The Best USB Computer Microphones for Home Recording 2018. Микрофон usb

Best USB Desktop Microphones for Home Recording 2018

While they started out as just a gimmick…

There’s no doubt that today, USB microphones are more popular than ever.

With home studios, podcasters, Youtubers, and many others…

They have become standard tools of the trade.

And while they aren’t quite at the level of professional recording microphones yet…

They get closer and closer with each passing day.

So if you’re looking to add one to your setup…

In today’s post we will look at the top USB mics of 2018 to see exactly how they compare.

First up…

1. Blue Snowball

Even if you’ve never owned a single microphone before…

Odds are you still know the Blue Snowball…because the damn thing is everywhere.

For pretty much any type of vocal recording, whether it be podcasting, voiceovers, Youtubing, or Skype calls…

The Snowball is one of the standard go-to mics that everyone has at least considered at some point.

So why is this mic so popular?

Well it looks cool, it’s super easy to use, it doesn’t take up much space, and it sounds great.  So what more could you really ask for?

Anyways, check it out:

  • Click to see current price – (Amazon)

NOTE: The regular blue snowball has a dual capsule that allows for both cardioid and omni polar patterns.  If you don’t need an omni polar pattern, or don’t know even know what a polar pattern is…

The Snowball ice – (Amazon) is a cheaper alternative to check out instead.

You might also like to know that the Samson Meteor – (Amazon/GuitarC/Thomann) is another great alternative to check out as well.

Up next…

2. Blue Snowflake

While the Blue Snowball is pretty darn perfect for desktop recording…

For mobile recording, you’ll probably want something a little smaller instead.

So for this purpose, Blue Microphones went ahead and created the Blue Snowflake.

As you can see, it has a unique casing that unfolds into either a desktop stand, or a laptop clip, as needed.

Inside the casing, it holds the USB cable as well, so everything you need can literally be carried around in your pocket.

Pretty cool huh?  Check it out:

  • Click to see current price – (Amazon)

And for a few similar options, check out these as well:

Up next…

3. CAD U37

By all outward appearances, the CAD u37 is the first mic we’ve covered so far that actually looks like a “real” studio microphone.

But is it?

Because as any recording geek will tell you…CAD is not a brand well-known for their quality microphones.

And personally, when I first saw it, I was highly skeptical.

Not only does it look kinda cheap…the price is so low, it’s hard to imagine this thing could possibly be good.


Every once in a while, you find a piece of gear that really shouldn’t be good by all outward appearances…yet it somehow is good.  And the CAD U37 is the perfect example.

But don’t take my word for it…just check out the insane number of positive reviews:

NOTE: For a similar mic at a slightly higher price point, also check out the Audio Technica ATR2500 – (Amazon).

Up next…

4. Floreon BM 800

Remember how I said in the beginning of this post that USB microphone technology is constantly improving?

Well the Floreon BM 800 is the perfect example of this fact.

And it’s not because of any one unique feature it has that’s missing in some of the older models.

It’s because of the PRICE.

Just like with computers and most other tech gadgets, as quality goes up, price also goes down.

And if you thought the CAD U37 was cheap, you’ll be amazed when you find out how much the Floreon BM800 costs.

Check it out:

And for a similar well-reviewed mic in this same price range, you can also check out:

Up next…

5. Apogee Mic 96k

These days, as audio recording becomes increasingly “mobile”…

It’s now possible to make recordings with less equipment than ever before.

In fact, you don’t even need a computer anymore!  Because you can just record straight into your tablet or smartphone.

Of course, to do this, you’ll need a special type of microphone.

And among the current options, none is more time-tested and highly-reviewed than the Apogee Mic 96k.

While most USB mics record digital audio at 16bit-44.1kHz, this one records at 24-bit/96kHz…

Which is a higher resolution than even some pro studios will use.

Not too bad, huh?  Check it out:

Up next…

6. Rode Podcaster

Ever noticed that for some reason, 95% of USB mics are condensers?

And it’s actually surprising when you think about it…

Because 95% of people who use USB mics have minimal home studio setups, with little-to-no acoustic treatment.

And as any sound guy will tell you…without acoustic treatment, it’s MUCH easier to get good sound from dynamic mics than condensers.

Among the dynamic USB mic currently on the market, the one I recommend most is the Rode Podcaster.

