USB microphones work exactly like a conventional microphone, which allows the users to record sounds and speeches. Unlike traditional microphones, USB microphones are connected directly into the USB port of a computer, where the users can save the audio file and import them into editing tools like Pro Tools, Sony Acid or Audacity. Although USB microphones first gained its reputation for podcasting purposes, numerous benefits and the digitalization of the whole audio industry has led to USB microphones being a common accessory in any professional podcasting booths or recording studio today.
There are a few benefits of USB microphones over the traditional ones. Since USB Microphones can be plugged directly into the computer, it eradicates the necessity of the cloggy mixing panels or separate adapters completely. The USB microphones draw the power from the USB ports, and can thus be perfect for VOIP, online voice chats or the more conventional use in recording podcasts. The good USB microphones come with a built in pre-amp and can have various functionalities, oftentimes matching the industrial standard traditional microphones in terms of versatility. Amongst many startling features, USB microphones depending on the specific model can have voice adjusting knobs, headphone jacks so users can hear their own voice and adjust the volume accordingly, and various other functionalities embedded into it. USB microphones are also easily upgradable, with the firmware of the device checking for updates every time the user goes online, given the automatic update options are enabled.
USB microphones are considered the ideal recording devices for general people who doesn’t need the highest quality audio output. Although the mainstream recording industry haven’t exactly switched to USB microphones yet, professional Podcasters or upcoming artists recording their demo albums have regularly hailed the USB microphones for the low complexity and user friendly operations. The recording industry, however, have identified the advantages of the USB model, and have lately resorted to USB adapters, where they can plug in the traditional microphones into the adapter, and the adapter itself translating the direct communication via a USB port.
There are various types of USB microphones available in the market today. The more expensive models like the Yeti, Samson will produce excellent voice quality and users are expected to get a solid value for the money. For cases, where only casual usage is expected, the cheap USB microphones will meet the purpose perfectly. Although the functionalities and features will vary greatly with the price, standard feature include a basic USB connection port, low capacitance connecting USB cables and some audio adjusting knobs and switches.
Despite the user friendliness and straightforward application, USB microphones are still unsuitable for the highest standards required by the audio/video recording industry – the reason being the USB connections not being able to provide the studio quality audio recordings. The built in pre-amp, which is normally suitable for quality podcasting, or amateur recording purposes – cannot provide sufficient yield to match the quality sought by the recording industry sound engineers yet. Also, sound editing software, unless provided with the USB microphone bundle, are highly priced, and for the users to focus on any editing tasks, they might have to purchase licensed editing software.
The sizes and accessory of the USB microphones varies according to specific models. More expensive microphones come with high quality microphone bendable stands which sit on flat surfaces, while most of the units are accompanied by a long enough USB cable so that the users can have sufficient room to use the microphones while plugged in. Additionally, USB microphones might also be accompanied by filters and other recording accessories, while some ship in compact sizes, small enough to fit the pocket.