Microphones are a vital piece of computer gear for many users. In an age of online communication and content creation, recording audio is as important as anything else. Whether you want to stream your content, do podcasts, or just talk with your loved ones online – you need to provide clear audio.
And that’s why you need access to the best computer microphones.
We reviewed a number of high-quality USB mics to see which one is the best. And after an exhaustive search, we’ve found our champion!
Let’s dive into it!
Rise Of The USB Microphone
Just a few short years ago there was no such thing as ‘computer microphones’, which are known in the professional audio world as USB microphones.
But the growing demand for a plug-and-play solution for recording with professional audio quality has lead to huge developments in the technology, to the point where a USB microphone is a staple piece of gear for many podcasters, content creators, businesses, and home enthusiasts.
Not only are they easy to use, but many USB mics offer excellent sound quality and are affordable and readily available.
The HyperX Quadcast USB microphone is our top pick for computers and laptops because it can capture top-notch audio, is easy to use, and boasts awesome clarity with a lot of style.
In This Article
- Our Top Pick: HyperX QuadCast
- Our Runner-Up: Blue Yeti
- Best Budget Pick: FiFine USB Condenser
- Best For macOS Users: Shure MV5
- Most Versatile: Samson G-Track Pro
Other Computer Microphones We Reviewed
Our Top Pick
If you want quality vocals that plug and play with your computer and don’t want to mess with lesser quality USB mics that aren’t going to pick up those diverse vocal tones, then the HyperX QuadCast is a mic that you should check out.
This mic has an impressive audio quality that delivers sweet, crystal-clear tones that are clean, polished, and true to the performance.
This USB mic has a mute sensor with an LED indicator, four selectable pickup patterns, a mount adapter, a convenient gain adjustment control, and multi-device chat program compatibility.
It will work well for everything from recording vocals for songs, to doing Twitch Streams, to YouTubing, to Vlogging, to podcasting… and everything in between.
Plus, priced at less than $150, the HyperX QuadCast is also affordable!
HyperX QuadCast Key Features:
- Anti-Vibration shock mount
- Four selectable polar patterns
- Has volume control and mute button
The Blue Yeti computer microphone is one of the most well-known USB microphones out there for a reason. It is especially popular among streamers and gamers, as it allows you to stream the audio for your gaming videos and vlogs with professional quality. One of the reasons for the impeccable sound quality is the three-condenser capsule technology. It will register a sound source clearly, and successfully deal with the background noise. The sample rate of 48 Khz and 16 bit depth ensures professional level recording quality.
This microphone has four different pickup pattern settings. The first, cardioid mode, absorbs the sounds directly in front of the microphone. It is ideal for streaming, vlogging, podcasting, online calls, and recording vocal tracks for your demos. Omnidirectional mode absorbs the sound from all directions equally, and is great if you have several people sharing one mic. Podcasts featuring panel discussions come to mind for this use.
The bidirectional mode picks up the sound signal from the front and the back, while rejecting noise coming from the sides. You can use this mode if you’re interviewing someone for a podcast. And finally, there’s the stereo mode. This mode is perfect for capturing realistic audio if you have multiple sound sources.
With the Yeti you get a plug and play USB microphone that offers superior audio quality, making it one of the best mics for recording speech.
Besides pattern controls, the microphone offers other neat features. The gain control allows you to customize the mic’s sensitivity depending on the loudness of the source. If you need to take a break from your session, you don’t have to stop and turn the mic off – there’s a mute button! You can also plug your headphones into the 3.5mm jack in the back, and listen to what you’re recording in real-time.
Finally, the Blue Yeti is an extremely user-friendly USB microphone. It is definitely a plug-and-play unit. You just need to plug it into the USB port, and you’re ready to go. The mic comes with a flexible desktop stand so you can adjust the height, distance, and angle on the fly. You also get all of this at a very reasonable price.
