Best USB Microphones for Vocals / Podcasting (2019)

By: GroundGuitar Dan
Posted under: Review

Before I begin yammering about the subject, I want to make this as quick as possible for the people out there who just had the “which USB microphone should I buy” question popped into their mind, and want the answer quick.

So here it is – in my own humble opinion if you want the best USB microphone in terms of value for money, something that you’ll feel satisfied with and won’t have the need to replace any time soon, you should buy —

Rode NT-USB

Cool, but why?

Well, first – the mic is super simple. Basically, plug it into your computer, and you’re ready to go. Also, quality, both in terms of build and sound, is amazing. Every single thing that you touch on the mic feels super nice. The sound I would describe as transparent – meaning as true to the actual way the stuff sounds as possible, at least at this level (some manufacturers alter the sound somewhat for mics to sound ‘nicer’, at least in their own minds).

I’d also say that the Rode NT-USB looks super classy and will fit right into any sort of setup. I can see a lawyer making a conference call with it in his fancy office, but I can also totally see a PC gamer yelling at his teammates over Discord for not having any wood in their base to make a Tool Cupboard, while the zerg clan is raiding it (Rust life can be frustrating).

Image showing the Rode NT-USB microphone sitting on top of a table.
Behold – the Rode NT-USB. Photo credit: Daniel Lee/Flickr

How much does it cost?

Depending on where you buy it, expect to spend somewhere between $150 and $200 for this USB mic (if this is too much, I offer you another, more budget oriented USB mic below). Also, keep an eye for discounts as you’ll often find huge price cuts depending on the store.

For instance, according to camelcamelcamel.com (a prety neat website that shows you the lowest price recorded on Amazon), this mic sold for around $148 in late 2018. To check the price at this very moment, see Rode NT-USB on Amazon.com.

Alright, I dig it. Anything else I should know?

Not really. If you don’t mind the price, I can almost guarantee that whatever your needs are, the Rode NT-USB will fulfill them. At this point, I have just simply decided that it is the best USB microphone on the market, and that’s that. You can set aside half an hour and read the reviews and comments online yourself, but they’ll likely agree on that.

Cool story Dan, but is there something a bit cheaper?

If you reeeeeally have to go cheaper than this (although I would still say just buckle up and save up for a few months), yes, there are options out there. I’d advise staying clear of anything sub-$15-ish, because, at that price point, the microphone is really only made to look nice, attract attention, and as soon as you realize how bad it is, collect dust somewhere on a shelf.

Therefore, if money is tight, or you just don’t want to spend much, I’d say go for —

Samson Meteor Mic

How much is this one?

Again, it all depends on where you buy it, but on average you’ll pay around 1/3 of the price of a Rode NT-USB. There should be a snippet showing the current price on Amazon just below this paragraph, but you can also check it yourself by clicking this – Samson Meteor Mic on Amazon.com.

Wait, so Rode is three times better?

Well, probably, realistically, if I’m being honest here, you don’t get the three-time performance by buying the Rode, which yes, costs three times more.

However, something deep in my heart, perhaps a need for there to exist a perfect thing, an embodiment of everything done without a flaw, wants to believe that the Rode NT-USB is the ‘Holy Grail’. And you simply cannot put a price on something that is flawless.

But yeah, that little weird thing aside, Samson is maybe like 55-60% of what Rode NT-USB is. For most people, it will be all that they need.

I’m hopping on the Samson Meteor train as soon as they make an R2D2 themed model.

How about them Fifines though?

Yes, those Fifine microphones do exist, and yes they are cheap, and yes, they have almost 5 stars on Amazon. Should you buy one of them instead though? I really would argue that Samson, or something like a Blue Snowball iCE, is the lowest you should go. But then again, for some people, Fifine could be exactly what they need.

To be perfectly honest, I haven’t had the chance to extensively test any of the cheaper Fifine mics. I’ve listened to a few briefly, and they don’t bad at all. In comparison to an integrated notebook/laptop mic or a webcam mic, you have to admit they sound amazing.

So, just to give credit where credit is due – because let’s be real, Fifine makes decent budget USB microphones – consider the Fifine K669 USB as an option. The price of this one is about half of the Samson.

