Written by StreamYard
17 Best USB Mics For Live Streaming In 2022
What do you need to be a live streamer?
You might say a live steamer needs the best camera to create killer live streams. But using the right microphone is equally essential, if not more. That's because live streaming isn't only about the content you share. It's also about the way you share your content. Having the right setup, thus, is extremely important.
If you plan to buy a USB microphone, then here's a list mentioning the best USB mics to help you make a choice.
What is a USB mic?
As its name implies, a USB microphone is a mic with a USB output. A petite device, it may be, but it's pretty powerful in delivering quality audio.
Like transducers, USB mics work by converting sound (mechanical wave energy) into audio (electrical energy). All this happens inside the USB mic's built-in audio interface, and the audio is transferred via a USB connection. The mechanism is as simple as it may seem.
Why use a USB mic?
There are several reasons to use a USB mic. Firstly, it is relatively easy to use. You know when a mic is called plug-and-play, it has to be pretty straightforward to set up, right?
In addition to its hassle-free usage, it's also inexpensive than its other rival: the XLR microphone. Plus, it doesn't require a mixer or preamp to work. And, hey, don't miss out on the fact that a USB mic offers you excellent portability. You can take it wherever you go and give your live streams high-end audio quality on-the-go.
USB vs. XLR – Which one to use?
Well, we've discussed USB vs. XLR in our other post on the best XLR mics for live streaming. You can check that post to learn more about USB vs. XLR in general and XLR mics in particular.
However, we'd like to state it here that if you're looking for a single mic for your live streaming rig, then a USB mic could be the real deal here. It doesn't require any additional equipment to work like XLR mics that need an audio interface.
Moreover, a USB mic usually costs less than an XLR mic. So, if you're just a beginner or if you're looking for a budget-buy mic, then a USB microphone may be a good fit.
17 Best USB Mics For Live Streaming In 2022
Blue Yeti, Elgato Wave:3, Shure MV7, many USB mics have become a cult. But choosing one may not be as simple as you may think.
To help you out, we've bifurcated this list of the 17 best USB mics based on whether you want a budget buy (less than $150), or a premium USB mic (above $150).
So, let's dive in.
The Best USB Mics when you're on a budget
1. HyperX QuadCast
The HyperX QuadCast tops this list for various reasons. First, it has an anti-vibration shock mount that keeps the background noises low. Secondly, there's a built-in pop filter to reduce plosives. Then, the LED indicator also lets you know your mic status instantly. You can even tap-to-mute — no more embarrassing broadcasting slip-ups.
And hey, there are four selectable polar patterns as well. With so many features, this one is available for just $119.99.
2. Blue Yeti USB
Imagine a USB mic that gives you the option to switch between all polar patterns. This is what the Blue Yeti is all about. From cardioid and stereo to omnidirectional and bidirectional, with its proprietary tri-capsule technology, the Yeti lets you choose any of the four pattern modes with ease.
You also get studio controls for headphone volume, pattern selection, instant mute, and microphone gain for an amazing live streaming experience. Plus, you can adjust your headphones' volume with the simple control on the front of the mic. Using it is as easy as it gets. And it's available for just $129.99.
3. Røde NT-USB Mini
A must-have for those looking to get a high-quality yet budget-friendly USB mic, the Røde NT-USB Mini features a directional cardioid pickup pattern for reduced room sound. And like most of the other USB mics listed here, this one too comes with an in-built pop filter to minimize plosives.
There's also an integrated 360-degree swing mount, which means you can position it quickly and easily. Many users love its precision level control and switchable zero-latency monitoring. No echo, no disturbing sounds. And at $99.00, it comes with a detachable magnetic desk stand as well.
4. HyperX SoloCast
The HyperX SoloCast is a budget-oriented microphone from the brand. With a tap-to-mute sensor and an LED status indicator, it gives an audio performance that's at par with its other sibling, the HyperX QuadCast, mentioned earlier.
It also features a flexible, adjustable stand and a boom arm and mic stand threading – all of this and more at $59.99. Things just got better for live streamers.
5. Blue Snowball iCE
What will you do if you have only $50 to spare on one of the best USB mics? I say, spend them on the Blue Snowball iCE. It's an intelligently designed mic with excellent audio quality, thanks to its custom cardioid condenser capsule. It's also Skype and Discord certified. And with its hassle-free installation, you can set it up in a few seconds: no software and no additional equipment needed to install.
If you want to do more than just live streaming, then this cute-looking mic can be your ally. It lets you record instruments, vocals, and entire bands without compromising quality. Enjoy it all at $49.99.
6. Audio-Technica ATR2100x-USB
The ATR2100x-USB can be your go-to companion for live streams. With its rugged design and both USB and XLR outputs, it grows with your setup too.
With its built-in headphone jack and level control, you can expect outstanding performance with fantastic sound. Its cardioid polar pattern also ensures reduced pickup of unwanted noises. It retails for $99 and is an excellent combination of high quality and great looks.
7. Samson Q2U
The Samson Q2U is a terrific dynamic mic for those looking for both digital and analog audio capture convenience. As with most of the mics on this list, the Q2U also features a cardioid pickup pattern.
Choose it for its On/Off switch controls for both USB and XLR audio output or its die-cast construction. You'll get reliable performance nevertheless. You also get a mic clip, a desktop tripod stand with extension, and a foam windscreen along with XLR and USB cables – all for $69.99.
8. JLab Talk Microphone
The JLab Talk is a high-performing microphone with three studio-quality condensers. It has a 96kHz/24BIT resolution, which means you can experience better sound on the go. And its four prominent directional pattern modes mean you have full control over the sound quality.
As with most of the best USB mics, this one offers good adjustability over the gain control. Also, there's a 3.5mm AUX input for zero latency. The JLab Talk is available for $99.
