The tiny, wireless, app-controlled Sennheiser Memory Mic records high-quality audio to accompany video recorded by your phone. The price is very affordable for the quality of the microphone, included tripod, and … If you buy one of these microphones, you’re not going to need an audio interface. If you’re streaming games on Twitch, you’ll want a high-quality USB microphone. We've tested a few that ship with cables to connect directly to the Lightning port on iOS devices, for instance. Copyright ©2020 Rave Reviews, All Rights Reserved. Otherwise, our pick of the best overall USB microphone, based on the most positive feedback, is the Blue Yeti. Of course, things are different if you’re a streamer. If you are buying a particularly sensitive microphone (which typically the best USB mics are) you are going to want to invest in a great pop-filter. The Blue Yeti X microphone is a worthy update to the lineup, with four mic patterns to meet a variety of recording needs. It might be worth considering a mic that has a figure-eight pattern if there's a one-on-one interview happening—placing the mic in the middle of the two speakers in this scenario (provided they are not far away from each other) can yield a natural-sounding recording. The Elgato Wave: 3 is a solid USB microphone with a user-friendly design that's better suited for podcasters and streamers than musicians. 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. Check what accessories come with your microphone as well. Depending on your budget and needs, here's how to pick the best USB microphone for gaming, podcasting, or recording music. Free software for blending various audio sources when streaming. If you’re streaming on Twitch, then you’ll probably want a microphone that can be mounted on an arm or on your monitor. Depending on your budget and needs, here's how to pick the best USB microphone … In the past, USB microphones were often seen as a gimmick, but they’ve been improving constantly. There are now thousands upon thousands of people using them for producing their own content. Design-wise, not much has changed — the microphone is a singular sphere, mounted on top of a tripod base. Firstly, the red LED that is always on feels pointless — we’d prefer blue, at least. Admittedly, this microphone isn’t the most aesthetically pleasing. We recommend products based on unbiased research from our editorial team. But either of these actions is likely to cause audible interference with the recording. It offers multiple recording patterns and produces best-in-class results, all at a reasonable price. It’s clear from the design and the inclusion of omnidirectional recording that this mic is intended primarily for interviews. But since it serves no real purpose, we feel that the design would be better off without it. You’ll most often see cardioid microphones, which record a heart-shaped area in front of the USB microphone. That means no batteries required. If you’re starting out in the world of podcasting, then you want to focus on your recordings, not on purchasing a bunch of expensive, difficult-to-use equipment. 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. 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. Due to the design, it’s almost impossible to achieve a comfortable positioning of the microphone in front of your face. Home Latest Reviews Earther Science io9 Field Guide Video. Some mics can handle higher sound pressure levels, making them great for recording loud drums and amps, while some mics are ideal for capturing every bit of detail in a vocalist's dynamic performance. What’s more, the volume knob is often described as fairly stiff, meaning it can take both hands to adjust. When you make your purchase, you’ll have the option to pair the microphone with numerous helpful accessories. https://www.pcmag.com/picks/the-best-usb-microphones. 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. Condenser microphones are best suited for vocals, but they’re typically not great for louder audio sources. 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 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. We've tested a number of USB microphones to determine which ones work best for different scenarios, not to mention different budgets. The Go Mic offers both cardioid and omnidirectional recording capabilities for less than 50 bucks. Why Blue Yeti is still the best USB microphone after all this time. Rode NT-USB microphone review Focused, clear, and user-friendly. 2. This is a condenser microphone that offers a cardioid recording pattern, as well as a lag-free headphone output. You may be wondering why it’s called phantom power at all. What’s more, our recommendations come directly from audio professionals and real consumers who have tried and tested these products. Requires desktop Sherpa app (or OS adjustments) to modify gain levels. Keep an eye on your inbox! This can be particularly useful for location recordings—say, if your podcast calls for you to get the sound of a softball game in a park or the sound of glasses clinking and dinners chatting at a restaurant. 