8 Best USB Microphones of 2019

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There are 100’s of USB mics available today, but they’re not all equal. Sometimes, a cheaper option can be better than a product at twice the price. It’s hard to know without testing them or plowing through endless user reviews. Well, I’ve done the grunt work, so you don’t have to. There are 8 mini-reviews here for the best-selling USB microphone choices this year.

Budget
best-budget-usb-microphone
Fifine Metal USB Mic
4.6/5.0
Weight: 14.1 oz.
Polar Pattern: Cardioid
Classy design, plug-n-play, clear audio, volume control, adjustable stand, portable.
Check Amazon
Best Value
best-value-usb-microphone
Samson Meteor USB Studio
4.7/5.0
Weight: 10.6 oz.
Polar Pattern: Cardioid
Plug-n-play, versatile, headphone jack, volume dial, mute button.
Check Amazon
Top Pick
top-value-usb-microphone
HyperX QuadCast USB Gaming Mic
4.9/5.0
Weight: 9.0 oz.
Polar Pattern: Multiple (4)
Looks fantastic, mount adapter, built-in pop-filter, gain control.
Check Bestbuy

Why USB Mics?

USB technology and devices have come a long way in recent years. These mics may not be up there with XLR microphones, but they’re still serious tools for today’s audiophiles. The biggest appeal is plug-n-play capability. All you do is unbox the product and plug it into a standard USB port of a regular laptop or desktop. That’s it. There’s no external audio hardware to invest in either.

Most USB mics with built-in digital interfaces cost less than the XLR alternatives. Many of these products are suitable for pro-level applications. That means high-quality recordings at affordable prices—what’s not to like? Well, there are very few audio interfaces or mixing boards with USB inputs. Why does that matter? Because audio interfaces and mixing boards give users greater control.

Don’t be too put off. USB mic users now have sophisticated DAWs at their disposal (see next).

Meet the DAW

USB microphones work with Digital Audio Workstations (DAWs). That can be a computer software program or an electronic device. Either or, DAWs are to USB mics what audio interfaces and mixing boards are to XMLs. A DAW used to be a simple audio editing system. Nowadays, though, a DAW can have tools to process, mix, and fully manipulate sound recordings.

Typical USB Mic Controls

Let’s look at some USB mic controls not usually found on XLM microphones:

  • Volume control
  • polar patterns selectors (see below)
  • Pad control used to attenuate the mic’s output
  • Real-time monitor mix
  • Mute control. Useful if you suddenly need to cough or sneeze
  • Low-cut filter to reduce low frequency noise
  • EQ (equalizer) modes used for various recording requirements

Next, we look at polar patterns. Don’t skip this section unless you’re already familiar with a mic’s pick up pattern. It’s one of the buying considerations that can make or break your recording.

Microphone Polar Patterns

The directional sensitivity of a microphone depends on its pick-up pattern. Some acknowledge sound from all directions, others the front and back, or front only. There are reasons why one pattern may be preferred over another. Ignoring a mic’s polar pattern is a common newbie shopping blunder. Keep reading so that you don’t fall into the same trap.

Below are the 4 polar patterns all mic users should know about:

  1. Cardioid / Supercardioid / Hypercardioid
  2. Omnidirectional
  3. Multi-pattern
  4. Bi-directional

USB mics tend to use the first three patterns, so let’s look at those in more detail.






The Conclusion

USB mics come in all shapes, sizes, quality, and with different functions. Most are condenser types and ideal for tracking speech, vocals, and musical instruments. They’re no longer the subpar products of yesteryear. These microphones offer straightforward solutions for high-quality recording. They’re highly portable too and can plug into all modern PCs, Macs, and tablets.

About My ‘Best USB Microphone’ Guide

I’ve included 8 USB microphones in the low, mid, and high price categories. All are exceptional products in their class. These mics are the result of personal thoughts, the views of industry experts, and feedback from users. The first three reviews are for the Best Budget mic, followed by the editor’s choice for Best Value and then the Top pick. The remainder is in price order, low to high.