Check it out:

And besides just being an overall great mic, it’s also the first mic on the list that includes a built-in zero-latency headphone jack.

If you’re unfamiliar with this KEY feature, let me explain…

When recording into a microphone, you ideally want to hear yourself in real-time through a set of headphones.

The problem is…with any USB mic, there’s a time delay that occurs when the audio signal is converted from analog to digital, on its way into your computer.

And you can actually hear this time delay through your headphones!  As you might imagine…it’s pretty much impossible to record this way.

But the built-in headphone jack of the Rode Podcaster solves this problem by sending the audio straight from the mic to your headphones, eliminating the delay.

And if you intend to use your USB mic for any type of music recording, this feature is a MUST-HAVE.

NOTE: All microphones on the list from this point forward also have this headphone jack feature.

Moving on…

7. Audio Technica ATR2100

When I first heard about the Audio Technica ATR2100, I was a bit confused…

On the surface, it looks like your average cardioid dynamic handheld vocal mic for live performing.

And it is in fact all of those things.

But you might be wondering (as I was)…

How would a USB mic be used for live performing?  Isn’t it used for recording on the computer?

Well the answer is…this one is actually designed for BOTH.  Because it has both USB and XLR inputs, it works either in the studio, or on-stage.

And as you can see from the reviews, it does both jobs pretty damn well.  Check it out:

  • Click to see current price – (Amazon)

Up next…

8. Blue Spark Digital Lightning

Based off the original, and highly successful Blue Microphones Spark…

The Spark Digital Lightning combines the sound quality of a proven studio microphone…

With the convenience of USB connectivity.

PLUS…there’s the one feature that makes this mic unlike any other: the Focus Button.

Here’s how it works:

On the back, there’s a toggle that allows you to switch between normal mode, and focus mode.

Without getting too technical, this button works by altering the “voltage loading” of the mic capsule, which changes both the frequency and transient response…effectively resulting in two completely different tonalities.

While normal mode is well suited for general purpose recording, focus mode works particularly well on vocals.

Some say it instantly brings any vocal track more forward in a mix.  Others say it makes vocals sound great even in rooms with no acoustic treatment.

Sound interesting?  Check it out:

Up next…

9. Blue Microphones Yeti

For simple voice recording, any of the previous mics we’ve covered so far should work just fine.

But for music recording, you definitely need something more…

Especially when it comes to recording instruments such as acoustic guitar for example.

In a recording studio, instruments such as this one are normally recorded in stereo, with two mics configured in a variety of arrangements.

The problem is…you can’t do this with one USB mic, unless of course that mic is the Blue Microphones YETI.

Here’s why:

Inside the Yeti, there is a unique Tri-Capsule Array that allows you to record in STEREO, as well as the 3 standard polar patterns:

  1. Cardioid
  2. Figure-8
  3. Omnidirectional

I think it’s fair to say, there is no USB mic more versatile than this one.  If you plan to use just a single USB mic to record all the music in your studio, I highly recommend the YETI above every other mic on this list.

And if you like the Yeti, but prefer to use it in a more “traditional” studio with an audio interface, check out the YETI Pro, which has both USB and XLR inputs.

Here they both are:

Up next…

10. Rode NT USB

Now as you may have noticed from this list…

USB mics tend to be a little “gimmicky”.

They always seem to have at least one weird feature that no other mic has.

And don’t get me wrong…that’s awesome.

But what if you don’t want any gimmicks?

What if all you want is the quality of a studio microphone, with the convenience of a USB connector?

Well…that’s exactly what you get with the Rode NT USB.

The one great (not gimmicky) feature worth mentioning is the mix control for the headphone jack.

With the simple turn of a knob, you can fine tune the balance between the live and backing tracks to exactly what you want.

Surprisingly, not all mics have this feature…but this one does.  Check it out:

NOTE: For a comparable mic in the same price range that also offers mix control, also check out the Audio Technica AT2020+ (Amazon/GuitarC/MusiciansF/Thomann).

Loving the content so far?

