Today, we’re talking about the TOP 5 BEST USB MICROPHONES you can buy to enhance your recordings and livestreams.
With these 5 options that I’ll show you, you’ll find USB microphones ranging from $49 to $249 USD from which you can get amazing results. To demonstrate how good they are for recordings, whenever possible, I also linked them to a youtube cover to show how good your recordings can be with them.
It’s important to notice that these aren’t the original XLR versions that most of these microphones have, but the USB versions, which are as good as the original with the added bonus of only needing a USB connection and a lot of other features.
Here are the mics that we’ll cover today:
Let’s dive right in
Blue Yeti family
The Blue Yeti family from Blue is a pretty famous microphone family in the streaming world because of its flexibility and, especially, several price ranges and USB options. Ranging from $100 to $300, the Yeti family has two microphones below $150, starting with the Blue Yeti Nano and then followed by the original Blue Yeti. The family also has the Blue Yeti X from $150 to $200, and the Blue Yeti Pro above $200.
The Yeti family features condenser microphones. This type of microphone is more appropriate for studio recordings than Dynamic microphones, which we’ll also feature in this post. That is because condenser mics are famous for capturing more detail than dynamic microphones and, therefore, having a clearer and brighter recording sound.
However, at the same time, condenser microphones capture a lot more noise than dynamic microphones so if you have a lot of noise in your studio, this could be an issue for you.
Listen to a recording using the original Blue Yeti Original
Blue Yeti X
The reason why I like the Blue Yeti X more than the others is because it’s cheaper than the Blue Yeti Pro, but it offers a bit more features and the sound is a bit fuller than the original Blue Yeti. For a more detailed review on the Blue Yeti X, watch the following video.
The coolest features of the Blue Yeti X is that it comes with additional software to adjust multiple settings such as Compression, De-Esser, Noise Reduction, in addition to having 4 polar patterns and almost everything you’ll need directly built in the microphone’s body.
Definitely a good choice and one of my favorites on this list
Modeled after the classic Shure Sm7b that was used to record Michael Jackson’s Thriller, the Shure Mv7 is Shure’s response to the growing popularity of USB microphones in the market. Selling in the same price range as the Blue Yeti Pro (above $200 USD), I definitely recommend Shure’s over the Blue Yeti Pro since it feels a bit stronger and fuller. However, if you want to compare it yourself, be my guest:
The Shure MV7 is a dynamic microphone, which is a different type of microphone than all of the other options in this list. These are more appropriate for live stages as they need a stronger signal than a condenser mic.
However, from personal experience, even though it has less brightness than condenser mics, it captures a lot less noise because it’s less sensitive than condenser microphones, which, for bedroom studios, could be ideal. Lastly, despite it capturing less brightness, it’s nothing you can’t edit with an EQ afterward.
Listen how the MV7 sounds like:
Going down to the below $100 USD zone, the Mackie EM-USB is a condenser mic that surprised me when recently researching about it. In a blind test against the Mv7 and 5 other USB mics, I’d place this one as the 2nd best overall with the Mv7 in the first position. You can listen to how your recordings would sound with it below:
This USB from Mackie directly compares to the Blue Yeti Nano. When compared, the Mackie EM-USB sounds fuller, but less bright than the Blue Yeti Nano, which comes down a bit to personal preference. However, when comparing which of these mics sounds more natural, I’d go with the Mackie EM-USB. Listen to the comparison below (same video as above, but different timings):
Within this list, it’s definitely the over-achiever when considering the cost-benefit, but the quality of it won’t take you as far as the Blue Yeti X.
Modeled after the famous XLR condenser microphone Audio Technica AT2020, the AT2020 USB is the good replica of the AT2020 and the sound quality is really good.
Having the Blue Yeti X as the main competitor, the AT2020 USB seems to have a bit more saturated highs than the Blue Yeti X and, to me, the Blue Yeti X not only sounds a bit better but also has more features than the AT2020 USB.
However, when it comes to real-life recording examples, the AT2020 USB has way more examples than the Blue Yeti X, but this could be because the Yeti is more commonly used by streamers, whereas the AT2020 USB is highly used by vocalists. Here’s a good one that I’ve found:
When it comes to spoken word though, it felt to me like the Blue Yeti X has a more natural feel to it than the AT2020 USB. Listen below:
Last but not least, we have our cheapest microphone in the end, and you get what you pay for. Selling below $50 USD, the Tonor Q9 is another condenser microphone, and when compared to Mackie EM-USB, it sounds less natural and a bit thinner. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t achieve good results with it after some editing in post with these 7 free vocal FX. Check below:
At the same time, a couple more dollars (which could be a big increase when compared to Tonor’s price) and you could get the Mackie EM-USB that would require less editing from you. Therefore, if you’re not so experienced in editing vocals, I’d definitely consider checking it out before going for the Tonor Q9.
The final leaderboard
Overall, this is my final list including its prices. The Shure Mv7 is the winner and the Mackie EM-USB is the over-achiever as a good microphone for its price.
In addition, I was happily surprised with the Blue Yeti X which has proven to be a really good choice and the Tonor Q9 surprised me as well. Definitely, it’s not the best recording overall, but for less than $50 USD, you’ll get a microphone that can lead you to some decent recordings.
Putting them in a list, this is my leaderboard.
- Shure Mv7
- Blue Yeti Pro
- Blue Yeti X
- AT2020 USB
- Mackie EM-USB
- Blue Yeti
- Blue Yeti Nano
- Tonor Q9
I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and hope you have a good musical week ahead of you!
About The Author
About The Author
Name: Leo Lauretti, from Abstrakt Music Lab
Bio: Born and raised in São Paulo, Brazil, Leo Lauretti has been producing since 2013. With releases on SONY Music, Armada, Enhanced Music, Leo Lauretti accumulates multiple supports from artists like Armin van Buuren, Above & Beyond, Paul van Dyk, Ferry Corsten, Cosmic Gate, Nicky Romero, and many others all over the world.