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The Best USB Microphones


Your Ultimate Guide to the Best USB Microphones

Recording from your laptop’s built-in microphone may work in non-professional settings, but it simply won’t do if you want to produce good quality audio. Too often, these microphones pick up too much background noise and make your voice sound fuzzy or muted. They can also pick up static and air popping sounds because they normally have no wind filter. It goes without saying that recording music or videos on your built-in mic could spell disaster.

Which brings us to the point of this guide — if you want to enhance your audio output quality without wasting too much time on learning how to set up an entire sound system, worry not. USB microphones are perfect because all you have to do is plug the USB cables into your computer, cellphone, or iPad, and you’re done.

The ease and utility of USB mics have made them more popular than ever, especially among individual content creators, so it’s no surprise that they are everywhere. Take a look at our guide on the best USB microphones to find out which of these are worth investing in.

Which is the Top USB Microphone?

Editor's Choice

The Best USB Microphones
Best Overall
The Best USB Microphones
Best Hybrid
The Best USB Microphones
Best Premium
Blue Yeti

The Blue Yeti is the classic and best USB mic in terms of price, quality, and mic sensitivity that professionals and amateurs can work with.

Shure MV7

The Shure MV7 combines multiple mics into one device with the ability to function as both USB and XLR microphones.

Blue Yeti X

The Blue Yeti X delivers simplicity in design but quality audio results for a variety of recording applications.

Sound Quality: Design: Features:
Sound Quality: Design: Features:
Sound Quality: Design: Features:

Let’s Go Over Each Top USB Microphone

The Best USB Microphones

Sound Quality:  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Design:  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Features:  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

A classic for a reason, the Blue Yeti Microphone is our choice for the best USB microphone. Despite being one of the brand’s older models, the Blue Yeti USB mic manages to wow us and pretty much blow other USB microphones out of the water in terms of sound profile, output, and sensitivity.

The design is classic, too. You’ll find it comes with a sturdy build as well as a robust little mic stand mount perfect for propping onto a desk or other flat surfaces. Thanks to its wide frequency response, the mic can capture human voice without having to position the capsule close to your mouth. It can also block out ambient noise successfully.

The best USB microphone should also be functional. The Blue Yeti contains physical controls on the mic itself, including an instant mute button, volume dial, headphone volume knob, gain control knob, and polar pattern switches that allow you to move from one polar pattern to another.

The last one, in particular, is something we want to emphasize: the Blue Yeti Microphone features four recording patterns, namely cardioid, omnidirectional, stereo, and bidirectional, which offers users the option to switch between different recording styles depending on the application. Cardioid patterns are perfect for single-subject recordings; in this setting, the mic picks up sound from the front and side of the capsule.

Pros and Cons of the Blue Yeti

✔️ Classic and sturdy design
✔️ Affordable
✔️ Great recording software
✔️ Four different recording patterns
✔️ Uses standard USB C input
✔️ Has a headphone jack and microphone stand
✔️ Mic’s sensitivity is impressive
✖️ Capsule can be too sensitive

The Best USB Microphones

Sound Quality:  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Design:  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Features:  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ 

The next on our list is considered a classic in many recording circles. Known for its bright, radio-friendly sound, the Shure MV7 is technically a USB/XLR hybrid rather than a discrete USB microphone.

Technicalities aside, the Shure MV7 is a beautiful device that is able to recreate the natural warmth and tones distinct to the human voice. The Shure MV7 is the more beginner-friendly version of some of Shure’s more iconic models, the SM7B and SM58, which have been used for decades in radio shows and by vocalists.

The Shure MV7 has a few key differences. For one, it’s a lot more compact. It’s also a little limited because it is meant for those at the tail-end of beginner recording. That said, the Shure MV7 is one of the best USB microphones anyone could make if they want to prioritize sound quality in whatever they do, whether it’s streaming or creating YouTube content.

Another huge advantage of the Shure MV7 is the app that comes with it. The MOTIV app lets you tweak your vocals, adding sparkle or depth according to your needs.