Best USB Microphones | Microphone Geeks


Editor's Choice

Rode NT-USB is one of the best USB mics that beats anything in the under $200 range. It brings exceptional for USB quality without the need for special drivers or any additional 3rd party equipment. Neither is it overly expensive as it offers a solid and durable build, not skimping on quality components. The design is well thought out and provides for a handy headphone monitor and a pair of solid controls. It also comes with a well-fitted pop shield and…

Read More


Editor's Choice

This is a great quality plug and play mic that connects directly to your computer or laptop through a USB port. The ease of use makes it an ideal choice for home studio and field recording. Audio-Technica AT2020USB goes even further by bringing you the unseen before superior sound, which makes it comparable to more expensive studio units. Not only does it perfectly suit tasks like podcasting or voiceovers, it achieves quite a professional performance with vocals and even instruments. Whatever is that you are recording, you…

Read More


Shure MV51 is a feature-rich USB mic with a good low frequency response. It works for all platforms, however only iOS users are given the option to access the mic’s advanced settings, as this requires downloading Shure Motiv™ application, which is only found in the Apple Store. Despite an array of features, Shure MV51 fails to satisfy the expectations of most users. The offered advantages are narrow and they come at a cost! No matter…

Read More


Blue Snowball iCE is a stylish, entry USB mic with an attractive price tag. Unlike the similar-shaped Samson Meteorite, it is not as blatantly hot and it has a detachable USB cable with a solid Type B connector. The midrange is by far superior and technically, it produces a much more accurate sound than the former. However, there is literally nothing but midrange. It sounds thin and dark at the same time, and it also…

Read More


CVL-2004 from Cyber Acoustics is a fresh and valuable addition to the USB microphone market. Reminding a lot of Blue Yeti, it offers similar features and performance with one major difference – price. At the time of writing, CVL-2004 is considerably cheaper, and despite certain shortcomings, the value for money is just excellent. To name some of the features, this mic provides zero-latency monitoring via 3.5mm headphone socket, flexible volume and gain controls and switchable…

Read More


Blue Nessie is a relatively new and fancy-looking USB mic with just about decent sound quality. It has some interesting features like switchable recording modes and a touch sensor mute button. The stand is quite tall and it almost raises the mic to the head level but it also makes for a larger footprint. Nevertheless, the stand is non-detachable and the whole complexity of that eye-sticking-out-of-the-socket design makes it vulnerable without providing any feasible advantage….

Read More


Samson Meteorite is a cheap USB mic with a small footprint, compatible with Mac and PC. It also works for IPad when combined with a Lightning USB adaptor, which is not included by the way. However, an obscenely short and flimsy cable creates limitations, so it’s hard to justify using it for anything other than a MacBook or a laptop. Samson says the mic’s pickup pattern is cardioid but that’s a lie. Meteorite has a…

Read More


This device reminds us of legendary ‘Elvis Microphone’ except it is digital… and, it is packed with new features! Shure MV5 is a solid USB mic that boasts very decent quality at reasonable price (probably the best in up to $100 category). It is portable and highly compatible with Windows, Mac, iPad, iOS, iPhone and Android. Although it may lack the clarity of more expensive mics, the difference is not that huge. On a positive…

Read More


Apogee MiC 96k behind the simple look offers a polished performance alongside with native Apple compatibility. This device brings a smooth experience for users of iPhone, iPad, Mac and new iPod. However, Microsoft Windows and likely other operating systems are not supported. As the name suggests the mic supports up to 96k sampling rate via 24 bit DAC. Paired with Core Audio interface it also results in a very low latency and can give demanding…

Read More


CAD U37 is a very cheap USB mic and while some may not take it seriously, it actually offers the best bang for the buck. Despite having some disadvantages, overall quality is quite decent. This mic is mainly designed for situations that don’t demand maximum performance. Particularly, it will be a great choice for Skype, amateur videos and even gaming. Musicians who make simple covers for YouTube will also probably find it suitable. If this…

Read More


When it comes to quality, Blue Yeti would be undoubtedly one of the first choices among any other USB microphones. The truth is, nowadays USB mics are being stamped by all and sundry manufacturers. Logitech would be an excellent example. Specializing in computer accessories, they produce great keyboards and mice, and even sound systems but when it comes to standalone mics, they simply don’t have enough expertise. The best what they can do is some…

Read More

Samson — Meteor Mic

Break On Through.

Meteor Mic is the universal solution for recording music on your computer. Perfect for your home studio, Meteor Mic is also ideal for Skype, iChat or voice recognition software. With Meteor Mic, you can make incredible recordings that are out of this world.