Honorable Mentions

In case you’re still here and reading, well, first of all, I would say that you should go out and test a few different mics yourself. Obviously, this is more of a straight to the point best-of list for people who don’t wanna spend too much time on making their minds. If you need to think further, do some real-life tests.

Most stores (at least where I come from) offer some sort of a return policy, so you can get away with ordering a mic, testing it out, and returning it in case you’re not satisfied.

In the $100-$200 range, I would keep an eye out for Blue Yeti, which is probably the most popular USB microphone overall. Besides that one, maybe check out the Audio Technica AT2020USB, and the Shure MV51.

In the below $100 range, most people seem to go for Blue Snowball iCE (which I honestly hate, purely based on the looks), but I’ve also heard good things about Razer Seiren X.

Here we see a wild Blue Yeti in its natural habitat, wondering why the Gods have made it look so atrocious. Photo credit: Derek K. Miller/Flickr

Closing Thoughts

The market of USB microphone is pretty much over-saturated at this point. I remember the first version of this article that I wrote, which I think was back in 2015 – so not even that long ago. But still, there were pretty clear choices back then – two, maybe three microphones that almost everyone bought.

Nowadays, even though I recommend the Rode NT-USB wholeheartedly, I also understand that it’s not that clear-cut anymore. It mostly just comes down to brand loyalty and personal taste.

So, with that thought in mind, perhaps just look out for what you personally like, because, in reality, every single mic that I listed above in $100-$200 range is amazing. The promise that there exists the objectively best USB microphone is a lie.

Add this article to your Pinterest board.
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
4 Comments
oldest
newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Charizard
Charizard
1 year ago

I’ve been stuck between blue yeti and rode, but i kinda just dig the yeti design more, so i went for it. Been with me for 2 months now, have nothing to complaint about.

ElMicerino
ElMicerino
1 year ago

Duuude I was actually watching house of cards and saw thatmic and recognized its the AT. Haha

Stories from the Blog

Josh is Out, John is In – Peppers go Back to the Old Formula

As a surprise to pretty much everyone aside from the band members themselves, Flea recently announced on his Instagram account that the Red Hot Chili Peppers are about to make…

News

The Super Rare Fender “Charley” Lipstick Stratocaster in the Style of SRV

As part of me encouraging people to point out my mistakes and share their own stories over at GroundGuitar's Gear Page, on lucky occasions, I get contacted by people who…

Interesting Guitars

AC/DC’s “You Shook Me” Unplugged Acoustic on the Howard Stern Show

AC/DC is one of the few bands that just avoid doing any sort of an Unplugged version of their songs. An AC/DC song pretty much always sounds exactly like it…

YouTube Discoveries

The Two Only Known Video Recordings of Jimi Hendrix Playing an Acoustic Guitar

Jimi Hendrix is someone who, for one reason or another, we didn't often see playing acoustic guitars. Obviously, the late 60s were all about electrics, and there were usually no…

YouTube Discoveries

Best Distortion Pedal, Bang for Your Buck (2019)

Distortion pedals are a tricky subject for a few reasons. First, distortion as an effect is a spectrum, and there's no clear definition of what's the right 'amount' of distortion.…

Review

Jeff Buckley sings an amazing cover of Dylan’s “I Shall Be Released” over Phone

YouTube can be an amazing place sometimes. One can occasionally stumble upon an unexpected treasure - amazing talent exhibited by people both known and unknown. One such treasure I stumbled…

YouTube Discoveries

How to Age/Relic Plastic Guitar Hardware (Pickup Covers, Knobs)

What's worse than brand new white plastic hardware on my Stratocaster? Brand new plastic hardware that's supposed to look old, but doesn't. Yes, I know that relicing and aging guitars…

Guides

How to Clean Vinyl Records with Wood Glue (With Images)

Recently I got into the habit of cleaning every single vinyl record that I buy with a simple trick - wood glue. I often by records on the local flea…

How-To

Guitars used by John Frusciante during Slane Castle

Given that Live at Slane Castle by the Red Hot Chili Peppers is one of the most iconic modern Rock concerts recorded on film, probably a lot of young guitarists…

Iconic Concerts

Best Guitar Strings for Acoustic Guitar

Choosing a good set of strings for your acoustic guitar is tremendously important. As opposed to an electric guitar, an acoustic guitar is much more delicate. You can't just turn…

Review

subdirectory_arrow_rightView All on Blog