How Do USB Microphones Work And How To Use Them


USB microphones are a popular alternative to typical XLR microphones due to their ease-of-use and relatively low price points. For this reason, many people opt for these inexpensive plug-and-play mics.

How do USB microphones work? USB microphones, as transducers, work the same as any other mic by converting sound (mechanical wave energy) into audio (electrical energy). Analog audio signals are then amplified and converted into digital signals within the USB mic’s built-in audio interface and outputted via a USB connection.

If that short answer was not enough, fret not! This article will go into detail about USB microphones to explain the technology behind how these easy-to-use microphones work (and how to use them).


Table Of Contents


What Is A USB Microphone?

A USB microphone, in the simplest sense, is a microphone with a USB output.

This tells us a few things.

First, it is a microphone. Microphones are transducers that convert sound waves into analog audio signals. They do so with a transducer element (known as a capsule, cartridge or motor) that features a moveable diaphragm.

Second, the device has a USB output which means that the output is digital. More specifically, the output is a digital audio signal.

Therefore, the USB microphone must have an analog-to-digital converter built into its design to convert the analog signals from its transducer element into digital signals for its output.

So, then, a USB microphone can be thought of as a microphone with a built-in digital audio interface that may connect directly to a computer (or any digital audio device) via a USB connection.

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How Do Microphones Work?

So USB microphones are largely the same as other microphones with the major difference being they have built-in audio interfaces. Therefore, to understand how USB mics work, we should know how ‘typical’ microphones work.

Illustrating The Purpose Of A Microphone Transducer

However, there are no ‘typical’ microphones. Rather, there is a multitude of different microphone transducer types in the world that convert sound into audio in different ways.

For an in-depth guide on how all microphones work, check out my article How Do Microphones Work? (The Ultimate Illustrated Guide).

The 3 most common microphones transducer types (and the ones we’ll discuss in the article) are:

  • Moving-coil dynamic microphone transducers
  • Condenser microphone transducers
  • Ribbon microphone transducers

Before we get started in the descriptions of these transducer types, it’s important to note that a USB microphone could utilize any of these transducer elements. That being said, the majority of USB microphones use electret condenser capsules, which we’ll discuss below.

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Moving-Coil Dynamic Microphone Transducers

Moving-coil dynamic microphone transducers convert sound into audio via electromagnetic induction. Their transducer elements are typically called cartridges though the term ‘capsule’ also works.

The moving-coil cartridge consists of 5 key components:

  1. Diaphragm.
  2. Conductive “moving” coil.
  3. Magnets and pole pieces.
  4. Housing.
  5. Electrical leads.
Drawing Of A Moving-Coil Cartridge

The sound waves cause varying amounts of pressure on either side of the diaphragm, causing it to move back and forth in proportion to the sound waves.

As the diaphragm moves, so too does the attached conductive coil.

A proportional alternating electrical current is induced through the oscillating coil due to electromagnetic induction.

Electromagnetic induction is a natural phenomenon that causes a magnetic field to be produced around an electrically conductive material as electrical current flows through it. Conversely, it’s responsible for the induction of electrical current through a conductive material as that material experiences a change in the magnetic field around it. The moving-coil dynamic microphone cartridge utilizes the latter case.

This induced AC voltage across the coil is tapped and eventually outputted from the moving-coil dynamic microphone.

For more information on moving-coil dynamic mics, check out my article Moving-Coil Dynamic Microphones: The In-Depth Guide.

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Condenser Microphone Transducers

Condenser microphone transducers convert sound into audio by means of electrostatics. Their transducer elements are essentially designed as parallel-plate capacitors and are referred to as capsules.

For more information on microphone capsules, check out my article What Is A Microphone Capsule? (Plus Top 3 Most Popular Capsules).

The condenser capsule consists of 4 key components:

  1. Diaphragm (front plate).
  2. Back plate.
  3. Housing.
  4. Electrical leads.
Drawing Of A Condenser Capsule

Before describing the inner workings of the condenser capsule transducer, we must address a key point: the capacitor-like transducer must hold an ideally constant charge across its plates.

