If you are looking for a USB condenser mic with a lot of features, then Yeti USB Microphone is definitely your best bet. This $119 USB mic has more features than a standard condenser mic. According to specialized websites like coremic, Yeti is the best mic you can buy for around $100. There is no doubt about it. A lot of people have this mic and are very pleased with its performances. The retailer and professional reviews agree with Coremic’s decision to place this mic on the top of the list. The Yeti USB has a solid build, that mellow sound everyone is looking for and so many features that are not present in most expensive mics.
The blinded test
TheWireCutter.com decided to record the same audio sample with some of the best USB microphones in the industry. Along with Blue Yeti, the list consists in MXL Tempo, MXL Studio 24, MXL 009, Blue Yeti Pro, Blue Nessi and AT2020 USB, Apogee MiC Test, Shure PG42-USB. So, I asked some of my friends to hear all the recordings and come up with top 3 mics based on the audio quality. Of course, they did not knew which was the name of the mics, they could evaluate only by recording. So, when I’ve finished the test, I came to the conclusion that Blue Yeti USB mic came first. I’m not going to reveal the second and third place, since I’m going to review them later on. All I’m going to say is that Blue Yeti is definitely the best USB mic out there.
If the price or the audio quality was not enough for you to agree with my finding, I will add some of the features of this great mic. First, there is the zero latency for headphone input, which means that you can listen to the voice in your headphone while you record. Next, there is the level gain control which allows you to add more power to the recorded voice (if needed). Yeti also features the master volume control, a mute button and 4 pickup pattern choices: cardioid, stereo, omni, bidirectional. There is no need to buy that desktop mic stand, since this mic comes with a removable table stand.
I can talk for days about its quality, but why should you trust me? Just press play and see what this mic is all about. The sound is clean, with a great presence and sounds like being recorded with an expensive mic (right ?!).
If AT2020 USB mic had the same quality as the non-USB mic, I can’t say the same thing about RODE Podcaster. This mic is so different from its bigger brother, the Rode NT1-a. Maybe it’s not a fair choice, since the NT1-a is a condenser mic and this mic is a dynamic microphone, but they do sound so different. So, if it’s so bad, why is it in the “best USB mics” category? Well, I am a musician, so when I see a mic I make my own impression based on its performance on a music project. I would not choose this USB mic for a music project, mainly because there are other cheaper USB mics out there with better performances and because it’s a dynamic mic. But if you do plan to use it in a radio setup or a podcaster setup, it may be just what you need.
This USB mic features the 28mm dynamic capsule and has a resolution of 18-Bit, 8-48 kHz sampling. The tight cardioid pattern is perfect for rejecting sounds coming from the back on the sideways. I’ve watched few tests with this mic, and it does a great job on capturing only the vocals, without the background noise (as long as you speak close to it). It’s compatible with Windows and Mac.
The blinded test
In the blinded test, this mic performed almost as good as Yeti USB. The test was taken in similar condition, and you can hear the recording above. Again, I want to point out that this mic was design for podcasting and not for recording music. It’s the perfect mic for podcasting, but if you plan to use it in a music home studio, you should consider Yeti USB.
Let’s say that you are planing to build your first recording studio but you lack the main ingredient: a large budget. So, all your choices just got limited. Most USB mics can be found at prices around $100. Some of them are great and you will feel no difference between them and the common non-USB condenser mic, while others are not that great and you can end up paying money for a poor product. Among some of the best USB mics lies the AT2020. This mic is the USB version of the world-wide known AT 2020, a mic of great value and high performances.
The blinded test
In the blinded test performed by The Wirecutter the microphone performed pretty good. As you can see, the mic can be used in projects like podcasting, recording voice overs or recording vocals for a song. Great mic! Price $108.
I will say (and some of the experts will disagree with me) that I love this mic more than YETI USB. A lot of reviewers say that this mic is great. Of course, all the cool features of Yeti USB are missing, but you will get enough quality to consider this mic as a good option when you build this mic.
If you are an upcoming musician struggling to get his voice heard, then you know that there is always that problem of buying the equipment for recording music at home on a low budget. When people ask me about recording setups, I usually recommend setups that cost over $500. Most of them include a condenser microphone, an audio interface, studio monitors, laptop and a mixer. But if you are on a tight budget, you can’t really afford all these items, so you choose to make a minimum investment. And there is no simpler and cheaper investment in a recording studio than a USB condenser microphone. Most USB mics will need no audio interface to work. They need to be plugged into the USB port and it’s ready to record! Of course, this type of mics are not only for recording music, you can use them in voice over projects and in podcasts.
So, why choose the USB microphone?
- because it’s cheaper
- because it’s easy to transport
- because it requires no additional equipment
This blog will present some of the best USB microphones available on the market along with prices and places where you can buy them. I will try to remain as objective as possible, and I will try to search for additional reviews on any mic in order to provide an accurate description.
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