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. The Razer Seiren Elite offers a solid, professional-feeling build and a clear signal for live streamers and podcasters. Two capsules provide cardioid or omnidirectional polar patterns. There’s a volume knob for the headphone out, plus a “Mute” button for conferencing — a hard-to-find feature on USB mics. You can easily spend more than $100 on those three items alone. PCMag Digital Group. However, because of its plastic build, the CAD U37 definitely resembles cheaper units in terms of its aesthetic and lacks the finesse of Blue’s models. There's a wide price range among USB mics, and we've done our best to test models across the entire spectrum. Each USB mic is essentially its own analog-to-digital converter (DAC), and often with its own gain knob built in (in the analog studio world, that gain knob is often on a different piece of gear entirely, usually referred to as a Mic Pre). The culmination of this methodical process is an airtight list of the very best USB microphones money can buy. Though it lacks omnidirectional or even bidirectional recording, it still performs very well with its cardioid pattern in numerous scenarios. We’ve ranked the 10 best USB microphones to suit a wide range of purposes and budgets. The headphone monitoring is flawless and doesn’t suffer from any latency issues like some other USB microphones. As a general rule, dynamic microphones handle louder audio sources better than condensers, but the gap isn’t too wide. There are both cardioid and omnidirectional mics, as well as budget-range units and more expensive gadgets for professional recording. And you’ll get a pop filter, which is essential for softening plosive sounds that can ruin a recording. It’s not very light and it’s a bit bulkier than others, but this is only a minor inconvenience. However, we’d advise that you skip the headphones and look for a higher-quality, branded pair elsewhere. But before we get to that, let's talk a bit about microphones in general. As the #1 selling microphone on a certain large online retailer’s website, you are probably aware of the Blue Microphones Yeti. Excellent mic signal with strong clarity and the ability to add in analog compression. Clear, crisp signal with adjustable gain and subtle DSP. FIFINE Studio Condenser USB Microphone Review. It’s a free program that’s compatible with both Windows PCs and Mac computers. For such a small, inexpensive mic, the Blue Snowball pulls off some fancy tricks. Read honest and unbiased product reviews from our users. You’ll also want to consider how and where you’ll mount your microphone. There may seem like a lot of factors to keep in mind when purchasing a USB microphone for gaming. 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. Finally, most USB mics are plug-and-play ready. There's also the omnidirectional route if you're trying to capture the sound of a room. In other words, don't base your decision on pricing and buy the most expensive thing, assuming you're getting what you need. Of course, there are paid alternatives available with greater levels of built-in functionality, so it’s all about what you need. © 1996-2020 Ziff Davis, LLC. USB cable won’t cause trouble with your computer setup, and it’ll work on both iOS and Windows. Some mics also include onboard volume controls, or other physical buttons to switch between recording patterns on the fly. You’ll always want this functionality if you plan on recording vocals over pre-recorded instrumental tracks, for example. We may receive compensation if you click on a link. Multi-pattern, including adjustable stereo images and mono cardioid modes. Hence, the rise of the plug-and-play USB microphone. JLab Audio Talk Pro USB Microphone I think the highlight of the JLab Talk Pro is how well it handles background noise. The Apogee MiC Plus delivers excellent clarity and ease of use, whether on a laptop or an iOS mobile device. But if you’re looking to mix simple tracks on your computer, then Audacity is a good start. 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. The hybrid Shure MV7 microphone delivers strong vocal quality and the versatility of dual USB/XLR connectivity. The Best True Wireless Earbuds for Running, AirPod Alternatives: The Best True Wireless Earbuds for 2020, The Best Noise-Cancelling True Wireless Earbuds for 2020, The Best Cheap Earbuds and Headphones (Under $50). Some gaming mics will also have switches built in to work with specific consoles. 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. Records audio that syncs up with video taken on phones and tablets. But the key difference lies in recording patterns. 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.. The JLab Audio Talk USB Microphone is a really good addition to any work-from-home or podcasting setup. 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. But what it lacks in recording pattern variety, it makes up for in other areas. This means you can be sure that all of our winners are high-quality microphones for producing top-notch recordings. 