This can be achieved by an electrical DC bias voltage via phantom power; an external power supply unit; internal batteries.

It can also be achieved by the use of electret material in the capsule. Electret condensers typically have a thin film of electret material on their backplate though other designs are possible.

The +5 VDC provided by the USB connection is not generally enough to polarize a condenser capsule so condenser USB mics typically use electret capsules.

To learn specifically about electret microphones in great detail, check out my article The Complete Guide To Electret Condenser Microphones.

In order to hold its constant charge and work properly, the condenser capsule must have incredibly high impedance. This characteristic helps keep the electrical charge from dissipating from the capsule and allows the capsule to work properly.

The issue is that the outputted audio signal from the capsule will degrade quickly as it travels through any significant length of wire/cable. Therefore, an impedance converter is required immediately after a condenser capsule.

These impedance converters used to only be achievable with vacuum tubes and many tube mics are still being made today. However, more common now are transistor-based impedance converters (this is especially true of USB condenser mics).

To learn about the differences between solid-state and tube condenser mics, check out my article What Are The Differences Between Tube & FET Microphones?

As their name would suggest, these impedance converters drop the impedance of the capsule’s output signal and make it usable. In the case of the USB mic, the converted low-impedance signals are sent to the digital-to-analog converter (ADC).

Note that the impedance converters, like the capsules, are active and require power to function. In USB microphones, this power is typically supplied via the +5 VDC of the USB connection.

As for the capsule itself, it works like this.

Sound waves cause varying amounts of pressure on either side of the diaphragm (the “front plate” of the capacitor-like capsule). This causes the diaphragm to move.

As the diaphragm moves back and forth, the distance between the two plates changes.

As the distance between the plates oscillates, so too does the capacitance of the capsule’s plates.

The charge on the plates is constant (ideally). Therefore, any change in capacitance causes an inversely proportionate change in voltage.

This AC voltage is applied to the active impedance converter and a usable audio signal to outputted.

For more information on condenser microphones, check out my article What Is A Condenser Microphone? (Detailed Answer + Examples).

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Ribbon Microphone Transducers

Ribbon microphone transducers, like dynamic transducers, convert sound into audio via electromagnetic induction. Their transducer elements are typically called ribbon ‘motors’ with the “ribbon” being the movable diaphragm.

The ribbon element/baffle consists of 4 key components:

  1. Diaphragm.
  2. Magnets and pole pieces.
  3. Housing.
  4. Electrical leads.
Drawing Of A Ribbon Element

As sound causes varying pressure between the front and back sides of the ribbon, the ribbon will move. It moves proportionally to the sound waves that interact with it.

A voltage is induced (via electromagnetic induction) across the electrically conductive ribbon as it vibrates in the magnetic field supplied by the magnetic baffle/housing.

This voltage produces an AC electrical current that effectively become the output signal of the ribbon microphone.

Note that there aren’t very many ribbon USB microphones on the market.

For more information on dynamic ribbon mics, check out my article Dynamic Ribbon Microphones: The In-Depth Guide.

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The Analog-To-Digital Converter

So far we’ve described, in brief detail, how microphone transducers function. Specifically, we’ve talked about the 3 most common microphone types: moving-coil dynamic, condenser and ribbon.

USB microphones can have any of the transducer types mentioned above. In fact, I’ve included examples of each in the later section USB Microphone Examples.

However, due to the digital nature of the USB output, all USB microphones have internal analog-to-digital converters (ADCs).

ADCs do exactly as their name suggests: they convert analog audio signals (produced by the transducer element) into digital audio signals for the USB microphone to output.

Note that ADCs are required to connect any microphone to a digital audio device (including all computers). These ADCs can be found in standalone audio interfaces; in-line converters; inside headphone and audio jacks, and, of course, within USB and other digital microphones.

