USB microphones are starting to become more essential to get good quality audio while streaming. Some people use a microphone in a basic setup for Youtube, gaming, twitch, etc. While others use a USB microphone for professional uses such as voice-overs, video sound, webinars, concert/event coverage, etc.
As the alternatives for different uses increase, the number of microphones available also increases and so this is where some help in choosing the right mic can be quite useful. So hopefully this guide can help you choose the right microphone for your specific use, considering all its features.
Our Top Picks
|Rode NT USB Mini||Cardioid|
|Blue Yeti X||Cardioid|
|Shure MV5||Cardioid||Check Price|
|Razer Seiren Elite||Cardioid|
|Audio-Technica ATR2500x||Cardioid||Check Price|
Price: $ (under $100), $$ (under $200), $$$ (under $300)
Key Things to Consider in a USB Microphone for Streaming
Before I jump into our top 10 list I wanted to give some information about features and criterias in microphones that that you might want to look at before making a buying decision:
Is the mic compatible with your computer?
The large majority of USB mics these days are completely Plug’n’Play for both Windows and Mac, but make sure you read the product compatibility features of any USB mic. On the whole, you’ll be safe with the ones we recommend.
How do you plan to use the mic?
Will you be using the USB mic only occasionally, for streaming, or will you be using it on a more regular basis in a professional way? This can be a big factor in choosing the right one.
What budget do you have?
It’s always a good idea to consider how much you’re actually willing to spend on a mic. In this list, we have tried to included different options for different budgets.
Microphone Pickup/Polar patterns
All microphones capture sound in different ways, so it’s worth considering the polar patterns on the microphones and considering which works best for you:
- Cardioid/Unidirectional this pickup pattern is the most common in USB mics and only picks up the sound that’s in front of the mic. This type of mic is suitable for one sound source, like a voiceover, solo podcasting, or singing.
- Omnidirectional, this polar pattern picks up sounds from all directions (back, front, above, and below). These types of microphones are suitable for recording or streaming ambience sounds or the sound of an entire room (lectures for example).
- Figure-eight/Bi-Directional, this polar pattern only picks up sound from the front and back sides of the microphone. This can be suitable for an interview for example, with one person on either side of the mic. Mics like the Blue Snowball mic and the Blue Yeti have all 3 settings available at the flick of a switch.
The size of the mic
Be aware of how big the mic is. Images can sometimes be misleading so try to find a picture of the mic in context. For example, the Blue Snowball might look like a golf ball but is in fact the size of a baseball.
There can be a small delay in recording because USB mics have a built in digital converter. This is not usually an issue but check user reviews to make sure that nobody has had issues with it.
With these considerations in mind, let’s start looking in more detail about the best microphones for streaming:
10 Best USB Microphones for Streaming
1. Shure MV7
This microphone is inspired by the legendary Shure SM7B, which is reflected in the design of the MV7. It is a dynamic microphone, which makes it a great choice for anyone who wants to reduce background noise while they’re recording or streaming.
Not only is this microphone a USB microphone, but it also has an XLR output as well. This is one of the first microphones on the market to offer both. This microphone can help you future proof your system. If you decide you want to expand to using more than just one USB microphone, then having an XLR output gives you that option to expand your equipment later on.
When it comes to streaming this microphone also comes with some very comprehensive software. The software lets you control monitoring, gain, EQ, compression, limiting, and more. Take a look at the software in action in the video below.
Check all the potential it has to help you get great audio.
- Easy built-in controls
- Dual output options (USB & XLR)
- The dynamic design makes it great for reducing background noise
- Slight concern about the durability of the USB jack on the back
If you’re looking for a high-quality microphone at a cheaper price point the Rode NT USB Mini might be the one for you. This microphone is an excellent choice for streaming, singing, and musical performances, as well as for podcasting and voice-overs.
The Rode NT USB Mini is compatible with both Windows and Mac computers, as well as the Apple iPad (but you may need to get a USB connection adapter). It also has a zero-latency stereo headphone monitoring jack, and a built-in pop-filter.
Another interesting feature is the desktop swivel stand that allows the NT-USB mini to sit at a comfortable height on a tabletop. The swivel mount can also be used with other mic stands that have the industry-standard 3/8 inch thread.
- High-quality condenser capsule
- On-mic headphone control
- Ultra-low noise
- Includes swivel desktop stand
- The mic stand could have a wider base for stability
- Better for capturing sound at close range (when capture sound further away from the mic, you may start to notice more background noise)
3. Blue Yeti X
The Blue Yeti X is quite a versatile USB microphone with multiple polar patterns. It’s a great choice for creating high-quality audio on your live streams or for recording directly to a Mac or PC. It’s able to record in a choice of 4 unique pickup patterns – cardioid, stereo, omnidirectional, and figure-eight.
It also has a built-in high-quality A/D converter & headphone amp for monitoring with zero-latency, and easy volume controls for headphones, microphone gain, polar-pattern selection, and mute button.
- Multiple polar pattern selection – stereo, cardioid, bidirectional, & omnidirectional
- Proprietary tri-capsule technology
- Great for video streaming, gaming, vocals, podcasting, musical instruments, voiceovers, interviews, webinars, and more
- Available in 10 colors
- Plug ‘n’ play, on both Mac and PC
- Some user reviews mentioned that they had some difficulties connecting the mic to some Mac models.