Watch the Meteor Mic product video:

Solid And Sound

Producing rich audio recording for any application, Meteor Mic has one of the largest condenser diaphragms (25mm) of any USB mic available. Its cardioid pickup pattern, smooth frequency response and 16-bit, 44.1/48kHz resolution give you professional audio results no matter what you're recording.

Meteor Mic's chrome-plated body includes a fold-back leg design that looks amazing on your desktop. And the legs adjust to the optimal position for any recording application from acoustic guitars to vocals or speech.

A stereo 1/8" headphone output for no latency monitoring and headphone volume knob give you complete control. A microphone mute switch gives you audio privacy while video conferencing. We’ve integrated a mic stand adapter into the bottom so you can mount the Meteor Mic on a boom or desktop stand.

Since there's no need for drivers, you can start recording right out of the box on any computer. And Meteor Mic is compatible with most computer-based digital audio workstations. A USB cable and carry pouch are also included.

Sound Deck Compatible

Available as a paid download, the Samson Sound Deck Noise Cancellation Software brings noise cancellation technology for enhanced VoIP communication and computer recording to your Meteor Mic. Sound Deck uses Digital Noise Reduction algorithms to minimize recurring background noise from loud environments, ensuring only clean, natural sounding vocals are received by your family, friends or business associates. To learn more and find out how to purchase the Sound Deck software, visit the Samson Sound Deck webpage for Mac OS X or visit the Samson Sound Deck webpage for Windows.

Take Your Music To The Other Side

For singer/songwriters or a band looking to capture a jam session right on a computer, Meteor Mic ensures you get every note. Its cardioid pickup pattern captures pristine vocals or can be used to close-mic an instrument or guitar amplifier.

Meteor Mic Meets iPad Meets GarageBand

Unlike other USB mics that require a powered USB hub, Meteor Mic plugs right into your iPad with Apple's Lightning USB Camera Adapter or Camera Connection Kit (30-pin). It's never been easier to start recording...

Meteor Mic with iPad, Camera Connection Kit (30-pin) and Apple's GarageBand

Making The Magic

For multimedia creators, Meteor Mic brings amazing audio quality to voiceovers. If you're adding narration to a company video, or even your home movies, Meteor Mic will give your words clarity and impact. You can even use Meteor Mic to narrate PowerPoint presentations.

Preferred For Podcasting

As podcasting continues to grow in popularity, creators need both audio quality and ease of use. Meteor Mic can help you wow your listeners and set yourself apart in a crowded podcasting community.

Meteor Mic is a unique, all-in-one solution that lets you make great recordings on your computer, so you always make an impact.

WARNING: This product contains DEHP, a chemical known to the State of California to cause birth defects and other reproductive harm.

USB Microphones


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    Best USB Microphone: The Complete Guide

    Recently updated: 

    December 11th, 2017 

    Updated product links, buttons, image captions and article formatting.

    Finding the best USB microphone doesn’t necessarily mean you find a studio-quality recording mic.

    While USB mics are an excellent option for budget-friendly recording, they are not recommended for those who have professional or studio-quality intent.

    Home or semi-professional rigs are where USB mics will be an ideal fit, often for one of the following purposes:

    1. Podcasting
    2. YouTube Production
    3. Online Courses
    4. Home-Studio Recording/Production
    5. Basic Instrument/Vocal Recording

    Since there’s all this demand, you can get some good USB mics.

    Best USB Microphones in this list

    1. Rode NT-USB Condenser Microphone
    2. MXL 990 USB Microphone
    3. Audio-Technica AT202 USB Plus Cardioid Condenser Microphone 
    4. MXL USB 009 USB Condenser Microphone
    5. Blue Microphones Snowball USB Microphone
    6. Blue Microphones Spark Digital Lightning Condenser Microphone
    7. Lewitt DGT 650 Microphone
    8. Audio-Technica ATR2500 USB Cardioid Condenser Microphone
    9. sE Electronics X1 USB Microphone
    10. Razer Seiren Elite USB Digital Microphone
    11. Samson CO1UCW Studio USB Microphone
    12. Apogee Mic 96K Professional Microphone

    And the beauty of these microphones is that you can setup a quick system for recording your guitar, voice or other instrument, without having to invest a lot of money into a microphone and all the additional gear needed to make it work.

    Since you avoid having to purchase a USB Interface, you’ll save anywhere between $100 and $300.

    A USB microphone just plugs in.

    That’s it.

    Plus, it’s much easier to mix and record than something that has to go through an interface first.

