USB Microphone

Best USB Microphones

9 Best USB Microphones for Podcasting & Voiceover

05.09.19 | Podcasting | By: Jacob Bozarth


USB Microphone

In recent posts we covered the 3 best podcast microphones under $500 and the 10 best podcast microphones. Only 2 USB microphones made it onto these lists, and we realize that USB microphones are growing in popularity among podcasters. And this growth is for good reasons, since the simplicity, availability, and quality of USB microphones has significantly risen over the last 5 years. A USB microphone allows you to simply plug a microphone into a USB port on your computer and record to pretty much any recording application. Many of our clients use USB microphones to record remote recordings through Zencastr, Squadcast, Zoom, Skype and many other remote recording applications. With major microphone manufacturers like Shure, Sennheiser, and Rode recently releasing new USB microphones designed for podcasting, we figured it’s time for us to weigh in on the USB microphone conversation.

Without further ado here’s our list of the best USB microphones currently available for podcasting:

As we mentioned in our last post on podcast microphones, it’s important to understand some basic info before selecting your USB microphone for podcasting. XLR style microphones require an interface or microphone preamp in order to record. A USB microphone allows you to plug the microphone directly into a USB port for easy access and quick recording. Here are a few areas to consider as we look at each of the following USB microphones.

Frequency Response: The frequency range is how a microphone picks up the range of low to high frequencies measured in hertz. It’s also good to take a look at the frequency response curve so you understand how the USB microphone may color the sound of your voice.

Microphone Type: The microphones we recommend here are a mix of dynamic and condenser microphones. We typically recommend using a dynamic microphone for recording a podcast, since most podcasters record in a makeshift studio. A dynamic microphone will best suit these types of settings because they are generally less sensitive than condenser microphones and pick up less room tone and noise. We’ve included a few USB condenser microphones in this post but keep in mind that if you decided to go with a condenser mic, we strongly recommend having a quiet and preferably a treated recording space.

Polar Pattern: Polar pattern refers to how the USB microphone will pick up or reject sound. Most of the mics we look at are unidirectional mics, meaning that they just pick up in one direction. Some USB microphones do have multiple polar pattern options. This is convenient and allows for flexibility when recording your podcast.

Address Style: Address style refers to what part of the microphone the diaphragm/pickup pattern is facing and allows you to know if you speak into the front or side of the microphone. If you don’t know how to address the microphone your recording will not sound as good as it should.

Connector Type: All of the microphones in this list are USB connector type. This means that you will use them with a USB port (usually on a computer). A couple of the microphones also have an XLR/standard microphone cable port and a couple also have connectivity for iOS devices.

System Requirements: Many of these microphones have specific system requirements and may only be compatible with specific versions of operating systems. We will look at what platforms for both Mac and PC these USB mics will work with.


9 Best USB Microphones for Podcasting & Voiceover

Audio Technica ATR2100 – $69

USB MicrophoneYou might recognize the Audio-Technica ATR2100 from our recent post on podcast microphones. It is a very popular and affordable USB podcast microphone. It’s a top choice for many podcasters. Even compared to the larger microphone market, the ATR2100 holds it own and has a great frequency response. I’ve used the ATR2100 in different recording applications including Skype, in person interviews, and other remote recordings. This is one of the few microphones that offers both XLR and USB connectivity. You can use the USB output to record directly to your computer and you can also use the XLR analog output and run the microphone into a recorder like a Zoom H6 handheld recorder.

Frequency Response: 50Hz-15kHz

USB Microphone

Microphone Type: Dynamic

Polar Pattern: Cardioid

Address Style: Front

Connector Type: USB, XLR, ⅛” (headphones)

System Requirements: OS X 10.9 or later, Windows 7 or later


Samson Q2U – $59


USB Microphone

If you are looking for the most affordable USB microphone, the Samson Q2U may be the perfect fit. Like the ATR2100 and AT2005, the Samson Q2U comes with USB and XLR connectivity. With a handy light and on/off switch this microphone is a great place to start. The versatility, price point, and great sound are a few of the things making this USB microphone shine! You can use the USB output to record directly to your computer for remote recordings or the XLR output to record an on the go or in studio recording with a handheld recorder like the Zoom H5. For the price, it will be hard for you to find a better sounding USB microphone.