USB Microphones Comparison Table

1. Fifine Metal USB Multi-Purpose Mic | Best Budget

Fifine Metal USB Multi-Purpose MicView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.6/5

Fifine’s USB multi-purpose cardioid condenser recording mic makes the Best Budget Pick. It sells incredibly well and receives lots of positive reviews from owners, which is always encouraging.

  • Best feature 1: Truly versatile mic for a multitude of applications
  • Best feature 2: Solid metal construction
  • Plus points: Classy design, plug-n-play, clear audio, volume control, adjustable stand, portable
  • Minus points: Overly sensitive, short USB cable, no mute button

Fifine USB Condenser Mic Highlights

Mic compatibility: Windows 10, Vista, XP, 2000, and Mac OS X.

Performance should always come before looks of course. But the classy metallic appearance adds to the appeal of this USB mic. There are two colors available, black or rose red. It’s a 100% plug-n-play device. The mic provides seamless integration with any Mac or Windows computers. The sound quality is surprisingly smooth and precise for a product in this price category.

Other highlights include a volume control, adjustable tripod stand, and portability. Don’t let the sales images trick you about the size. You can wrap your hand around this powerful little USB condenser mic. That makes it an ideal travel companion, always ready to boost your audio quality.

The Not So Good

There are some complaints that the mic is too sensitive at its highest setting. One workaround is to turn the sensitivity down and speak closer or louder. It’s a bit annoying, but this is a budget-end product after all. The built-in USB cable keeps everything neat, but some may find the 5.9ft too restrictive. There’s no mute button, but that more of ‘would like’ than a legitimate complaint.

View on Amazon

Tech Specs
Brand: Fifine
Mic Type: Condenser
Connection: USB
Polar Pattern: Cardioid
Power Supply: Plug-in device
Mic Support: Windows & Mac OS X
Product Dimensions: 4.9 x 2.6 x 7.3”
Product Weight: 14.1 oz.
Warranty: 2 years
The Pros
Excellent value
Plug-n-play (Windows/Mac)
Works for a multitude of applications
Solid metal construction
Classy design, 2 colors
Clear, smooth audio
Volume control
Desktop tripod included
Portability
The Cons
Overly sensitive
Shortish USB cable
No mute button

2. Samson Meteor Chrome USB Studio Mic | Best Value

Samson Meteor Chrome USB Studio MicView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.7/5

The Best Value USB microphone is the Meteor Studio condenser mic by Samson Technologies. It’s a flexible, all-metal plug-n-play product that’s quick to set up and simple to use.

  • Best feature 1: Excellent sound quality w/ cardioid pick up pattern
  • Best feature 2: Compact, foldable design
  • Plus points: Plug-n-play, versatile, headphone jack, volume dial, mute button, 4 finishes
  • Minus points: Must unfold legs to use, tight volume dial

Samson Meteor USB Studio Mic Highlights

Mic compatibility: MAC OS, Windows 10, 7, and VISTA

This condenser mic uses a cardioid pickup pattern. The sound is clean and crisp with pleasing bass when used close up. It’s an affordable and versatile product for budding vocalists, podcasters, and musicians. It works well with guitar cabinets too, and for commercial voice overs. Foldable legs reduce the Meteor studio mic to the size of a large egg, which adds to its storable, portable design.

The fully-adjustable legs let you position the mic to any recording angle. It fits onto a regular mic stand as well. Another welcome feature is the handy headphone jack for live monitoring. There’s also a volume dial and a mute button. It’s a gorgeous mic as well as a sturdy one. You get to choose from four stunning finishes, i.e., chrome, brushed nickel, titanium black, and titanium red.

The Not So Good

The support legs must be open to expose the USB and connect cables. Detachable legs would have been a better design and offer users more flexibility. It’s possible to disassemble the legs if you need them off, but it’s a hassle. Lastly, it seems that the volume control on some Meteor Mics has too much resistance. You may have to hold the unit with one hand and adjust the volume with the other.

