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7 Best USB Microphones (2023): USB-C, USB-A, Wireless, And Mic Accessories

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Best Budget USB MicBlue Snowball Ice

Read moreGood content starts at the source. If you want to sound your best for coworkers, fans, or teammates, the mic you have built into your headphones, laptop, tablet, or smartphone likely won’t do the job. I’ve spent close to a decade with various USB microphones for podcasting, gaming, and even music recording, and I have to say up front: We’re living in a golden age of easy-to-use options. These days, it’s not hard to find a great microphone with simple software for very little money. So we’ve rounded them up! These are the best USB microphones around.

While you’re at it, be sure to check out our guides on How to Start a Podcast, How to Upgrade Your Home Audio, as well as our lists of the Best Home Office Gear to kit out your space further.

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Photograph: Blue

Best OverallBlue Yeti

Many of WIRED’s Gear team members and I have been using Blue microphones (now owned by Logitech) for years with no issues. The now-iconic USB mic will probably look familiar to anyone who has spent more than an hour on YouTube. It has a sturdy base and an easily adjustable volume knob that sticks out like R2D2’s belly button. This mic sounds completely fine for the money, and the mute button on the front makes it easy to ensure nobody is listening. It’s essentially plug-and-play with most computers, but you’ll want to download Logtech’s software for the most up-to-date drivers and to make further customizations.

The more expensive Blue Yeti X ($170) offers performance similar to the standard Yeti but has a better front button and more polar patterns (see below to learn what those mean). Most folks don’t need this functionality, so you can stick with the standard Yeti. There’s also the Yeti Nano ($80), which has similar recording quality but in a smaller footprint. It can only record in cardioid (for solo recording) and omnidirectional, which records all the sounds around you. If you’re never going to record with someone sitting across from you, it’s cheaper to stick with the Nano.

Comes with a Mini USB to USB-A cable. The Yeti X and Nano come with a MicroUSB to USB-A cable.

Photograph: Blue

Best Budget USB MicBlue Snowball Ice

Looking to up your sound for as little money as possible? This compact microphone from Blue is an easy and reliable way to make sure your voice comes through well. I like the included tripod, which can fold up to easily fit in a backpack. The design looks like a classic radio microphone, and it’ll make you sound better than if you are stuck with microphones on your laptop or smartphone. It has only a cardioid polar pattern, which will pick up sound only from the front of the microphone.

Comes with a Mini USB to USB-A cable.

★ An alternative: The JLab Talk Go ($35) is another solid (and slightly cheaper) option than the Snowball. It has great legs and is equally easy to set up and use. It comes with a USB-C to USB-A cable and has two polar patterns: cardioid and omnidirectional, the latter of which can pick up sound from all directions.

Photograph: HyperX

Best for StreamersHyperX Quadcast S

This microphone from HyperX (8/10, WIRED Recommends) has nearly the same great sound quality you’ll get from other options on this list, but it boasts some pretty rad-looking LEDs that’ll make it stand out on your Twitch streams. The touch-sensitive tap-to-mute button at the top cuts off the LEDs so you know it’s properly muted, which is a nice touch, and the gain knob sits on the base and makes for an easy way to increase the mic’s sensitivity. The QuadCast S comes with a shock mount, which keeps it stable during hard typing or angry kicks of the desk when you lose a game. It has four polar patterns: stereo, omnidirectional, cardioid, and bidirectional.

Comes with a USB-C to USB-C cable.

Photograph: Shure

Best UpgradeShure SM7B

You’ve probably seen this microphone on many podcasts and YouTube videos, and it’s even used by professional broadcasters in radio studios. It’s also a reported favorite of many of the world’s most famous pop singers in studios. All for good reason. The Shure SM7B sounds fantastic, comes with an internal shock mount so it doesn’t get ruffled, and lasts forever. It makes your vocals sound truly professional.

The downside? This mic uses a traditional XLR microphone connector, which means you’ll need to buy a USB audio interface to make this a USB mic. You can snag a relatively affordable one like the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 ($170) to do the job, and it’ll open you up to higher-quality recordings using pro-level recording software like Pro Tools, Audacity, Logic, Studio One, and Ableton. Once you get an interface, you can also use any other XLR mics you want.

Comes with an XLR cable.