Best 12 USB Microphones for Recording, Podcasting & Gaming!

Last Updated on January 17, 2021.

With so many microphones available on the market, it might be tough to know which one to choose, especially considering that some have USB connectivity, while some others have XLR connectivity, different pickup patterns, etc.

Whether you’re into podcasting, creating YouTube videos, or recording music at home, you will need a good microphone to get started, and the easiest way to do this is by getting a USB microphone.

In this post I will tell you about the USB microphones I think that you should be considering as well as giving you a list of the three best ones at the end.

Best USB Microphones under $100

MicrophonePolar PatternSampling RateFrequency ResponseVersatilitySound QualityConnectivityZero-Latency
Blue SnowballCardioid Omnidirectional44.1 kHz/16 bit40Hz –18 kHz++++USBYes
Maono AU-A04Cardioid192khz/24 bit30Hz-16kHz++USBNo
Samson MeteorCardioid44.1kHz/48 kHz at 16-bit20 Hz to 20 kHz++USBYes
Samson Q2UCardioid44.1kHz/48kHz At 16-bit50Hz–15kHz+++USB/XLRYes
Blue Yeti NanoCardioid Omnidirectional48kHz/16-bit20Hz – 20kHz++++USBYes
Audio-Technica ATR2100Cardioid44.1 kHz/48 kHz/16-bit50 – 15,000 Hz+++USB/XLRYes
Marantz MPM- 2000uCardioid48kHz / 16-bit20 – 18,000 Hz+++USBNo

The microphones listed in this category are generally well suited for beginners or average users who don’t want to spend that much but who still require decent audio quality.

1. Blue Snowball

The Blue Snowball features two microphone patterns; Cardioid and Omnidirectional, while also providing another Cardioid setting with a -10dB PAD, which helps if you’re recording a loud source.

Having these patterns allows for extra versatility, depending on your recording needs.

The Blue Snowball is a microphone mostly used by podcasters, voice-over artists and YouTubers, but it’s also a good starting point for anyone who is interested in doing some Home Music Recording.

While it’s not the most versatile microphone on this list, it’s certainly a great starting point.

Recommended for: Anyone getting started who needs a better than average audio quality.

Find out more about the Blue Snowball here.

2. Maono AU-A04

The first thing that jumped to my attention is the sampling rate of this mic, since it’s 192kHz/24Bit, which is much higher than the usual 44.1kHz or 48kHz.

While you certainly could get the mic on its own, there’s also a a whole set available that includes a shock mount, a boom arm, a foam windscreen and a pop filter, for just a bit more.

Now, since it’s a budget mic, it doesn’t include any of the features you see on other USB microphones; like the Mute Button, Gain control, more than one polar pattern, etc.

This is why it’s a fantastic beginner microphone.

For anyone who is interested in podcasting, streaming, doing voice-overs, or anything voice related, the Moano AU-A04 offers everything you need at a very low price.

Recommended for: Beginners with a low budget.

Find out more about the Moano AU-A04 here.

3. Samson Meteor

The Samson Meteor is small form-factor USB microphone designed mainly for voice-related applications, such as talking over Skype and Discord, doing voice-over work, creating YouTube videos, etc.

This microphone comes with a 1/8-inch headphone output for zero-latency monitoring, a headphone volume knob, and a mute button.

If you don’t want to use the legs (tripod) on this microphone, you could use the integrated mic stand adapter to mount it onto a boom arm or regular mic stand.

The Samson Meteor is one of the few USB microphones that works on iPads as well as computers without any hassle, which may be a reason worth considering if you need a mic that can do both.

Recommended for: Anyone who needs to record onto an iPad.

Find out more about the Samson Meteor here.

4. Samson Q2U

The Samson Q2U is a Dynamic cardioid Microphone.

What differentiates this microphone from every other previous one on this list is that it offers both USB and XLR connectivity.

What does this mean?

Not only can this microphone be used to record directly onto your PC by connecting it to a USB port, but it can also be connected to any Audio Interface, Mixer, or PA system via the XLR output.

In addition to this, it features a headphone output that allows you to do zero-latency monitoring.

Included in the box you get; The Samson Q2U, as well as a desktop stand with a mic clip, a pop-filter, and the USB- and XLR cables.

