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Best USB Microphones For 2020 Reviewed
Those looking for USB microphones are pretty spoiled for choice these days. A quick look online will have you drowning in USB mics. But if you are looking quality audio you won’t find it just anywhere.
Fortunately some of the very best USB mics are surprisingly affordable while also offering high end recording capabilities.
Whether you need a USB condenser microphone for vocals or guitar, recording high caliber audio is the goal. Don’t waste you money on bargain basement USB mics. They just won’t pass the test.
With so many options available, we wanted to narrow the field a bit for you. For a little inspiration on some of the top picks out there, we’ve reviewed five of the most popular USB mic choices.
Which mic will be best for you is going to depend on how you want to use it. Some USB mics offer a bit more versatility than others, while some of our favorites will definitely produce a higher quality recording in specific applications. Your specific needs will be pivotal in making the best choice.
Our quick comparison chart should be helpful to make some of the details a bit more digestible. From there you can see which USB mics landed the top spots in our USB mic reviews.
Okay, lets get right into it!
Top USB Microphone Comparison Chart
Best USB Mics For 2020
Pros of the Rode NT
It’s a reasonably priced USB condenser microphone, providing some great benefits such as a built-in headphone jack, which offers zero-latency monitoring. Musicians know that latency issues can be a real pain, and one of the best things about the Rode NT is that you’ll achieve perfect sync. The Rode also comes with a high-quality pop filter, designed to be positioned at the ideal distance from the mic. High-performance pop-filters are crucial to achieving interference-free recordings.
The Rode is compatible with both Mac and Windows-based applications, including the Ipad, if this is your device of choice. Whether you’re looking to use Twitch, Youtube or record your instruments and vocals, the Rode Mic offers a pristine audio option. The stereo headphones allow real-time monitoring of the mic input. What’s more, you can easily tweak the mix and monitoring levels between your mic input and device.
Why we’d pick the Rode NT
The Rode NT is undoubtedly versatile, offering high capabilities, whether for voice-over, podcasts or vocals. The tripod means you can set the mic at a convenient height for ultimate ease of use. The Rode NT delivers a dynamic range, beautiful audio, and is sensitive enough to offer a clear sound, (which isn’t always true of some other reasonably priced mics). Due to the sensitivity of the mic, users can achieve the best results in a quiet environment with minimal background noise. Musicians and audio engineers alike will find that the Rode produces a desirably smooth sound. It’s a real contender against some more expensive studio-quality USB microphones!
While some USB recording microphones mask natural tones, the Rode NT instead accentuates them. For this reason it’s an ideal mic for voice-over artists and professional (or aspiring) vocalists. Not all USB mics have the low noise capabilities that vocalists need, but the Rode fulfills this requirement hands down. For a sound that is both pronounced and mellow, the Rode really hits the spot. The condenser means that this mic is capable of capturing a broader frequency range when compared with some other dynamic mics. As a USB microphone for singing, the Rode NT reviews particularly well.
Check out all the Rode NT USB Features:
- ENSURE YOU BUY GENUINE RØDE PRODUCTS! Products from sellers which say ‘fulfilled by Amazon’ under the price are NOT authorized resellers, and may not be selling genuine product.
- Buy only from Amazon.com (labelled ‘shipped and sold by Amazon.com’)
- High quality studio microphone with the convenience of USB connectivity
- Pop shield, Tripod desk stand, ring mount, storage pouch and 6m (20’) USB cable included
- 3.5mm stereo headphone jack for zero-latency monitoring
Pros of the Blue Yeti
The Blue Yeti microphone is capable of switching between various pickups, including ‘Omnidirectional,’ which records the surrounding area, ‘Cardioid,’ which records what’s directly in front of the mic, and ‘Bi-directional’ which captures the back and front at the same time. Then there’s the ‘Stereo’ recording pickup, which functions to offer an accurate sound rendering within specific dimensions.
The Blue Yeti features three-dial controls, including headphone volume, gain, and polar pattern. Imaginably, the headphone dial controls the audio volume, while the polar pattern allows you to switch between cardioid or omnidirectional, etc. The gain enables you to change the sensitivity of your mic; for instance, if you are recording in an environment with background noise, you can adjust the gain so that the mic doesn’t pick this up.
Why we’d pick the Blue Yeti
The Blue Yeti allows users to make unparalleled recordings with pristine quality every time. One of the best things about the Yeti is that you can use it in ways that would otherwise require you to have several mics. Many believe it to be the best USB condenser mic based on this, the Yeti has a reputation as something of a ‘super mic’, combining four completely different polar patterns in one.
The main reason to choose the Blue Yeti are the various polar patterns that users can take advantage of. The bi-directional pattern is particularly useful for interviewing using just one microphone. The frequency response is super fast, plus the tech allows users to produce expert level recordings and live audio. It’s a highly sought after USB mic for both podcasters and musicians.
The Yeti is a high fidelity USB mic, which holds balance when used off-axis, and which offers tunable directionality. The Yeti also comes complete with a mute button, a pretty handy feature that many other mics don’t provide. It’s a heavy mic (probably where it gets the beast-reference name from)! Due to its size, it isn’t suitable with just any type of mic stand. Though there are less expensive mic options out there, the Blue Yeti is a cheap USB mic when you consider its features and immaculate sound quality.
Check out the audio quality of the Blue Yeti in this video:
- Tri-capsule array - 3 condenser capsules can record almost any situation.
- Multiple pattern selection - cardioid, bidirectional, omnidirectional & stereo. Frequency Response- 20Hz - 20kHz
- Gain control, mute button, and zero-latency headphone output. Power output (RMS): 130mW
- 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).