Pros and Cons of the Shure MV7

✔️ Can work as a USB and XLR mic
✔️ Comes with both a USB and XLR cable
✔️ Bright sound
✔️ Easily replicates mid and high-end tones
✔️ Strong build
✖️ Expensive
✖️ Uses touch controls

The Best USB Microphones

Sound Quality:  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Design:  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Features:  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Want a larger microphone that works well in a variety of recording applications? The Blue Yeti X is the older (and bigger) sibling of the Nano and Yeti classic, standing 12 inches tall and weighing 2.8 lbs – its size may be a con for some, but a huge pro for others. 

For one thing, having a larger capsule means your mic will be positioned closer to your mouth, which helps with vocal emphasis and muting room sounds.

Size aside, the microphone performs really well. The sound profile is simple and clean. Users can choose between four different recording modes depending on the type of recording they want to achieve, much like the Blue Yeti classic version. To get a little technical, the microphone has an output of 24-bit/48kHz. All of these combined make the Blue Yeti X one of the best USB microphones and most well-rounded options out there no matter what level you’re at.

We were also able to significantly tweak the audio samples using the software that came with the mic – perfect for adding a little sparkle to one’s vocals. If you’re thinking about getting the Blue Yeti Pro but find that it’s a bit too bulky, then the Blue Yeti X is a good USB microphone alternative as it’s narrower by 15mm and has 12.35% less body volume.

Pros and Cons of the Blue Yeti X

✔️ Sturdy and robust build
✔️ Clean sound profile
✔️ Comes with versatile audio software
✖️ Bulky

Sound Quality:  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Design:  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ 
Features:  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ 

If you want style, portability, and great-sounding audio rolled into one, the Blue Yeti Nano is what you should buy — particularly if you’re hesitant to splurge. At under $100, the Blue Yeti’s younger sibling packs multiple features that make it ideal for budding content creators, streamers, and podcasters. After all, the best USB microphones are also ones that don’t break the bank while still giving you more than you paid for.

The Blue Yeti Nano has two distinct polar patterns or recording modes, cardioid and omnidirectional, which can be accessed through the microphone’s software. The cardioid recording mode of the Blue Yeti Nano is perfect for delivering full-bodied and natural tones from a single speaker while the omnidirectional pickup pattern makes recording and speaking to a group of people easier than ever.

Despite standing only 8 inches tall, the Blue Yeti Nano looks incredible and sleek, designed with a robust casing that can withstand wear and tear. Its size makes handling the mic easy, and if needed, one can place it inside a bag and take it to the office, a studio, or a cafe.

Pros and Cons of the Blue Yeti Nano

✔️ Professional design
✔️ Solid build quality for its price
✔️ Low-latency monitoring
✔️ Light, compact, and portable
✖️ Offers only two polar patterns or recording modes

Sound Quality:  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Design:  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Features:  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ 

Gaming aesthetics have evolved over the past few years, but RGB-themed equipment seems to be a trend that’s not going anywhere anytime soon (no, really — try to find a streamer on Twitch that doesn’t have RGB backlit equipment). That said, the HyperX QuadCast S is the only mic in this list that has an RGB feature.

But aesthetics are not the only reason gamers seem to gravitate towards the HyperX QuadCast S, an all-metal and satin-black encased USB microphone, though design is a huge part of its charm. With such a gamer-centric design, one might ask, “will this USB mic work with gaming consoles?”, and the answer is yes! The mic is compatible with gaming consoles, including the PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox, PC, and Mac. It’s also Discord and TeamSpeak certified, making the device perfect for multiplayer voice chats.

If you want to further maximize the HyperX QuadCast S, then you can also download the HyperX’s Ngenuity software. This software will allow you to adjust headphone volume controls, microphone volume, and monitoring volume. You can even play around with the RGB lights using said software!

Unfortunately, it is a little expensive for beginners/hobbyists, which you might realize by now is the largest and most profitable market for USB microphones. So, if going professional is something in your horizons, then we recommend putting your money towards something with an XLR output cable or at least a hybrid if convenience is non-negotiable.

That said, the QuadCast S is by no means a bad mic, as its advantages make it a worthy option. Its sleek design can add visual excitement to any video, and as for its performance, the microphone offers four standard pickup patterns for capturing natural-sounding vocal tones. Experts and users rave about its audio reproduction quality with good reason. If you want a stylish yet high-quality gaming setup, the QuadCast S should be your first option. It’s also one of the best standalone mics out there.

