Computer-based recording has been very common today. Channeling your music to the computer offers a lot of possibilities — from using digital audio workstations (DAWs) to using digital mixing boards — which offer connection to microphones and other instruments.
The simplest and fastest way to record is use USB microphones for recording vocals.
In 2021, you really have to be an intelligent buyer for you to get what you need — not just what you want — for you to have the upper hand in this game.
So, we’ll give you a list of our top choices for USB mics that are great for recording vocals. If you’ll get stuck on the quest for that single mic, we’re giving you some tips towards the end of this review for you to be guided.
So, let’s get started!
10 Best USB Microphones For Recording Vocals
Specifically designed for voiceover and podcasts, Fifine Metal Condenser is a great cardioid polar pattern USB microphone. Its plug-and-play functionality makes it easy to use and to connect to your Mac or Windows PC and it requires no external 48V phantom power source.
It’s the cheapest, yet, most reliable PC microphone that helps you make great YouTube videos and Audacity. It’s durable since it’s made of metal and sturdy with the volume control on board.
Unfortunately, you can’t use it on Xbox and phones, but, is an excellent computer mic for your recording needs.
- Excellent build and sound quality
- Recording quality is absolutely amazing
- Delivers crisp
- Full and the true tone of the source
- Not that sensitive
- Needs to be closer to the mic
- USB cable is not long enough
At its price point, having a dual capsule design — omnidirectional and cardioid polar pattern — the Blue Snowball USB serves you in many ways. It has A -10dB pad switch that helps you eliminate background noise to capture CD-quality recordings even at higher volume levels.
This means you can make crazy twang and really loud sounds from your guitar, scream your favorite metal song and record without any distortion.
Snowball plugs straight to your computer via USB, so it’s very convenient for you to make podcast, voiceover and all the things you can do using your microphone. It’s a great value for money and very handy.
- Sound quality is just amazing
- Microphone works without the need for software or drivers
- Setup is not the most difficult
- Can use the mic right away
- Doesn’t pick up sound source away from the mic
- Not a good mic for group conference calls
Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB is a great cardioid handheld microphone that you can rely on for all your recordings, whether at home or live on stage.
It’s unique because it has two outputs — USB output for digital recording on your computer and the XLR output that directly connects to your sound system which is great for live performance.
Another plus factor of this microphone is its built-in headphone jack allows you to monitor the output of the microphone without audible delay.
It has an analog-to-digital converter that makes smooth and excellent fidelity of your recordings. This is a cardioid microphone, so you know that it’s focused on recording your vocals and eliminating the sounds from the side and rear of the microphone.
Plus, it’s designed with low-mass diaphragm for great frequency response, you’ll get the best vocal recordings, whether inside your home studio or out there on the stage.
- Perfect starter mic for the price
- Mic is useful
- Especially in a recording environment with unavoidable noise
- Has both USB and XLR connections
- Can pick up background noise
- Even keyboard sounds
- Headphone monitoring is not loud enough
- Need to go closer to the mic for it to work correctly
The most expensive microphone in the list, but you’ll not regret buying the Blue 1967 Yeti Pro. It has not two, but three condenser capsules and has polar pattern settings to choose from (omnidirectional, cardioid, bidirectional and stereo).
With its analog-to-digital converter chip and the separate analog circuit path, you’ll be able to integrate it with your mixers and preamps. Like the Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB, it comes with USB and XLR output.
It’s a versatile and advanced microphone and its built-in headphone amplifier is just another feature that you can maximize when recording your vocals. This headphone output helps you monitor zero-latency and controls microphone volume, pattern, and gain.
- Easy to use and make adjustments
- Thereby producing great sounds
- Yet feature-packed
- Can process analog and digital input simultaneously
- This mic is not lightweight
If you want a microphone that you can use on your phones, the Blue Spark Digital Lightning is capable of recording vocals using your iPhone, iPad and even iPod.
It has plug ‘n play functionality for more convenience in making recordings and voiceover. In addition to the lightning connectivity, you can also connect it to your computer if you are recording at home.
This microphone features studio-grade condenser capsules and hand-tuned components for consistent and high-fidelity recordings. It comes with Y-cables with a headphone jack to monitor real-time zero-latency.
With the Focus Control, you’ll have two different sonic options with just a press of a button, and, it will respond well to frequency changes.
- Has Focus Control which is way better than high- or low-pass filter
- Primarily for recording since this is a cardioid mic
- Excellent mic for podcasters and voiceover artists
- Bottom of the mic is loose
- Giving a horrible sound quality
- Gets random and screaming hiss when recording
- Doesn’t have sufficient gain to record classic guitar sound
- Some users complain
Another most advanced and great multi-pattern microphone from Yeti, Blue Yeti USB Microphone comes with four pattern setting and three condenser capsules.
It’s a microphone that is perfect for recording anytime and anywhere and straight to your computer. It has a headphone output that helps you control the microphone gain, mute, and zero-latency.
With its high-quality analog-to-digital converter, built-in headphone amplifier and direct headphone controls, you’ll be able to capture nearly anything with clarity and ease.
It’s compatible with Windows PCs and Mac, requiring at least 64MB of RAM. The good thing is, you don’t need any drivers to install, you can record right away.