Frequency Response: 50Hz-15kHz

USB Microphone

Microphone Type: Dynamic

Polar Pattern: Cardioid

Address Style: Front

Connector Type: USB, XLR, ⅛” (headphones)

System Requirements: OS X 10.9 or later, Windows 7 or later


Audio-Technica AT2005 – $79


USB Microphone

The AT2005 is pretty much the exact same microphone as the ATR2100. If they were the exact same price, I would pick the AT2005 due only to the aesthetics. There are few people that claim that they can hear the difference in sound, but we had a hard time distinguishing when doing a side by side test recording. As mentioned, the looks are a bit different. The AT2005 has a large on/off switch, is black, and the grill has a flat top. You can reference the frequency response and the polar pattern graph to see that the ATR2100 and AT2005 are essentially the same mic. The AT2005 is usually about $10 more on Amazon, but the price does change from time to time.

Frequency Response: 50Hz-15kHz

USB Microphone

Microphone Type: Dynamic

Polar Pattern: Cardioid

Address Style: Front

Connector Type: USB, XLR, ⅛” (headphones)

Software Requirements: OS X 10.9 or later, Windows 7 or later


Blue Yeti Studio USB Microphone – $149

USB Microphone

Historically we have been pretty critical of the Blue Yeti microphone. Even though it is a highly favored podcast microphone, the main reason for our criticism is that we do not generally recommend condenser microphones for recording a podcast. With that being said a condenser microphone can be a great fit if you have a quiet and preferably treated recording space. Overall you will get a much larger sound out of the Blue Yeti compared to the previous 3 dynamic microphones we recommend. You will notice that the frequency range expands further than the previous 3 mics. One great feature is that the Blue Yeti allows you to record in multiple polar patterns. While we recommend the cardioid setting for most podcast voiceover recordings, the figure-8, omni, and stereo polar patterns are fun to experiment with. Additionally we have known a few music artists that have used this microphone to record great sounding vocals for their project. Blue Microphones makes several other great sounding microphones at higher price points. We recommend the Blue Yeti Studio USB Microphone if you have a quiet and professionally treated recording space.

Frequency Response: 20Hz-20kHz

USB Microphone

Microphone Type: Condenser

Polar Pattern: Cardioid, Figure-8, Omni, Stereo

Address Style: Side Address

Connector: USB, ⅛” (headphones)

System Requirements: OS X 10.6.4 or later, Windows 7 or later


Sennheiser MK 4 Digital Microphone – $399

USB Microphone

This USB microphone comes out of the Sennheiser microphone family and really lives up the reputation of other Sennheiser microphones. This is the most expensive of the USB microphones in our list, but you will not be disappointed with the tone and clarity you will get out of this mic. One of the great things about this microphone is that it’s a portable and professional microphone and will connect to any iOS device. The MK 4 Digital gives you the full quality and full dynamic range of the Sennheiser MK 4 XLR version. If you have the budget and a great recording space, this is a great condenser USB microphone to record your podcast on.  

Frequency Response: 20Hz-20kHz

USB Microphone

Microphone Type: Condenser

Polar Pattern: Cardioid

Address Style: Side

Connector Type: USB, Lightning

System Requirements: OS X 10.7.5 or later, iOS 8.0 or later, Windows Vista or later


Audio-Technica AT2020USBi – $199

USB Microphone

The AT2020 is the third Audio-Technica USB microphone in our list. I will be the first to admit that Audio-Technica makes excellent and affordable USB microphones. The AT2020 is a condenser microphone, so keep that in mind as you are deciding which USB microphone is the best for your needs. The AT2020 will give you great sound quality at an affordable price. This microphone is advertised as designed for project and home studios making it an ideal choice for vocals and instrument recording. So if you are a musician and decide you want to record a demo once you are done recording your podcast, this may be a great fit for you.