Pros and Cons of the HyperX QuadCast S

✔️ Compatible with gaming consoles
✔️ Beautiful sleek design with RGB lights
✔️ Solid microphone build
✔️ Solid sound profile
✖️ Steep price

Sound Quality:  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Design:  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Features:  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

If you’re thinking of getting the QuadCast S but aren’t sold on its price tag, then the Elgato Wave:3 might be just what you need. Like the QuadCast S, the Wave:3 is designed with streamers in mind, although it has no shortage of uses outside the realm of gaming content creation.

The Elgato Wave:3 is a first for the brand that wasn’t always known for its audio recording equipment. However, despite this being their earliest foray into USB microphones, you can’t really tell and it has earned its right to be hailed as one of the best USB microphones currently out there. Everything from the sleek matte black casing to the physical controls on the mic is solid, classic, and robust.

This is also a condenser microphone, which is typically more sensitive than dynamic microphones in its ability to pick up even the smallest background noise. The good news is that this condenser microphone in particular has uncanny vocal replication capabilities without being too sensitive. 

And while the Wave:3 doesn’t have the four standard pickup patterns available, it makes up for it with a high frame rate. Recording at 24-bit/96kHz, audio recordings made with the Wave:3 are flexible and easy to manipulate without distortion. 

Speaking of editing, the Wave Link software by Elgato is a huge advantage that not many other mics have. The software serves as an audio editor as well as a digital mixer that can work with multiple mic recordings from separate audio sources.

Pros and Cons of the Elgato Wave:3

✔️ Lightweight and simple design
✔️ Little to no distortion
✔️ High frame rate
✔️ Uncomplicated physical dials
✖️ Plastic material can be flimsy
✖️ Only 1 polar pattern

Are USB Mics Any Good?

There is a misconception that USB microphones are third-class citizens in the world of recording audio, and that simply isn’t true. The best USB microphones offer versatility, natural vocal output, and ease of use, often without costing as much as other mic types. 

USB microphones are great at picking up and emphasizing vocals while muting room noise. They’re certainly a step up from built-in computer microphones and can even go head-to-head with microphones that require a separate interface.

What is the Difference Between a USB Mic and a Regular Mic?

USB microphones are essentially plug-and-play. This is because USB microphones have a built-in audio interface and preamp which allows users to simply plug in their USB microphone to a computer and start recording.

The main benefit of a USB microphone over an XLR microphone is the setup’s ease. XLR connections tend to be a little more complicated because they require the use of an audio interface with onboard controls. On the other hand, with a USB microphone, all you have to do is plug the USB cable into your computer or phone.

Most of these mics will have onboard controls on the microphone itself. You’ll often find a mute button, a volume control knob, a knob for gain control, headphone volume control, and a polar pattern button on the interface. Port types will vary depending on the mic, and they’re usually mini USB, micro USB, and USB-C.

What Do You Use a USB Microphone For?

Anyone can use a USB microphone. Because of their wired nature, they are best for indoor recording applications, such as podcasting, streaming, and vlogging. Its functions usually vary with the mic’s features.

A good example is the Audio-Technica Cardioid Condenser mic. Because it has a headphone jack, a cardioid pickup pattern, an internal headphone amplifier, and an analog-to-digital converter, many regard the USB Audio-Technica as a streaming-focused mic. The headphone jack allows users to record headphone output. 

In our list of the best USB mics, you’ll find that their main function will vary but all of them can be used in multiple applications.

Can You Use a USB Mic for Studio Recording?

Generally, regular microphones are better for studio recording as having audio interfaces allows an audio engineer to tweak recording devices better. But that’s not to say USB microphones, especially premium ones, are completely ruled out for studio recording sessions. 

In fact, many USB microphones have excellent recording quality, frequency response, and higher sound pressure levels that make them excellent studio performers. The best USB mics are often great for studio sessions especially because they usually have multiple pickup patterns in one mic, letting you set up a few presets for simpler use.

Is a USB Microphone for Singing?

Yes, USB microphones can certainly be used for singing. Some of the best USB microphones are condenser mics, which are great for picking up subtle sounds thus enhancing your recording quality.