    Take this shot from an article I wrote on recording guitar solos in the pentatonic scale:

    While there are several other photos I used to show how to use this box (PreSonus Audiobox), my point in showing you here is to illustrate how much complexity you remove by going with a USB microphone that doesn’t require third-party hardware.

    And while there are pros and cons to both, as long as you’re not looking to get into professional-grade recording, a USB mic will usually do a good job.

    Especially the one’s we’ve dug up here.

    What about the ones that say “Studio Quality?”

    But what exactly is a “good job” for a USB microphone?

    How do we measure the quality of a mic?

    The first thing we need to do is get specific about our terms.

    Most of the time you’ll see “studio quality” used to describe sound quality.

    Let’s start there.

    Technology is advancing and there are plenty USB microphones that have studio quality listed as one of the features.

    Terms like “studio quality” or “studio-grade” will be used to market USB microphones.

    While I won’t say that it’s impossible for you to get a great sound and good quality recording out of these mics, I still wouldn’t advise them for use outside of basic, home recording, riff banking or podcasting.

    Those who manufacture USB mics will often claim “studio quality.” Despite the fact that many of these microphones do sound incredibly good, we do not recommend them for professional studio recording scenarios.

    Further, the term “studio quality” doesn’t really mean anything.

    It’s a catch-all phrase that’s used to make people feel like they’re getting a mic that’s worthy of studio use.

    The actual term is studio master, which refers to the optimal sound quality of an MP3 file and has little to do with microphones.

    Another term you want to look for is CD-Quality, which implies the following (important) numerics:

    • 16-Bit (bit depth)
    • 44.1 kHz (sampling rate)

    These are numbers and categories you want to target to find the best USB microphone possible.

    It’s par for your purchase and something you’ll always want to check.

    In the field of digital signal processing, the sampling theorem is a fundamental bridge between continuous-time signals (often called “analog signals”) and discrete-time signals (often called “digital signals”). It establishes a sufficient condition for a sample rate that permits a discrete sequence of samples to capture all the information from a continuous-time signal of finite bandwidth.

    If you want to get into this rather meaty aspect of signal-processing, feel free.

    Flickr Commons Image Courtesy of Rockman of Zymurgy

    To avoid breaching the scope of this article, I’ll simply say that this results in microphone sampling rates above 50 kHz.

    Thus Sony originally chose 44.1 as the sweet spot for recording or, more formally, CD-Quality.

    Mics that go up to a 96 kHz sampling rate (and some go even higher) are recommended in this list, not for a raw auditory benefit but, because they’re better suited for converting between digital and analog.

    The moral of the story is that 40 kHz is your baseline sampling rate requirement.

    Also note that sample rate is going to determine the frequency of the audio produced, in case you see both numbers in specs lists:

    Image via

    It’s great that the quality standard for these mics are getting higher, but I’d still recommend separating these from microphones that were intended to be used in a professional studio environment.

    Features We’ll Look For

    Ideally you’re looking for a condenser mic that comes propped up in a stand, like the CAD U37. One of the most crucial factors in determining quality will be the sampling rate or “recording resolution.”

    As we’ve already estsablished, 40 kHz is middle of the road.

    The higher the sampling rate, the better the quality.

    So, let’s jot down a few of these important features:

    Create a list of features you want to look for before you shop, that way you can stay focused on your price point (View Larger Image).

    Other things I like to see are noise reduction features and plug-and-play installation (no downloading of drivers).

    Look for “low-noise” controls, included tripods and an included shield.

    While not all of the mics I list on this page have all these features, we’ll balance things out with the price to make sure you’re getting good value.

    Why Amazon?

    I do link to Amazon for most of these products since I use their affiliate program.

    That said, I still recommend Amazon (regardless of affiliation) because they’re usually able to give you the lowest price, short of something like Craigslist or eBay.

    With these mics I’ve noticed (and in some instances point out) several cases where the Amazon purchase is far cheaper than the price at other retailers.

    So I recommend Amazon, both from a professional and personal standpoint.

    Whenever I buy music gear, of any kind, I buy Amazon and encourage others to do so as well.

    I’m comfortable saying you’ll find the best USB microphone prices there.

    Keep in mind that some of these mics may or may not be available on Amazon and that it might be necessary to checkout the individual dealer lists, depending on which mic you choose.

    Best USB Microphone for Mac or PC?

