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Nowadays, most new devices are coming with USB ports and USB microphones are becoming more prominent than ever. USB mics feature an analog to digital converter and preamp that captures incoming signal, amplifies it and sends it to your device for recording. These mics are ideal for singers who record their voice at home, musicians that record their music at home, YouTube bloggers and anyone who would like a better microphone that offers more recording quality than the mic built on laptops or headphones.
One of the unique advantages that USB mics have over other traditional Mics is that they are easy to plug in computers and USB enabled devices. They don’t require any other interfaces or gears in order to work, you just plug them to a USB port on your device and they immediately become active.
If you are an artist that doesn’t want to invest in a high-end expensive studio, USB mics are considerably good and can offer great sound recording qualities in-home recording studio.
Why Singers Use USB Condenser Mics?
Generally, there are no so many dynamic mics that can support XLR connectors. If your main aim is to have a great mic for recording purposes, a USB condenser mic can offer you great recording features for both singing and vocal purposes.
Whether to post a video singing, doing interviews, or sharing everyday routine, the condenser mic has been one of the essential recording equipment you need. In short, Condenser mic will produce fuller and warmer voice quality for recording vocals.
Buyer’s Guide: How To Choose A Suitable USB Condenser Microphone
The Main Purpose of Use
Most USB mics can be used or applied in wide variety of areas. If you want a USB mic that can record vocals in a studio, you will need one that can be mounted on a mic stand. USB mics comes in a wide variety of models, there are some that are super small and can easily clip on your PC or laptop screen while others can be placed on a desk stand as well. If you know the kind of setup that you want to use your mic on, take a look of the available USB mics and shop wisely.
Some USB mics will pick-up sound only from the front, while others pick-up sound from all sides. Depending on what you want, you can review the benefits of each mic and choose the most suitable one.
If you are totally comfortable with technology, then a USB mic with complicated instructions will undoubtedly be a breeze for you to follow. If not, then buy something simple and easy to use. Examine it carefully and ask if it can be immediately used after plugging it in.
Indoor or Outdoor Recording Environment
The quality of your recordings will also depend if the USB microphone that you will buy is going to be used inside a room, studio, or outside with all the external noise. If it’s a room, consider the size to avoid echoing. If it’s in the outdoor recording environment, then find the mic that can filter the background noise.
Computer’s Operating System Compatibility
Most people would forget that the microphone has to be compatible with the OS or operating system of the computer that it will be used with. Check the system requirements. No one wants the hassle of going through customer service, returning or exchanging the product. Remember that not all microphones, no matter how recently made it was or how popular the brand maybe would work in all computers.
Polar Pattern – Cardioid Microphone
Do not be overwhelmed by the terminology as it only refers to the pattern from which the mic will capture the sound. There are different pattern types, but the best one for voice is the Cardioid Microphone. It can pick the sound right in front of the microphone rejecting the ambient sounds from the background and is great for feedback suppression. It is the most popular type for live events and recordings.
Well, before you shop for anything, you need to know how much money you want to spend and the price range of the Mic that you want. Having this information will greatly help you to easily choose a suitable mic that meets all your demands or requirements. If you want a high quality USB condenser mic, then you must be willing to spend some few more dollars since quality products comes with their own price tag.
Recommended USB Condenser Mics To Record Singing Voice On Computer
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1) Rode NT USB Condenser Mic
Features and Specs:
- The mic comes with a high-quality AD converter with a 16 bit, 44.1/48.1 kHz sampling rate.
- It comes with a built-in headphone jack that allows one to directly monitor the mic output without audible delay.
- Includes a ring mount, pop shield, and a tripod stand.
- Ultra-low noise.
- On-mic mix control.
This mic is ideal for recording, musical performance and podcasting. It’s fully compatible with all recording applications found on both Mac OS and Windows OS computers. If you want to use this mic with your iPad, you will need a suitable USB connector adaptor such as Apple camera connection kit.
The NT USB mic features zero-latency stereo headphones that allow one to monitor the microphone input in real-time. A premium pop-filter is also included to improve sound efficiency and quality.
One of the main concerns with this mic is that it’s very sensitive and it will pick up any background noise, so you need to record your voice in a very quiet place. However, the actual quality of the recorded voice is clear and does not require too much tweaking.
