use the included controls to adjust the mic gain and headphone volume
USB Microphone Buying Guide
Conversion to Digital Audio
One significant advantage of USB mics is that they have built-in functionality to turn analog audio to digital format.
This means you don’t need to purchase additional mixing gear to convert your audio – classic case of killing two birds with one stone…huh!
It is vital to consider this functionality when buying a pc microphone as it will affect the sample rate, latency and bit depth of your recordings.
Put in simpler terms, turning audio data into digital format involves capturing of a significant number of samples. The depth and rate at which these samples are recorded have a hand in determining the quality of your audio recordings.
In a nutshell, ensure you check the bit depth and sample rates of a computer microphone before you decide to purchase it.
Relates to the number of bits each recorded audio sample has, this, in turn, determines the resolution or detail of your recordings. Taking, for instance, CDs have a 16-bit depth, and as such your USB microphone should handle that, to say the least.
Sample rate aka speed is measured in kHz. Your pc microphone should support a sample rate of around 44.1 kHz at a minimum. Why? This is because it is a frequency in the range of human hearing and also the one used on CDs.
Latency can be defined as the interval between the time a sound is captured by your microphone and the time it took for the signal to be converted into a digital signal and played back through your monitor speakers or headsets.
Basically, high-quality mics have a low latency – a substantial reason to shun cheaper pc microphones.
A number of manufacturers tackle issues pertaining latency by adding a headphone output for real-time monitoring while recording.
Dynamic Mics vs. Condenser Mics
Most likely we are assuming that you are looking for a computer microphone for music production and recording. USB microphone manufacturers to make this assumption, tailoring their computer mics for audio recording rather than stage performances.
As such for most USB mics, you will find most of them to be the condenser type. Reason being, they have; exceptional transient response and a wide frequency response choice.
Most recording houses have condenser mics rather than the dynamic model. Dynamics mics rule for stage performances, more so for handheld use.
With that being said, some manufacturers have started producing dynamic microphones with additional USB port alongside the traditional XLR connector. So, you can easily plug them into your computer for home use and use them for live performances at other times.
Size of the diaphragm – microphone part responsible for converting sound input- matters too.
Small diaphragm mics are great for recording acoustic instruments such as guitars alongside other high pitched devices.
Mics with large diaphragm are more of an all-around kind. They are more sensitive and tend to pick up sounds of low frequencies than those with small diaphragms.
PC Microphone Controls
As mentioned earlier, USB microphones have functions typically present in preamps and audio interfaces, they do have controls that are not commonly part of regular mics.
- Monitor Mix: USB mics with instantaneous monitoring allow for the present recordings to be matched to previous records regarding signal volume.
- Pad Control: A switch for adjusting the microphone’s output, to allow for spikes in volume thus allaying fears of distortion and overload.
- Equalization modes: Though it isn’t that detailed, the EQ modes are used to set the mic’s preamp for different recording requirements.
- Mute Switch: Turns off the mic’s signal.
- Low-cut filter: For cutting out low-frequency signals to eliminate stage noise.