5 Best USB Microphones for Podcasting

USB microphones are the easiest way to graduate from your computer's onboard mic to something with better sound quality. They're often the mics of choice for at-home demoing and podcasting, being that they're a one-and-done solution that are easy to configure and take up less space.

There are a few things to keep in mind when looking for the best USB microphone for your setup. Some, like frequency response, are based on personal preference. Others are more likely to yield higher quality sound nine times out of ten. A cardioid microphone – which picks up sound from only one specific direction and reject all other sound – will probably make for better sound than, say, an omnidirectional mic, which picks up sound from all directions and will almost certainly mar the quality of your sound.

If you’re just getting into podcasting and all of this seems a little overwhelming, don’t worry—we’ve got you covered with this nifty guide to the five best USB microphones you can pick up for all of your podcasting needs.

Model Type Best For Price On Reverb
Blue Spark Digital USB On-the-go podcasting. $100-$230 Shop Now
Audio-Technica AT2020 USB + USB On-board additions. $128-$170 Shop Now
RODE NT-USB USB All-in-one package. $130-$170 Shop Now
Apogee MiC 96k USB Apple users. $169-$230 Shop Now
sE Electronics X1 USB USB Gearhead podcasters. $189-$300 Shop Now

OUR PICK
Blue Spark Digital

GREAT FOR: Podcasters and DIY recording enthusiasts alike who want the ability to do some quality on-the-go recording and want all of the frills with none of the inconvenience.

Compare Prices

OUR PICK
Blue Spark Digital

GREAT FOR: Podcasters and DIY recording enthusiasts alike who want the ability to do some quality on-the-go recording and want all of the frills with none of the inconvenience.

Compare Prices


Audio-Technica AT2020 USB+

GREAT FOR:
Those who are fans of Audio-Technica’s quality mics, particularly those who loved the AT2020, and want neat onboard additions like the headphone jack and mix control.

RODE NT-USB

GREAT FOR:
Podcasters who put a lot of emphasis on their “p”s, and those that enjoy the convenience of an all-in-one package

Apogee MiC 96k

GREAT FOR
Apple users who want the highest quality recordings you can possibly get from a USB microphone.

sE Electronics X1 USB

GREAT FOR:
Gear-head podcasters who like their products hand-crafted and like the addition of a -10dB pad and high-pass filter, akin to typical studio mics.


Blue Spark Digital

If you truly want the most out of your USB mic, the Blue Spark Digital is the way to go. Compatible with iPads, iPhones, and any laptop or computer that can take a USB, Spark Digital sports an onboard headphone jack that offers zero-latency monitoring and makes it perfect for virtually any on-the-go recording situation you can dream up. It’s the tone, however, the makes the Blue Spark Digital our top choice for USB microphones.

There are more than a few things that make the Spark Digital a fantastic choice if you’re just getting into podcasting. Of course, the Spark Digital is a cardioid condenser microphone at its heart, but it’s much more than that. For those worried about the potential hassle of setting up your microphone with whatever recording software you’re using, the Spark Digital takes care of that for you with its plug-and-play capabilities—no drivers necessary. The mic also offers up a few built-in goodies, like onboard controls for volume, gain, and mute.

What puts the Spark Digital ahead of the competition for us is its sonic personality… or more accurately, split sonic personalities. The “Focus Control” switch offers two distinct voicings. In the normal setting, the Spark Digital offers a sizeable bass boost for a classic “Voice of God” broadcast sound. But if you’re working the mic very closely and the proximity effect becomes overwhelming, flip over to the Focused mode to engage a fixed bass rolloff which accentuates middle and high frequencies. And, on top of that, it offers Lightning connectivity for the iOS users among us. Really, for a USB microphone, it’s hard to get any better than this.

Great for: podcasters and DIY recording enthusiasts alike who want the ability to do some quality on-the-go recording and want all of the frills with none of the inconvenience.

