The Best USB Microphone

After 75 hours of research, interviews, and producing sound professionals and regular people listen to the very same phrases spoken into 25 distinct USB microphones, we remain convinced that the Yeti by Blue makes your voice sound exactly the best with minimal hassle. It makes a wider spectrum of voices seem better than the other pellets we analyzed, which tend to favor certain tones. Our pick as 2013, the Yeti is solidly built and simpler to install in your desk than almost all of the competition. It will best at catching one voice, but you can use it in a pinch for two-person sessions or perhaps music recording. The mute, gain, and volume controls are easy to manipulate while recording. If you are an enthusiast, you could be able to get far better results by putting time into another, likely more expensive mic, and more fancy equipment (view our USB audio ports manual), but the Yeti puts the fewest hurdles between you and an ear-pleasing sound.

Our pick


Yeti by Blue
Yeti by Blue

The Very Best microphone for your desk

If you’d like something you can plug in and immediately sound great on a podcast, video telephone, livestream, or even casual voiceover, the Yeti is your choice experts generally agree upon.


The Yeti is not everyone’s pick for the best-sounding USB microphone, but that is par for the course when it comes to sound critiques. We sent samples of the identical voice reading the exact same phrase into seven distinct microphones to four audio experts and five Wirecutter staffers. Four people rated the Yeti the very best of trials, although it was rated the worst of them by yet another. Offering the audio specialists’ opinions more weight, and considering the Yeti’s features, build, and background of great reviews, it came out on top.

Perhaps the best downsides to this Yeti are its own weight and tricky-to-assemble foundation; it is ideal for maintaining near your computer, and it’s not backpack-friendly. The Shure MV5 is the contrary. It weighs just over one pound completely constructed, its ball-shaped head can be unscrewed from its small base, and it can plug straight to an iPhone, iPad, or even Android device. However, what really makes the MV5 worth considering is its noise. When utilizing the “voice” preset, its own audio samples received a second-place standing from all four experts (functioning blind to each other’s results), and a tie for third place from Wirecutter staffers. If the Yeti is sold out or you also wish to invest somewhat less and save a bit of room on your desk, then the MV5 is really a nice single-voice runner-up into the Yeti, though you’ll have to determine how to receive it at your private speaking elevation.

As you get experience and learn what you enjoy in a recording, then you may choose to fine-tune your own setup. You may begin recording with different people or with instruments and picking up equipment like boom arms, shock mounts, and power conditioners. You will want to find the great mic (or mics) to your own voice and whatever other instruments you want to document, and you’ll need a¬†USB audio interface to connect it to your computer.



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