View on Amazon

Tech Specs
Brand: Samson Technologies
Mic Type: Studio desktop condenser
Connection: USB
Polar Pattern: Cardioid
Resolution: 16-bit, 44.1/48kHz
Power Supply: Plug-in devices
Diaphragm: Large, 25mm
Mic Support: Multiple device & OS
Product Dimensions: 6 x 3 x 5”
Product Weight: 10.6 oz.
Warranty: 1 year
The Pros
Excellent sound quality
Compact, foldable design
Plug-n-play
Versatile use, voice/ instruments
Headphone jack
Volume dial
Handy mute button
Available in 4 finishes
Soft storage case
The Cons
Must open support legs to use
Tight volume dial

3. HyperX QuadCast USB Gaming Mic | Top Pick

HyperX QuadCast USB Gaming MicView on Bestbuy

Editor’s Rating: 4.9/5

HyperX’s QuadCast gets the Top Pick slot. It’s a full-featured USB condenser mic with lots to offer. And the company’s easy-to-follow HD Quick Start Video Guide is helpful.

  • Best feature 1: Four selectable polar patterns
  • Best feature 2: Anti-vibration shock mount
  • Plus points: Looks fantastic, mount adapter, built-in pop-filter, gain control, headphone jack
  • Minus points: Red option only, cannot control LED, no volume regulator for headset

HyperX QuadCast USB Mic Highlights

Mic compatibility: PC Windows 10/8/7, PS4, Skype, Mac, Mumble (VOIP), XSplit, and OBS

Consider the HyperX’ QuadCast if you need a versatile tool for a multitude of recording situations. It looks incredible, but it’s more than a pretty face. The HyperX’ has an anti-vibration shock and a tap-to-mute sensor with LED indicator. One of its best features are the four selectable polar patterns. You can choose between Stereo, Omnidirectional, Cardioid, and Bidirectional (figure-of-eight).

There’s a mount adapter in the box, so the mic is boom arm-ready (arm not included). The built-in pop filter, gain control adjustment dial, and headphone jack are more welcome features. This mic is ideal for vocalists, conference calls, multi-person podcasts, streaming, and voiceovers, etc. And the Bidirectional pattern is perfect for face-to-face interviews and singing duets.

The Not So Good

It’s a beautiful looking mic with a striking black and red design. Not everyone likes blood-red as a color, though. The makers have thought about most things for this mic, aside from color choices. Another con is that you can’t turn the bright red LED off when the mic is active. Lastly, there’s no volume control for the headset.

View on Bestbuy

Tech Specs
Brand: HyperX
Mic Type: Condenser
Connection: USB
Polar Pattern: Stereo, Omnidirectional, Cardioid, Bidirectional
Power Supply: Plug-in device
Mic Support: Multiple device & OS
Frequency Response: 20Hz20kHz
Sensitivity: -36dB 1V/Pa @ 1kHz
Package Dimensions: 5.05 x 4 x 9.8”
Product Weight: 9 oz.
Warranty: 2 years limited
The Pros
Four selectable polar patterns
Anti-vibration shock mount
Mount adapter
Durable metal construction
Looks amazing
Built-in pop-filter
Gain control (mic sensitivity)
Headphone jack
Tap-to-mute sensor
Wide compatibility
The Cons
Red option only
Cannot control LED
No volume control

4. Blue Snowflake Plug-n-Play USB Microphone

Blue Snowflake Plug-n-Play USB MicrophoneView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.5/5

The Blue Snowflake USB professional microphone looks different from conventional type mics. That’s because the design allows it to rest on the screen of your PC or laptop.

  • Best feature 1: Highly functional USB
  • Best feature 2: Convenient design, portable
  • Plus points: Plug-n-play, decent sound quality, built-in clip & stand, adjustable capsule
  • Minus points: No hook adjustment, quite large, picks up ambient sound

Blue Snowflake USB Mic Highlights

Mic compatibility: Windows 10, Vista, XP; USB 1.0/2.0, Macintosh Mac OSX; USB 1.0/2.0

This is a highly-functional, travel-friendly pocket-sized microphone. People buy the Blue Snowflake to record music demos, podcasts, internet telephony, and narration, etc. It folds into a neat, compact case that also houses the USB cable. Unfolded, it can either sit on a desktop or clip over a laptop or computer flat screen. The sound quality is exceptional for a mic in its class.

