6 Best USB Microphones for Podcasting [2020 Update]

By Chris Craft | Last Updated:  August 11, 2020
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the best USB microphone for podcasting

Being indoors more these days has inspired a lot of people to consider creative outlets like podcasting. And it’s a good idea because podcasting is hot right now! If you’re one of the inspired people looking for the best USB microphone for podcasting, you’re in the right place. I’ll give you several podcast microphone options to choose from in this article.

Audio quality is the most important thing for your podcast. Therefore you need to purchase the best podcast microphone as possible for your budget. Using a quality USB microphone is the fastest and most cost-effective solution for recording professional-sounding vocals for your podcast. I’ve curated a list of USB microphones (several that I have used personally) to help you make the best choice for your podcast.

Here’s a quick list of the best USB microphones for podcasting:

RANK PICTURE NAME RATING PRICE
#1 Top RatedBlue Yeti USB Microphone Blue Yeti USB Mic
  • 3 condenser capsules
  • Multiple sensitivity patterns
  • Mic stand included
9.9
img
#2 Audio-Technica AT2020USB+
  • High quality A/D converter
  • Headphone jack
  • Mix control
9.6
img
#3 MAONO AU-A04H Podcast Mic
  • Cardioid mic
  • High sample rate
  • Comes with headphones
9.5
img
#4 Razer Seiren Elite
  • Built-in high pass filter
  • Built-in mic stand
9.4
img
#5 Blue Snowball USB Mic
  • Three sensitivity pattern modes
  • Built-in mic stand
9.4
img
#6 Samson Meteor Mic USB
  • Large 25mm diaphragm
  • Built-in mic stand
9.2
img

Do I need a microphone to record a podcast?

Yes, of course.

Think again if you planned to use your computer’s internal microphone to record the vocals for your podcast. That won’t do the trick in terms of sound quality. You want to make a good first impression with your new listeners. Don’t give them a reason to turn off your podcast and not give you another chance.

And as nice as earbud items like Apple Airpods are, you should not use them as your main vocal audio input for your podcast. You’ll want to use the best USB microphone for podcasting.

What microphone should I use for podcasting?

If you’re just starting out, I suggest that you purchase a USB microphone that you can connect directly to your computer. It’s easy and doesn’t require any other equipment for you to record your voice.

You’ll need to get used to some audio engineering terms before you make a purchasing decision. We’ll focus on two terms, condenser and cardioid.

A condenser microphone is a sensitive microphone that’s used for vocals and acoustic instruments. You’ll want a condenser microphone, not a dynamic microphone, for your podcasting microphone. A condenser capsule turns sound into a tiny electrical signal. The more capsules that a microphone has, the better the sound quality and handling in various environments.

All of the microphones discussed below will have a cardioid sensitivity pattern. Some of the USB microphones have multiple pickup patterns. Cardioid microphones are great for recording vocals because of the heart-shaped sensitivity pattern (or audio capture pattern or pickup pattern–all mean the same) that reduces sounds from other directions besides directly in front of the microphone. It’s still a good idea to eliminate or minimize any non-essential background noise before recording your podcast.

Boy, all of this microphone talk is taking me back to my music industry and engineering school days!

Best USB Microphones for Podcasting

Now it’s time to present our list of our top USB microphones for podcasting. The following microphones meet specific criteria for audio quality, ease of setup and use, and customer support. All of the microphones listed below have a least a 4-star rating on Amazon. I will provide the technical specs for each microphone and the price as well.

Best USB Microphone Priced Under $200

Blue Yeti

Blue Yeti USB microphone for podcasting

I’m a big fan of Blue USB microphones (Blue is the brand name and not the color). I use a Blue microphone to record my podcasts so I can speak directly about their superb quality.

The Blue Yeti offers big value with four sensitivity pattern options (cardioid, omnidirectional, figure-8 or bidirectional, and stereo). You’ll use the cardioid pattern setting in most situations. The omnidirectional setting, which captures audio all around the microphone, would be perfect if you, your guest, a co-host were sharing one microphone in the same room. The figure-8 or bidirectional setting is what you should use if you’re doing a two-person show.

The Yeti has three condenser capsules, which produce excellent vocal sound quality. If that’s not enough, it comes with an attached desk stand, gain control, mute control, and a headphone output with volume control. You can’t go wrong with the Blue Yeti.

