When you are trying to find the best microphone for recording vocals on a computer, remember that it depends on what you are doing.
What type of content creator are you? Are you going to be singing in a studio? Or, will you be recording a podcast in a hotel?
Some microphones are more portable than others, whereas others microphones offer more stability.
As far as the types of microphones, there are a couple of different routes you can go. USB microphones, for example, are great for computers because they’re convenient, but they often lack in sound quality.
When quality is the top factor, you can buy a more professional microphone and hook it up to your PC or laptop through other means like an audio interface.
The following explores some of the best types of microphones for recording vocals on a computer, as well as some of the best individual microphones within each category.
So what are the best microphones for recording vocals on computer? The best microphones for recording vocals on computer are:
- Blue Yeti
- Audio-Technica AT2020USB
- Blue Snowball ICE
- Samson Meteor Mic
- Rode NTK Mics
- Neumann TLM-102
- Bluebird From Blue
- AKG C214 Microphone
- Shure PGA27-LC Microphone
Best for Convenience
USB microphones are great for computers because they are so simple.
The USB is the only cord, and your computer should automatically recognize this microphone as an audio device as it’s Plug and Play.
You may need to download a driver after you plug the USB cable plug in to your laptop or computer USB port but usually your just good to go once everything is attached.
They are compatible with both:
and pretty consistent in performance across computers . This makes it extremely easy to record Vocals, Podcasts, and even Instruments.
They are ideal for beginners because they aren’t as expensive, which also makes them great for individuals who don’t require the absolute best quality, but that is the downfall as well.
USB mics, in general, don’t produce the best sound quality are difficult to upgrade and troubleshoot and downright confusing if you are recording multiple USB microphones on a single laptop.
The best USB Vocal microphones for computer are:
1. Blue Yeti Microphone
Blue Microphones are extremely popular, and the Yeti is one of the most popular USB microphones that you’ll find.
The Blue Yeti is one of the few mics you might see more professional artists using, but its stand-out quality and price make it an excellent choice for beginners.
It offers a host of recording possibilities that usually require multiple microphones as it has four patterns – stereo, cardioid, omnidirectional, and bidirectional.
STEREO: Uses both the left and right channels to capture a wide, realistic sound image—ideal for recording acoustic guitar or choir.
OMNIDIRECTIONAL: Picks up sound equally from all around the mic. It’s best used in situations when you want to capture the ambience of “being there”—like recording a band’s live performance, a multi-person podcast or a conference call.
CARDIOID: Perfect for podcasts, game streaming, vocal performances, voice overs and instruments. Cardioid mode records sound sources that are directly in front of the microphone, delivering rich, full-bodied sound.
BIDIRECTIONAL: Records from both the front and rear of the microphone—good for recording a duet or a two-person interview.
Yeti is a side-address microphone, which means you should sing, play or speak into the side of the microphone not the top of the microphone.
It includes a mute button, gain control and a standard 1/8” (3.5mm) headphone jack for monitoring and playback and you can use the headphone output to monitor your microphone recording in real time, without latency delays.
2. Audio-Technica AT2020USB Microphone
Audio-Technica is another renowned brand that has a great USB mic. An USB condenser mic, with cardioid polar pattern for Superb Audio Quality.
The AT2020USB is the USB version of the AT2020, and more closely resembles a standard condenser mic. Features include:
A/D converter (a device that converts analog signals to digital format) with 16 bit, 44.1/48 kilohertz sampling rate.
1/8″ (3.5 mm) Headphone jack with volume control allows you to directly monitor your recording without the delay that occurs when monitoring through your computer’s headphone output.
When you talk into the microphone you hear yourself right away in the headphones.
Mix control which blends microphone with pre-recorded audio.
Listen to previously recorded tracks as you record new audio by adjusting the mix control dial either towards (com) computer of Mic (microphone).
This mic sits on a tripod and comes with a carrying case for convenience. While it’s a bit more expensive than the Yeti, the quality is excellent.
