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Buying Guide: Best USB Microphones for Recording at Home
Plug in and start recording fast with a USB microphone. These easy-to-use mics connect directly to your Mac, PC, or mobile device -- no need for a preamp or audio interface. From budget-friendly USB and iOS microphones under $100, to USB versions of studio staples, zZounds has a wide range of USB mics. Follow our guide to find USB mics for recording vocals, podcasts, voiceover, live performances, and more.
USB Microphones with Lightning Connectors for iOS Recording
These microphones come with a Lightning cable for iPhone and iPad, as well as a USB cable for your Mac or PC. Record directly to your iOS device or your computer with a USB/Lightning microphone.
These microphones have a Lightning connector that plugs directly into your iPhone or iPad. Some microphones, like the Shure MOTIV MV88 Plus Video Kit, also include micro-USB or USB-C connector for use with Android phones. Upgrade the sound on your mobile device recordings with these mics!
USB Cardioid Condenser Microphones for Recording Vocals and More
Want to record better vocals in your home studio? These higher-end USB mics are similar to the large-diaphragm condensers and dynamics you'd find in pro recording setups, but with USB connectors that plug directly into your computer. While condenser microphones are generally better at capturing detail, the Rode Podcaster is one dynamic microphone that captures a rich vocal sound while handling hiss and sibilance.
Multi-pattern microphones like the Blue Yeti USB mic let you go beyond the standard cardioid (unidirectional) pickup pattern. Try an omnidirectional pattern to pick up an uncolored, natural-sounding 360-degree ambiance. Try a bidirectional or "figure-8" pattern to record an interview with host and guest on either side of the mic -- or use one side of the bi-di pattern to lend a heightened, focused quality to solo vocals.
For the ultimate in flexibility, try the Zoom H2n recorder -- it doubles as a multi-pattern/stereo USB mic when you connect it to your computer.
Handheld dynamic microphones tend to be much more rugged -- and less expensive -- than condenser mics, so they make excellent "first microphones" for kids and classrooms. Many USB handheld microphones offer the best of both worlds: a USB output for recording directly onto your computer, plus a standard XLR plug for connecting to mixers, amps, karaoke machines, and other audio gear. Just look for "USB and XLR" in the microphone's name.
Need a wireless USB microphone? Step up to the Samson XPD2 Handheld microphone -- it comes with a USB wireless receiver that plugs into your computer, or into your iOS or Android device using a USB adapter. The Samson XPD2 Handheld microphone has a 100-foot wireless range, making it perfect for capturing audio for iPad videos, Skype, FaceTime, Google Hangouts and more.
XLR to USB Adapters: Connect an XLR mic to a computer
If you already own an XLR mic that you like, an XLR to USB interface is the simplest and most affordable way to record that microphone onto your computer. These adapters convert an XLR microphone's analog signal to 44.1 kHz or 48 kHz, 16-bit digital audio that you can record with your computer's DAW software.
Want to use a USB to XLR adapter with phantom-powered condenser microphones? Pick up an adapter that provides +48V phantom power, like the Shure X2U adapter.
To capture audio at 24-bit resolution, record XLR microphones or 1/4" instruments, add headphone monitoring, and more, step up to a USB audio interface like the Shure MOTIV MVi.