Best USB microphones 2022: 11 all-in-one mics for streaming, vlogging, podcasts and voiceovers

Two people conduct a conversation via two USB microphones
(Image credit: Getty/Maskot)

The best USB microphones are part of the music and audio production world which has blown up in recent years. Where once using a microphone required a studio full of extra gear such as mixers, interfaces and other outboard gear, nowadays, USB mics offer a much easier way to do things. As a result, even those who would never consider investing in or using a microphone have taken the plunge - opening up entirely new markets for manufacturers. 

The best USB microphones can be used for a vast number of musical and non-musical scenarios. Streaming, vlogging, podcasting and video conferencing, USB microphones are enjoying something of a golden era. The technology is mature enough that even the best budget USB microphones will provide exceptional results, and can be used to their full potential by people who’ve never even picked up a mic before. In this guide, we’re going to show some of the best USB mic options available to you right now, as well as explaining a bit about why they’ve become so popular.

We've included some in-depth buying advice at the end of this guide, so if you'd like to read more about the best USB microphones and what to know when buying one, then click the link. If you'd rather get to the products, then keep scrolling.

Looking for a great deal on a USB microphone? Keep it locked to our Black Friday music deals page for all the latest savings and offers.

Best USB microphones: Our top picks

To know what the best USB microphone for you is, you'll need to know what you want to record. For speech and broadcast/podcast applications, the Rode Podcaster (opens in new tab) is an excellent choice. We liked the low-cut filter and general build quality, and have achieved great results in a studio setting.

For field or roving use, the IK Multimedia iRig Mic HD 2 (opens in new tab) ticks a lot of boxes too, and works extremely well with the bundled suite of apps from IK. A big shout also to the Blue Yeti; it might have been around the block, but for the vast majority of streamers it remains the top choice.

A newer entry on the block is the Shure MV7 (opens in new tab). With great brand pedigree, the option of USB and XLR connections, and killer bundled software, this is another great all-rounder USB microphone. It's also pretty versatile, which we love.

Best USB microphones: Product guide & reviews

Best USB Microphones: Rode Podcaster

(Image credit: Rode)
High quality USB mic from the broadcast specialists

Specifications

Launch price: $229/£199/€205
Type: Condenser
Connectivity: USB-A, Headphone out
Pickup pattern: Cardioid
Features: Internal pop filter, Low-cut filter
Accessories: Mic stand mount, USB cable

Reasons to buy

+
Solid build quality
+
Perfect for podcasts (obviously…)

Reasons to avoid

-
No tripod

Rode is arguably one of the better-known brands in recording microphones, particularly in the broadcast world, and in the Rode Podcaster USB mic there is the perfect example why. As a sister product to the Rode Procaster, the Podcaster has clearly been designed by people who understand the requirements of broadcast users and have included all that know-how in one simple package. 

The Rode Podcaster has an in-built pop filter to capture those nasty plosives, and we liked the addition of a low-cut filter to nullify any low-frequency rumbles that might ruin a take. A tripod would have been nice but, overall, this is a superb microphone.

Read the full Rode Podcaster review

Best USB microphones: Shure MV7

(Image credit: Chris Corfield)
USB and XLR connectivity makes for one of the best all-rounders there is

Specifications

Launch price: $279/£259/€239
Type: Dynamic
Connectivity: Micro USB, XLR
Pickup pattern: Cardioid
Features: Touchstrip for controlling input gain and headphone volume, MOTIV app for fine-tuning sound
Accessories: Mic stand adapter

Reasons to buy

+
Incredibly versatile
+
MOTIV app adds useful functionality

Reasons to avoid

-
Lightning cable not included

You can generally tell when a new product segment is being taken seriously when the respected brands get in on the act. Shure has been content to wait to release its flagship USB mic, and the results are well worth it. The Shure MV7 offers both USB and traditional XLR mic connectivity, so it will work both with audio interfaces and direct into your computer and retains that simplicity of operation that users demand. 

We are big fans of the bundled software, which gives you fine control over a variety of settings, with a few presets to keep things easy for the uninitiated. It’s a step up, price-wise, from some of the other models on this list but you can’t go far wrong putting your trust in Shure to get it right. The Shure MV7 is a real success, and we can see it going on to dominate the field for years to come. 