A premium pop-filter is included for the Rode NT USB, which easily fits onto the base of the mic. The pop filter helps to position the mic on a distance that minimizes plosives and hard sounds such as ‘B’, ‘T’, and ‘O’ pronounced during a speech or when someone is singing.
2) Yeti USB Mic
Are you looking for a high-performance USB mic? Well, we can’t recommend anything better than Yeti USB mic. It’s not the cheapest USB mic out there, but due to some unique features, this mic is one of the best USB condenser mics that you can ever have.
Here are some of the unique features of Yeti blue USB mic:
- The mic comes with three condenser capsules that can record almost any type of sound in any circumstance.
- Its multiple pattern selection enables it to offer a great sound record on all musical vocals.
- No drivers needed, just plug n play on a Windows PC or Mac OS PC.
- The mic comes with a mute button and requires only 64mb of your PC RAM in order to operate.
The Blue Yeti USB is an amazing USB mic that can drastically improve the quality of your voice recordings. If you want to record your voice with a high level of efficiency and accuracy, this condenser mic can help you achieve that.
With omnidirectional mode enabled, this mic can pick sound from all directions and it can record great sounds on a band performance or a live recording. The Bidirectional mode records sound from both the front and rear of the mic. This mode is ideal for recording or capturing the nuance of any musical instrument being played or an interview involving two people.
The mic stereo mode uses both right and left channels and it’s great for recording general and realistic sound images. If you are receiving any feedback or distortion while recording loud sources, you can adjust the mic sensitivity using the gain control. One of the greatest features this mic has is that it can be completely removed from its base for field recordings and easy portability.
A lot of people will not be to recognize that you are actually using a USB mic if you use the Yeti USB mic. There are a lot of home-studios rappers out there using this mic and they like it because it can be portably placed on a desk. If you want a great mic that stands out from the rest, get the Yeti USB mic and you will never regret it.
3) Audio-Technica AT2020USB+
Key Features: Cardioid, Built-in Headphone Jack and Volume Control, A/D Converter with 16 bit, internal headphone amplifier, compatible with Mac OS X and Windows 7, XP, Vista, 2000.
Vloggers and podcasters would enjoy this cardioid condenser microphone specially designed for the digital recording that enjoys a high-grade 16-bit A/D converter with 44.1/48 kHz sampling rate. The mix and volume control makes it easy for the user to combine the microphone, and any pre-recording audio, assuring a clear result. It comes with a 5/8 inches to 27 inches swiveling stand mount, and tripod desk stand along with 3.1 meters or 10 inches USB cable. No compatibility issues for those with Windows 7, XP, Vista, 2000, and those using Mac OS X.
4) Audio Technica ATR2500x-USB Mic
This mic is ideal for home studio recording, voiceover use, podcasting, and home recording. The Audio ATR2500x-USB mic plugs easily to your PC USB port and functions seamlessly with any recording software. Its cardioid polar-pattern improves sound record quality by reducing any pickup of unwanted sounds from the rear and the sides. If you are looking for a great USB mic that can do all the recording on a tight budget, we recommend that you go for this superb mic that only cost some few dollars.
It does come with he built-in headphone jack which enable you to plug your headphone and monitor your audio recording directly.
5) Blue Yeti Nano
Key Features: Plug and Play for both Mac and PC, 2 Condensers – Cardioid and Omni sound angle patterns, no-latency headphone output, 24-bit depth with 48 kHz sampling rate.
For beginners, this mic is one of the affordable ones with several features that any established podcaster would enjoy. It offers both Cardioid and Omni-directional polar patterns in picking sounds. Whether you are singing solo or doing a duet, it can pick up both sounds with clarity. Just like other USB mics, it has an app, Blue Sherpa, so adjusting the settings would be easy through any digital device such as computer, tablet, or mobile phone with the right system requirements. It is plug-and-play using USB 1.1/2.0/3.0 with Windows 7, 8.1, or 10 and Mac 10.10.
6) Shure MV5
Key Features: 3 DSP Preset Modes, Built-in headphone Jack, Plug and Play, Apple MFi – Certified for any iOS device, Compatible with Android devices with USB Audio Class 2.0, and Micro-B connectivity.