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). Therefore, if you are looking for the best desktop microphones, then FIFINE Technology 669B USB Microphone … Depending on your budget and needs, here's how to pick the best USB microphone for gaming, podcasting, or recording music. If you’re working in an environment with lots of background noise and recording simple speech, then this could be sufficient. Whereas the Blue Snowball offers more than one mode, the iCE only offers a cardioid recording pattern. The mic supports both Windows and Mac, and it also has a headphone output for monitoring your work in real-time. It supports multiple recording patterns, which are quickly accessible via a physical switch mounted on the microphone. That said, the extra control buttons and knobs don’t come without their disadvantages when put to the test. The signal from the mic should be more or less pure, with EQ, dynamic compression, and reverb added later in production. Here's my full review + audio tests. As a condenser mic with a polar cardioid pattern, this microphone is best suited to quieter, vocal-only recording tasks. Quality mic signal capable of rich lows and crisp highs. An audio interface is useful if you’re plugging in instruments that require conversion, for example. Excellent audio quality with Apogee's signature digital conversion. You can opt for a pop filter, which we highly recommend for capturing higher quality speech and vocals. With microphones in general, check out the specific model you plan to buy so you know what you’ll need. Transducer. Other than this, it has a reliable USB … Essentially, it is DC electrical power that’s passed through complex circuitry to operate the microphone. Your eyes don’t deceive you: Yes, we did already list the Blue Snowball back in 4th position on our ranking. Currently, the best usb microphone is the Rode NT Condenser. Unlike some USB microphones, an SD card isn’t required to store your recorded media. 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. So no, not all USB mics are the same, which can make buying the right one for your needs a little tricky. The Samson Go Mic earns its name — it’s highly portable and designed to be used when traveling. Sure, we could make a case for spending thousands on a mic — but we won’t. Can be used with USB ports on computers or Lightning ports on iOS devices. Contributing Editor Tim Gideon has been writing for PCMag since 2006. In a typical recording studio scenario, a microphone is an analog piece of gear that sends a signal to a console or computer through an XLR cable (often through a mixer that can handle multiple microphones at once). Another consideration is how many people will be speaking simultaneously. USB (digital) and XLR (analog) connections, Shure Motiv app provides real-time EQ and basic controls while recording. JLab Audio Talk GO microphone review JLab Audio's $50 microphone is perfect for the content creator on a tight budget. Beyond that, you need to think about windscreens and pop filters, regardless of where you're recording—dealing with the wind, or a speaker with no mic technique, will likely require either a windscreen or a pop filter in order to keep plosive air sounds from distorting the recording. Today we’re looking at a budget usb microphone, the FiFine K670. For a mic that’s made from plastic rather than metal, this is quite impressive. They always seem to have at least one weird feature that no other mic has. Fifine K053 USB Lavalier Mic free of charge for me to review now, even though I receive this microphone free of charge, I will still give you my completely honest and unbiased opinion. This thing is huge--like, disturbingly huge. If, on the other hand, the podcast routinely calls for interviewees who have little or no mic technique, you may wish to use a mic that has some protective DSP like in the aforementioned gaming mics, so that outbursts of laughter or sudden rises in level are not immediately turned into a distorted mess. JLAB Audio Talk USB Microphone review. (If you’re already an expert in audio tech, you may skip ahead.). This is also a microphone that won’t dominate your desk — it’s smaller than the Blue Snowball, our best budget microphone. While cardioid (single-direction) is the standard pattern, maybe you want to capture more than one voice with an omnidirectional or figure-eight pattern. What works for live streaming games might be a musical disaster, and the pristine signal you get from a top-flight mic aimed at musicians might provide far more fidelity (and far less convenience) than you need for a podcast. If you're looking for something affordable, portable, and easy to use, the Samson Go Mic is probably your best bet. If you’re a musician who needs a quality method of recording new ideas while on the road, USB microphones are the perfect choice. There’s a regular cardioid mode and an omnidirectional mode, too — but you’ll also get an enhanced cardioid mode. Is Windows Defender Good Enough to Protect Your PC by Itself? 