This mic sits on a tripod and comes with a carrying case for convenience. No more expensive than the Yeti, the quality is excellent and can be used for podcasting, field recording, voiceover use and home studio recording.
3. Blue Snowball ICE
This plug and play USB Condenser, Cardiood (record directly in front) microphone is great for recording studio quality vocals including podcasts, live streaming, dictation and offers a rich detailed audio usually found in studio recordings.
It connects directly to your laptop or desktop computer with an USB cable and you’re not required to download any manufacturer drivers or software.It connects directly to your laptop or desktop computer with an USB cable and you’re not required to download any manufacturer drivers or software.
It’s been awarded Skype & Discord certification (programs ensure USB peripherals offer rich audio quality) and is perfect for single person/source recording.
It comes with a stand but has standard thread and can be mounted on a traditional mic stand..
4. Samson Meteor Mic
The Samson Meteor is another high-quality USB microphone that has one of the biggest diaphragms you can get with a USB device.
This Large, 1″ (25mm) diaphragm condenser microphone with Cardioi pickup pattern plugs directly into your USB input and doesn’t require additional drivers. It’s 16-bit, 44.1/48kHz resolution with flat frequency response of 20Hz–20kHz , a Stereo 1/8″ headphone jack for zero latency monitoring and mute switch. Although not technically a computer it works with iPhone/ iPad using Apple’s Lightning USB Camera Adapter.
This mic delivers accuracy and clarity.
The best way to record vocals with the Meteor Mic is to put it directly in front of the person approximately 6 to 24 inches away with them aiming the microphone center line towards their mouth.
It’s very portable for both home and travel recording and affordable, so if you are looking for something that compares to the Yeti, but doesn’t cost as much, the Samson Meteor is the right choice.
Good for recording, journalism, gaming, singer-songwriters,corporate narration, commercial voice-over or just better video call quality.
XLR Condenser Microphones
(Best for Vocals)
Finding an XLR Mic to meet your needs is pretty easy no matter what you are recording.
The XLR connector is commonly incorporated into the body of microphones, and it’s a better connector than a USB in terms of sound quality.
Easier to troubleshoot, change out for a longer cable or upgrade. If you have an USB interface with multiple XLR inputs you can record multiple mics to your computer.
Additionally, condenser microphones are generally considered better for vocals, and even though you need additional equipment to connect these to your computer, the results will be better.
The best condenser mics for vocals on a computer are:
- Rode NTK Mics
- Neumann TLM-102
- Bluebird From Blue Microphones
- AKG C214 Microphone
- Shure PGA27-LC Microphone with X2U
1. Rode NTK Mics
The Rode NTK is a high quality, robust, durable all tube design microphone that produces a fabulous clear, natural, warm sound.
With its wide frequency range, it can handle vocals of almost any type.
The Australian company Rode has been making word renowned microphones for many years including budget conscious mics.
The fixed cardioid pickup pattern is ideal for vocal and can handle vocals of almost any type.
The hand selected twin triode vacuum tube and audiophile grade components result in an ultra dynamic range.
The capsule is internally shock mounted to stop unwanted noise caused by vibration and being a tube mic should be warmed up approximately 30 minutes before recording for the best results.
Take care of it, and it should last you many years.
The package comes with the necessary XLR cables and its own power supply. You won’t need phantom power (both audio signal & voltage signal in one).
It can be particularly great for rap vocals, but also perform well for singing, podcasts, and anything else you might be doing as its the perfect balance between cost & performance.
2. Neumann TLM-102
The Neumann TLM-102 condenser mic has exceptional build quality and an extremely impressive sound, though it is one of the more expensive microphones for vocals in our list.
This is a large diaphragm mic with Cardioid directional pattern built in a compact Neumann design.
The Neumann TLM (transformless microphone) technology used with the 102 replaces the output transform with an electronic circuit.
