So you’re planning to buy a decent microphone to be used on a PC? Then a USB microphone is a better alternative than those that come with a 3.5mm headphone jack. In any case, you should think long and hard about it. If you have very specific, simple needs where ultimate quality is not an issue, you KNOW you will only ever need one microphone, and you know you won't want to expand or change in the future then maybe a USB microphone could be a good solution for you. However, if you're a musician with the usual needs for monitoring and likely desire to improve your recording techniques over the years, think long and hard before investing in a USB microphone. If you do still decide to go with a USB microphone, look for the rare models that include things like monitoring and background noise filter.
A USB microphone is a lot cheaper but they still need all the same electronic stages as a conventional microphone, so the eventual quality is often compromised. Still, a good software can handle any sound enhancement you need. Another advantage of using a USB microphone is the ease of use. You may need to tweak and install drivers and other monitoring software before you can use it. Depending on the mix of Operating System and DAW software you have, some combinations are difficult to set up so you can monitor on one audio device on your built-in sound card while recording on a different one. But don’t worry, most of the time it easy to setup as long you follow the instructions. If ever you are looking for a good quality USB microphone, here are the top 7 best on the market today.
The Blue Snowflake USB Microphone is a professional quality portable mic that combines a USB bus powered capsule with a class compliant design to make the Snowflake truly plug and play on both Mac and PC. It features a Transducer Type Condenser, Pressure Gradient w/USB Digital Output, Cardioid Polar Pattern, 44.1 kHz/16 bit sample/word rate, and 35Hz - 20kHz frequency response. Works with Mac OSX and Windows Vista or XP on USB 1.0 or 2.0 compliance at a minimum of 64gb or RAM. The Snowflake's unique design allows you to place it on a desk or flat surface near your computer or mounted to the screen of most laptops. Perfect for any desktop and laptop. Product dimensions are 6.5 x 4.4 x 2.5 inches and weigh 0.75 pounds.
The Apogee Mic 96k USB Microphone is a digital microphone designed to deliver studio quality recording you can take anywhere. It features a Studio quality cardioid condenser microphone, PureDIGITAL connection for pristine sound quality, up to 96kHz recording, designed for vocal and acoustic instrument recording and input only, output via iPhone, iPad or Mac. This product combines a microphone, microphone preamp, and an A/D converter into one compact device. Product dimensions are 4.6 x 1.4 x 1.5 inches and weigh 0.4 pounds.
If you are looking for a USB microphone for a clear vocal recording, then the Shure PG-42 is the one you need. It features an integrated pre-amp with Microphone Gain Control allows control of input signal strength, Zero Latency Monitoring for real-time playback and multi-tracking without disorientation, headphone jack for monitoring with 1/8” connectivity, Monitor Mix Control for blending microphone and playback audio, 16 bit, up to 48 kHz sample rate for better-than-CD quality audio, and USB Plug and Play connectivity allows the convenience of digital recording, anywhere your computer can go. It is compatible with Windows 7, Vista, XP, 2000, and Mac OS X (10.1 or later). Product dimensions are 13.6 x 4.6 x 9.9 inches and weigh 0.33 pounds.
This is a portable USB condenser microphone and a perfect accessory when traveling. The Samson Go Mic features a custom compact design that clips to a laptop or sits on a desk, ideal for recording music, podcasting and field recording, ideal for voice recognition software, iChat, VoIP and web casting, and Plug and Play Mac and PC compatible with no drivers required. The Go Mic is perfect for recording music, podcasts or field recording, but its range of functionality extends beyond any typical USB microphones. Product dimensions are 6 x 1 x 5 inches and weigh 0.5 pounds.
The CAD U37 is a great choice for both vocal and instruments as well as for creating podcasts and voiceovers for videos. It features Large condenser microphone element for warm, rich recordings, smooth, extended frequency response is excellent for singing, speech and instruments, 10dB overload-protection switch minimizes distortion from loud sound sources, Bass-reduction switch reduces room noise, Cardioid pick-up pattern minimizes background noise and isolates the main sound source. The U37 is Windows and Macintosh compatible, with no software to install by simply plugging it into any available USB port on your PC, select it as your input in your software settings, and you're ready to create your own audio. Product dimensions are 9 x 12 x 4 inches and weigh 0.91 pounds.
The Audio Technica AT2020 USB is perfectly suited for sophisticated digital recording equipment. It features Side-address studio condenser with USB digital output - Windows and Mac compatible, Crystal-clear, natural sound for podcasting, home studio recording, field recording, and voiceover use, Cardioid polar pattern reduces pickup of sounds from the sides and rear, improving isolation of desired sound source, Low self-noise that is perfectly suited for sophisticated digital recording equipment, and a Custom-engineered low-mass diaphragm provides extended frequency response and superior transient response. Product dimensions are 9.6 x 9.6 x 2.6 inches and weigh 0.82 pounds.
The ultimate professional USB microphone you will need. With the Blue Microphone's Yeti USB Microphone, you can create unparalleled recordings directly on your computer. It features a Tri-capsule array - 3 condenser capsules can record almost any situation, multiple pattern selection - cardioid, bidirectional, omnidirectional and stereo, and a Gain control, mute button, zero-latency headphone output. Perfect for vocals, musical instruments, podcasting, voiceovers, interviews, field recordings, conference calls. Plug and play with Mac and PC compatibility. Product dimensions are 5 x 5.5 x 10 inches and weigh 4.4 pounds.