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. Some mics have it and use it subtly. Instead, the Yeti records straight to your device. A quick word about a major limitation in the USB microphone world: You can typically only record one mic at a time. You probably don't want a mic that uses obvious DSP in the signal like many gaming mics do. That will allow you to monitor the recording in real-time, which is invaluable when recording music, for example. Customers have reported — through accidents with handling — that the microphone is highly durable, even after being dropped. After all, they won our best overall and best budget titles. You can search for "aggregate device USB mic Pro Tools" to get a better handle on that. Typically, most of the mics with heavy DSP are geared toward gamers, though that's not exclusively the case. And don’t pick up an omnidirectional mic if you’re trying to podcast in an environment with lots of ambient noise. Wiki researchers have been writing reviews of the latest usb microphones since 2015. Plus, the USB connectivity works with both Mac computers and Windows PCs, so you’re not limited by platform. For example, the microphone head can swivel a full 360 degrees, so stand positioning is less important than with other mics. Such interfaces don’t accept USB as an input source, which rules out all of the products we’ve listed. The Rode NT-USB microphone is solely a cardioid pattern mic, which may sound limited compared to the Blue Yeti. Don’t forget that you may also want a webcam, meaning you’ll have to think carefully about microphone positioning. Not all mics can be mounted the same way. 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. For some users, a mic that ships with its own stand and windscreen or pop filter will be the more reasonable choice. 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. But again, that is a lengthy and annoying workaround. 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. Reviews for the real world. That's where we come in. And it’s a common feature of most condenser microphones, including many we’ve listed here. In this ranking of the best USB microphones, we’ve found products to suit a wide variety of needs and budgets. But what it lacks in recording pattern variety, it makes up for in other areas. If you want a microphone for this purpose, consider the Blue Snowball, our best budget microphone. No pop filter or adapter for standard mic stand. Gamers who want to record or live stream their gameplay would appear to need the same things musicians who want to record clear vocals need. Despite the overload protection, this microphone still doesn’t handle extreme highs and extreme lows very well. Like the Yeti, it boasts compatibility with both Windows and Mac, as well as a headphone out and mobile compatibility. Some are Apple-only products, whereas others are suited for Windows PCs, too — and they all use USB connectivity. The product has a working pick-up range of 11.5ft, making it a pick that you don’t want to miss. This is because, on the whole, USB mics are made less for pro-level setups and more for typical computer-based setups that lack an audio interface to field multiple inputs. It slots right into an included carry case, which isn’t much bigger than a wallet. Don't rely on the wimpy mic built into your phone or laptop. You can still record music with a condenser microphone — just be sure to check out reviews before you commit. Phantom power is a commonly misunderstood area of microphone operation that we want to cover in brief detail. It’s clear that a lot of thought has gone into all aspects of the design, which includes a number of physical controls. 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. For these reasons, the CAD U37 slips into the middle of our USB microphones ranking. And we also think that the plastic mount could be stronger, or made from a more durable material. Perhaps most surprisingly, Avid Pro Tools, which is more or less the industry standard for music recording software, requires a somewhat tedious workaround to enable the use of most USB mics. Once we have a long-list, we cross-reference review scores, pros and cons, and the number of times a product is recommended on similar rankings. Omnidirectional is the preferred choice for situations where you’ll need to capture sound from all directions, such as when you’re recording music. Whether you’re a vlogger, streamer, podcaster, or singer, a USB microphone is perfect for capturing vocals. An audio interface converts an analog signal into a digital signal, though not all microphones require this step. You’ll also want to think about your microphone’s transducer. This is a portable USB microphone that somehow manages to remain affordable without compromising quality. Thus, the concept of a "pure" signal is a bit misleading—what you're really usually after is a clean signal, which should be a given with pro mics. The affordable Shure MV5 microphone delivers quality audio and adjustable DSP and EQ settings through a free companion app. USB mics tend to be a little “gimmicky”. Besides that, the only other negative to note is that the microphone’s weight tends to imbalance the monitor mount. Headphone jack with low-latency monitoring. One feature offered by some of the best USB microphones is a headphone jack. And there’s a bright LED mounted immediately behind the mesh, which never goes out and can get surprisingly annoying. Through six years and testing of more than 25 mics, the Blue Yeti is still the best USB microphone that’s an easy and noticeable upgrade over built-in mics. Well, pre-phantom microphones involved an unwieldy, cumbersome power supply separate from the mic itself. If your goal is to get the highest quality recording possible, with a USB mic you also need to take into