Well, that depends. Maybe you’re a singer and you’re looking to achieve a professional sound for your demo tracks. Perhaps you run a weekly podcast and need the absolute best quality of audio to keep your listeners happy. Maybe you just like to have a few beers and make an ass of yourself by posting goofy cover songs on Youtube. Whichever realm you fall into, there’s a microphone that suits you. There are a few factors that come into play here; how much will your budget allow you to spend, how professional do you need your audio to be and is a USB mic necessary for you?
First off, let’s talk about the differences between USB microphones vs. the typical XLR microphone. USB microphones, well, use a USB port whereas XLR mics use an XLR port. A signal from a USB microphone will be completely digital and will allow you to achieve a clearer and purer signal over that of the XLR type. Now, odds are that you won’t hear that difference in quality, unless you’re a full-on audiophile. A big reason as to why USB microphones are preferred over XLR, in the realm of home recording, is because they have a built in pre-amp and don’t require any additional equipment to use with a home PC.
On the other hand, if you’re out gigging and playing live shows every Friday night, an XLR might be the better choice. It’s not practical for a gigging musician to lug around a PC or laptop, though many artists do! XLR microphones require a pre-amp and if you want to connect it to your computer you’ll also need to buy an audio interface. With that said, in most scenarios, people who are doing home recording, podcasts or just want a simple solution for recording audio on their computer, use USB microphones nine times out of ten.
|Yeti USB Microphone||AKG PERCEPTION 120|
|Samson SAC01UPAK||MXL USB 006|
Sometimes you can develop an awesome sound by using a combination of different microphones. This allows you to create a customized and unique sound that nobody else can achieve out of the box. Try playing around with a few different mics and recording in stereo. You’ll start to notice how different your sound will get when you are using new microphones in different positions. This is the beautiful thing about audio engineering; you can be very imaginative when putting together your sound. So, after all, instead of searching for the best USB microphones, you may have actually been searching for the best microphone placement. Now, don’t get me wrong, having a quality mic will make a world of difference, but every musician should experiment with different techniques when trying to get good results.
The best USB microphones are going to be those that suit you. I could sit here and give you the top brand names, but ultimately, you’re going to need to assess what your price range and individual needs are. With that in mind, I’ve created several different USB microphone reviews as well as articles that will guide you along the way to finding the ideal mic for your needs. I’ve spent many years dealing with audio equipment and recording and I’m certain that I can assist you with choosing the correct microphone. The best USB microphones are going to be the ones that fill your needs in your price range, simple as that.