Frequency Response: 20Hz-20kHz

USB Microphone

Microphone Type: Condenser

Polar Pattern: Cardioid

Address Style: Side Address

Connector Type: USB

System Requirements: OS X 10.6 or later, iOS 7.02 or later, Windows 7 or later


Rode NT-USB Microphone – $169

USB Microphone

This is one of the two Rode microphones that made it into our list. One of the things we like about the Rode NT-USB is that it comes with everything you need to record your podcast including a built in windscreen. This microphone also has a direct monitoring feature that allows you to adjust the volume of the recording signal while recording. According to Rode this mic is ideal for recording podcasts, vocals, and instrument. This mic also comes with a built in desk stand but we recommend replacing that with a traditional mic stand to get it closer to your recording source. For the price the Rode NT-USB microphone is a great option.

Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20kHz

USB Microphone

Microphone Type: Condenser

Polar Pattern: Cardioid

Address Style: Side

Connector Type: USB

System Requirements: OS X 10.6 or later, iOS 7.02 or later, Windows 7 or later


Shure MV51 Digital Microphone – $149

USB Microphone

You really will not find anything that looks or performs like the Shure MV51 digital microphone. This microphone is designed to work with iOS and PC devices. It has a retro looking-sturdy metal design and sounds pretty good for the price. One of the things we like the most about this microphone was using it with the Shure Motiv iOS app. It has some great recording and post production features that works with any iOS device. Additionally there are a few presets you can use to get different sounds out of the microphone. We found the flat setting to work best for our needs. The Shure MV51 is a great mic if you are looking for a versatile, durable, and portable recording option to use with your iOS device.

Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20kHz

USB Microphone

Microphone Type: Electret Condenser

Polar Pattern: Cardioid

Address Style: Side

Connector Type: XLR, Lightning Cable for iOS devices

System Requirements: OS X 10.8 or later, iOS 7 or later, Windows 7 or later, Android


Rode Podcaster USB Microphone – $229

USB Microphone

Once again, this is a microphone that we have previously been critical of. While we have not changed our opinion of this microphone, we felt it was worthy of slipping into our list of top USB microphones for podcasting due to popularity. We started our list with a couple dynamic USB microphones that we believe are truly better options for the price. However the Rode Podcaster has a few features that make it worth considering. It has a built in windscreen, headphone jack, and is designed specifically for broadcast applications. While I don’t prefer the sound of this microphone on my voice, it may be worth trying to see how it sounds on yours. In my opinion this microphone sounded a bit harsh with a boosted high end sound on my voice. For the price I would expect this microphone to perform much better than it did. But don’t take my word for it: try each of these USB microphones out for yourself.

Frequency Response: 40z – 14kHz

USB Microphone

Microphone Type: Dynamic

Polar Pattern: Cardioid

Address Style: Front Address

Connector Type: USB, ⅛” (headphone)

System Requirements: OS X 10.9 or later, Windows 7 or later


Your microphone is arguably the most important piece of your podcasting set up so it’s critical that you find a microphone that fits your budget and your recording scenario and that is reliable. I hope that this post allows you to feel more informed on which USB microphone may be the best for your needs. And don’t forget the following accessories to use with your USB microphone.

    • Mic Stand / Broadcast Boom Arm: We recommend using a microphone stand with a boom arm to avoid unwanted sounds being picked up from your desk or tabletop. A boom arm will also allow you to adjust the microphone so you and your guests feel comfortable.
    • Pop Filter – A pop filter is a cheap way to prevent burst of air or pops from making it into your recordings (Rode mics come with one).
    • Headphones – When recording a podcast, isolation is very important. That’s why we recommend closed back headphones when recording. Need recommendation on what headphones to get? Check out this post!

Thank you for allowing us to be apart of helping you decide which USB microphone is best for you.

Resonate Recordings is a comprehensive podcast production company. Headquartered in Derby City–Louisville, Kentucky–we are committed to developing partnerships with our clients, not just performing transactions. Since 2014 it’s been our mission to make podcasting easy for businesses, brands, entrepreneurs, and individuals. We do this by providing support with podcast launch, podcast consulting, podcast editing, podcast production, and other creative podcasting services. If you have questions or are looking to start a podcast, our in-house team is available and ready to help! We would love to schedule a call with you and learn more about your podcast needs and answer any questions you may have. We look forward to hearing from you soon!


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By: Jacob Bozarth

As President & CEO of Resonate Recordings, Jacob leads the team & oversees the vision and growth. Jacob can be found recording, producing, & mixing podcasts when he is not spending time with his family. Jacob & his family live in Louisville, KY.