account sample rate and bitrate. There’s very little price difference between them — so if you want some extra flexibility, you’re probably better off with the regular Snowball. Numerous customers have also complained about the included tripod stand, as it’s very short and doesn’t provide adequate lift to the mic. In the pro studio world, those processes are often handled by standalone gear. Mic stand doesn't angle high enough for proper mouth alignment. Again, the convenience of a USB microphone can’t be overstated — they’re small, portable, and capable of capturing multi-directional audio. When it comes to the best USB microphones, there’s variation in the price tag, the type of recording pattern, and the build quality. For example: A “Mix Control” feature allows you to blend your microphone signal with pre-recorded audio. 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. The goal with any mic is almost always going to be about clarity, but for podcasts, we need to take into account the vocalist. 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. Dynamic microphones are generally a better choice for these louder sources, including guitars, bass guitars, drums, and so on. Go figure. And there are plenty of music mics, like the Sennheiser MK 4 Digital and the Blue Raspberry, that use no DSP whatsoever. DSP can be adjusted or disabled completely. It’s a cardioid-only microphone, which utilizes 10 dB overload protection to reduce loud noise distortion, much like the Blue Snowball. Delivers crisp audio in a cardioid recording pattern. By Jorge Jimenez 05 June 2020 Comments And the power cable doesn’t match the impressive aesthetics of the microphone’s body. It also supports bidirectional, omnidirectional, and cardioid recording patterns, setting you up for pretty much any scenario. But its latest releases represent a new line of USB microphones for streaming, podcasting, and gaming. 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. After that, you take into account the mic's specific characteristics that make it bright or dark. 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. The Best USB Microphones for 2020. The Talk series of mics attempt to cover every … By Benjamin Abbott 09 ... It’s impressively sharp and is perhaps the best standard of sound I’ve heard on a USB microphone. That in itself takes care of one of the most common complaints about USB mics: annoyingly short cables. By Joe Porletto / July 30, 2020 July 30, 2020 / Reviews / microphone / Leave a Comment. And for more gaming audio gear, check out our favorite gaming headsets. Once you're ready to get recording, check out our tips for how to create your own successful podcast and the best audio editing software. Some mics avoid DSP completely and offer you the purest high-bitrate signal they can. Determine what you need first and see what options meet your criteria. Or you could opt for the best multi-purpose USB microphone, which is the Apogee Mic 96k. PCMag, PCMag.com and PC Magazine are among the federally registered trademarks of Ziff Davis, LLC and may not be used by third parties without explicit permission. This mic comes in at under $50, and seems to work well enough. Strong audio quality with four mic patterns, including cardioid and stereo. There’s a telescoping arm included for height adjustment on your desk, plus it’s aesthetically pleasing to boot. And you’ll probably also want a headphone output so that you can monitor game volume alongside the recording. But you could also use it to record your own podcasts, or even capture notes in the field. With USB mics, you can capture studio-quality audio at entry-level prices. Plus, the pivot hinge is reported to wear down over time — which is why we’ve knocked this microphone down to 6th place. Outside of the USB mic world, there are several styles of microphone (condenser, dynamic, ribbon) that, combined with the various microphone polar patterns (cardioid, hypercardioid, omnidirectional, figure-eight), produce a wide range of options for the recording engineer. Luckily, many of the mics we include here ship with one or the other. When you’re on the hunt for a new USB microphone, if you’re a Mac user, look for Garageband support. But you’ll want to operate in an area with near-silence to avoid capturing unwanted ambient noise on your track. Sign up for What's New Now to get our top stories delivered to your inbox every morning. So USB mics are essentially combining the roles of mics with some of the necessary associated gear in a pro studio setting, and simplifying the signal chain for you. The 44.1 kHz/16-bit sample rate of the Snowball is … This newsletter may contain advertising, deals, or affiliate links. 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. In most cases, a USB microphone will work just fine with your PlayStation or Xbox console. Media is recorded directly onto your device rather than any external storage, and the sound quality is second to none. PCMag.com is a leading authority on technology, delivering Labs-based, independent reviews of the latest products and services. Subscribing to a newsletter indicates your consent to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.
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