    Most USB microphones make no distinction between their features or functionality between Mac and PC.

    Almost all of the models I looked at explicitly stated that they worked for any computer and some work with an iPhone or iPad as well.

    Most USB microphones will work with either a Mac or Windows-based computer.

    As long as your computer has an open USB port, you should be good to go. However, in some cases you will have to download drivers.

    But, generally speaking there’s little concern when it comes to what computer you own.

    Most of these mics will work regardless.

    Modern technology is a beautiful thing.

    Let’s jump in.

    While the NT-USB what many would consider a cheaper USB microphone, Rode (an Australian-based company) is one of the better mic manufacturing brands and gives you everything you need in this versatile condenser mic.

    Recommended as a USB instrument microphone for both recording and singing, this mic will work with any PC or Mac program that can listen to an external microphone input.

    A 16-bit 48kHz AD converter puts it right in the mid-range in terms of sampling rate.

    One really nice feature of this mic is that it comes with a pop shield included, saving you from having to buy one separately.

    A couple additional perks worth mentioning are iPad/iPhone compatibility and low-noise features.

    Notable Features
    • iPad and iPhone Compatible
    • Low Noise
    • Monitor
    • Pop Shield

    Some features I like about the MXL 990:

    First, there’s a preamp built into the microphone, which considerably ups the sound quality, giving you a more balanced output.

    Second, it comes with a tripod and decent carrying case for easy transportation.

    The sampling rate is listed at 44.1 kHz or 48 kHz, making the $150 price tag fairly reasonable.

    This mic is a ported version of Audio-Technica’s popular AT2020 microphone.

    The regular AT2020 is, oddly, less expensive.

    For the USB version, a 48 kHz sampling rate and an internal headphone amplifier are among this microphone’s most notable features.

    Additionally you have onboard mixing controls that will allow you to blend whatever you’re recording with prerecorded audio.

    Tripod and USB cable are complimentary.

    The 96 in the 24/96 signifies the sampling rate, which is better than twice as high as most other USB condenser mics.

    Improving the sampling rate is what accounts for a lot of the extra cost, plus the noise and latency are nearly non-existent.

    Analog knobs for mixing are located on the side of the microphone, right above the microphone jack, which is a bit of an awkward placement but, not a deal breaker in any sense.

    I will note that on Musician’s Friend, this microphone retailed at $399.

    The price I have listed here ($280) is what it’s going for on Amazon.

    Even if $280 feels like a lot to spend on a USB microphone, you’ll get what you pay for, especially with the noise reduction features and higher sampling rate.

    You take the good with the bad.

    Notable Features
    • 96 kHz
    • Monitoring
    • Low Noise

    So far the mics we’ve highlighted have all been over $100.


    Because we want to give you quality.

    But, at the same time, you might be looking for the best USB microphone at a more manageable price and you might not need something like a 96 kHz sampling rate.

    I’m comfortable recommending the Snowball as one of the better low-cost options, for those who just need to do basic recording.

    It has a 44 kHz sampling rate and an omnidirectional microphone that easily picks up sound.

    Additionally, the tripod design is convenient for desk setups.

    You don’t get the mixing capabilities and there’s no mention of any noise reduction. However, for a quiet room or office where you just want a simple and cost-effective recording option, this is an ideal and popular choice.

    Notable Features
    • 44 kHz
    • iPad and iPhone Compatible
    • Tripod

    This is another mic that can make nice with iPhones and iPads.

    The headphone jack allows you to record with zero latency while onboard mixing controls are included.

    One disappointment is a fairly low sampling rate at only 20 kHz. However, if it’s a wide range of compatability you’re looking for, or if you just want to record with an iPhone or iPad, this one of your better options.

    Notable Features
    • iPad and iPhone Compatible
    • Monitoring

    In terms of features, USB microphones don’t get much better than this offering from Lewitt Audio.

    And in terms of studio use, it's a decent fit as a professional microphone for computer recording, be it in a studio or elsewhere.

    As you might expect, it meets the same sampling rate as the MXL 009 at 96 kHz.

    Other features include four different recording modes and a line-in source for instruments like a guitar or piano.

    It also works with iOS devices.


    A notable feature that improves recording quality is pre-attenuation, where attenuation basically means you’re losing signal strength.

    Attenuation is a term used to refer to any loss of signal over a given distance.