Recommended for: Anyone who requires a microphone for recording via USB that can also be used in Live scenarios.

Find out more about the Samson Q2U here.

5. Blue Yeti Nano

The Blue Yeti Nano is the little brother of the Famous Blue Yeti (coming up soon).

However, this one doesn’t come with as many features, but it costs a lot less as well, making it the better choice for anyone on a tighter budget.

It features two polar patters; Cardioid and Omnidirectional.

The recording quality is great and its intended uses are; Podcasting, voice-overs, skype calls and music recording.

However, if you’re considering any of these microphones for music recording, I’d recommend going with the ones in the $100-$200 range.

Lastly, it features a headphone output that allows you to do zero-latency monitoring, a Gain Knob, and a Mute Button.

Recommended for: Anything Voice related.

Find out more about the Blue Yeti Nano here.

6. Audio-Technica ATR2100

Just like the Samson Q2U, the Audio-Technica ATR2100 is a cardioid dynamic microphone that features both a USB- and XLR connection.

This means that, even though it only has a cardioid pickup pattern, it ends up being a very versatile microphone because it can be used both for recording directly to your PC via USB, or it can be connected to a PA system, an audio interface or a mixer, via the XLR Output.

On the bottom you will also find a headphone output for zero-latency monitoring with a volume control.

Included in the box you get; The ATR 2100 microphone, a tripod desk stand, a mic clip, and the USB- and XLR cables.

Recommended for: Anyone who requires a microphone for recording via USB that can also be used in Live scenarios.

Find out more about the ATR 2100 here.

7. Marantz MPM- 2000u

The Marantz MPM- 2000u is a cardioid condenser microphone that doesn’t come with any additional features, such as multiple polar patterns, zero-latency monitoring, etc.

It’s designed to only record in a cardioid configuration and to yield the best results possible.

It’s well built, it comes with a shock mount and an extremely well-built carrying case, and a USB cable, but that’s about it.

The MPM- 2000u is the top of the line of all the Marantz USB microphones and it really does provide some great audio quality.

Lastly, the price varies quite a lot depending on where you buy it (from $77 to over $150).

Recommended for: Anyone who ONLY needs a cardioid microphone that sounds great.

Find out more about the Marantz MPM- 2000u here.

Up next…

Best USB Microphones under $200

MicrophonePolar PatternsSample RateFrequency ResponseVersatilitySound QualityConnectivityZero-Latency
Blue YetiCardioid Omnidirectional Bidirectional Stereo48 kHz/16-bit20Hz – 20kHz++++++USBYes
Audio-Technica AT2020 USBCardioid44.1/48 kHz at 16-bit20 – 20,000 Hz++++USBYes
Rode NT USBCardioid48 kHz at 16-bit20Hz – 20kHz++++USBYes
HyperX QuadcastCardioid Omnidirectional Bidirectional Stereo48kHz/16-bit20Hz–20kHz+++  +++USBYes
ElGato Wave 3Cardioid48/96 kHz at 24-bit  70Hz-20kHz+++++USBYes

Here I will list microphones that are selling in the $100-$200 range, and these are a definite step up when compared to the previous ones I listed.

If you’re a musician, I’d recommend the ones in this category.

8. Blue Yeti

The Blue Yeti is the best-selling USB microphone currently available.

Featuring a multitude of patterns to choose from, like cardioid, omnidirectional, stereo and bidirectional, the Blue Yeti is incredibly versatile.

It is an excellent microphone for podcasters, YouTubers and Voice-over artists, but it is also an outstanding microphone for recording music.

It comes with a Gain control, mute button and a zero-latency headphone output.

The reason the Blue Yeti is a great option for recording music is, apart from its great sound quality, that it can record in stereo, which comes in handy when recording acoustic guitars, piano, etc.

When considering all the patterns this microphone provides, I think it’s fair to say that the Blue Yeti is the most versatile USB Microphone available, especially for the price.

Recommended for: Anyone who needs a multi-pattern microphone, for example; a YouTuber who also runs a podcast and want to use one mic to record multiple guests.

Find out more about the Blue Yeti here.

9. Audio-Technica AT2020 USB

The Audio-Technica AT2020 is the go-to condenser microphone for almost every beginner home recording enthusiast.

The USB version of the AT2020 features a built-in headphone jack with a volume control that allows you to directly monitor your microphone signal with no delay (Zero-latency monitoring).

