Many podcasters rush to get USB microphones due to their plug-and-play design. You will have done half the work after unboxing your new USB microphone, which is something we cannot say about XLR microphones.
These devices are portable, and their minimalistic design is why many people love them at first glance. In addition, USB microphones don’t shy away from performance because their acoustic range and clarity are unmatched.
So, if you’re still not convinced that USB microphones are the real deal, this article is for you. Keep reading to discover some reasons to buy a USB microphone today. We also recommend some suitable USB microphones that will be worth your money.
6 Must-Know Facts About USB Microphones
- USB microphones are usually plug-and-play devices.
- Familiarize yourself with the mic’s polar patterns to determine if the USB microphone is good at picking up sound from different directions.
- The form factor is crucial when selecting a USB microphone because it can impact your overall experience.
- Not all USB microphones have onboard controls, so getting one with more dials and knobs is better in order to ensure you can conveniently adjust the mic’s settings.
- USB microphones have different levels of compatibility.
- The average price point of USB microphones is between $50 and $250 and higher, depending on the model, specs, and overall allure.
History of USB Microphones
Sir Charles Wheatstone is the brains behind the microphone. He is the genius who discovered that sound can be transmitted through waves in 1827. But it wasn’t until early 2000 that USB microphones became popular on the market.
The ability to plug a microphone into a computer and use it immediately was a game changer. It set a precedent for other mics.
Today, besides these mics’ excellent sound quality, most USB microphones are well-designed and can pick up sound from all directions. Moreover, they are moderately priced, depending on the model and specs.
5 Reasons to Buy a USB Microphone Today
USB microphones have revolutionized audio recording and production. They have also eased setting up DIY studios. Below are some essential reasons to buy a USB microphone.
1. They Are an All-In-One Microphone
The main upside to buying a USB microphone is its simplicity. This mic’s ability to plug and play makes it a good choice for streamers and podcasters looking to upgrade their audio quality without the hassle of connecting multiple devices to set up the microphone.
Moreover, USB microphones have all the distinctive components of most mics, like a preamplifier and a converter, so you don’t have to integrate them; it’s a plug-and-play device.
In addition, you won’t need an external power source, which adds to these mics’ simplicity and makes them super-convenient. You can use them anywhere, provided you have a laptop.
What’s more, USB microphones take less space because you only need a USB cable, so you won’t have a cluttered gaming desk or podcast station. All in all, USB mics are all-in-one devices that make your podcasting or gaming career easy.
2. They Reduce Your Set-Up Cost
Most USB microphones are very affordable. Depending on the model and specs, you can get one for as low as $50 and as high as $250. But one thing that makes these mics very affordable is that they don’t need an external digital audio interface; they are all-in-one microphones.
Most XLR microphones need an audio interface, which converts the mic’s signals to a favorable format, thus allowing you to analyze them on your computer.
In contrast, USB microphones have an in-built digital audio interface. You can plug it into your laptop or computer and use the mic without multiple technical connections.
USB mics also have an internal preamplifier, another accessory you don’t have to buy to achieve high-quality sound. Overall, even if you buy a high-end USB mic, which costs a fortune, you may still spend less than someone buying an XLR mic.
3. They Are Very Portable
Content creators can unequivocally admit that the main shortcoming of XLR microphones is that they require multiple external devices to generate the best sound. As such, this can be cumbersome for a content creator who is always on the road.
However, you can easily tap into your creative side with a hassle-free USB microphone that doesn’t require a digital audio interface or a preamplifier to make high-quality content.
- 96kHz/ 24bit resolution
- Cardioid, Omnidirectional, Bidirectional, and Stereo patterns
- Plug and play
- Features three studio-quality condensers
- Comes with a desktop stand
Moreover, you don’t need a separate power source because a laptop will suffice. Additionally, you will need a small mic stand and USB cable, which are portable and can easily fit into your bag.
Ultimately, these microphones’ plug-and-play feature makes them easy to use regardless of your location when inspiration strikes.
4. You Do Not Require Prior Knowledge of Audio Equipment to Set It Up
You only need to plug your USB microphone into your laptop and download a few drivers to use it. Unfortunately, you don’t have the same luxury with XLR mics because you must connect multiple devices to ensure impeccable sound quality.
Setting up XLR mics also requires a steep learning curve. You have to know how to connect the preamp, interface, and mixer. Moreover, determining the source of the problem may be challenging if you misconnect the devices.
You may then have to call a technician, which will cost you money. Overall, the USB mic’s plug-and-play feature means even the average person can set it up.
5. They Work Seamlessly with Other Software
Besides these mics’ plug-and-play features, many content creators love these microphones because they connect with most audio engineering platforms.
Also, the USB microphone’s mono channel abilities work seamlessly with various streaming platforms and other video conference software like Zoom and Google Meet. This means you can use a USB microphone for video conference calls.
3 Best USB Microphones Today
In a market oversaturated by different microphones, you can easily get overwhelmed. Moreover, if you aren’t familiar with different types of mics, you may choose the wrong one. So, if you’re in this predicament, here is a starting point. These are some of the best USB microphones on the market today.
1. Blue Yeti
- Broadcast-quality sound for YouTube, game streaming, podcasting, Zoom calls, and music
- Blue VOICE Software (enhanced effects, advanced modulation, and HD audio samples)
- 4 pickup patterns
- Onboard audio controls
The Blue Yeti took content creation to a new level after its release, mainly due to its plug-and-play feature. It is also lightweight, which allows content creators to use it easily when inspiration strikes.