The way in which the ADC converts the audio signals is defined by its design. Different ADCs will convert audio at different resolutions.

Digital audio is made of samples and effectively represents the analog audio waveform digitally. The resolution of digital audio is defined by a sample rate and a bit depth.

The sample rate, measured in Hertz, is the number of times the audio is sampled a second. Common sample rates include:

  • 44.1 kHz (44,100 samples per second)
  • 48 kHz (48,000 samples per second)
  • 88.2 kHz (88,200 samples per second)
  • 96 kHz (96,100 samples per second)

Bit-depth refers the number of potential amplitudes each sample can have. Bit depth is measured in bits and common bit depths include:

  • 16-bit (65,536 possible amplitudes)
  • 24-bit (16,777,216 possible amplitudes)

So then, an analog signal with a waveform that resembles the following:

Can pass through an analog-to-digital converter and become the following:

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The USB Microphone Output

Perhaps this part goes without saying but USB microphones have USB output. It’s in their name.

There are a variety of different USB connections. Common USB microphone connections include:

  • USB-B
  • Micro USB-B
  • USB 3.0 B-Type
  • USB 3.0 Micro B

On the other end of the cable (what the USB microphone plugs into), there could be, and often is, a different type of connector. These connectors include but are not limited to the following:

  • USB A-Type
  • USB C-Type
  • USB 3.0 A-Type
  • USB 3.0 Micro B

As we’ve mentioned previously, the audio signal output of the USB microphone is digital and has defined resolution.

On top of these, USB carries digital audio in a specific manner. Though this isn’t an in-depth article on USB itself, it’s worth knowing how digital audio is transferred through USB. Most manufacturers will not mention any of this stuff in their marketing or even in their product specifications.

The ways in which USB can carry digital audio are defined in 3 different classes named Class 1, 2 and 3.

Class 1 can send up to a maximum of 24-bit 96 kHz while Class 2 can support up to 24-bit 192 kHz. Class 3 simply uses less power and is less susceptible to jitter and data loss.

USB audio data transmits information as packets rather than a continuous stream of PCM audio (like much other digital audio transferring). USB requires a clock signal to keep everything in time and the choice of clock system is actually very important for USB audio.

USB audio utilized isochronous transfer mode for its real-time characteristics at the expense of error recovery.

Isochronous mode trades a fully guaranteed bandwidth and cyclic redundancy checking (CRC) of data transmission errors for the downside of there being no packet acknowledgement or retransmission in the event of an error.

There are 3 sub-modes within isochronous mode:

  • Adaptive: the peripheral sink or source adapts to a potentially varying sample rate of the host.
  • Asynchronous: the sink or source determines the sample rate, and the host accommodates.
  • Synchronous: a fixed number of bytes is transferred to each SOF period. The audio sample rate is effectively derived from the USB clock.

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USB Microphones As Audio Interfaces

As mentioned, USB microphones effectively connect to computers (or other digital devices) and act as their very own audio interfaces.

An interface is effectively a shared hub where various components of a computer system can share information.

An audio interface, then, is a device that allows for the communication between audio devices (whether microphones, speakers, headphones, instruments, etc.).

Audio interfaces are often thought of as being standalone devices and this is perhaps the best way to understand them. The popular Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (link to compare prices at select retailers) pictured below is one example of an audio interface.

Focusrite Scarlett 2i2

The Scarlett 2i2 is an interface that connects to a computer via USB and allows for digital communication between the computer and the following:

  • 2 – microphones/instruments (combo inputs)
  • 1 – headphone (stereo output)
  • 2 – monitors (left and right line outputs)

Note that, in this relatively simple example, the inputs pass through an ADC before being sent to the computer. Conversely, the headphone and speaker outputs have DACs between them and the computer. The headphone has a direct monitoring option which allows the inputs to pass directly to the headphones along with the computer’s output.

When connected, we must choose the Focurite Scarlett 2i2 as our computer’s input and output audio device if we want to actually use it fully as our input and output audio interface, respectively.