The Blue Snowflake also has a fully-adjustable capsule. You can pivot it backward, forward, and rotate it from side to side to achieve the perfect position. I’d say this is an ideal first mic for anyone who wants to experiment with external audio.

The Not So Good

The design of the Blue Snowflake is such that it lets you hang it over computer screens. That’s a convenient arrangement, but it is loose. Some kind of adjustment or tightening mechanism would have been welcome. The mic is quite large compared to some rival products, but it’s still portable. Finally, the quieter the recording space the better as the Snowflake tends to pick up ambient sounds.

View on Amazon

Tech Specs
Brand: Blue
Mic Type: Condenser
Connection: USB
Polar Pattern: Cardioid
Power Supply: Plug-in device
Mic Support: Windows/Mac
Sample/Word Rate: 44.1kHz / 16 bit
Frequency Response: 35Hz–20kHz
Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 4.4 x 2.5”
Product Weight: 8.8 oz.
Warranty: 2 years
The Pros
Highly functional USB mic
Convenient design, portable
Sturdy build
Plug-n-play simplicity
Decent sound quality
Built-in clip & stand
Fully-adjustable mic capsule
The Cons
No hook adjustment
Quite big
Picks up ambient sound

5. Blue Snowball Brushed Aluminum USB Mic

Blue Snowball Brushed Aluminum USB MicView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.6/5

Blue’s Snowball is a USB microphone with award-winning, dual-capsule circuit design. It comes in 5 colors, i.e., brushed aluminum, electric blue, gloss black, neon green, textured white, and orange.

  • Best feature 1: Award-winning, dual-capsule circuit design
  • Best feature 2: Clean, crisp recording capability
  • Plus points: Plug-n-play, adjustable stand, retro aesthetics, 2 polar pattern modes
  • Minus points: Need to get close up for best results, quite big

Blue Snowball USB Mic Highlights

Mic compatibility: Windows XP (home & professional)/Vista/7/8/10, Mac OS X 10.4.11, and higher.

The Blue Snowball is a best-selling product and one that’s stood the test of time. It’s a plug-n-play mic, so no drivers or setting up needed. Just attach it to the adjustable tripod stand, plug it into a USB port, and start to record. A red LED indicator glows when the mic’s on. And the retro aesthetic design gives the Snowball a fab look to go with its great sound.

Two polar patterns add to the mic’s versatility. The cardioid pick-up gives a cleaner, more natural sound than the omnidirectional. The latter is best suited for recording meetings, a conference, or basic music demos.

The Not So Good

The main negative with the Blue Snowball USB mic is that you must get close for best results. That can cause back discomfort after prolonged use, so think carefully about placement. Also, the mic is about the size of a softball and appears even bigger mounted on its stand. It needs space, and will easily knock over due to its top-heavy design.

View on Amazon

Tech Specs
Brand: Blue
Mic Type: Desktop condenser
Connection: USB
Polar Pattern: Cardioid and Omni
Power Supply: Plug-in device
Mic Support: Windows and Mac OS X
Frequency Response: 1–3: 40 to 18 kHz
Sample/Word Rate: 44.1kHz / 16 bit
Product Dimensions: 4.9 x 7.9 x 10”
Product Weight: 16.2 oz.
Warranty: 2 years
The Pros
Award-winning microphone
Dual-capsule circuit design
Retro aesthetics
Available in 5 styles
Plug-n-play simplicity
Clean, natural sound
Adjustable stand
2 polar patterns
-10dB pad
The Cons
Need to get close for best results
Big mic (size of a softball)
Top-heavy

6. Blue SPARK Digital Lightning USB Condenser Mic

Blue SPARK Digital Lightning USB Condenser MicView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.2/5

Sixth on the list is the Blue SPARK DIGITAL LIGHTNING. It’s another USB condenser microphone but with the addition of iPad connectivity. This model expands on the popular Blue Spark XLR studio mic.

  • Best feature 1: USB and iPad connectivity
  • Best feature 2: Rich, high-fidelity sound
  • Plus points: Plug-n-play, large condenser capsule, headphone jack, volume control, gain control
  • Minus points: No pop screen, poor mic stand

Blue SPARK USB Condenser Mic Highlights

Mic compatibility: iPad, Mac, PC (no drivers needed), iOS devices, iPhone 5, iPad 4th Gen, iPod Touch 5th Gen, and the iPad Mini tablet computers.

The Spark Digital is a quality plug-n-play microphone. You can plug it into Windows desktop PCs, laptops, or iOS devices such as iPhones and iPads. Its condenser is larger than typical USB mics. That results in a more vibrant, higher-fidelity audio than smaller capacitors. The mic has a directional cardioid pick up pattern. It’s an excellent tool for vocals, speech, podcasts, and musical instruments.

Some of the physical features include a headphone jack, volume and gain controls, and a mute button. The focus control with two sonic signatures is also worth mention. When the focus is set to OFF, the sound is present and bright. With the focus set to ON, the sound is warmer and more direct.

The Not So Good

Some mics come with pop filters, and others don’t. Not all mics need one, but the Spark Digital does, and it’s not included. Get one in advance if you plan to use the Spark Digital for singing.

Another letdown is the desktop shock mount stand. It fits the mic well, and it protects the recordings from vibrations and rumblings. The problem is that it’s short, so you need to lean in. That gets uncomfortable after a while. My advice would be to use a proper, long mic stand to avoid discomfort.

View on Amazon

Tech Specs
Brand: Blue
Mic Type: Condenser
Connection: USB, iPad
Polar Pattern: Cardioid
Power Supply: Plug-in device
Mic Support: PC, iOS, iPad
Adjustable Gain Range: 32 dB
Maximum SPL: 128 dB
Frequency Response: 20Hz–20kHz
Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 1.7 x 1.7”
Product Weight: 20 oz.
Warranty: 2 years
The Pros
USB and iPad connectivity
Rich, high-fidelity sound
Plug-n-play mic
Works w/ GarageBand and apps
Large condenser capsule
Headphone jack
Volume control
Gain control
Mute knob
Focus control
LED meter for visual feedback
The Cons
Minus points: no pop screen
Poor desktop shock mount stand

7. Blue Yeti Best-Selling USB Microphone

Blue Yeti Best-Selling USB MicrophoneView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.7/5

Here’s another superb USB microphone by Blue. It’s the company’s best-selling Yeti, a gorgeous desktop mic available in 11 different styles. But can Blue justify its price tag? Let’s find out.

  • Best feature 1: Tri-capsule array (3 condenser capsules)
  • Best feature 2: Multiple polar pattern options
  • Plus points: Plug-n-play, durable, desktop stand, gain control, mute button, headphone output
  • Minus points: Tight polar dial, big and heavy (also a pro), no off button

Blue Yeti USB Microphone Highlights

Blue’s Yeti desktop mic is a big beast with a pro look and plenty of positives. It boasts 3 condenser capsules to capture all kinds of quality sound sources. A polar pattern dial lets you choose the preferred pick-up method. The modes are Cardioid, Omnidirectional, Bidirectional, and Stereo. Think podcasts, streaming, vocals, instruments, conference calls, interviews, and Stereophonics, etc.

Working with the Yeti

This microphone is a simple-to-use plug-n-play product despite its sophistication. It produces rich and mellow sounds, but it can be a tad oversensitive. It’s possible to manage its sensitivity using free audio mixer applications, but novice users may need help. I also suggest buying a quality pop filter like the Blue Universal Filter. There are cheaper, reasonable quality third party options if you prefer.

