Best USB Microphone for Vocals and Musical Instruments – 2024

Are USB mics good for vocals? Definitely yes! Find out why, and pick from the best usb microphone for vocals that are perfect for your recording needs.

Best USB Microphone for Vocals & Musical Instruments - 2024
Best USB Microphone for Vocals & Musical Instruments - 2024
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Are you seeking the ultimate USB microphone to enhance your vocal or singing recordings? USB microphones have gained significant popularity due to their user-friendly nature and budget-friendly pricing.
Gone are the days when USB microphones were limited to basic communication tasks.

The best USB microphone for vocals now boast cutting-edge technology, rivaling traditional studio microphones. These modern USB microphones can handle professional-grade recording and content creation while offering a cost-effective and minimalist recording setup.

Leading microphone manufacturers have expanded their product lines to include USB versions, making finding the perfect microphone for your computer-based vocal recordings easier.

With many options at your disposal, selecting the ideal USB microphone for vocals or singing can be daunting. However, with some research, consideration of your budget, and a clear understanding of your recording goals, you can pinpoint a microphone that perfectly aligns with your needs.

A USB microphone is an excellent first step when you’re ready to elevate your recording game. Discover how these devices deliver top-tier audio quality without straining your finances.

Best USB Microphone for Vocals & Instruments – Detailed Reviews

Best Budget USB Microphone for Vocals

HyperX QuadCast USB Condenser Microphone

HyperX QuadCast

Street Price:
$99.00
Manufacturer:
Product Links:
Gearank Opinion

The HyperX QuadCast is a compelling USB microphone designed for users seeking high-quality computer audio without breaking the bank. Despite its modest technical limitations, it performs exceptionally well for Podcasting, streaming, and other vocal-centric applications, making it a valuable option for those short of professional recording needs. Its signature red lighting not only adds flair but also serves as a clear indicator of your live or mute status.

GEARANK
Incorporating 34200+ ratings and reviews.

Pros:

  • Built-in shock mount
  • Crisp and clear sound
  • 4 Polar patterns
Cons:
  • Prone to interference from mobile phones
  • Sensitive gain knob

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The HyperX QuadCast boasts a lightweight design with dimensions of 21cm without the stand and 25cm with the stand, weighing 254g without the mount or stand and 364g in total. While it may not have advanced features, it’s easy to use and provides clear audio quality for your content.

The microphone’s ease of use makes it an ideal standalone mic for streaming and podcasting. Setup is straightforward, but you may need to fine-tune your recording environment to reduce background noise and echoes.

The microphone includes features such as a mute button / touchpad for convenience and built-in lighting behind the steel grille for visual cues when you’re live. Plus, it doesn’t require a pop filter due to its effective pressure spike reduction design. The HyperX QuadCast is compatible with PS4, PC, and Mac systems via USB cable and offers flexibility in recording patterns. While it may not cater to professional recording, it delivers solid results for content creators, streamers, and podcasters.

If you’re seeking an affordable and user-friendly USB microphone that provides excellent audio quality for streaming and podcasting, the HyperX QuadCast is a solid choice. It may not suit professional recording needs, but it offers impressive performance for its price point. Ultimately, the HyperX QuadCast balances quality and affordability, making it a valuable tool for content creators looking to improve their audio setup.

Specifications:
  • Type: Condenser
  • Polar Pattern: Stereo, Omnidirectional, Cardioid, Bidirectional
  • Frequency Response: 20 Hz to 20 kHz
  • Sampling Rate: 48 kHz
  • Bit Depth: 16 bits
  • Power Requirements: 5V USB
  • Applications: Best used for recording vocals/singing, podcasting and voice-over.

Rating Source Highlight

Source

Dmitry49

*Rating Value

90/100

*Displayed values are prior to the Gearank Algorithm’s adjustments it makes when evaluating the source.

Compatibility

Class Compliant USB; Windows 8.1, Windows 10, and Mac OS X or later; USB 1.0 or 2.0, and 64 MB or more of RAM.

Polar Pattern

HyperX QuadCast

Best Studio USB Microphone

Audio-Technica AT2020USB+ USB Condenser Microphone

Audio-Technica AT2020USB+

Street Price:
$118.67
Manufacturer:
Gearank Opinion

The AT2020USB+ is definitely among the best USB mics, especially for vocal recordings. It can also be considered a USB studio microphone for those on a budget.