9. AKG Lyra Multi-pattern USB Mic
Want a retro-looking USB mic to enhance the aesthetics of your live streams? The AKG Lyra could be all you need. With its stunning visual design and four recording capsules, it's the perfect combination of outstanding performance and vintage appeal.
Apart from high-resolution 24-bit/192kHz converters offering ultra-HD quality audio, you also get multiple mounting options and headphone output and mix controls. At $119, it gives you the best bang for your buck.
10. Shure MV5
If you're looking for a mic that becomes your perfect traveling partner, then the Shure MV5 could be a great fit. While it's designed specially to make live streaming easier on-the-go, the MV5 can rest on its own or connect via a standard 3/4 inch (1.9 cm) mount to the included desktop stand.
Plus, with the ShurePlus MOTIV audio app and real-time monitoring, you can enjoy a hassle-free performance during your streams. Available at $99, it's one of the best USB mics one can buy on a budget.
The Best USB Mics when you're looking for high-end options
1. Blue Yeti X
The Blue Yeti X outshines many other USB mics in several ways. For starters, it features a four-capsule condenser array. The result? Clear sound with excellent focus. And it's available in four pickup patterns.
The Yeti X comes with an illuminated multi-function smart knob, which means you can monitor and adjust your voice level during your live stream. It also includes the advanced Blue VO!CE audio software to give you professional sound quality for your broadcasts. This brilliant mic is available for $169.99.
2. Elgato Wave:3
Any mention of the best USB mics for live streaming is incomplete without the Elgato Wave:3. With the splendid Wave Link software, this mic acts as a virtual mixer as well. So, a single device can take care of both your live stream's audio input and the mix of the mic with up to eight additional audio channels.
You can also easily integrate it into the Elgato Stream Deck to get better control of your audio settings. Powered by USB-C, the Wave:3 also comes with a 3.5mm jack for zero-latency monitoring. At $157.99, this one is a beast.
3. Razer Seirēn Elite
Next on the list is the stunning black Razer Seirēn Elite. With its single dynamic capsule, this one ensures minimal electronic interference for a richer, warmer sound. And to make sure that your voice stays that way even when the background noises get louder, it has a built-in limiter as well.
Packed with more awesome features such as a cardioid polar pattern and shock- resistance, this one retails at $199.99.
4. Apogee HypeMiC
I doubt if any list mentioning the best USB mics can ever be complete without the Apogee HypeMiC. This cool mic comes equipped with a studio-quality analog compression, producing a sound that live streamers love. Its PureDIGITAL connection delivers sound quality up to 24-bit/96kHz. And its headphone output offers zero-latency recording with its unique Blend feature.
The HypeMic's premium cardioid condenser microphone capsule means impressive sound quality and dynamic range – all for $349.
5. Shure MV7
Shure MV7 is a reliable dynamic microphone from the brand. It comes with both USB and XLR outputs, so you know that it can grow with your setup. Another excellent feature is the functionality it offers to control vocal tone and distance from the mic. There's also an option to turn on the Auto Level Mode and let the mic do the work for you.
Backed by the Voice Isolation Technology, it gives professional sound quality without any background noise. You can buy it for $249 and improve your live broadcasts with superior sound.
6. AT2020 USB+
The AT2020USB+ is another top choice here. This one comes with an instant USB connection along with built-in volume and gain controls for smooth functioning.
Thanks to its built-in headphone jack with volume control, you can directly monitor your mic signal without any delay. The mix control feature blends mic and pre-recorded audio. And its cardioid pickup pattern provides excellent off-axis rejection. You can get this one at $229 with a pivoting stand mount, a threaded adapter, a soft protective pouch, a tripod desk stand, and a USB cable.
7. RØDE Podcaster
The RØDE Podcaster needs no introduction. It is undoubtedly one of the best USB mics you can get your hands on. It's powered by a USB bus and comes with an internal capsule shock mounting. It also features an internal pop filter to minimize plosives. The result is a warm, clear sound without any distortion.
A fantastic feature is the status LED, which works great to indicate operation. At $229, it comes with a sturdy RM2 microphone ring mount as well. Now that's indeed an incredible package at a terrific price point.
USB Mics FAQs
Still have questions about USB mics? Here we answer the top ones:
Is USB better than XLR?
It depends on what your goals are. If you don't want to splurge, then choosing a USB mic might be a good option. It's also a better choice if you don't want to go for additional equipment to use your microphone (unlike an XLR mic, which uses an Audio Interface or a Mixer). A USB mic is also a great pick if you want a portable mic that's easy to set up.
Can I connect a USB mic to an XLR connection?
Well, not really. That's because USB mics are designed for digital output. To connect them to an XLR input, you need to convert the digital signal into analog, which is not possible (as of now). You can, however, go for a microphone that offers both digital and analog outputs. The Audio-Technica ATR2100x-USB, Samson Q2U, and Shure MV7 are some excellent choices.
Who is a USB mic ideally for?
There are many applications for USB mics. It's an ideal microphone if you are looking for a device with a small footprint. It also makes for a great pick if you are a beginner and don't want to invest in an XLR microphone that often comes with a hefty price tag.
How do I set up my USB microphone?
Installing a USB mic is as easy as it gets. Plug the mic's cable into the computer's USB port. The computer will now detect the mic. If any installation is required, you will get a pop-up notification at the computer monitor's bottom right corner. Follow the instructions on the screen and place the installation CD into the CD tray. Once the installation is complete, restart the computer.
If you think that those wimpy microphones built into your computer or phone are enough for your live streams, then think again. Quality audio makes a world of difference to your live broadcast. With various options available, you can easily choose a good USB microphone based on your requirements.
Go ahead, get one of the best USB mics from the ones mentioned above, and add more power to your live streams.