What is a USB Condenser Microphone?
It is a condenser mic (a microphone that uses diaphragm vibrations as a capacitor), which is powered by a Universal Serial Bus or (USB). The USB provides the pre-amplification then converts the audio data.
The polar pattern of a microphone indicates it’s sensitivity to the directional sound coming from different angles around its axis.
The body shapes of the microphones determine whether the axis extends perpendicular to its diaphragm or not. Large membrane microphones are typically perpendicular and known as side-address or side-fire smaller diaphragms are typically top-address, end-address or end-fire.
Some microphone housing combines dual membranes.
Whilst it isn’t the most thrilling, this informative video from Lynda.com gives a clear, detailed visual explanation on the subject of directional polarity in microphones.
Best USB Condenser Microphone For Vocals?
This is largely down to whether the vocals are spoken voice or singing voice as the SPL (Sound Pressure Levels) created though singing is completely different. Simply put you aren’t going to be able to Belt out any big notes if the diaphragm can’t handle it. The Blue Yeti pro popular USB microphone is a very good USB Microphone for vocals as is AT2020.
Depending on the professional quality you are going for you might want to invest a few bucks for a USB recording microphone.
Best USB Condenser Mic Under $100?
The Samson Meteorite Mic makes for a good option it is a good Blue Yeti alternative whilst it doesn’t provide the Tri-Capsule technology and as much control over your options it makes for a great zero latency, large diaphragm, and ultimately a great choice for best USB condenser mic under 100 bucks.
Best Cheap USB Condenser Mic?
Our two main contenders for best cheap USB condenser mic are the Samson Go and the Blue Snowball iCE both offer exceptional value for money as desktop USB microphones. If your budget still happens to be a little lighter the FiFine performs well for its monetary value.
What Makes A Good USB Condenser Mic?
This is a great question but in actuality, there is no concrete answer because it depends entirely on what you intend to do with it. In all honesty, most of the lower end USB microphones don’t differ a lot from one another in terms of frequency, decibels etc.
A good USB Condenser mic should plug in easily (preferably need no drivers to install) and provide instant use. Secondly, they should provide a clear signal without background noise interference. You want a minimum audio quality of 16-bit (ideally 32-bit). They should not produce a “hum” or internal noise of their own.
For most uses, you will want a cardioid pattern as typically we speak into a microphone from one direction. Cardioid polar pattern reduces what is picked up from the sides and behind, and better isolates the direct source however the ability to switch between provides a good all-round basis for alternative uses later down the line without an inevitable investment in a different mic in the future.
Zero Latency monitoring is another desirable quality for self-explanatory reasons.
If you are seriously looking for the best USB condenser microphone you probably need to be prepared to part with a fair amount of cash for a more pristine audio signal.
USB desktop microphones make for a mega modern convenience, with technologies such as this developing we are able to say goodbye to cheap audio interfaces and complicated driver installs for good.
If you Skype regularly, chat in-game, Podcast or just generally like to record your thoughts and musings a USB Condenser mic is a pain-free way to go. The nature of our current culture sees many of us recording our voices for a variety of reasons. Unless you are specifically songwriting and producing music you are going to want the convenience of USB powered devices. They work from the get-go with most digital audio workstations.
A few of the higher end models are evolving to be on par with some of the top XLR condenser microphones. This gives musicians and singers the access to recording in a home studio set up without the need for an audio interface at all. In order to choose the best USB mic for you first, you must think about the requirements suited to your intended use and all importantly your budget. Wit a pretty decent range available at either end and the assistance of our guide and USB port mic reviews we have no doubt you will be able to narrow it down for yourself.
If you are buying a particularly sensitive microphone (which typically the best USB mics are) you are going to want to invest in a great pop-filter. Some desktop microphones we have reviewed come with their own however to really understand whether its a good build quality or useless to you might find our buying guide section in our review of the top ten best pop-filters for the Blue Yeti, whilst the majority of our reviews were Yeti specific many of them will fit a variety of mounts.
Did You Know?
Cardioid polarity pattern mics were named so because of their heart-shaped sensitivity pickup patterns in a 2-D sketch up. In 3-dimensional terms, they have an apple shaped field in which the microphone sits at the core of.