Blue Yeti Key Features:
- Three-capsule technology offers professional recording quality
- Four polar pattern settings depending on the type of recording
- Easy to set up and use
- Fully adjustable desktop stand
- Compatible with all devices with USB ports
- Compatible with all audio recording software
Best Budget Pick: FiFine Condenser USB Mic
This Fifine mic fits perfectly into this category because it delivers surprisingly high quality for a mic in the sub $50 price range.
Once you get below $100, you need to be careful about which condensers you buy. There are some good ones… but there are some that just don’t do enough to make them worth the cash… especially when you could buy something like the HyperX Quadcast for just a little extra.
The Fifine gives you an option if you need a condenser mic to start with, but don’t have a ton of cash for a higher-priced model.
It offers you a cardioid polar pattern, USB connectability eliminates the need for a USB interface, and no phantom power is required since you are getting all of your power through the USB connection.
In other words… you order this mic. It arrives. You pull it out of the box. You plug it directly into your USB port. You power up Audacity or Garageband, you set this mic as your chosen device, you hit record, and you start recording.
It is literally that simple.
The audio isn’t world-class. But it will work. And if you do a little DIY sound-treatment in your room (hang some blankets, build a little portable vocal booth, etc.), you can actually get some very surprisingly decent audio out of this guy!
Fifine Metal USB Condenser Key Features:
- Solid metal construction
- Ships with a 5.9 foot USB cable
- Includes a mini desktop tripod stand
Best For iOS Users
This tiny MV5 digital condenser microphone is specifically made for Apple devices. It’s only 5.5 inches tall when fully assembled, and only 2.5” without the stand, check availability on Sweetwater here.
Therefore, it will take up just a tiny bit of your workspace. It can automatically connect to any iOS device without the need for adapters, cables, and connection kits. Thanks to that, you can start recording at the drop of a dime, wherever you are.
The microphone comes with 3 DSP preset models: vocals, flat, and instrument, so you can switch between different recording modes depending on your momentary needs. It’s designed to automatically apply limiting, compression, and gain. However, you can adjust most of these options manually through the built-in buttons and knobs.
There’s a headphone jack on the bottom if you want to monitor your recordings in real time, as well as a USB jack to connect the mic to other devices. Besides iOS, it’s also compatible with Mac OS and Windows systems.
Overall, the MV5 is a portable, user-friendly microphone ideal for both simple and professional recordings. It also comes with two different cables — MicroB-to-USB cable and MicroB-to-Lightning cable, so you can connect it to virtually any device. If you want to record quality sound with your iOS device, there’s hardly a better option.
Shure MV5 Key Features:
- Portable mic with a flexible stand
- Three DSP modes
- Comes with standard and Lightning USB cables
- Universal compatibility
- Simple to use
Most Versatile: Samson G-Track Pro USB Condenser
The Samson G-Track Pro is another multi-purpose computer USB microphone that makes a great choice if you want to record, stream, sing, or play and record an instrument. It records at 24-bit depth and uses an incredible 96 kHz sample rate. It is also equipped with a bunch of cool features.
This microphone has three different polar patterns for you to choose from — cardioid, omnidirectional, and bidirectional. The first one absorbs the sound coming from in front of the mic — which is great for podcasts, singing, and streaming. The second one captures all directions equally, so you can use it for podcasts with multiple participants. Of course, the last one is best for one-on-one interviews. You can also record duets if you want both voices on a single track.
What makes this mic stand out is the 1/4” instrument input port. Connect your electric guitar, bass, or keyboard, and you can talk/sing and play at the same time. This is brilliant for singer-songwriters. Vloggers who perform music covers and/or podcasters who occasionally perform during the show will find this recording feature useful as well.
Like all top-notch computer USB microphones, the Samson G-Track Pro is a breeze to set up and use. Just plug it in and start recording. On the device, you’ll find some of the best additional controls available – a mute button, and the microphone volume wheel. Overall, it’s a great microphone with excellent recording quality.
Samson G-Track Pro Key Features:
- Three different pickup patterns
- ¼ Audio jack for connecting an instrument
- Top-notch sound
- Plug and play
- Compatible with all USB-equipped platforms
It’s simple – everyone who wants to record audio, stream, or use Skype should buy a USB microphone. Whether you’re using a PC or Mac, you’re going to need one of these USB mics.