    Thus, pre-attenuation is kind of like having a pre-shrunk t-shirt, meaning you won’t lose signal integrity as your sound travels into the mic and the eventual recording agent.

    Other features include a high-impedence amplifier (for headphones), a high pass filter and an asynchronous USB connection (zero latency).

    It’s expensive but, it’s one of the best I’ve been able to dig up and might just hold its own as a studio alternative.

    The designation “mobile recording studio” is well-deserved.

    Notable Features
    • iPad and iPhone Compatible
    • Monitoring
    • 96 kHz
    • Amplifier
    • Tripod

    Audio-Technica, a well-known and respected microphone manufacturer, does a great job of getting us the ATR2500 at an astoundingly low price.

    Sample rate is par for the course at 44 kHz, and the headphone jack comes with external volume controls.

    Otherwise, it’s a straightforward setup.

    We’re further encouraged by the extremely positive feedback that this unit gets, especially when you consider the price tag.

    There’s no mention of latency in regards to the headphone monitor, which is a little worrisome.

    As far as noise control, the Audio-Technica website puts it this way:

    Low self-noise – ideally suited for digital recording equipment

    There’s some room for interpretation there, as “self-noise” isn’t a term that I’ve seen anywhere else.

    However, even without a laundry-list of features, this microphone can likely do the job you need it to do at a fraction of the cost for many of the other USB mics on this list.

    First, I want to point out that it was not unusual to see this retailing for $300 in a number of other stores.

    Amazon’s used options can drift close to $250.

    As for the mic itself:

    I like this quote from the X1’s homepage:

    Most USB mics sound like USB mics. With a hand-made capsule and 24-bit 192kHz circuitry, the X1 USB sounds like a real studio.

    192 kHz is pretty stellar, higher than any of the other circuitry we’ve looked at so far.

    However, it’s also a lot higher than what our ears can appreciate.

    Views on the value of this vary, but I’d take anything over 48 kHz with a grain of salt.

    The X1’s Capsule

    If you read on via the X1’s homepage, you’ll come to a few paragraphs that detail how sE Electronics approaches the capsule on this microphone.

    Impressively, the capsule is handmade in-house, providing extra attention to detail that you’re not getting with other USB mics.

    You can read more about the capsule’s assembly process on sE Electronics’ story page.

    It’s actually quite impressive.

    Notable Features
    • 192 kHz
    • Monitoring
    • Hand-Built

    Like the X1, the Razer Seiren meets the 192 kHz sampling rate.

    It also supports four different recording modes as listed here:

    • Cardioid: Streaming, Podcasts, Voice-overs, Instruments
    • Stereo: Vocals, Instruments
    • Omnidirectional: Conference Calls, Events
    • Bidirectional: Interviews, Instruments, Vocal Duets

    Other features include zero-latency headphone monitoring (built-in amplifier), a shock mount for noise reduction and a pop filter. However, please be aware that the shock mount and pop filter are sold separately.

    I don’t mind this since it helps keep the cost of the microphone itself under $200 and suggests that the quality of the mount and filter should be a little higher.

    While the Razer claims to be studio-capable, I’d still be a bit leery of trying to use it in a professional setting.

    But, it does have a lot of features and capabilities that the “typical” USB microphone lacks. This is for someone who doesn’t want to spend professional-level money but still wants the recording to sound close to studio master.

    We like the Razer for just about any semi-pro job.

    Notable Features
    • 192 kHz
    • Monitoring
    • Four Modes

    The C01U doesn’t boast a long list of features but, it does get you CD-quality recording at a 48 kHz sampling rate and cardioid recording pattern.

    It includes a mount and is shipped with a complimentary copy of Cakewalk® Sonar LE music production software.

    While there are plenty on this list that outweigh it, the C01U is a deal at just $70 with the software bundle.

    Apogee’s USB mic gets you to a 96 kHz sampling rate.

    It also converts your signal from analog to digital for improved clarity.

    Additional features include input-level monitoring, a built-in preamp and all-metal construction.

    It’s also compatible with iPad and iPhone and comes with the necessary connection cable.