GEARANK
Incorporating 9850+ ratings and reviews.

Pros:

  • Bright and detailed sound signature
  • Great for acoustic guitars vocals
  • Good value
Cons:
  • Flimsy desktop mic stand

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Description:

As a USB condenser mic, The AT2020 offers an excellent balance between brightness and detail, making it a great pick for vocals and instruments. It’s one of the best USB mics for vocals available, and its relation to the XLR AT2020 makes it an even more attractive option.

It comes with a headphone jack and zero latency monitoring. This makes it a solid usb microphone for home recording enthusiasts. It is also a soild USB microphone for Podcast and content creators. You get the convenience of USB without sacrificing quality.

However, it’s worth noting that the included mic stand is flimsy, so you may want to consider getting a different setup. Overall, this Audio Technica Mic is definitely one of the best budget USB microphones.

Specifications:
  • Type: Condenser
  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid
  • Frequency Response: 20 Hz to 20 kHz
  • Sampling Rate: 44.1/48 kHz
  • Bit Depth: 16 bits
  • Maximum SPL: 144 dB
  • Power Requirements: 5V USB
  • Applications: Recording music, voice-overs, streaming and podcasting.

Compatibility

Class Compliant USB; Windows 8.1, Windows 10, and Mac OS X or later; USB 1.0 or 2.0, and 64 MB or more of RAM.

Polar Pattern

At2020+ Polar Pattern

Frequency Response

At2020+ Frequency Response

Rating Source Highlight

Website

Musician Nerd

Source

Editor

*Rating Value

95/100

*Displayed values are prior to the Gearank Algorithm’s adjustments it makes when evaluating the source.

Best USB Microphone for Streaming

Elgato Wave:3 USB Condenser Microphone

Elgato Wave:3

Street Price:
$149.99
Manufacturer:
Gearank Opinion

The Elgato Wave:3 is more than just another USB microphone. It is considered one of the best USB microphones for podcasting, streaming, and singing. Designed with streaming in mind, it includes a software mixer to adjust the levels of specific applications and chat.

GEARANK
Incorporating 9500+ ratings and reviews.

Pros:

  • Great mic for vocals sung and spoken
  • Software mixer a plus for more routing options
  • Polished sound fits great in any mix
Cons:
  • Not the best value if you’re looking for a standalone USB mic without the software

We’re reader-supported. When you click product links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you.

Description:

It was developed in partnership with Austrian mic brand Lewitt. Those familiar with Lewitt’s sound signature will appreciate its polished sound straight from the mic.

The mic has a single dial that enables control over input gain and headphone volume. It also lets you crossfade between computer output and direct monitoring. This is particularly useful for singers who prefer to monitor themselves on headphones, as they record vocals.

The Elgato Wave:3 produces a natural sound that is almost “broadcast ready” or “mix ready”. Thanks to its slightly boosted upper frequency that never sounds brittle or brings out nasty resonances in voices.

To maximize its potential, the included software should be used. However, it can also function as plug and play but at the expense of its features.

If you’re a singer, instrumentalist, or voice-over artist who streams or wants to stream, the Elgato Wave:3 is a great option. It is also great for recordings, . It is considered as one of the best USB condenser mics and best cheap USB microphones available on the market.

Specifications:
  • Type: Electret Condenser
  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid
  • Frequency Response: 70 – 20000 Hz
  • Sampling Rate: up to 96 kHz
  • Bit Depth: up to 24 bits
  • Maximum SPL: 120dB (140dB Clipguard engaged)
  • Power Requirements: 5V USB
  • Applications: Primarily streaming but surprisingly good for sung vocals and voice overs.

Compatibility

Class Compliant USB; Windows 8.1, Windows 10, and Mac OS X or later; USB 1.0 or 2.0, and 64 MB or more of RAM.

Rating Source Highlight

Website

Tweak Town

Source

Jak Connor

*Rating Value

98/100

*Displayed values are prior to the Gearank Algorithm’s adjustments it makes when evaluating the source.

Best USB Microphone for Singing

Rode NT-USB Cardioid Condenser Microphone

Rode NT-USB

Street Price:
$169.00
Manufacturer:
Gearank Opinion:

If you’re looking for the best USB microphone for vocals, the Rode NT-USB is a strong contender. It’s part of Rode’s flagship line of condenser microphones. It is designed specifically to maintain the company’s pedigree sound in a USB recording solution.

GEARANK
Incorporating 13300+ ratings and reviews.

