What is the Best USB Microphone for Vocals
USB microphones can be really convenient especially when using them for recording in your home studio.
You are not stressed out with all that unnecessary long cables and they can be used from anywhere (a maximum distance).
Also they are much easier to pack and move around.
I have been using a USB microphone for sometime now coupled with some others that i also use, so decided to write a buying guide to help you choose the best usb microphone for vocals.
There are so many USB microphones in the market now that making a choice can be quite confusing.
There are different manufacturers and each one has different models to pick from.
In this article we will be looking at the different features and aspects of usb microphones and talk about how important they are in terms of overall performance and sound quality.
What is a USB Microphone?
A USB microphone is simply one that does not come with the traditional microphone head (XLR or ¼ inch inputs) but instead can be plugged into your usb slot on your computer.
So instead of the normal slot that most times needs a mixer (to power it up or increase the volume) it comes with a usb head that can be easily plugged in.
There are some advantages to having this kind of setup, which i will talk about later, but the major one is convenience.
It is much easier and convenient to simply plug and play and begin recording than to log around a mixer or compressor when ever you need to record.
Advantages of Using a USB Microphone?
There are some advantages to using a usb mic when you want to record.
You do not need any additional gear or equipment to begin recording. As long as you have a computer with a usb slot, you are ready to go.
They are very cheap and budget friendly. You can get a very good usb microphone for a few hundred bucks as compared to spending thousands of dollars on a standard condenser microphone.
It is very easy to setup and there is little or no learning process. Like i said earlier all you need is your computer with a usb slot, your DAW station, and your microphone and your are ready to begin recording.
It affords you some flexibility. With this product you can be sure that you are covered when you need it on the go. It is very easy to pack and setup.
Disadvantages of using a USB Microphone
Like all things, I also need to point out some of the disadvantages associated with a USB microphone.
Quality. Simply put you get what you pay for. While some of the microphones are off high quality and can match any of the normal studio mics, some of them are just crap and produce shitty sounds. Keep this in mind when making your purchase.
Changes in drivers, firmware and compatibility. This is a huge problem with usb microphones. A shure mic that you bought in the 90’s will still work today. Whereas with a usb microphone there are constant changes in drivers and firmware that might cause problems for you down the road.
How to choose a USB Microphone
There are a lot of things you need to consider when making a choice for usb microphones. The first one is price.
The products start at about 20 to 30 bucks but some of them can go as high as 150 bucks.
This doesn't make the cheap ones less quality but you just need to have that at the back of your mind when making a purchase.
The next thing is the conversion to digital audio.
With the normal studio setup of mixers and processing boards, you need an additional setup to convert your input to audio.
But with the usb microphone, this capacity is in built. This makes it so much easier to just set up and begin recording.
Also it helps in making it very convenient and easy to setup and begin recording.
You also need to consider the sample rate of the microphone.
To explain sample rate, let me use this illustration.
So you need to make sure that whichever product that you are getting supports this at the minimum unless you just might end up wasting your time.
Finally you need to consider the bit depth of the microphone you want to get.
This simply means that you should make sure that the microphone can handle the maximum amount of bits of information on each sample.
Our Favourite USB Microphones for Vocals
The CAD U37 USB microphone has a very large diaphragm that gives it this warm and rich recording quality when used.
It also has a cardioid pick up pattern that helps to cut out and reduce background noises. This is very ideal in situations whereby you are recording in a less that ideal environment.
With it’s smooth and extended frequency you can be sure that this is an excellent product for singing, speech and even for recording equipments.
If you are always dealing with distortions from loud inputs, then this microphone takes care of that with its 10dB overload protection switch.
This is one microphone that really needs no setup. Just plug in your microphone and it is ready to begin.
- Excellent studio quality
- Plug and play
- Good for speech and for singing
- The stand is of low quality
- Bullet Point 2
This is a much cheaper option than the one mentioned above but make no mistake it delivers above average quality.
If you are looking for something to use for you podcasts or simply for chatting over Skype, then this is the perfect choice for you.
It is designed to perfectly filter out all background noise giving you that crisp and clear vocals.
It has an adjustable neck that can fit wherever it is needed and can be easily carried from place to place.
It is very small and portable and all you need is to plug and it is ready to be useds.
- Easy to set up
- Very budget friendly
- Low quality vocals
- Might not last very long depending on usage and handling
This is one microphone that comes with custom built condenser capsules that offers crystal clear vocals when used.
It is ideal for you if you need something for chatting on Skype or on your social media platforms.
It is also very good for YouTube voice over recordings
If you are looking for an easy to use and setup microphone that delivers awesome quality, then this is the right fit for you.
It comes in either the black or white colors which gives it a unique appearance when used in your home studio.
It comes with a 6 foot USB cable and a desktop stand. This makes it very good for easy placement and use anywhere.
- Crystal clear vocals
- Good for chatting on Skype and social media messengers
- Comes with a long cable and desktop stand
- Low cost
- Tends to pick up excess background noise
- It's a little heavier than most microphones
- Might not be good for singing
The Yeti USB microphone is one microphone that can be used for creating quality recordings on your computer.
With it’s tri capsule technology, you can be sure that it is ideal for recording any situation and for delivering crisp and clear audios.
It has four different pattern settings - cardioid, bidirectional, omnidirectional and stereo which makes it very ideal for recording a wide range of activities such as vocals, podcasts, instruments and interviews.
It comes with simple buttons that can be used to control the volume and other functions on the microphone.
It does not require any drivers and can be easily set up.
With it innovative design and construction, this is one microphone that is designed for superior audio recordings and quality.
- Very versatile and can be used in a wide range of applications
- Hassle free setup
- Can be used in a noisy environment and still produce awesome quality
- May not last for a long time
This is a dynamic microphone that is specially made for recording vocals and instruments.
It has a cardioid pick up pattern that helps in reducing and cutting out background noise giving you that clear crystal quality.
It comes with a built in pop filter that helps you deal with plosives issues when recording.
With it’s extended frequency you can be sure that this is the perfect microphone for use when singing, recording instruments and for vocals.
It has an on and off switch that helps in instantly muting the sound when needed.
This is one microphone that you can use to instantly record to your computer and produce awesome quality every time.
- Excellent studio quality
- Plug and play
- Good for speech and for singing
- Might pick up external sounds if the boost setting is left on
When choosing a USB microphone for recording vocals, you need to make sure that you pick a product that is tried and tested with a lot of reviews from actual customers.
The top 5 products reviewed in this guide fit the criteria needed when choosing the best USB microphone for vocals.
All images sourced from Amazon.com