Again, this mic has a wide frequency range, so it doesn’t matter if you are a soprano or a bass, and it doesn’t matter if you speak softly or loudly.
Perfect for vocals and speech in the studio or broadcasting area.
Distortion free sound even with extreme SPL (sound pressure levels) up to 144 dB, a frequency response of 20Hz – 20kHz and an integrated pop screen.
It fuses a beautiful sound with technical excellence.
If you have a couple of extra dollars and need exceptional sound quality, you couldn’t go wrong here.
3. Bluebird From Blue Microphones
The Bluebird is an attractive-looking large-diaphragm condenser microphone and one of the best from Blue Microphones.
Stylistically, it’s has a vintage-look, and sound-wise, it’s very impressive.
A cardioid polar pattern, frequency response of 20Hz-20kHz and Sensitivity: 28.5 mV/Pa at 1 kHz (1 pa = 94 dB SPL).
The transformerless class A amplifier circuit ensures a more accurate and noise-free signal. What you hear at the input is what you get at the output with minimal distortion and coloration
It’ll produce great results no matter what your voice type is, and while it might not be as sophisticated as the previous two, it’s still a great piece of equipment.
4. AKG C214 Microphone
The AKG C214 is an excellent mic with the ability to produce natural-sounding vocals no matter what the vocal range is.
This large diaphragm condenser microphone has a cardioid polar pattern and an audio frequency bandwith of 20 – 20000 Hz with a maximum SPL of 156dB (did you say loud?).
It has a bass-cut filter, so you can get close to the mic without messing up the sound, and the switchable attenuation gives you even greater customizability allowing recording of loud sources – remember the 156dB?
Many people will swear by this microphone and will tell you it’s the best for vocals.
The AKG Back Plate patented Technology and dual-capsule system results in outstanding performance and is a cost-effective alternative to the higher-end AKG C414 family.
5. Shure PGA27-LC Microphone with X2U
Shure’s PGA27 microphone is a professional quality large cardioid diagphragm mic and produces an excellent sound – crisp and detailed. It’s a side address large mic with a high SPL threshold (meaning it can handle high sound pressure before it starts to distort)
It has features that offer greater control such as a switchable high-pass filter to reduce pickup of any low-frequency room noise, making it perfect for home recording.
It’s very sensitive, but you can minimize sensitivity with the attenuator switch allowing you to record loud instruments without distortion and overloading the microphone.
This professional caliber gear comes is an affordable price mic with an industrial design. If you want superior sound quality with an XLR mic, this is the way to go for home recording vocals. This mic is great for live performances as well.
The XLR output connects to your mixer through a standard mic cable
Using an XLR-to-Audio Interface When Recording
If you buy a microphone with an XLR connector, you might want to buy an XLR-to-Audio interface as well. Interfaces are designed for converting analog to digital, so it’s especially crucial for the XLR when you can’t connect directly to your computer.
The XLR-to-Audio interface will allow you to connect the XLR microphone to your computer’s USB or headphone jack.
Many of these audio interfaces come with things such as phantom power, which gives you the power you need for your condenser microphone.
What Is a Microphone Preamp?
Preamps can also be used for vocals on a computer, and they will help you improve the quality and the overall experience.
Preamps boost the signal of the microphone you have connected, and there are several different options for home studios.
They’ll help you boost low signals, achieve different sounds, and fix things that your digital audio workstation (DAW) plugins can’t
What Vocal Recording for Computer Applications
Keep in mind the proper microphone for recording vocals on a computer comes in handy for the other applications you may use on your computer.
Do you record YouTube videos or Podcasts?
What about when playing your multiplayer games?
If you work at home meetings using Skype calls and Google Hangouts all can benefit from a good mic that is better than the default computer mic.
Figure out what you will be doing and what you need to get the most out of the hardware you purchase. We suggest if you recording anything production related XLR is the way to go. Basic audio work or Skype type tasks USB is a good option.