- Has four simple options with simple set up
- Produce really nice sound quality
- This mic records directly into your computer
- Not portable since this is a USB microphone
- A tabletop mic
- Heavy and bulky
- The dial to shift modes is quite hard to turn
If you are looking for a microphone that you can use on live musical performances, as well as recording podcasts and voiceover, Rode NT-USB Versatile is the one for you.
It has stereo headphone monitor jack with dials for adjusting levels and mix between the computer output and microphone input. This is another great cardioid microphone that has a premium pop-filter included to minimize unnecessary noise.
You won’t have any problem integrating this mic to your computer/phone since it’s compatible with Mac OS and Windows-based PCs, as well as Apple iPad.
But, for the latter, you still need recording apps like RØDE Rec or Garage Band and a USB connection adaptor like the Apple Camera Connection Kit. It’s also compatible with SMR shock mount & WS2 foam windshield.
- Great sound quality
- Very easy to use
- Can be connected to computers and phones easily
- Reliable pop shield and decent sound
- Known latency problem with a huge delay
- Not reliable when using more than one recorded track
- Has terrible built-in headphone jack
Another equipped mic for recording vocals is the Audio-Technica AT2020USB+. It’s designed with a cardioid pick up pattern that perfectly captures music, vocals and acoustic audio using any software you have. It gives award-winning sounds which can be connected via USB.
It has high-quality A-D converter, built-in headphone jack and offers mix control of the microphone output to any pre-recorded audio on your computer.
With its state-of-the-art design, you are assured that this mic is reliable and consistent with its top-end standards. It’s a perfect microphone for voiceover, podcasts, home studio recordings, and even field recordings.
- Has excellent frequency response
- Solid build
- Producing clean and warm vocals
- Headphone output is great for zero-latency monitoring
- Easily picks up the unwanted signal from the background
- The tripod is not reliable
The same price as the Audio-Technica AT2020USB+, but Shure MV51 Digital gives you more exciting features than others. It’s a large-diaphragm condenser mic with all the bells and whistles on board.
It has five DSP preset modes including speech, singing, acoustic, instrument and loud to optimize recording depending on the mode you choose.
Another great thing about this condenser mic is that it has a touch panel on board where you can make your controls for mode, volume, microphone gain and mute.
It’s made of durable all-metal body with standard 5/8-inch thread to mount to any standard mic stand. It’s compatible with any devices, including Mac, PC, iPhone/iPad/iPod, and Android, making recording a bit hassle-free.
- Can be connected to iOS devices without adaptor
- Compatible with all devices
- Including Mac
- Windows PC
- iOS devices and Android phones
- Has amazing build with great sound quality
- Has wide polar pattern which might capture the unwanted signal
- The kickstand is relatively lower than the ideal desktop mic height
Looking for an affordable microphone that produces broadcast-quality sounds and recordings, you’ve found the one right here. The Rode Podcaster USB is the easiest way to make high-quality vocals and audio recording straight to your computer to the internet.
It has a great A/D converter so you won’t have problems connecting to any computer (Mac or Windows) with just a single USB cable.
This cardioid pattern microphone feature end-address configuration, the tailored-for-voice frequency response, direct headphone amp, and a very low self-noise. This pattern makes the microphone reliable for off-axis sound rejection and just giving you clarity of your own vocals or audio recordings.
So, whether you’re a singer, journalists, student or business people, you can maximize the use of this mic to upload audio files directly to your website and for business presentations as well.
- Just delivers clean and clear sound
- Rejecting background noise efficiently
- Easy to set up and easy to use with a headphone plug right next to the mic
- Well-built and very sturdy
- Works great if you move the mic closer to your mouth or the sound source
- Has a very low gain
- When it’s turned up it picks up a lot of noise
Finding a budget-friendly, plug ‘n’ play microphone for recording vocals is a bit of a challenge. However, we’ve surpassed that hurdle and have gathered enough information to come up with this list.
But, this list couldn’t have been possible if we haven’t found these secrets to choosing the best mic for recording vocals:
Easy to set up
USB microphones require no sweat and no fuss when setting up. Since, according to Mic Reviews this type of mic is used for podcasts, voiceover and for recording vocals and acoustic instruments, clearly no complicated connection is required.
Dynamic vs. Condenser
Mostly, they come in either condenser or dynamic microphone, says The Hub. Dynamic mics are relatively cheaper than condenser mics.
They are also more rugged and great for live performances. Condensers, on the other hand, have more sensitivity and requires an external power supply, usually with preamp.
To maximize the use of the microphone, it’s also important that you should only buy the mic with polar patterns that fit your application. There are five common pickup patterns in a mic:
- Omnidirectional — picks up a pattern on all sides of the mic
- Cardioid — mostly sensitive in front and rejects the side to the rear
- Supercardioid — has narrower sensitivity in the front-end than cardioid
- Hypercardioid /Unidirectional — similar to supercardioid, but a bit more fine-tuned sensitivity in the front side, but have slight pickup on direct behind.
- Figure 8/Bidirectional — focuses sensitivity on the front and rear side
If you are torn between two or more microphones from the list, here’s a very useful YouTube video that you can watch. It gives you a step-by-step guide and explanation on how to choose your microphone by assessing your needs and your preferences.
If you are on a budget and looking for a reliable USB microphone, the Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB is best for you.
However, if you are pushing harder to bring your recordings to the next level, then, you should look into the Shure MV51 Digital. With this brand, you know you can’t go wrong with the product that they have been very passionate about.