Pros:

  • Great, warm sound signature
  • Good build quality
  • Includes useful accessories
Cons:
  • May be too warm or neutral for some sound sources

We’re reader-supported. When you click product links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you.

Description:

The Rode NT-USB includes a pop filter and a 3.5mm headphone jack for zero latency monitoring. It has a mix knob and volume knob for monitoring adjustments. Its warm midrange sound signature and smooth high frequency range that’s great for reproducing the human voice.

It sounds similar to the newer Rode NT1 XLR mic, which is known for its tonality that sounds close to a Neumann U67. This makes it a great USB microphone for singers.

In terms of build quality, the mic itself feels solid and the included pop filter does a good job of mitigating plosives. Microphone signal and recording quality are really good. The neutral/warm sound signature works great for voice overs and sung vocals that need a more vintage touch. It also pairs perfectly with brighter sounding acoustic guitars.

While there was a previous compatibility issue with Skype, it has since been addressed. The only potential downside might be that the sound signature might not work well for darker sounding acoustic guitars. This is also not ideal if you want airy high-end sheen on vocal recordings.

Overall, the Rode NT-USB is a great pick for those who want the best USB mic for vocals and for recording musical instruments. It’s a top quality recording microphone that’s perfect for podcasting, singing, and recording with a USB microphone.

Specifications:
  • Type: Condenser
  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid
  • Frequency Response: 20 Hz to 20 kHz
  • Sampling Rate: 48 kHz
  • Bit Depth: 16 bits
  • Maximum SPL: 110 dB
  • Power Requirements: 5V USB
  • Applications: Best used for recording vocals/singing, podcasting and voice-overs as well as recording acoustic instruments – mainly guitar.

Compatibility

Class Compliant USB; The NT-USB is a “Plug & Play” USB device, compatible with both Windows and Mac computers, as well as the Apple iPad via the USB camera connection kit.

Polar Pattern

Rode NT-USB Polar Pattern

Frequency Response

Rode NT-USB Frequency Response

Rating Source Highlight

Website

Sound On Sound

Source

Paul White

*Rating Value

96/100

*Displayed values are prior to the Gearank Algorithm’s adjustments it makes when evaluating the source.

Top Rated USB Microphone for Vocals

Logitech G Yeti GX USB Dynamic Podcast Microphone

Logitech G Yeti GX

Street Price:
$149.99
Manufacturer:
Gearank Opinion

The Logitech G Yeti GX is a compact USB microphone specifically designed for gamers and streamers. The microphone has a sleek design with a small footprint—less than 5 inches tall—and comes with a sturdy metal desktop stand, making it a great addition to any gaming setup. What caught my attention was the customizable RGB lighting via the Logitech G Hub, which adds a stylish touch to my streaming environment.

At publication time this was the Highest Rated among the Best USB Microphones for Vocals.

GEARANK
Incorporating 1000+ ratings and reviews.

Pros:

  • Full Bodied sound
  • Different sound settings
  • Customizable colors
  • Well Built
Cons:
  • Not the cheapest USB mic
  • No monitoring

We’re reader-supported. When you click product links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you.

Description:

In terms of audio quality, the Yeti GX delivers clear and full-bodied sound, making it ideal for game streaming. As a supercardioid dynamic microphone, it maintains the signature sound profile and ease of use that gamers appreciate. While it may not introduce groundbreaking innovations, it offers consistent performance that meets the needs of gamers and streamers.

Despite its strengths, I did notice a couple of drawbacks. Firstly, with a price tag of around $149, the Yeti GX may not be the most budget-friendly option, especially compared to other mid-range alternatives. Additionally, the lack of real-time audio monitoring could be a downside for some users who prioritize this feature.

Overall, the Logitech G Yeti GX is a solid choice for streamers looking for convenience, good sound quality, and a touch of gaming flair. While it may not revolutionize the USB microphone market, it certainly delivers where it matters most.

Specifications:
  • Type: Dynamic
  • Frequency Response: 60Hz – 18.5kHz
  • Polar Pattern: Supercardioid
  • Sampling Rate: 24bit / 96KHz
  • Bit Depth: not specified
  • Applications: Podcasting, content creation

Frequently Asked Questions When Buying A USB Microphone

What are the differences between USB and XLR mics?