For more information on audio interfaces, read My New Microphone’s and What Are Audio Interfaces & Why Would A Microphone Need One? and Best Microphone Audio Interfaces.

So what does this have to do with USB microphones?

Well, USB microphones act as their own audio interface removing the need for anything but the microphone itself and the computer.

Simply plug the microphone into the computer and choose the microphone as the audio input device. If the USB mic has a headphone output, then we can also choose the “mic” as our computer’s output audio device and monitor through the headphone output.

This makes USB microphones incredibly easy to use but somewhat uncooperative when it comes time to attempt connecting more than one USB mic at a time. A computer can really only connect with a single input and output device at a time. We’ll discuss this in detail in the upcoming section titled Can I Use 2 Or More USB Microphones At The Same Time?

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Using A USB Microphone

Using a USB microphone can be as easy as plugging it into your computer device.

This is the case if the computer and USB will automatically communicate with one another via drivers and if the computer will automatically choose the microphone as being its input device (and output device if applicable).

Sometimes this isn’t the case, though. So in this section, we’ll go through how to use a USB microphone.

I’ll begin by stating that the actual ways in which you use the USB microphone are up to you. This is true of all microphones.

If you’d like tips and technique for using microphones, consider reading any (or all) of the following My New Microphone articles:
Top 23 Tips For Better Microphone Placement
What Is Ambient Miking & What Is An Ambient Microphone?
What Is Spot/Accent Miking? (Why And How It Is Done)
Top 4 Best Surround Sound Miking Techniques (With 3 Extras)
Top 8 Best Stereo Miking Techniques (With Recommended Mics)
How To Use A Microphone (Connections, Applications, Miking Technique)

So, then, this section is more so about how to connect a USB microphone to a computer device and have it work properly. This can be done by following some or all of the following steps:

  • Plug the USB microphone into the computer with the proper USB cable.
  • Download the proper driver(s) to allow digital communication between the USB microphone and the computer. This may happen automatically or the computer and USB mic may already have the proper drivers.
  • Open the computer’s audio input/output and select the USB microphone to be the computer’s input audio device.
  • Open the computer’s audio input/output and select the USB microphone to be the computer’s out audio device if you want headphone monitoring from the mic.
  • Unmute the microphone if it is muted.
  • Turn up the volume of the mic if need be.
  • If using a digital audio workstation, arm a track with the USB microphone as the input.

You should be able to test the USB microphone levels in the computer’s audio input/output window (in both Windows and Mac operating systems).

For specifics on how to use individual USB microphones, please reader the users manual published by the manufacturer.

Once again, in most cases, the USB microphone will work simply by plugging it into the computer.

To learn more about connecting microphones to computers, check out the following My New Microphone articles:
How To Connect A Microphone To A Computer (A Detailed Guide)
How To Connect An External Microphone To A Smartphone

For more general information on using microphones, check out my article How To Use A Microphone (Connections, Applications, Miking Technique).

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The Headphone Amplifier

Many USB microphones on the market have built-in headphone amplifiers for direct monitoring via headphones.

These headphone amplifiers aren’t what we would traditionally think of when thinking about standalone headphone amplifiers.

Rather, they are internal amplifiers that allow for zero-latency monitor of the microphone signal.

Latency is a byproduct of a digital system. It is the time it takes for digital data to be processed.

A great amount of latency can happen as the USB microphone’s signal travels from the mic’s ADC/interface, into the computer, through all the digital signal processing, out of the computer, back to the mic, and through the DAC (digital-to-analog converter).

The typical USB microphone headphone amplifier/output works as an output interface.

It takes the digital signal from the computer and converts it to analog audio for monitoring. In other words, it acts as an output device for the computer.

The amplifier/output also works to directly output the signal from the microphone itself. The “live” microphone signal is effectively timed to match up with the output of the computer/digital device the USB mic is connected to.

This allows the microphone’s headphone output to provide zero-latency monitoring.