Read the full Shure MV7 review

Best USB Microphones: Blue Microphones Yeti

(Image credit: Blue Microphones)
The oldest and still one of the best USB microphones

Specifications

Launch price: $129/£129
Type: Condenser
Connectivity: Mini USB, Headphone out
Pickup pattern: Cardioid, bidirectional, omnidirectional and stereo
Features: Gain control, mute button

Reasons to buy

+
Hugely versatile
+
Solid build

Reasons to avoid

-
Not the most portable

Perhaps the first and last word in USB microphones for many users, the Blue Yeti has been synonymous with the rise in popularity of streaming and vlogging. And for good reason too; the Yeti is easy to use, and is extremely versatile thanks to its four pickup patterns. We’ve seen them used for podcasts, for recording musical instruments and for all manner of different studio applications. 

One thing it doesn’t have in its favour is portability. Beast by name, beast by nature. But, providing it’s being bought with studio use in mind, the Blue Yeti is still the mic to beat.

Read the full Blue Microphones Yeti review

Best USB Microphones: Rode NT USB

(Image credit: Rode)
Best value mic for podcasters

Specifications

Launch price: $169/£149/€168
Type: Condenser
Connectivity: Mini USB, Headphone out
Pickup pattern: Cardioid
Features: Monitor level control, Mixer
Accessories: Pop shield, tripod base, carry case

Reasons to buy

+
Superb sound quality
+
Ideal for speech applications

Reasons to avoid

-
Tripod is a bit flimsy

For podcasts, voiceovers or other speech-driven formats, the Rode NT-USB is well worth a look. It’s relatively small and unobtrusive, but the results gained from the cardioid condenser capsule are quite phenomenal. 

We liked the included carry case and six metre USB cable, and the removable pop shield further enhances its speech credentials, however we’d advise upgrading to a more substantial tripod for longer term use. 

Read the full Rode NT-USB review

Best USB Microphones: Audio-Technica AT2005USB

(Image credit: Audio-Technica)

5. Audio-Technica AT2005USB

Does it all, for not a lot of cash

Specifications

Launch price: $79/£79
Type: Dynamic
Connectivity: Mini USB, XLR, Headphone out
Pickup pattern: Cardioid
Features: On/off switch, volume control
Accessories: USB and XLR cables, Tripod desk stand, Mic stand clamp

Reasons to buy

+
XLR and USB connections
+
Inexpensive

Reasons to avoid

-
Sound quality not as good as others on the list

We’re not going to go too deep in debating the relative merits of USB and XLR microphones, which is just as well seeing as the Audio-Technica AT2005USB offers both connections. For a shade under $/£80 you get a sturdy, all-metal dynamic mic which isn’t going to win any awards for recorded sound quality, but it might just save you in a number of different situations. 

We can see these being extremely popular as back-ups, thanks to the extra versatility offered by both USB and XLR, while the on/off switch – never guaranteed at this level – is a nice feature to have. Just remember to turn it on before you go live…

Read the full Audio-Technica AT2005USB review

Best USB Microphones: IK Multimedia iRig Mic HD 2

(Image credit: IK Multimedia)
The broadcaster’s darling still going strong

Specifications

Launch price: $129/£119/€111
Type: Condenser
Connectivity: Micro USB, Headphone out
Pickup pattern: Cardioid
Features: Input gain control
Accessories: USB and Lightning cables, mic stand clip, tripod and carry case

Reasons to buy

+
Superb value
+
Bundled apps are genuinely useful

Reasons to avoid

-
Micro USB is not the most rigid of connectors

If you ever find yourself in the presence of a broadcast news reporter, there’s a high chance you’ll see an IK Multimedia iRig Mic HD 2. These unassuming plug-and-play mics have grown in popularity with the broadcast crowd on account of their ease of use, great sound quality and native support for Apple mobile devices. 

Now in its second iteration, the iRig Mic HD offers that winning combination of simple operation, low price and high performance. Well worth your time. 

Read the full IK Multimedia iRig Mic HD 2 review

Best USB Microphones: EM-USB

(Image credit: Mackie)
Great everyman option from Mackie

Specifications

Launch price: $149/£129/€149
Type: Condenser
Connectivity: USB-C, Headphone out
Pickup pattern: Cardioid
Features: Input gain control, volume control, mute button
Accessories: Tripod, mic stand clip, USB cable

Reasons to buy

+
USB-C connection
+
Mute buttons are always handy!