    Notable Features
    • 96 kHz
    • iPad and iPhone Compatible

    Reviewing Priority Features

    The features we’ve mentioned so far are worth a concise listing and review:

    • SAMPLING RATE: The most significant number when it comes to determining recording quality 44.1 is the number to aim for.
    • TRIPODS & POP SHIELDS: Mics that come with their own tripod are more common than included pop shields, though both are desirable features.
    • LOW NOISE: There are a number of noise-reduction techniques depending on the type of microphone. Just look for the phrase “low noise.”
    • HEADPHONE MONITORING: This comes in the form of a simple headphone jack, usually coming directly out of the microphone.
    • ZERO-LATENCY: This term refers to an absence of any delay between sound going into the microphone and playback being heard through the headphone monitor.

    Some Additional Thoughts on these Features

    Keep in mind that in most cases, pop shields for microphones (especially USB mics) are sold separately.

    This is because it’s assumed that most consumers who opt for a USB mic are less-concerned about sound quality, therefore not willing to pay the extra cost for the shield.

    If you’re doing vocal recording, of any kind, a shield is really helpful since it acts as a smooth compressor for your voice.

    What you might want to do (if your mic doesn’t include one) is just buy it separately:

    Most are one-size-fits-all and fairly inexpensive.

    There are a lot of mic shields that go higher in price, but these are adequate for compressing a basic USB microphone.

    Headphones for monitoring?

    I wouldn’t break the bank for headphones on a USB mic.

    Keep it simple and go with something like Skullcandy Crushers with an over-ear construction.

    Avoid wireless headphones since they can cause issues with latency.

    Other Features to Look For

    Pre-attenuation, on-board mixing controls and iPad/iPhone compatibility are just a few of the other features we’ve seen that can be helpful bonuses, depending on your need.

    Note that the priority features are more universal and important.

    The rest are more niche-related and not necessarily helpful to everyone involved.

    For example, not everyone cares about recording onto an Apple device, while sampling rate (sound quality) is more likely to be a universal requirement.

    When shopping, get your priority features down first, then look for the secondary motivators.

    Other Music Production-Related Content

    Works Cited

    Abom, Matts, and Hans Boden. “Error Analysis of Two‐microphone Measurements in Ducts with Flow.” API Scitation. Acoustical Society of American, 1 Jan. 1988. Web. 21 Dec. 2015.

    “Best USB Microphone – Updated December 2015.” Equipboard. N.p., 2 Sept. 2015. Web. 22 Dec. 2015.

    “ATR2500-USB.” Cardioid Condenser USB Microphone. Audio-Technica, n.d. Web. 22 Dec. 2015.

    “X1 USB Microphone.” SE Electronics. SE Electronics, n.d. Web. 23 Dec. 2015.

    “Razer Seiren Elite USB Digital Microphone.” Newegg., n.d. Web. 23 Dec. 2015.

    “What Is a Studio Master?” LINN. LINN, n.d. Web. 30 Dec. 2015.

    Elert, Glenn. “Frequency Range of Human Hearing.” Hypertextbook. Rizwan Choudhary, 2004. Web. 30 Dec. 2015.

    “Sample Rates.” Audacity Wiki. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Dec. 2015.

    Flickr Commons Image Courtesy of Jim Makos Samson Meteor Mic USB Studio Microphone (Chrome): Samson Audio: Musical Instruments

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    Since there's no need for drivers, you can start recording right out of the box on any computer. And Meteor Mic is compatible with most computer-based digital audio workstations. A USB cable and carry pouch are also included.

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    Unlike other USB mics that require a powered USB hub, Meteor Mic plugs right into your iPad with Apple's USB connector. It's never been easier to start recording.

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    For multimedia creators, Meteor Mic brings amazing audio quality to voiceovers. If you're adding narration to a company video, or even your home movies, Meteor Mic will give your words clarity and impact. You can even use Meteor Mic to narrate PowerPoint presentations.

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    As podcasting continues to grow in popularity, creators need both audio quality and ease of use. Meteor Mic can help you wow your listeners and set yourself apart in a crowded podcasting community.

    Meteor Mic is a unique, all-in-one solution that lets you make great recordings on your computer, so you always make an impact.

    About Samson

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    In the early '90s, Samson began to expand the reach of their audio products through the development of power amplifiers, mixers, wired microphones and signal processors. In 2005, the first professional USB microphones to be used by musicians, broadcasters and podcast enthusiasts were introduced, making Samson USB microphones the new industry standard. Over three decades, Samson has grown from a small two-person operation to a worldwide enterprise, dedicated to innovating new products that will enhance the lives of music and broadcast professionals everywhere.

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