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A Question On The Quality Of USB Microphones

USB microphones notoriously get a bad wrap from professionals and audiophiles for their seeming lack of quality. Why is this?

Well, I’d argue that USB microphones are not aimed at that demographic. Rather, they are easy-to-use microphones for mobile and beginning recordings. They’re simply not meant for high-end recordings (though I’d certainly use them if they were all I had). Actually, now that I think of it, I’ve actually used a Blue Yeti USB microphones professionally to record closed captioning before.

Many USB microphones sound great and yield high-quality results. That being said, there are plenty of high-end analog microphones (and preamps) that will blow USB mics out of the water.

However, that’s not the target market for USB mics. They are built easy-to-use with computers and provide enough quality to get the results that are largely required of them while remaining affordable.

Of course, like anything, there are some poor-quality USB microphones but these are often easy to pick out when doing your due diligence (testing or reading reviews, for example).

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Pros And Cons Of USB Microphones

The pros and cons of USB microphones are summed up in the following table:

ProsCons
Low costPoor economy
SimplicitySingle-channel interface
PortabilityCompatibility
Latency
Lower digital resolution
Less control/versatility

Unfortunately, I believe there is more bad than good in USB microphones. Let’s discuss each of the pros and cons in more detail.

Pros Of USB Microphones

Low Cost

A major advantage of USB microphones is that they are typically very affordable. Unfortunately, you often get what you pay for.

However, for beginners or folks who only need one microphone channel, an inexpensive USB microphone can be the best choice!

Related article: How Much Do Microphones Cost? (With Pricing Examples)

Simplicity

The simplicity of a USB microphone is its primary selling point. In the majority of cases, using a USB microphone is as easy as plugging it in. If there are extra steps, they are relatively easy to implement and do not require added hardware.

Click here to revisit the section on Using A USB Microphone.

Portability

Having a single microphone and a signal USB cable makes USB microphones relatively portable when compared with analog mics and their need for interfaces/preamps, etc.

For simple mobile recording, a USB microphone could be a great way to consolidate gear.

Cons Of USB Microphones

Poor Economy

Many, but not all, USB microphones are made somewhat cheaply to keep their prices low.

Buying a USB microphone may very well be the best choice for you but please ensure you purchase a durable model or else you may end up spending more money on a replacement. Oftentimes a full-out replacement will be more cost-effective than a repair which is a sign of poor economy.

At the higher end of the USB microphone price range, a decent analog microphone and an interface would like cost the same amount and give you a more versatile and durable package.

Single-Channel Interface

USB microphones, as has been stated several times in this article, act as their own audio interfaces. This allows them to be easily used by themselves.

However, having the single-channel interface built into the microphone means that the computer’s input (and output in certain situations) will only communicate with the microphone and no other source.

This is a severe limitation if we want to use two or more microphones at once.

Compatibility

Compatibility between the microphone and the computer is not typically an issue. However, because the USB mic acts as its own interface, it does open up the possibility for compatibility issues with the computer’s operating system.

Latency

All digital audio signal paths create some latency. USB microphones are no exception.

That being said, the cheap nature of USB microphone components will often present more latency than higher-end standalone interfaces. This can show up as a significant delay in monitoring that will affect the performance of the microphone user.

Fortunately, many USB microphones have built-in zero-latency headphone amplifiers to mitigate the effects of their inherent latency.

Related article: How To Fix Microphone Echo And Latency In Your Computer (7 Methods)

Lower Digital Resolution

Honestly, digital resolution isn’t an overly big deal. For examples, CD standard is 16-bit 44.1 kHz and sounds great.

However, higher resolution do, in theory and in practice, sound better (even if we can’t exactly hear the difference).

All interfaces, ADCs and DACs are limited to a certain digital resolution. USB microphones typically have lower resolutions than high-end standalone interfaces.

Less Control/Versatility

The trade-off for having simplicity is the lack of control and versatility.

USB microphones will generally have a gain control and perhaps controls for muting; monitoring level (for the headphone output), polar pattern selection (in multi-pattern models).

That doesn’t leave much room for control. Professional standalone interfaces often provide many more options for controlling their analog microphones (high-pass filters, phase flips, passive attenuation devices, etc.).

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Can I Use 2 Or More USB Microphones At The Same Time?

A major issue with USB microphones is that they act as their own interfaces and, therefore, can only be used one at a time. Or can they?

Is there a way to use two USB microphone’s at once?

Yes, it’s absolutely possible to record and/or monitor two (or more) USB microphones simultaneously in one computer. However, it’s not optimale and requires a workaround.

This workaround, as you may have guessed, requires a new interface that can combine the signals from each USB mic. This new interface then communicates with the computer (rather than the built-in interfaces of each mic) and allows the computer to see both mic signals.

This is done with computer software.

Before we get into some option of software to use, allow me to state that this is not optimal and I would never suggest using two USB microphones to record/monitor at once. Not only are they typically lower quality mics but the workarounds can get glitchy and frustrating.

But if you’re dead set on using two USB mics or you’re limited in your equipment, there is a way! In fact, there are many ways in which we can work around this issue. I’ll discuss 3 here:

  • Combine USB mic interfaces in ASIO4ALL (Windows)
  • Combine USB mic interfaces in Audio Aggregate Device (Mac)
  • Use multiple computers

ASIO4ALL (Windows)

ASIO4ALL (ASIO stands for Audio Stream Input Output) is a free audio driver for Windows.

With ASIO4ALL we can effectively combine two USB microphones into a single audio interface.

Note that, in this work around scenario, using two of the same USB microphone (2 Blue Yetis, for example) may cause issues as the ASIO4ALL utility may not see them as being different. Some duplicate microphones may not have this issue. It just goes to show how glitchy this process may be.

Note, too, that some digital audio workstation (DAW) programs (like Audacity) will not communicate with ASIO4ALL and will not record ASIO signals. Once again, it’s less than ideal.

To combine USB microphones into the ASIO4ALL driver, start by opening a compatible DAW. Next, open up the preferences and select ASIO4ALL as the DAW’s interface.

Open up ASIO4ALL Settings and select the USB mics in the WDM (Windows Driver Model) Device List to activate them.

From here, the DAW should recognize each activated mic from within the ASIO4ALL driver/interface. Simply choose each mic to be the input of a track; arm the track, and start recording!

Download ASIO4ALL here.

Audio Aggregate Device (Mac)

Mac OS comes with its own utility to combine different audio devices into a single interface/driver. This utility is called Audio MIDI Setup.

Utilities > Audio MIDI Setup

In this utility, create an aggregate device (this will have both inputs and outputs). Then, under the Audio devices tab, select the connected USB mics (they’ll be listed as having inputs and potentially outputs) you’d like to combine within the aggregate.

Once set up, open your DAW or your computer’s Sound settings (System Preferences > Sound) and select the aggregate device to be the input and/or output.

In the DAW, you can then select individual USB mics to record on each track.

Use Multiple Computers

Perhaps the most straight forward way to use multiple USB microphones is with multiple computers (one USB mic per computer).

This may seem list the easiest way in the moment but I assure quantum laziness will be a pain in the end when it comes time to consolidate the files, line them up and product your final mix.

The bottom line, I suppose, is that getting a multi-channel interface and using analog microphones will save you time, energy and frustration. I would not recommend using multiple USB microphones at once.

Back to the Table of Contents.


USB Microphone Examples

To further our understanding of USB Microphones, let’s have a look at 4 examples.

Some of these USB microphones are also featured in the following My New Microphone articles:
Top 9 Best USB Microphones (Streaming, PC Audio, Etc.)
Top 4 Best External Microphones For Android Smartphones
Best USB Microphones For Recording Podcasts

The 4 USB mics we’ll discuss are:

Blue Yeti

The Blue Yeti (link to compare prices at select retailers) is quite possibly the most popular USB microphone ever and is the flagship microphone from Blue Microphones. The Yeti’s tri-capsule electret condenser design allows the user to choose between cardioid, bidirectional, omnidirectional and stereo pickup patterns.

