If you typically work with a laptop to process your audio recording, then you need a truly decent and reliable microphone that connects via USB. Why should it be USB? Well, not all laptops provide XLR connectivity right out of the box. But, we can be sure that nearly any laptop in the world comes with at least one USB port. Having a USB microphone allows you to record your audio project directly into your laptop. Additionally, some USB mics can even work with mobile devices like iPhone and iPad. This is an excellent capability that can be very handy forsomeone that is very mobile.
Now, if you are looking for the best USB microphone for laptop, we have gathered the top five models here. There are, indeed, several factors that we need to consider in choosing for the right model. Factors like performance and audio quality go in without saying; we need something that sounds as accurate as possible. The mic should have USB connectivity, but any additional connectivity can greatly expand its versatility. Also, is the mic made to serve a specific purpose or various requirements? Depending on your needs, you may need something with a good degree of adaptability and customizability, or something that works perfect just for a particular job. Now, take a look on each model below!
1. Blue Yeti
Blue Yeti is easily one of the best USB mics on the market that you can use for various purposes. It has the ultimate adaptability that it is suitable for virtually any kind of audio recording requirement, from interviews, podcasting, voiceovers, field recording, to even musical recording. Blue Yeti features a tri-capsule array that provides a total of four polar pattern selections. You can set the mic to have a cardioid, bidirectional, omnidirectional, or stereo pick-up pattern. It is also very compact and lightweight, making it very portable and easy to be brought along. (See also: Razer Seiren Vs Blue Yeti)
Its performance is excellent. Unlike many other USB microphones, Blue Yeti is actually quite sensitive, allowing it to capture subtle audio details easily. It can still capture your voice very well from an arm’s reach length, which is great, since most people don’t want to have a mic blocking their sight as they are working on the laptop. In addition, Blue Yeti is also feature-packed. There are onboard gain control and mute button, plus a zero-latency headphone output jack for direct monitoring. Blue Yeti is plug-and-play with both Windows and Mac platforms.
2. Samson Meteor
If you find Blue Yeti’s features to be not so beneficial for you, then you may prefer Samson Meteor instead. Coming at a slightly more affordable price, Samson Meteor offers similar functionality and performance. Samson Meteor is a condenser microphone armed with a large 25 mm diaphragm, featuring a single cardioid polar pattern. Which means, Samson Meteor picks up sound signals the best from the front while rejecting the rear. Such configuration is excellent if you want to focus on capturing the sound from a single direction while attenuating ambient noise, such as in music recording and podcasting. With a smooth and flat frequency response range of 20 Hz – 20kHz, Samson Meteor defines lows, mids, and highs very accurately. (Have a look: Samson Meteor Vs Blue Yeti)
Samson Meteor records sound in a 16-bit, 44.1/48kHz resolution, and is very simple to use since it is plug-and-play with Windows and Mac platforms. On the mic, you can find a mic mute switch and a headphone output jack with a dedicated volume control for direct monitoring. There is a stand adapter with rubber feet for easy placement on a flat surface.
3. Apogee MiC 96k
If you work on a Mac platform, then you should put a particular attention on Apogee MiC 96k. It is a mic that has been specially designed to work with iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, and Mac. Even though it connects via USB, keep in mind that it may not be compatible with other platforms.
Howsoever, despite its limited compatibility, Apogee MiC 96k offers such a huge quality. It is able to record high-quality audio signals in up to 24-bit/96kHz HD recording. It captures sounds very accurately. The audio reproduction is pristine, making it perfect for professional vocal and acoustic instrument recording. Apogee MiC 96k features an onboard gain control, and is USB bus-powered, which means that it does not require any additional battery or power supply.
4. Rode Podcaster
Simply put, Rode Podcaster is the best USB mic for laptop for podcasting. You should not jump through hoops just for getting your voice into your computer, and Rode Podcaster brings the ultimate convenience. It is USB-powered, so you just plug it into your computer device and you are ready to go.
Rode Podcaster’s features are all crafted specially for the purpose; it has an on-air indicator, a low-cut filter for eliminating LF noise such as breath sound, wind sound, and mechanical vibrations, and a built-in pop filter. It captures and reproduces your voice very accurately, and records the sound signals in an 18-bit, 8-48kHz resolution. Rode Podcaster has a tight cardioid polar pattern for improved off-axis noise rejection.
5. Audio-Technica ATR2100
Audio-Technica ATR2100 should be your choice if you need a mic that can function for both studio recording and live performance. At first, Audio-Technica ATR2100 may seem like a regular microphone. However, it features both USB digital output and XLR analog output, making it extremely flexible and versatile for multiple purposes. For recording, you can connect it to your computer via USB. It can also work for live performance, connecting to the typical audio equipment through an XLR connection.
Audio-Technica ATR2100 has a smooth extended frequency response range that allows it to capture and reproduce bass and treble excellently. It has a cardioid polar pattern and features a built-in headphone output jack for direct monitoring without any audible delay.