Pros of the Audio-Technica
The Audio-Technica features a cardioid polar pattern, which has several benefits for recording. This pattern is highly sensitive to sound directly in front of it, and at the same time it rejects sources which are coming from the background, and behind. Based on this, the Audio-Technica is superb as a USB microphone for vocals; the diaphragm ensures that any off-axis sounds are rejected.
Microphones require an adequate sound pressure level to ensure that there’s no distortion as the pressure rises. The new Audio-Technica has a high SPL of 144dB. Combined with a great range, the Technica allows users to achieve louder signals with reduced distortion. This microphone also has an excellent transient response, which is perfect for digital recording and recording vocals.
Why we’d pick the Audio-Technica
We’d choose the Audio-Technica because it will immaculately deliver your sound inputs, while at the same time- it does not pick up background noises. Some users find that the highly sensitive Rode NT is not suitable for their environment, because they are unable to guarantee no background noise. For these musicians and podcasters, the Audio-Technica may be the best USB microphone for you.
Many cheaper USB microphones do not offer great sound quality, yet the Technica is a huge exception. Don’t be scared off by the lower price tag; this mic is high performing, and capable of recording crisp audio. What’s more, you don’t need to worry about the mic picking up any background interference. This USB recording mic provides sound quality at an affordable price; it performs well for vocals and it’s also ideal for recording acoustic instruments.
- Condenser microphone with USB output for digital recording
- High quality A/D converter with 16 bit, 44.1/48 kilohertz sampling rate for superb audio
- Headphone jack with volume control allows you to monitor the microphone signal with no delay
- Mix control allows you to blend your microphone signal and pre recorded audio
- High output internal headphone amplifier delivers superior clarity and musical detail as well as more volume overall
Pros of the CAD U37
With a large diaphragm, the CAD U37 offers users the benefit of a low-end and stable response, which is suitable for speech and vocals. Like the Audio-Technica, the CAD U37 uses a cardioid pattern, meaning it captures only the sound directly in front of the mic. As a standalone design, the CAD offers great acoustics and also eliminates any mechanical vibrations. The CAD U37 provides a few other handy features, including reducing low-frequency noises and minimizing an overly loud response (usually due to a close mic). The CAD is also one of the least expensive USB mic options, so it’s great for those on a budget.
Whether you’re running a Mac or Windows operating system, it’s easy to plug your CAD into your device and get going. The CAD U37 features two switches that allow you to control the sensitivity of the mic and adjust the pickup of deep bass sounds. Usually, you’ll want to keep the second switch on the ‘normal base’ setting. To remove noises such as ventilation or eliminate lower frequencies, choose the ‘bass reduction’ option.
Why we’d pick the CAD Audio U37
The 10db pad and the low cut filter are two top reasons to go with the CAD Audio U37. With the filter, you’ll lessen the low-frequency noises, and achieve a clean sound, with zero unwanted vibrations. The 10db pad helps to prevent distortion and clipping from loud sources. This feature is helpful for those who are producing strong vocals. While this cheaper option may not offer the performance of higher end mics, it provides perfectly good quality for recording and singing. If you’re looking to keep costs down and you aren’t phrased by a mic with only one polar pattern, the CAD Audio U37 ticks your boxes!
- Large condenser microphone element for warm, rich recordings
- Cardioid pick-up pattern minimizes background noise and isolates the main sound source
- Smooth, extended frequency response is excellent for singing, speech and instruments
- It has 10dB overload-protection switch minimizes distortion from loud sound sources
- Bass-reduction switch reduces room noise
Pros of the Blue Snowball
The Blue Snowball ICE offers a cardioid pattern which is perfect for podcasts, solo instruments, and single-direction recording, picking up sound from in front of the mic.
You can use the Blue Snowball with a wide range of software including Audacity, Pro Tools, or Garageband. No drivers are required, just plugin and let the magic happen! As with most USB microphones, users don’t have to be tech geeks to figure out how to use the Blue Snowball ICE. It’s all self-explanatory, so you’ll be producing some high quality audio in no time. If you’re using your microphone on Skype, Windows Live or Google Talk, you’ll find that the audio quality is much improved.
Why we’d pick the Blue Snowball
The Blue Snowball is a less expensive option than the Blue Yeti, and yet you’ll still achieve a good quality of sound and benefit from the desirable cardioid polar pattern. It’s simple to use, stylish, and versatile for a range of needs. The Blue Snowball ICE performs well for both speech and up-close vocals. The USB output feeds directly into software applications, meaning that you don’t need to mess around with any hardware. For an entry-level mic, offering high audio quality and ease of use, the Blue Snowball ICE is an awesome choice. The Blue Yeti does offer a wider range of patterns, but it’s worth considering which patterns you’ll be using the most before making a choice. Many users find that they only require cardioid polar pattern, and that in this case they don’t need to invest in the pricer Blue Yeti mic.The best USB microphone is unlikely to be the same for everyone, as it typically depends on your needs, usage and budget.
- Custom condenser capsule offers crystal clear audio for Skype, Messages and FaceTime
- Record vocals, create podcasts, and add narration to your home movies
- Add crystal clear audio to recordings for YouTube. Frequency Response: 40 –18 kHz
- Easy plug and play directly to your Mac or PC-no drivers to install
- Snowball iCE is a USB 2.0 device (USB 3.0 compatible as per USB 3.0 backward compatibility specification).Sample/word Rate: 44.1 kHz/16 bit