A microphone especially recommended for recording vocals, it’s really easy to use whether you’re in a project studio, or even in a more professional environment.
It’s compatible with both Mac or PC, the Audio-Technica AT2020USB+ can also plug directly into your tablet or smartphone (this cable is not included though). It works with any streaming or recording software, so you shouldn’t need to download any extra drivers.
This microphone is a great choice for singing recordings as well as spoken word applications including voice-overs or podcasting.
- Professional Condenser Microphone
- Plug & Play
- Compatibility with mobile devices
- No need for an extra power supply,
- Tripod is foldable
- Can be over-sensitive and pick up background noise
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To get high-quality sound for your streaming and audio recordings you don’t necessarily need the newest USB microphone on the market. The Blue Snowball Condenser is a good example of that. It has been available for quite a while now but it’s still a much higher quality microphone than your computer’s built-in microphone.
Its cardioid condenser capsule offers high-quality audio for streaming, creating, and recording. In addition, it automatically connects with your Mac or PC.
- Plug ‘n’ Play, on PC and Mac
- Cardioid & Omnidirectional Pick-up Patterns
- Skype certification
- Includes a Desktop Stand
- Pro Quality Audio USB Mic (16bit, 44.1kHz)
- Microphone is a bit heavy (1.8 pounds)
6. Shure MV5
If you are looking for a microphone that you can also use on the move and want to be able to connect it to an IOS device, the Shure MV5 is a great option. It’s very lightweight (it weighs a little over one pound when it’s fully assembled). It is also considered Apple MFi, which means it is made for iPad/iPhone/iPod and is certified by Apple to directly connect to any iOS device, so you hopefully won’t need any additional connection kits or adapters.
This microphone is also quite portable, it measures 2.5 inches/7cm tall (5.5 inches / 14 cm on included stand). As for connectors, it comes with 1x USB Micro-B to USB Cable and 1x USB Micro-B to Lightning cable.
- Made for iPad/iPhone/iPod
- 3 DSP Preset Modes
- The on light doesn’t always illuminate when the mic is on.
7. Samson Go
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The Samson Go Mic is a great option if you want a portable USB microphone that can clip to your laptop. It’s considered one of the best small and lightweight USB mics and can be a good choice for a lot of different uses.
With its unique, small design, the Samson Go can clip directly onto your laptop or sit inconspicuously on your desk. And you can get remarkably clear audio reproduction with its high-quality components.
It has switchable cardioid & omnidirectional pickup patterns, so you can choose the polar pattern which is most appropriate for your streaming needs. The cardioid polar pattern is useful to have when streaming or recording in close proximity to the mic. And the omnidirectional pattern is good for capturing the sound of an entire room.
- Plug and Play
- PC & Mac compatible
- switchable cardioid and omnidirectional polar patterns
- Includes a USB cable, carry case & cable clip
- The USB cable could be a bit longer
- The mic and USB cable are hard to store in the case
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The Razer Seiren Elite is another great streaming microphone, particularly if you’re a fan of gaming. It’s a versatile USB microphone with streaming & recording capabilities of a high-quality studio microphone all in a single plug ‘n’ play device.
With its included aluminum stand base, the Razer Seiren Elite is a great choice for streaming and recording in many different locations. The mic stand can sit firmly on your desk without the need for any additional mic stand.
This mic has a high recording resolution (16 bit/48kHZ) and is definitely worth the price.
- Easy setup
- Bidirectional, Unidirectional, Omnidirectional polar patterns
- Stabilizer aluminum base
- Zero-latency monitoring
- Pop filter available but not included
- There is a shock mount available to reduce noise, but it’s unfortunately not included
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This USB microphone is excellent for streaming, voiceover use, home studio recording, field recording, and podcasting. It’s a simple-to-use plug-and-play mic, and it’s compatible to use with both Mac & PC and works with any streaming or recording software you are using.
The Audio-Technica ATR2500x is an affordable microphone that has high-quality sound and to improve the mics stability it comes with an asymmetrical tripod stand.
The Audio-Technica ATR2500x is a side-address large-diaphragm condenser USB mic for streaming or recording, a quality A/D converter, and a headphone output with volume control for monitoring.
- Studio-quality AD converter with 16 bit, 44.1/48 kHz sampling rate
- Cardioid Condenser
- Built-in headphone jack
- Compatible with PC and Mac
- The mic stand can be sensitive to bumps and maybe tip over.
10. CAD U37
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CAD Audio has been producing audio products for more than 85 years and delivering excellent products for engineers, performers, and other audio professionals. This USB mic is a good option for small budgets as it has a good balance between quality and price. It features a cardioid polar pattern which can help reduce background noise.
On the front of the mic you’ll find two switches a 10dB overload-protection switch to help to decrease the mcrophones sensitivity and enables you to record or stream loud sounds without the microphone distorting. The 2nd switch is a bass-reduction switch, this switch is designed to help reduce the bass frequency sounds being picked up by the mic.
- Cardioid pick-up pattern
- Condenser mic
- Bass-reduction switch
- 10ft USB cable
- Includes a table-top mic stand
- Easier to use in “studio environments”, as it’s quite sensitive and can pickup a lot of background noise.