The main difference between a USB mic and an analog microphone (XLR) is that USB mics have a built in A/D (Audio to Digital) converter which means that you don’t need audio interfaces to digitize the signal from the mic. This is true of both condenser and dynamic mics,

There is another important difference with condenser mics. USB condenser mics have a built in preamp that can’t be bypassed.

Most preamps supply phantom power to operate condenser mics which is usually between 12V and 48V. Because USB only provides 5V this means the mic has to be specially designed to work at this reduced voltage level.

For these reasons a USB and XLR version of the same mic may sound perceptibly different – so much so that some audio engineers and home recording enthusiasts prefer not to use USB mics at all, although their numbers have declined as USB mics have improved significantly in recent times. You’ll also have to use XLR mics if you want to use iPad Audio Interfaces.

Condenser or Dynamic?

If you are going to be recording singers or acoustic guitar then a Condenser Microphone will give a sound that’s closer to the traditional ‘studio condenser mic‘. Dynamic mics tend to be a little more robust and so are good for outside recording. Dynamic mics are also the type traditionally used by radio announcers and is the key to getting that polished “broadcast” sound.

What Polar Pattern should I Use?

Polar patterns defines the directivity of mics, it is usually shown in a graphical form that shows which directions the mic is more sensitive to. The most commonly used for computer based recording is the Cardioid polar pattern. USB mics usually come equipped with switchable pickup patterns, so you will have more options like figure-8, omni-directional and others.

What is Zero Latency Monitoring?

If you need to be able to hear what you’re recording in real-time, such as when recording to vocal tracks, then you will need a mic that has a headphone jack. If the mic doesn’t have a headphone jack then you can only monitor by listening to the audio coming from your computer which may be slightly delayed on some systems – this is what is referred to as ‘latency’. Some mics do have a headphone jack but still require you to take your monitor mix from your recording software – the IK Multimedia iRig Mic Studio is an example of that.

Can I connect a USB microphone to my smartphone or tablet?

Yes, some USB microphones can be connected to smartphones or tablets using a USB OTG (On-The-Go) adapter or a Lightning to USB camera adapter. However, not all USB microphones are compatible with mobile devices, so make sure to check the manufacturer’s specifications before purchasing.

Can I use a USB microphone for recording vocals?

Yes, these are amongst the best microphones for recording vocals. USB microphones are great, especially for home recording and podcasting.

Can I use a USB microphone for live performances?

While USB microphones are primarily designed for studio use, some models can be used for live performances, especially if you have a good quality USB audio interface. Note that you may need a proper mic stand, or a specialized mic stand adapter to get USB mics on a regular mic stand.

Do USB microphones need phantom power?

No, USB microphones do not require phantom power since they have their own built-in preamps and converters. This means that USB mics don’t need a USB interface or a preamp with DI out.

Can I use a USB microphone with GarageBand or other recording software?

Yes, most USB microphones are compatible with popular recording audio software like GarageBand, Audacity, Pro Tools, and Logic Pro X. Just make sure to select the correct input device in your software’s settings. Just plug your cable into the USB output and plug the other end to your computer.

How do I improve the sound quality of my USB microphone recordings?

Even the best mic USB will need good accessories to work well. There are many ways to improve the sound quality of your USB microphone recordings, such as using a pop filter or windscreen to reduce plosives and breath sounds, using a Deesser, using a shock mount to isolate the microphone from vibrations, positioning the microphone correctly, and optimizing your recording environment by reducing ambient noise and echo.

Best USB Microphone for Vocals Selection Methodology

The first edition was published in 2016, and the current edition was updated on July 10, 2024.

About the Author and Contributors

Here are the key people and sources involved in this guide’s production – click on linked names for information about their music industry backgrounds.

Lead Author & Researcher

Some of the recording gear I use in my studio includes the Focusrite Scarlett 18i20, Focusrite Scarlett Solo, Samson QH4 Headphone Amp and Cloudlifter CL-1. My mics include Aston Origin, Aston Element, Shure SM57, Rode NT1, Rode PodMic and MXL V67G.

Contributors

Daniel BarnettYamaha DBR10 Review.
Jerry Borillo: Research and illustration.
Jason Horton & Alexander Briones: Editing.

Media / Image Credit

Main/Top Image: Created by Gearank.com using photographs of the Mackie Thump15AQSC K12.2 Powered PA Speaker and Electro-Voice ZLX-15BT Powered PA Speaker.

The individual product images were sourced from websites, promotional materials or supporting documentation provided by their respective manufacturers except for the additional Yamaha DBR10 photos which were taken by Daniel Barnett.