Audio-Technica AT2020 USB +

Audio-Technica makes some great condenser microphones, without a doubt. The AT2020 USB + is really no different. The AT2020 USB + is, as the name implies, a USB version of the company’s popular and affordable AT2020 cardioid condenser mic. Though this mic sports a headphone jack for no-delay monitoring similar to the Spark Digital, the AT2020 USB + also boasts an onboard mix control that blends the sound you’re getting through your mic with pre-recorded audio, so overdubbing is a breeze. And with its wide frequency response range, from 20Hz to 20kHz, the AT2020 USB + is certain to provide articulate, full sound, whether you’re podcasting, doing voice-overs, recording music, or whatever else you plan on doing with that USB mic.

Great for: those who are fans of Audio-Technica’s quality mics, particularly those who loved the AT2020, and want neat onboard additions like the headphone jack and mix control.

RODE NT-USB

The RODE NT-USB comes in a package with a bunch of super useful extras, and we all know that things are much better when they’re all-inclusive. Not only is the NT-USB wrapped up nicely in a package with a zip case, a pop filter to kill all those nasty plosives, a tripod stand, and a ring mount, but the mic itself is pretty handy, too. This is another one that offers the headphone jack for zero-latency monitoring and a useful mix and monitor controls, but in addition to that, the NT-USB can be connected to your Apple iPad with a (not included) USB-to-Lightning adapter and used with any recording app that will accept external mics. With the NT-USB, you get pretty much everything you could ever need to make high-quality podcasts all in one convenient box.

The sound of the NT-USB is very bright. Like… 10dB boost at 8kHz bright. Using the pop filter in front of it can attenuate some of this if necessary, but the NT-USB remains the most treble-heavy mic on our list. Don’t get the wrong impression here -- the microphone is exceptionally clear sounding and more than just “useable.” There will be some voices and situations, however, which do not play very nicely with the mic’s inherent high-frequency boost. Best to try it out on your own voice in your own room (as with any microphone) and see if it’s a good fit.

Great for: podcasters who put a lot of emphasis on their “p”s, and those that enjoy the convenience of an all-in-one package

Apogee MiC 96k

If you’re the type of person who doesn’t mind spending a little extra at the forefront of a new creative endeavor, the Apogee MiC 96k is the USB mic for you. The MiC 96k boasts a lot of the appointments that make the Spark Digital so great: Lightning connectivity for use with any iOS device, compact portability, plug-and-play simplicity, and more. Oh, and it also comes with a useful tripod for desk recording. Where the MiC 96k stands out, however, is sound quality; it offers awesome high-definition fidelity with up to 24-bit/96kHz recording for totally pristine playback. Where this mic falls short, however, is in compatibility—if you’re a PC user, you’re out of luck with this mic, which was developed specifically for Apple devices.

Yes, for this kind of money you can get a separate interface and standard analog condenser microphone. But this is one of the only 24-bit mics on our list, which makes it doubly useful for recording acoustic instruments and not just the human voice on a podcast.

Great for: Apple users who want the highest quality recordings you can possibly get from a USB microphone.

sE Electronics X1 USB

Many people are of the belief that handmade gear is simply better—sE Electronics is a company made of those people, considering their entry into the USB microphone race is both hand-crafted and hand-tuned. The X1 USB is a large-diaphragm cardioid condenser USB mic. Simply a great microphone, the X1 USB has onboard switches that differ a little from the rest of the mics on this list, including a high-pass filter and a -10dB attenuation pad, as well as the typical headphone jack with volume control. Other than its hand-built quality and unique built-in additions, the X1 has incredible quality for the price, clocking in at a 24-bit 192kHz conversion rate to give you some studio-like sound in a USB-compatible package.

Great for: gear-head podcasters who like their products hand-crafted and like the addition of a -10dB pad and high-pass filter, akin to typical studio mics.

USB Microphones Shop Now

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