Additionally, some of the best USB microphones come with multiple pickup patterns and recording capabilities, which are an advantage over many XLR mics. The Blue Yeti, for example, has both a cardioid recording pattern and omnidirectional capabilities. 

The cardioid mode can allow you to focus on recording voice, while an omnidirectional pattern records sound from all ends of the mic, which is ideal for capturing multiple instruments at once.

How Much Does a Good USB Mic Cost?

The truth is, there are plenty of reliable USB microphones at almost every price point — don’t let people fool you into thinking only the expensive ones are worth a buy. But if you’re looking for something that can go head-to-head with professional content creators, then shelling out a little money is necessary. 

Based on our research and testing, the best USB microphones are within the $90 – $200 price range, although we do feature one $50 USB microphone below.

One thing you should look at when buying a USB mic is the accessories included. An external pop filter or windscreen is a great inclusion to have. Many USB mics have a pop filter included in the overall costs, while others require you to buy one. A pop filter can be pricey and not every pop filter will be compatible with your USB device. Blue microphones are great for this because they also sell pop filters.

Other handy features include a desktop mic stand, shock mount, micro USB compatibility, and a USB-C connection, all of which can turn a decent microphone into a great one based on functionality alone.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best USB microphone on the market?

The Blue Mics series is one of the best USB microphones out there. Trusted by professionals and amateurs alike due to their crisp audio quality, consumer-oriented design, overall solid build, convenient portability, and a price tag that won’t break the bank, the Blue Mics series is at the top of the list for many.

What is the best USB microphone for recording vocals?

While most USB microphones are designed more for speech applications rather than vocal or instruments recording, there are those that have audio settings and mic gain that can take on the task. Some of those are the Elgato Wave:3, Shure MV7, and the Blue Yeti Pro, which are included in this list.

One USB mic that’s not on the list though is the Røde NT-USB Mini. The Røde NT-USB Mini has impressive audio engineering and design sensibility that many creatives can attest to. With a cardioid pattern that will block out unnecessary noise and a frequency response of 20-20,000 Hz, the Røde NT USB-Mini can churn out crisp audio without any hiss or white noise pickup.

However, the Røde NT-USB mini is quite sensitive so it’s best to invest even in just a standard mic stand and a shock mount when using this so as not to pick up any nuisance noises.

What USB microphone has the best audio quality?

While all the USB microphones found in this list have great audio quality, one mic that stands out the most is the Blue Yeti. It is hailed by plenty of content creators and users as the overall best USB microphone due to its audio quality, build, design, features, and price tag. Although, it’s still best for you to test USB microphones as the quality can differ due to preference and intended application.

There are also models that make use of digital signal processing so it can definitely affect the quality of the recording may it be a pre-recorded audio or a live one.

Is a USB or jack better for a microphone?

There isn’t a general consensus on this quality-wise, so you should pick a connectivity mode that works best for the equipment that you already have. If you’re using an audio interface, go for a microphone with a 3.5mm wire. If you prefer digital recording, go for a USB mic.

Final Note

While choosing the best microphone will primarily rely on a person’s preference, applications, and budget, having a guide to help in determining what makes such device a great microphone is handy. Having said that, if you are looking for a portable plug-and-play microphone that is generally not as expensive as other mics but can still produce great recording quality and an overall decent audio quality, then a USB mic is the best choice for you!

The Best USB Microphones

Editor’s Choice

Blue Yeti

For the best USB mic overall, look no further than the classic Blue Yeti, one of the oldest USB mics yet still the best in the game — whether you’re recording music or managing video calls daily. 

While Blue Microphones has come out with modern products over the last few years, its original Yeti model is still an industry favorite and patronized by some of the most famous streamers, YouTubers, and content creators around.

The Blue Yeti contains multiple microphone polar patterns in one device – cardioid, omnidirectional, bidirectional, and stereo – which allows creators to record all types of audio using one single device where one would normally need multiple.

Ash Burnett

Hailing from Chicago, IL - Ash made his break into journalism at the age of 23 writing music reviews for a local website. Now in his late 30's and after being pulled closer towards the technical side of the music and live gig industry, he founded Shout4Music to write thorough microphone reviews.

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