Is a USB Microphone Good for Recording Vocals?


For those who were blessed with a singing voice, you have probably asked yourself: is a USB microphone good for recording vocals? Whether you know a lot about computers or nothing at all, this is definitely a question that should be addressed.

If you do not get the right microphone, you may not sound the best that you can. Understanding how microphones work and if the USB connection will affect the sound quality is a good place to start.

Ease of Use

One of the easiest microphones to use out of them all, USB microphones are plug and play. This means, all you have to do is plug your microphone into a USB jack on your computer and you are good to go.

The drivers for your microphone usually will install automatically, otherwise, you may be given a disk with the installation on it. USB Microphones are great for recording because they are extremely newbie friendly. Anyone can set them up and get started right away.

Other microphones might have multiple cords to plug into work. This can get confusing if you are not used to using microphones. There are cons to using USB microphones though.

Lack of Control

Usually, the sample rate for USB microphones are fixed and cannot be changed. If you ever need a higher sample rate, you cannot get it with a USB microphone. Analog microphones often give you multiple choices when it comes to customizing the quality.

Price

One of the main reasons that USB microphones are chosen over analog microphones is due to the price. You can find a USB microphone for much less than an analog microphone. This has to do more so with the specifications of USB microphones.

As discussed previously, there is little to no control over sound quality and sample rate for USB mics. This lowers the price. Price is a relative number though.

Just because a microphone is expensive doesn’t mean it is a good microphone. You should always look over mic specs before ever purchasing.

Sound Quality

With a cheaper price comes cheaper quality. USB mics do not sound terrible; however, you can tell the difference between it and an analog microphone.

USB microphones are different than analog microphones in that they contain analog to digital converters or A/D converters. This affects the sound quality as the sound must go through another conversion.

When you use normal analog microphones, the sound goes straight to your PC as analog and thus, the sound is of higher quality.

Portability

One great thing about USB microphones is the ability to carry them around with you wherever you want to go. They work on any computer that has a USB port and you are not limited by the size or shape of it.

Most analog microphones don’t have this issue either, but you will find it much easier to use a USB microphone when doing a lot of moving.

Popular USB Microphones

Now, even though USB microphones are known for their inexpensive price, you can also find expensive USB mics. When these microphones first came out, there was very little variability in them. Now, you can find very high-quality USB microphones.

The ease of use of the microphones became too popular to ignore. Many manufacturers started producing USB microphones for all types of microphones. Below, we will discuss some of the most popular and quality USB microphones.

CAD U37

The appearance of the Cad U37 is very similar to a studio analog microphone. It is an extremely cheap and high-quality USB microphone. It produces warm and rich recordings.

The cardioid pattern helps isolate the main sound source producing a nice sound. It has many features including a bass reduction switch that reduces room noise and an extended frequency response. It comes in multiple colors and is very easy to install and use.

Apogee Mic 96k

One of the more mobile and small USB microphones on the market, the Apogee Mic 96k is capable of recording audio at 96khz. This is higher than some of the more expensive studio mics on the market.

The icebreaker with this mic, though, is that you can synchronize it to your phone and use your phone to record your singing. It works with all Apple devices including the Mac, iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. It does not require any battery or external power and is powered by connection to an Apple device.

Blue Snowflake

Another small and mobile microphone, the blue snowflake is a miniature version of the blue snowball. It comes equipped with a stand or a clip that attaches to your computer.

It is great for desktop recording and doing voice-overs. The casing also holds the USB cord. This allows for easy portability as the entire microphone can fit inside your pocket.

Blue Snowball

One of the most popular microphones available today, the Blue Snowball is excellent for any vocal recording. It extremely lightweight and easy to carry around.

It is shaped like a ball and features a dual capsule design. Both cardioid elements and omnidirectional work together to provide a unique recording experience. 

Floreon BM 800

The Floreon BM 800 is one of the least expensive USB microphones on the market. Their main goal is to show how high-quality a USB microphone can go while also being very affordable.

It is a beautifully designed microphone with a neodymium magnet for high signal to noise ratio.

Verdict

USB microphones are mobile and very simple and affordable. If you are serious about pursuing a singing career, USB mics should be your last option, otherwise, they are great for hobby recording.

There are several USB microphones on the market that provide great quality. The ease of use and portability make them very worth it if you are trying to record your vocals for voice overs, YouTube videos, or Skype calls.

You also have a lot of room to work with since USB microphones tend to be considerably cheaper than analog microphones.