Reasons to avoid

-
Cheap tripod

Anyone with an interest in home studios and recording has likely come across Mackie on their travels. The American brand specialises in producing cost-effective gear to get beginner and intermediate studios up and running, and in the Mackie EM-USB has now expanded its focus to meet newer demands. 

The EM-USB has a few neat touches, including an onboard mute button – handy for those mid-sentence sneezes – and it’s nice to see a USB-C connection included too. 

Read our full Mackie EM-USB review

Best USB Microphones: Shure MV51

(Image credit: Shure)
iOS-ready mic with superb companion app

Specifications

Launch price: $199/£199/€198
Type: Condenser
Connectivity: Micro USB, Headphone out
Pickup pattern: Cardioid
Features: Companion app, five recording presets
Accessories: USB & Lightning cable

Reasons to buy

+
Built-in presets
+
Sound quality

Reasons to avoid

-
There are better options for recording music

Great things can happen when dedicated, optimised hardware and software packages come together. The Shure MOTIV MV51 is a great example, working with the accompanying MOTIV application in perfect harmony. Which is handy, because the MV51 is geared towards iOS users above others, who can use the app to gain quick access to useful tone-shaping tools and presets. 

For speech applications, this is a superb package and worth the price alone. For music, however, we’d perhaps look to other, more specialist options. 

Read the full Shure MOTIV MV51 review

Best USB microphones: Razer Seiren X

(Image credit: Razer)
Well-designed gamers’ mic is ideal for any speech application

Specifications

Price: £99/$99
Launch price: Condenser
Connectivity: USB-C
Pickup pattern: Super-cardioid
Accessories: Microphone, stand

Reasons to buy

+
Inexpensive
+
Looks the part
+
Small footprint

Reasons to avoid

-
Single pickup pattern reduces the mic's versatility somewhat

Take a look on YouTube or Twitch now and you’ll see even the most basic streaming setups include an external USB mic. Gaming peripheral brand Razer knows this, and has branched out to include a small range of USB mics to appeal to these producers. The result is the Razer Seiren X, which is a small, unobtrusive mic which is ideal for desk-based setups. 

Interestingly they’ve opted for a super-cardioid pickup pattern, whereby the axis for capturing sound is reduced slightly and the area which rejects ambient noise is increased. This is perfect for streamers, but also for podcasters where the user will largely be in a static location speaking directly into the mic. We like the look of it, with its matt black finish, making for a great low-cost option for anyone looking to buy their first USB mic.

Read the full Razer Seiren X review

Best USB Microphones: Apogee HypeMic

(Image credit: Apogee)
High-end mic with some tricks up its sleeve

Specifications

Launch price: $349/£309/€339
Type: Condenser
Connectivity: Mini USB / Lightning, Headphone out
Pickup pattern: Cardioid I **Features:** Compressor
Accessories: Tripod, Pop filter, Carry case

Reasons to buy

+
Built-in vocal compression, 
+
Top-tier audio quality

Reasons to avoid

-
Overkill for many users

A common complaint thrown at USB mics is that they can’t be as good as a regular mic, because they are comparatively cheap. While that perhaps has more to do with the demographic they’re aimed at, there is an argument that USB mics are well accepted enough now that there should be some more advanced models to choose from. The Apogee HypeMic answers this, by offering a high level of audio quality – 24-bit/98kHz – with the same levels of overall performance you’d expect from Apogee. The jewel in the HypeMic’s crown is its on-board compressor, which gives you three levels of compression to help tame dynamic voices for that radio-style consistency.

Admittedly, the HypeMic is going to be way above what the majority of users need, but if pristine audio is a deal-breaker for you, and you have the cash to spare, then it’s well worth your consideration. 

Read our full Apogee HypeMic review

Best USB Microphones: AKG Lyra

(Image credit: AKG)
Vintage-looking mic has plenty of modern tricks

Specifications

Launch price: $149/£149/€125
Type: Condenser
Connectivity: USB-C, Headphone out
Pickup pattern: Front, front and back, tight stereo, wide stereo
Features: Detachable base, Mute button
Accessories: N/A

Reasons to buy

+
Useful in many situations, 
+
Exceptional sound

Reasons to avoid

-
Looks won’t appeal to everyone

We might pretend it doesn’t matter, but if a microphone is going to take centre stage in your vlogs or streaming sessions, then it doesn’t hurt for it to look interesting. The AKG Lyra is perhaps the most visually striking mic we’re recommending, but it also has a huge amount of versatility going on under its vintage exterior. Four separate capsules mean you can access a variety different polar patterns depending on the situation in which you’re recording, while the audio quality is also superb. 

