The Best USB Microphone

The Best USB Microphone

Our pick

Blue Yeti

Blue Yeti

The best USB mic for your desk

Experts on our test panels have consistently agreed that the Yeti records some of the best-sounding vocals, and it is a versatile, solidly built mic you can use for years.

Buying Options

$130 from Dell
$320 from Amazon

The Yeti has been our pick since 2013 and has come out on top during every retest of available microphones. In our latest blind test with two Wirecutter staffers and three professional audio engineers, all five experts ranked Yeti recordings at or near the top of the samples they listened to because it produced clear and rich recordings and preserved our speakers’ natural vocal warmth. This is a microphone that both amateurs and professionals turn to for their voice or music work and one that will last for years.

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Also great

Shure MV5

Shure MV5

A portable USB mic that captures your voice clearly

A little orb that delivers great sound, the MV5 can be tucked away easily or transported in a bag.

Buying Options

$100* from Amazon

*At the time of publishing, the price was $80.

If you’re looking for a portable mic or one that doesn’t hog your desk space, the Shure MV5 is a better option than the Yeti. When using the voice preset, all our experts ranked the audio samples in their top three, with one audio engineer even rating it best. The mic (when unscrewed from its stand) is about the size and shape of a stress ball or pool table eight ball; you’ll hardly notice it on your desk more than you would a big paperweight. It can also plug directly into an iPhone, iPad, or Android device. Although it doesn’t have the additional sound pickup patterns that the Yeti does, the MV5 is a fine single-voice microphone. The small size makes it much easier to pack in a bag than the Yeti—but that also means you’ll have to figure out how to prop it up to match your speaking height.

Budget pick

AmazonBasics Desktop Mini Condenser Microphone

AmazonBasics Desktop Mini Condenser Microphone

A great-sounding USB mic at half the cost

Despite lacking basics like a headphone jack, this inexpensive USB mic sounds surprisingly good.

Buying Options

$45 from Amazon
(Black)
Buy from Amazon
(White)

The AmazonBasics Desktop Mini Condenser Microphone is as no-frills as you can get while delivering surprisingly good audio quality. Basically, you plug it in and start talking, because other than a mute button, there’s nothing else to fiddle with. Despite its simplicity and low price, four out of five of our audio experts ranked this in their top three mics, with two of them even choosing it as best (one preferred it for female voices while another chose it for male voices). It doesn’t feel as durable as the Yeti and isn’t as compact as the Shure MV5, but it’s a good compromise if all you want to do is sound better and clearer than how your computer’s mic makes you sound.

Everything we recommend

Our pick

Blue Yeti

Blue Yeti

The best USB mic for your desk

Experts on our test panels have consistently agreed that the Yeti records some of the best-sounding vocals, and it is a versatile, solidly built mic you can use for years.

Buying Options

$130 from Dell
$320 from Amazon

Also great

Shure MV5

Shure MV5

A portable USB mic that captures your voice clearly

A little orb that delivers great sound, the MV5 can be tucked away easily or transported in a bag.

Buying Options

$100* from Amazon

*At the time of publishing, the price was $80.

Budget pick

AmazonBasics Desktop Mini Condenser Microphone

AmazonBasics Desktop Mini Condenser Microphone

A great-sounding USB mic at half the cost

Despite lacking basics like a headphone jack, this inexpensive USB mic sounds surprisingly good.

Buying Options

$45 from Amazon
(Black)
Buy from Amazon
(White)

Source: NY Times – Wirecutter

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