It also offers a mix control that blends the microphone’s direct sound and the audio coming out of your PC.

It’s a great microphone for singer/songwriters, podcasters, voice-over artists, field recorders, and home studio owners.

While it’s definitely not as versatile as the Blue Yeti, for the simple fact that it only features a cardioid polar pattern, it does sound a lot better as well, making it my top choice out of all the microphones on this list for most people.

Recommended for: Anyone who needs the best audio quality over all.

Find out more about the AT2020 USB here.

Note: If you’re torn between the Blue Yeti and the AT2020, then this article I wrote, where I compare both of them, is definitely for you.

10. Rode NT USB

The Rode NT USB is one of the better-built microphones I’ve ever tried, and it also comes with a lot more included items than any of the other microphones on this list, such as a pop filter, tripod desk stand, and more.

In terms of audio quality, it’s almost identical to the one of the AT2020 USB.

However, I wouldn’t recommend it for recording instruments since the gain -even when turned all the way down to zero-, is still too high and may clip the signal if the source is too loud.

As far as voice-related applications go, it’s one of the best microphones you could get, plus it already comes with a pop filter, so you automatically save about $30 there.

Lastly, it also works on iPads.

Recommended for: Voice-related applications or for recording reasonably quiet sources.

Find out more about the Rode NT USB here.

11. HyperX QuadCast

The HyperX Quadcast is identical to the Blue Yeti in every way, except in the way it looks, plus this one includes a shock mount.

It has four polar patterns; Stereo, Omnidirectional, Cardioid and bidirectional, making it a very versatile microphone overall.

The shock-mount that it comes with should keep the vibrations from reaching the capsule, avoiding unwanted noises (like keyboard noises, tapping on the desk, etc.).

It also features a built-in pop filter, which should reduce some plosives.

Lastly, it also comes with a built-in headphone jack for zero-latency monitoring.

This microphone is mostly aimed at gamers who want to stream their gameplay, and having a shock mount and a built-in pop filter definitely makes it an appealing option.

However, if you’re a gamer/streamer, then the next microphone on this list will be better suited for you.

Recommended for: Anyone who needs a multi-pattern microphone, for example; a YouTuber who also runs a podcast and want to use one mic to record multiple guests.

Find out more about the HyperX Quadcast here.

12. ElGato Wave 3

Out of all the microphones I’ve tested, the ElGato Wave 3 is by far the best Gaming & Streaming microphone currently on the market.

Not only does it sound great, comparable to the AT2020 USB in overall audio quality, but it features the Clipguard and the WaveLink software, both of which are what make it the best Gaming & Streaming microphone.

Clipguard

The Clipguard works as a Limiter, essentially limiting the volume of the signal and the volume spikes, like screams.

This means that you won’t jumpscare your viewers and the audio will never clip -or sound distorted-, yielding a great viewing experience for your stream.

WaveLink Software

Here you can mix different audio sources before they get streamed, making it easy for you to control the background music volume, game volume, etc.

You can also create a mix for you -without music, for example-, and a different one for your stream.

Recommended for: Gamers and Streamers.

Find out more about the ElGato Wave 3 here.

Top 3 Choices

Of course, this will depend on your needs, but here are my top three choices when it comes to what every mic has to offer compared to how much they cost.

Nr.1: Blue Yeti

The Blue Yeti comes out ahead because not only does it provide some excellent recording quality, but the fact that you can choose between four different pickup patterns can’t be ignored.

If you have the money, then I’d strongly recommend you get the Blue Yeti.

Nr.2: Audio-Technica AT2020 USB

Even though this microphone doesn’t feature different polar patterns, the recording quality is excellent.

If you are certain that you only need a cardioid microphone, then get the Audio-Technica At2020 USB.

Nr.3: ElGato Wave 3

This microphone has all the features a gamer needs, plus it sounds absolutely fantastic, making it a really good choice for musicians as well.

Conclusion

All of the microphones in this post should help you achieve high quality recordings.

If you’re a gamer/streamer, then USB microphones are fantastic.

However, if you’re looking to record music or a podcast, then I’d highly recommend looking into an Audio Interface and getting a couple XLR microphones instead, since this will yield much better results.

I hope that this information was useful!

Have a wonderful day!

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