Bit depth/sample rate: 16-bit/48kHz (44.1kHz will suffice for podcasting)

Check prices for the Blue Yeti on Amazon.

Audio-Technica AT2020USB+

Audio-Technica AT2020USB+ podcast microphone

The Audio-Technica AT2020USB+ condenser microphone is an undeniable piece of art. This podcasting microphone features a high-quality USB output for clean digital signal transfer. Many users speak highly of this microphone’s excellent audio quality. Lastly, it has a headphone jack with volume control so that you can monitor your voice and your guest or co-host’s voice while your speakers or studio monitors are turned down.

Oh, one small thing…the blue ‘on’ light inside of the microphone can be kinda’ distracting while recording.

Bit depth/sample rate: 16-bit/48kHz

Check prices for the Audio-Technica AT2020USB+ on Amazon.

MAONO AU-A04H Vocal Condenser Cardioid Podcast Mic

MAONO isn’t the most popular microphone brand, but the MAONO AU-A04H USB microphone is a good microphone for a competitive price.

This microphone produces smooth voice tones for your podcast. The high sample rate for this USB microphone is unreal.

Bit depth/sample rate: 24-bit/192kHz

Check prices for the MAONO AU-A04H bundle (comes with headphones) on Amazon.

Razer Seiren Elite

The Razer Seiren Elite is a highly-rated cardioid USB microphone that comes with a built-in shock mount. Unlike the Blue Yeti, the Seiren Elite only has one condenser capsule, but it still produces a rich sound.

Bit depth/sample rate: 16-bit/48kHz

Check prices for the Razer Seiren Elite on Amazon.

Best USB Microphones Priced Under $100

Blue Snowball

Chris Craft podcasting with the Blue Snowball microphone and Ableton Live
Me podcasting with the Blue Snowball microphone

Back with another Blue mic! I’ve been using the silver Blue Snowball microphone to record vocals for my various podcasts for several years. It offers great sound quality, easy setup, and three different sensitivity pattern modes that will help you in multiple recording situations. This is hands down my favorite and the best podcast microphone under $100.

Bit depth/sample rate: 16-bit/44.1kHz

Check prices for the Blue Snowball on Amazon.

Samson Meteor Mic

The Samson Meteor Mic is a neat podcasting microphone with one condenser capsule and a cardioid sensitivity pattern. Its design makes it look like R2-D2 from Star Wars. This USB microphone produces a good vocal quality with all the fine details.

Bit depth/sample rate: 16-bit/48kHz

Check prices for the Samson Meteor Mic on Amazon.

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Power tip: If you need a USB-C input for your computer, you can purchase a nonda USB-C to USB adapter.

Get a Good Pair of Podcast Headphones

I’m not going to go deep into every single piece of equipment or software that you’ll need for your podcast. I give a complete list of podcast equipment in my how to start a podcast article. 

But you must get a good pair of podcast headphones to keep your voice and your guest or co-host’s voice from creating feedback through your podcast microphone. You’ll want to turn your speaker volume all the way down on your computer or audio interface to avoid nasty feedback.

The best headphones for podcasting under $50 are the Audio-Technica ATH-M20x Professional Studio Monitor Headphones. You can’t beat the superb quality that these podcast headphones provide for the price!

If you want to step it up to the next level of quality for your podcast headphones, check out the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Professional Studio Monitor Headphones. These podcast headphones feature proprietary 45-millimeter large-aperture drivers with rare earth magnets and copper-clad aluminum wire voice coils. The ATH-M20x headphones mentioned above have 40-millimeter drivers.

In Conclusion

Remember, the audio quality of your vocals is the most important factor for your podcast’s success. You can have a great message for your listeners, but no one is going to stick around to listen to your show if you, your guest or co-host’s vocal quality is poor…so make sure that everyone who will be contributing to your podcast has the best podcast microphone that they can afford.

Combine your goals for sample rate, condenser capsule number and quality, with the price that fits your budget to find the best podcast microphone for your needs.

Now that you’re ready to purchase the best USB microphone for podcasting, go check out my thoughts on the best laptops for podcasting.

Hi! I'm Chris(topher) Craft. I'm a believer, husband of an amazing woman (Wanda), and father of three talented kids (Naomi, Maria, and Elijah). I love writing, learning about God's Hand in History, entrepreneurship, and basketball. Thank you for reading my stuff! ❤️ Connect with me on Twitter @CraftWrites.