Admittedly, the looks will put some off but if you can get past that, the Lyra is a well-priced, feature-packed USB mic with plenty to offer. 

Read our full AKG Lyra review

Best USB Microphones: Buying advice

A man records a podcast with a setup including microphone, mixer and laptop

(Image credit: Getty/eclipse_images)

Choosing the best USB microphone for you

Why you can trust MusicRadar Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

The beauty behind any of the best USB microphones around is that, by design, they're easy devices to use. With a regular microphone, you'll need a connection to an audio interface or a mixer to make it usable, Whereas a USB mic requires only a spare port on your computer, laptop or smart device. All of the signal processing is taken care of within the mic itself, which assumes the role of audio interface and usually offers a way to monitor directly by connecting a pair of headphones. You don’t need any other gear, and that’s why they’re so popular right now - especially among those who've never used a mic before.

Record your first pod!

Podcasting microphone set up and ready to record

(Image credit: Getty/Anastasiia Krivenok)

How to start a podcast: a beginner's guide to podcasting

We know that the connection and basic operation of all USB mics is simple and straightforward - and the same in nearly every instance - so what else should you be looking for instead and what features could make the difference for your needs? 

A key characteristic of any microphone that is worth considering is its pickup pattern. The pickup pattern dictates the direction (or directions) in which the microphone will pick up sound. The most common pattern is 'cardioid' which is where the mic picks up the sound from very specific direction, and rejects noise coming from anywhere else. This pattern is most often used for vocal microphones, as if you're speaking or singing, chances are you'll be in the right place - and you'll want to avoid anything else getting picked up in your USB microphone. 

Alternatively, some mics feature bi-directional or omni-directional patterns, meaning they take audio from two sides or from all around the mic respectively. These pickup patterns are useful if you’re aiming to use a single mic to collect audio from multiple angles like, for example, at a round table session.

Some of the best podcasting microphones have features such as a high-pass (or low-cut) filter to help eliminate extreme low-end rumble and noise. Some microphones also include shock-reducing mounts to combat accidental vibrations and their resulting sounds.

What’s important is to find the USB microphone that fits your needs. The requirements of a music recording studio will be different to someone who simply wants to level-up their FaceTime or Zoom setup, for example. There are plenty of options to choose from though, for all budgets and ability levels.

AKG Lyra USB microphone

(Image credit: Future)

How we test USB microphones

Our testing process for USB microphones is a little different to our usual microphone testing process. USB mics play a very different role compared to most other recording microphones in the fact that they're more often designed to record a human voice than any type of instrument. They're also obviously designed to plug directly into a computer, so the amount (and type) of signal processing is also different to that of a regular mic.

While testing USB mics, for the aforementioned reasons, we've found it's best to focus on voice recording quality, then, often comparing these often cheaper microphones with similarly spec'd studio vocal microphones or standards in the podcasting arena. 

When focusing on vocals we take into account how microphones handle artefacts like sibilance and what has been provided to cut down such an occurrence – a pop shield might well come with the microphone, either separately or built into it, for example. Podcasting mics also tend to come with other items like podcast recording software designed to get you up and running in the world of podcasting, a desktop mount to place the mic firmly next to your computer and (usually) some kind of carry case, so these are all taken into account when we look at value for money. 

While podcasting mics are generally aimed at vocal recording, it's always good to stretch them a little in our tests to see whether they are any good at recording acoustic guitar or, more likely, singing. Having a flexible microphone that can be used for studio tasks as well as broadcasting your opinions can't be sniffed at, and some podcasting microphones are surprisingly adept at recording other instruments. 

Obviously the final factor is price. USB mics tend to be cheaper than their studio equivalent so we take this into account with our overall findings and balance up whether it's worth paying more for a studio vocal mic and interface to get 'proper' BBC radio vocals for (sometimes) not that much more outlay.

Find out more about how we test music gear and services at MusicRadar.

Chris Corfield is a journalist with over 12 years of experience writing for some of the music world's biggest brands including Orange Amplification, MusicRadar, Guitar World Total Guitar and Dawsons Music. Chris loves getting nerdy about everything from guitar and bass gear, to synths, microphones and music production hardware.

With contributions from