Comments:

14 responses

  1. Avatar
    Avee

    Great information on the microphones and reviews,I found it very useful. I now know which microphone I will need for my work,thank you!

  2. Avatar
    Jason Horton

    The following mics came off our recommended list when we published the November 2022 Edition:

  3. Avatar
    Jason Horton

    Publication of our February 2022 Edition resulted in the following mic coming off the recommended list above: Mackie EM-91CU.

  4. Avatar
    Darren

    What’s the best USB mic for use with an iMac and garage band for velvety vocals but also occasional Trumpet recording? Thanks

  5. Avatar
    Jason Horton

    The publication of our March 2021 edition resulted in the following mics coming off the recommended list above, but you can still see our analysis of them:

  6. Avatar
    Lou

    Great review! I am looking for some advice on a microphone that would be good to pick up the voice of a few people in a garage while teaching a martial arts class, yet also have the ability to produce good audio for webcasts, zoom and the like. So, omnidirectional and cardiod multicapsule?

    1. Avatar
      Raphael Pulgar

      Good Day Lou,

      Portability and versatility seem to be your top priorities so the Blue Yeti Nano would be a great pick for a compact, portable microphone with omnidirectional pickup capabilities.

      -Raphael

  7. Avatar
    N

    Hey, thanks so much for putting together a list that is compiled in this way. Will you be updating this list soon?

    1. Avatar
      Jason Horton

      We haven’t decided yet when the next update will be.

  8. Avatar
    Jason Horton

    The following mics came off our recommended list above due to the June 2020 update:

  9. Avatar
    Jan

    Thank you for this post. Out of the hundreds of sites that I browsed(still have 60 tabs open on my phone’s browser) this post helped me make my decision and gave a perfect breakdown of the microphones that I was considering. Keep up the great work. I’ll definitely be following @gearank for other reviews and info.

    1. Avatar
      Jason Horton

      Glad we were able to help.

      For anyone interested, you can get updates by following us on Twitter @GearankMI.

  10. Avatar
    Jason Horton

    As a result of our April 2019 update the following mics came off our recommend list above, but you can still read our analysis of them at:

  11. Avatar
    Jason Horton

    As a result of our 2017 update the following mics are no longer recommended in this guide, but you can still read about them:

Leave a Reply

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Research Process: How Gearank Works
Best USB Microphone for Vocals & Musical Instruments

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As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.

About the Author and Contributors

Here are the key people and sources involved in this guide's production - click on linked names for information about their music industry backgrounds.

Lead Author & Researcher

Some of the recording gear I use in my studio includes the Focusrite Scarlett 18i20, Focusrite Scarlett Solo, Samson QH4 Headphone Amp and Cloudlifter CL-1. My mics include Aston Origin, Aston Element, Shure SM57, Rode NT1, Rode PodMic and MXL V67G.

Contributors

Jerome Borillo & Alden Acosta: Product research.
Jason Horton: Editing and Illustrating.
Alexander Briones: Editing.

Media

Main/Top Image: Created by Gearank.com using photographs of the Audio-Technica AT2020USB+, Elgato Wave:3 and Rode NT-USB.

The individual product images, frequency response charts and polar pattern charts were sourced from their respective manufacturers' websites, promotional materials or supporting documentation.

14 thoughts on “Best USB Microphone for Vocals and Musical Instruments – 2024”

  1. Great information on the microphones and reviews,I found it very useful. I now know which microphone I will need for my work,thank you!

  2. What’s the best USB mic for use with an iMac and garage band for velvety vocals but also occasional Trumpet recording? Thanks

  3. Great review! I am looking for some advice on a microphone that would be good to pick up the voice of a few people in a garage while teaching a martial arts class, yet also have the ability to produce good audio for webcasts, zoom and the like. So, omnidirectional and cardiod multicapsule?

    1. Avatar
      Raphael Pulgar

      Good Day Lou,

      Portability and versatility seem to be your top priorities so the Blue Yeti Nano would be a great pick for a compact, portable microphone with omnidirectional pickup capabilities.

      -Raphael

  4. Thank you for this post. Out of the hundreds of sites that I browsed(still have 60 tabs open on my phone’s browser) this post helped me make my decision and gave a perfect breakdown of the microphones that I was considering. Keep up the great work. I’ll definitely be following @gearank for other reviews and info.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *