Portability – Even if you don’t use one of these as your primary microphone, these can make excellent microphones to take with you on the go. This way, you can still get a decent recording while traveling with one place to the next without having to be weighed down by an interface or preamp. USB microphones are perfect for portability.
USB Microphones Under $100 Buyers Guide
What Makes A Good USB Condenser Mic?
This really does depend entirely on what you intend to use it for. USB mics should ideally provide instant use the moment they are plugged-in without any driver installation.
The signal provided ought to be clear and free of background noise without hum or internal noise produced when they are switched on.
The minimum audio quality for recording should be 16-bit but a higher resolution of 32bit is better. They must not harbor any internal noise of their own which can typically be heard as a hum or hiss.
Zero latency monitoring directly from the device is always a desirable little bonus as well.
How to pick which type you need is again governed by its use. Spoken voices and singing voices differ heavily in terms of their SPL (Sound Pressure Levels) a smaller diaphragm probably won’t handle someone belting out a huge chorus.
The body shape dictates whether the axis extends perpendicular to its diaphragm or not. Side-address/side-firing mics usually house larger membranes and are perpendicular. microphones with smaller diaphragms are known as top/ end-address or end-firing.
For most uses a cardioid pattern will be best as generally, we speak into a microphone from one side, a cardioid polar pattern is directional and reduces what is picked up from the sides as well as behind the mic, isolating the source.
The cardioid pattern was named aptly after its resemblance to a heart shape when its polarity pattern is drawn in a 2D model.
There is no doubt that USB desktop microphones are convenient and whilst the professionals out there aren’t quite ready to do away with audio interfaces completely, the freedom and access to the home recording they provide for the average user are groundbreaking.
They typically don’t require a driver install and are the hassle-free way to go even if it’s just for clearer video calls as an upgrade to your integrated factory mic.
To choose the most fitting USB mic for your needs, first, consider your intended use and then limit your options via your budget allocation, as you can see from today’s reviews there are plenty out there to choose from which sit at accessible prices.
If you have a little more cash to spend than the allocated budget you might want to consider a Blue Yeti USB condenser microphone it has quickly raised the industry bar, setting a new standard it has a larger diaphragm and functions using their patented Tri-Capsule technology which keeps signals pristine.
Did you Know
We previously reviewed the Blue Yeti in our Top 10 Best USB Condenser Mics article last year and a few of today’s selections previously made the grade, though there are many others to consider highlighted as well.