USB or XLR Microphones?

Whether you are interested in content creation or just chatting with you friends, the way you sound is important. Which microphone is better suited for your needs?

Lets start with asking what you want to do, and how you want to sound. Are you looking for something portable and easy to set up? Then you generally want to have a USB microphone. If you are looking for more variety and customization, XLR is typically the way to go, if you can afford an audio interface and editing software along with it.

The key differences between USB and XLR mics are listed here:

USB Microphones:

  • Ready to record on any computer

  • Require a computer to record

  • Cannot change out individual components

  • Simple to connect with a USB cable

  • Difficult to upgrade

XLR Microphones:

  • More variety

  • Does not tie you to a computer

  • Easy to change out cables and interfaces

  • Better for recording multiple microphones

  • Tends to cost more

Top USB Microphones:

  1. Blue Yeti [ $130.00 ]

    -Good for vocals, instruments, podcasting, voiceovers, interviews, field recordings, and conference calls.

  2. Audio-Technica AT2020 [$150.00 ]

    -Best choice for those who conduct one on one interviews and voice recordings.

  3. Shure MV5, [80.00]

    – Best for Apple users on a budget.

Top XLR Microphones:

  1. Neumann TLM 102 Condenser Microphone [$700.00]

    -Great for vocals, including heavy verse like rap, acoustics, wind instruments, pianos, and horns.

  2. Bluebird Cardioid Condenser [$300.00] 

    -Affordable customization and dynamic recording.

Which should you choose?

If you are on a budget, USB microphones are a great start and produce decent audio quality to a certain extent, but since the circuity limits the microphone of the USB, the audio quality can only be so good. If you want a more professional and cleaner sound with more customization and tools to alter the sound quality, consider picking up an XLR microphone along with an audio interface that includes phantom power to power your XLR microphone!

Mark Anthony