The physical controls are worth mention. You can adjust the recording angle of the Yeti from its sturdy desktop stand. The stand is heavy with anti-scratch pads on its base to protect the desk. On the body of the mic is a gain control, a mute button, and a headphone output. At the bottom is a non-standard mount hole to attach the mic to a Compass desktop boom arm or Radius III shock mount.

The Not So Good

This mic would ooze total quality if it weren’t for the cheap knobs, USB port, and mount threads. The polar dial is especially tight and feels as if it could break at any moment. The Yeti is big and heavy, so it’s not what you might call travel-friendly. Also, it has minimal compatibility with popular industry-standard products. Lastly, an ON/OFF switch would have been welcome at this price.

View on Amazon

Tech Specs
Brand: Blue
Mic Type: Desktop condenser
Connection: USB
Polar Pattern: Multi
Power Supply: Plug-in device
Mic Support: Mac & PC
Frequency Response: 20Hz–20kHz
Max SPL: 120dB
Bit Rate: 16bit
Sample Rate: 48kHz
Package Dimensions: 4.9 x 4.7 x 11.6”
Mic Weight W/O Stand: 19.2 oz.
Stand Weight: 35.2 oz.
Warranty: 2 years
The Pros
3 condenser capsules
Multiple polar patterns
Plug-n-play simplicity
Durable, heavy-duty body
Adjustable desktop stand
Gain control
Mute button
Volume control
Mount hole
3.5mm headphone jack
The Cons
Tight polar selector
Big and heavy (also a pro)
No ON/OFF button

8. Audio-Technica AT2020USB Plus USB Mic

Audio-Technica AT2020USB Plus USB MicView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.8/5

The last review is for Audio-Technica’s AT2020 USB+, a popular multiuse mic. Uses include home studio, field, voice-over artists, podcasters, singer-songwriters, and acoustic instruments.

  • Best feature 1: High-quality digital-recording
  • Best feature 2: Superb audio
  • Plus points: Plug-n-play, multi-use mic, mix control, volume control, headphone jack, stand
  • Minus points: Low average tripod stand, potential Windows 10 compatibility issues

Audio-Technica USB PLUS Mic Highlights

Mic compatibility: Windows 10, 7, Vista, XP, Windows 2000, and Mac OS X.

Audio-Technica’s AT2020USB PLUS has a cardio polar pattern with superb off-axis rejection. The sound quality is exceptional for a mic in this price category. However, it does need a quality pop filter for speech and vocal work (not included). It’s a well-built microphone with a solid feel. Moreover, it has a professional appearance and a few impressive on-mic features.

The built-in mix control lets users blend the mic signal with any pre-recorded audio. The AT2020 USB Plus also features an integrated high output headphone amp. The handy volume control lets headphone users monitor the mic’s signal with zero delays. This puppy delivers exceptional audio with plenty of volume and musical detail. The desktop stand is a nice extra, but it’s not perfect (see below).

The Not So Good

Many USB mics come with a tripod desk stand, including this one. It’s better than nothing and may serve the purpose for some users. I’d suggest using one that offers more stability for long term use. The stock stand is just too low and flimsy. The AT2020USB+ is not promoted as compatible with Win 10, but many say that it’s okay, and others not. Check for compatibility updates if you want to use this mic with Windows 10 or any other OS not mentioned.

View on Amazon

Tech Specs
Brand: Audio-Technica
Mic Type: Desktop condenser
Connection: USB
Polar Pattern: Cardioid
Power Supply: Plug-in device
Headphone Jack: 3.5mm
Mic Support: Windows (not all), Mac OS X
Bit Depth: 16 bit
Sample Rate: 44.1 kHz/48 kHz
Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 9.6 x 2.6”
Product Weight: 13.6 oz.
Warranty: 1 year
The Pros
High-quality digital-recording
A/D converter produces high-quality audio
Plug-n-play
Quick set up, easy-to-use
Multi-use microphone
Mix control
Volume control
Headphone jack
Desktop tripod stand
The Cons
Low average stand
Potential compatibility issues with Windows 10
0/50 ratings