People who own a business require a solid computer USB microphone if they intend to make online calls, conference meetings, and webinars.
A quality USB microphone can allow you to start recording vocal tracks for your songs and covers. You need a mic if you plan on starting a podcast, either as a hobby or as a platform for making money. The same goes for live streaming or vlogging.
In the end, you need a computer mic to communicate with your loved ones either via Skype, Discord, Messenger, or any other social or video call platform. If you’re passionate about online gaming, you should know that good communication is vital. Being able to speak to your teammates can decide the difference between a win and a loss.
A good computer microphone should have a few vital features. There are two key things you should consider when buying your computer microphone:
- Polar Patterns
- Recording quality
First, you should consider which polar pattern the microphone in question offers. Cardioid is the standard, though being able to switch to bi-directional or omnidirectional patterns is a huge plus. Additional patterns can further diversify the scope of the recordings you can make without requiring you to invest in specialized mics.
Frequency response rate and bit-rate play large roles in the quality of your sound. The wider the frequency response, the wider the range of frequencies your mic can capture. So, the more the better principle applies here. Quality computer USB mics can routinely capture ranges from 20Hz to 20kHz. As for bit rate, the industry standard for audio CD quality is 16 bits. All decent computer USB mics can record at that depth, while some high-end models can record in 24-dit depth.
Are computer microphones good?
Computer microphones have come a long way in the last 20 years, from being barely usable to being eligible for professional studio use. Most of today’s models are condenser mics. This means they’re affordable and reliable.
The best computer USB microphones are great for a range of uses — including recording vocals and acoustic instruments, podcasts, interviews, streams, and chatting. The majority of computer microphones come with built-in stands, making them ideal for home studio use.
(Looking a podcasting mic? Make sure to check out our list of the Best XLR Microphones For Podcasting!)
What is the difference between a condenser and a dynamic microphone?
Condenser microphones rely on electric capacitors to capture sound. The output is provided by a lightweight metal plate which moves with the sound pressure.
Condenser microphones are usually more expensive than their dynamic siblings, and are more frequently used in studios to capture vocals and other fine audio. They typically have a wider frequency response and higher sensitivity. Due to their more complex build, they’re also more fragile.
A dynamic microphone uses a wire coil inside to register a signal from the lightweight membrane (diaphragm). It is not as sensitive as a condenser mic, but it excels at recording loud sounds.
If you want to perform live, the odds are good that a dynamic mic will suit you better. Dynamic microphones are typically easier to maintain, cheaper, and more robust. They also usually don’t need an external power supply.
Is a USB microphone better than a 3.5mm?
When it comes to quality, there isn’t too much difference between a USB and a 3.5mm microphone. Both microphones record the sound the same way. The only difference is in the way the audio signal is transferred to the computer.
USB microphones produce equal sound, regardless of the computer’s audio card and hardware, meaning they’ll work better on older or cheaper computers. The 3.5mm audio microphones rely on the audio card from the PC. therefore, it will produce better recordings on higher-end computers.
Other Computer Microphones We Reviewed
We have looked at 11 more computer microphones. Despite not making it into our top five list, they are still more than worth a shot.
We recommend this mic to those who like to hold the microphone while they record.
Razer Seiren Elite
Tonor PC Condenser Mic
Fifine Plug & Play Condenser
Blue Snowball Ice
Miktek Audio Procast-SST
Samson Go Mic
The 16 mics we’ve covered here will all do a good job when it comes to recording high quality audio. The HyperX Quadcast is the best of the best, and it’s perfect for streaming games or Vlogs.
The Blue Yeti is another great choice and is ideal for podcasts, singing, and streaming.
But just remember… choosing the best computer microphone shouldn’t be a step in the process that slows you down. So take a look at the options, choose the one that looks the best, order it, hook it up, and get back to creating!
You don’t want to let a step like this slow you down and halt your progress… regardless of what type of project you’re working on!