Blue Yeti
  • Sample rate: 48 kHz
  • Bit-depth: 16-bit
  • Monitoring: Internal headphone output
  • Connector: micro-USB to USB-A
  • Frequency response: 20 Hz – 20,000 Hz
ProsCons
4 polar pattern options.Overly coloured frequency responses.
Durable build and desktop stand.Weak USB port and cable.
Headphone output for zero-latency monitoring.Very sensitive to background noise.
Mute button.

Blue also has the Yeti Pro (link to compare prices at select retailers) that includes an XLR output as well as a USB output along with other improvements.

Rode Podcaster

The Rode Podcaster (link to compare prices at select retailers) is a moving-coil dynamic USB microphone (most USB mics are electret condensers). As the name suggests, it works very well for podcasting, especially on a budget and in less-than-ideal (noisy) recording environments.

Rode Podcaster
  • Sample rate: 8-48 kHz
  • Bit-depth: 18-bit
  • Monitoring: zero-latency headphone output
  • Connector: USB-B to USB-A
  • Frequency response: 40 Hz – 14,000 Hz
ProsCons
Dynamic (less sensitive to extraneous noise than condensers).Low gain.
Very durable.Heavy (655g).
Zero-latency headphone monitoring.Internal pop filter is not super effective.
Excels on voice. Relatively poor performance on instruments.

Shure MV5

The Shure MV5 (link to compare prices at select retailers) is a standalone USB electret condenser microphone with a 16 mm capsule and cardioid polar pattern. It outputs digital audio up to 24-bit/48 kHz.

Shure MV5
  • Sample rate: Up to 48 kHz
  • Bit-depth: Up to 24-bit
  • Monitoring: real-time headphone output
  • Connector: Micro-B-to-USB or Micro-B-to-Lightning
  • Frequency response: 20 Hz – 20,000 Hz
ProsCons
Sound quality (up to 24-bit/48 kHz).Requires an OTG (on-the-go) cable to connect to Android smartphones.
Ease of use.Cheap plastic body.
3 DSP preset modes (Vocals, Flat, Instrument).Not all Android devices are compatible.
Built-in headphone output for real-time monitoring.

MXL UR-1

The MXL UR-1 (link to compare prices at select retailers) is the world’s first USB ribbon microphone. It features a 1.8-micron aluminum ribbon and a classic ribbon bidirectional (figure-8) polar pattern.

MXL UR-1
  • Sample rate: 44.1 & 48 kHz
  • Bit-depth: 16-bit
  • Monitoring: zero-latency headphone output
  • Connector: mini-USB to USB-A
  • Frequency response: 18 Hz – 18,000 Hz
ProsCons
Durable desktop stand.Fragile ribbon diaphragm.
Headphone output for zero-latency monitoring.Weak USB port.
Low noise.Low gain.

Blue, Rode and Shure are all featured in My New Microphone’s Top 11 Best Microphone Brands You Should Know And Use.

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What is the best USB microphone? The term “best” is subjective and dependent on situations. That being said, there are a few standout USB microphones on the market worth mentioning. Notably, the Rode Podcaster and the Audio-Technica AT2020USB+.

Related My New Microphone articles:
Top 9 Best USB Microphones (Streaming, PC Audio, Etc.)
Best USB Microphones For Recording Podcasts

What do microphones plug into? Other than USB connections, microphones may use XLR, phone (TS, TRS, TRRS), wireless, and other connections to move their audio signals. Microphones generally plug into a preamplifiers (standalone or part of mixers, recorders, interfaces, etc.) or into other in-line devices and cables between the mic and preamp.

Related My New Microphone articles:
What Do Microphones Plug Into? (Full List Of Mic Connections)
How To Use A Microphone (Connections, Applications, Miking Technique)

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