The mic’s endless versatility is unmatched thanks to its cardioid, omni, figure 8, and stereo patterns. They allow you to switch from one pattern to another to get the perfect sound for your streams and gaming. Also, the mic’s internal shock mount is crucial for refining your sound and keeping your content clean.
In addition, Logitech packed the Blue Yeti with multiple studio controls on the body. But the mic’s stand-out feature is the setup design that allows you to hang it.
And, thanks to the Blue Voice software, the mic provides advanced modulation and enhanced effects, making your content richer. Overall, the Blue Yeti is one of the best USB microphones on the market.
2. NT-USB Rode Mini
Next, we have the NT-USB Rode Mini, one of the cheapest microphones on the market. It is especially popular among content creators for its pristine audio recording quality.
With a sleek and slim look that we usually see in modern mics, this 89mm wide microphone boasts a nylon resin construction design. Moreover, the NT-USB Rode Mini offers considerable convenience and flexibility, as you can mount it and adjust it based on your sitting position.
In addition, the Rode Mini brings the studio to your living room thanks to the mic’s cardioid polar pattern. The manufacturer also paired it with a 48KHz sample rate to ensure the microphone produces a warm and smooth sound.
We cannot leave out that this USB mic has an in-built pop filter, which minimizes different popping sounds to boost sound clarity. Also, with the Rode Connect software, you can stream games like a pro and record music at a 20Hz to 20KHz frequency range.
3. HyperX QuadCast S
- Tap-to-mute sensor with LED status indicator
- Built-in anti-vibration shock mount
- 4 selectable polar patterns
- Gain control adjustment
- 3 14mm electret capsules
Lastly, we have the HyperX QuadCast S, a magnificent RGB microphone for content creators that adds class and flair to your podcast setup. Weighing 0.56 pounds, this USB-C microphone has a boundary-breaking design that enhances aesthetics.
Moreover, this USB microphone has RGB lighting, which makes it unique. It also has a mute sensor at the top, which makes it easy to use. But where it shines the most is its adjustable built-in shock mount that prevents unnecessary rumbles and bumps.
In addition, the stereo, omnidirectional, cardioid, and bidirectional patterns let you optimize your sound and settings based on your preferences. These settings ensure your HyperX USB microphone picks up the right sound for frequencies between 20Hz and 20KHz.
Also, thanks to the NGENUITY software, you can easily adjust the mic’s settings to meet your preferred acoustic range. You can also customize its RGB lighting to match other accessories with RGB features, like your mouse and keyboard. Overall, the HyperX QuadCast S performs as well as it looks.
What to Know Before Buying a USB Microphone Today
Always research a USB microphone’s features before buying it. While different factors inform a buying decision, the manufacturer-stated features guarantee it will meet the intended use. Here are some factors to consider before buying a USB microphone:
- Frequency range
- Polar patterns
- Form factor
The average human hearing range is 20Hz to 20KHz, depending on the surrounding noise and your hearing capabilities.
So, you need a microphone that covers this range; otherwise, you will produce a muddy sound recording that may be rough on the ears. What’s more, such mics respond faster to variances in sound pressure, which is an additional benefit.
You must familiarize yourself with a mic’s polar patterns to know the direction it picks up sound based on your use. Some microphones are sensitive to sound from all directions, while others can only pick sound signals from one side.
For example, cardioid microphones can only pick sound from one direction, making them ideal for podcasts and recording music. On the other hand, omnidirectional microphones can capture sound from all sides, making them perfect for group meetings when recording in a room.
Lastly, we have bidirectional mics that are sensitive to sound from the front and back, making them suitable for interviews. Overall, the mic’s polar pattern should match your intended use.
Though USB microphones are plug-and-play devices, you cannot use them with any laptop. Some require Windows computers, while others are only compatible with iOS devices. Lastly, some USB microphones are compatible with most devices. As such, ensure your mic is compatible with your laptop before buying it.
Contrary to what many believe, a microphone’s design impacts your recording experience. For instance, the Blue Yeti is popular among gamers because you can easily mount and adjust its position.
Go for smaller USB microphones because they won’t clutter your gaming desk or podcast area. Ultimately, choose a microphone that makes it convenient for you to record your content.
|1. They Are an All-In-One Microphone||USB microphones are simple, plug-and-play devices that are perfect for streamers and podcasters. They have all the necessary components of a microphone, including a preamplifier and a converter, and do not require an external power source.|
|2. They Reduce Your Set-Up Cost||USB microphones are generally affordable and do not require an external digital audio interface or a preamplifier, reducing the overall set-up cost.|
|3. They Are Very Portable||USB microphones are compact and portable, making them ideal for content creators who are always on the move. They do not require a separate power source or multiple external devices.|
|4. You Do Not Require Prior Knowledge of Audio Equipment to Set It Up||Setting up a USB microphone is straightforward and does not require any prior knowledge of audio equipment. You simply need to plug it into your laptop and download a few drivers.|
|5. They Work Seamlessly with Other Software||USB microphones are compatible with most audio engineering platforms and work seamlessly with various streaming platforms and video conference software like Zoom and Google Meet.|
The image featured at the top of this post is ©VLADIMIR VK/Shutterstock.com.