Shure has been manufacturing microphones for quite a long time now, and this Shure MV5 is an excellent option for beginners and professionals alike. It is easy to use, and the sound quality is top-notch. Even those technically challenged won’t have a hard time using it. It has a dedicated mobile app that can be connected immediately, which can help users to make the necessary mic sensitivity adjustments with two Gain presets that are specifically for vocals and instruments. One can even change EQ and volume level, but if this proved to be hard to understand, then there is a one-click setting for an easy plug and play set up. You can even monitor yourself with the 3.5mm built-in headphone port. While it is designed for Mac and Apple digital device users with iOS 7.0 and higher, it is also compatible with Windows 7 and 8 running in 64MB minimum RAM and USB 2.0. It is best for podcasting, vlogging, home recording, or even just for online plain audio/video chat.
7) Samson Meteor USB Mic Studio
The Meteor Mic is one of the best USB condenser mics that you can use to record music on your PC. It’s perfect for home studios, iVona or iChat recognition programs and video chatting software such as Skype. Unlike other USB condenser microphones that require powered USB hubs in order to work, meteor is just a plug and use a mic that can be connected with a tablet, PC and Apple USB connector.
Specs and Main Features:
- The mic comes with a smooth, flat frequency response of about 20Hz to 20 kHz.
- Large-diaphragm of 25mm.
- The mic works perfectly with apple lighting USB camera and can be used to record interviews and conversations.
- It comes with 44.1/48 kHz, 16-bit resolution.
8) Blue Microphones Snowball iCE Condenser Mic
- The mic is easy to use.
- Produces outstanding sound quality.
- Low cost.
- The mic lacks XLR output and this makes it a bad choice for anyone who wants to use it on a professional recording studio.
- It only has a cardioid mode, unlike non iCE version that has three modes.
- This mic is also highly sensitive and will pick any background noise in the room.
Generally, the Snowball iCe mic is a great option for anyone that wants to record great sounds. For superb sound quality recordings, make sure you use this mike in a quiet room.
9) CAD U37
Features and specs:
- It comes with a bass reduction switch that reduces background noise.
- A desktop mic stand is included.
- A ten feet USB cable for flexible replacement.
- Includes a 10db overload protection switch that minimizes disruption and distortion from loud sources.
This mic works very well, recording great audio quality directly to your computer via USB. The CAD U37 is a great choice for users who would like to record vocals, instruments, and voiceovers for videos. It’s compatible with both Mac and Windows OS and, you can plug the mic directly to your PC to start recording. This mic comes with two control switches that allow you to improve the quality of your sound records. The first switch is for decreasing the sensitivity of the mic when recording loud voices while the second switch is for adjusting bass and low frequencies recordings. If you have a home studio, this mic has one of the best unique features for personal recordings and we recommend you to go for it if you are looking for a USB condenser microphone.
Why Choose USB Microphones?
Convenience without having to break the bank or sacrificing quality is the reason why the USB microphone has become the favorite tool of many podcasters, vloggers, and YouTubers. It does not require anyone to be tech-savvy to be able to produce high-quality audio. It is designed with a plug and play mechanism with a computer.
What Is The Difference Between USB Microphone & Traditional (XLR) Microphone?
Connectivity and portability are two of the main differences between the two. USB mics can be plugged into any computer or any other USB-equipped digital recording device, and you are clear to go while XLR mics need additional audio interface equipment for it to work.
Do USB Mics Produce The Same Quality Audio As XLR Mics?
Generally, when it comes to quality audio production, nothing beats having separate audio interface options for a grand musical production that XLR mics offer. However, USB mics have a built-in audio interface with a matching app that can easily be downloaded into the computer to make the necessary adjustments to achieve a near-XLR quality audio result.
How About 3.5mm Mics vs. USB Mics?
The quality of the sound from the 3.5mm would depend mostly on the sound card, analog cable, and other external tools, which are always subject for outside interference. USB microphones have built-in interface and preamps, which would mean the sound’s processing happens internally. There are decent 3.5mm mics out there, but generally, USB mics will produce better quality audio than 3.5mm.
Generally review, USB mics are ideal for anyone who wants to record sounds with a high level of accuracy and efficiency. Whichever option that you will choose from the above mics, there are numerous free software and plugins that you can use with the mic and improve the quality of your recordings.