BEST USB Microphones 2021 | For Singing, Home Studio - Shure MV7 Review
I’ve tested seven USB mics available right now. I’ve got the most popular USB mics, budget picks, high and mics, some are better for singers and others are better for spoken word or podcasting and streaming. Hope this article will help you to find out which one is best for you. Here’s more about each mic and I’ll tell you what I think of each and who I think they’re good for.
I want to start with one of the most popular mics available especially for podcasters, because it really surprised me on my vocals. The Blue Yeti it was pleasant for everything I did. The sound was personal like a ‘fireside chat’. It was very even across all frequencies. I couldn’t find anything to complain about but at the same time it didn’t excite me in any way. A couple mics in this comparison grabbed me the first time I listened. The Yeti has a frequency response from 20 hertz to 20 kilohertz which is the same as most of the mics here. It also has multiple polar patterns although most of us will probably just use cardioid for a single vocalist. The unidirectional and bi-directional patterns may be useful if you want to record the whole room or in stereo. A couple other mics here also offer these other patterns. The Blue Yeti doesn’t really include a competitive software bundle, just the companion app for desktop control.
The Shure MV7 is the mic anticipated most because it’s inspired by the Shure SM7B which is an industry standard and just sounds so good. For so many people the Shure MP7 is brand new. It’s a dynamic mic unlike the other mics in this comparison. This is the only mic that also offers both USB and XLR connections. It also offers some cool touch controls for headphone volume gain and mute. The companion software also features the auto level mode that adjusts the mics to gain depending on your preferred distance. The sound of this mic is just outstanding. The MV7 covers lows, highs, clarity, smoothness like a true champion. loud vocals are pleasant and smooth. This is the mic to beat now at about $250 it isn’t the cheapest or the most expensive here but it’s well worth the money. Other mics in this roundup offer more features for streamers but if you have your own streaming software you don’t need it. I should note that this is the only mic in this roundup that doesn’t come with a stand. You’ll need a mic arm or a mic stand or maybe extra money to get one of their desktop stands. They should have included one in my opinion.
All right, let’s move on to a budget pick from this comparison. The Mackie EM-USB is at about $100 USB mic with all the features you need. Although this is one of the budget picks it really stood out in blind tests. The Mackie needed a little EG help but I loved my vocals with this mic. It wasn’t as smooth as others at loud volumes but I enjoyed it both for spoken word and singing. I prefer my voice recorded with the Mackie. It also has all the core controls right on the mic including headphone, volume, gain, control and a mute button.
The Rode NT-USB Mini although the same price only offers the headphone volume the Mackie EM-USB includes some recording software and plugins to get you started. But nothing really geared to streaming. If you want a real streaming beast let’s look at the Presonus Revelator next. If you’re recording songs at home you should be releasing them yourself. You can upload your music from your computer at home so people can listen on Spotify, Apple music and more…
The Presonus Revelator is one of the newest mics really focused on streaming and I think that’s where it really shines. Like the Blue Yeti it also offers three mic patterns. The sound was not my favorite in this comparison for singing but for a spoken word it was fine and that’s where this thing is going to win you over. This is a streamer’s dream when you pair this with the included software. You get a lot of control including loopback, which will allow you to combine multiple sound sources on your computer. Maybe you want to play music while you’re speaking or play your video games while you speak. This will let you do it. The software also lets you apply effects to your voice like compression EQ delay and reverb right in the software and you can create presets and then select those presets using a button on the mic. That’s kind of cool. The software is simple but powerful with mixer controls that just makes sense. Presonus also adds a bunch of music production software really top quality stuff included with this mic. This was not my favorite when i recorded my song but for streaming purposes I wouldn’t look any further than this mic this just simplifies the whole process.
All right next I want to take a look at another budget mic in this round up the Rode NT-USB. The clear benefit of this mic is the size. This is the smallest form factor of all the mics in this roundup but it doesn’t skimp on quality. The sound quality was really good, warm, very even, across the frequencies and smooth when I sang. But it doesn’t really stand out among the others in this roundup. And when it comes to features the Rode NT-USB Mini is kind of lacking compared to the other budget mics here. There is no hardware gain control which is essential in my opinion and no companion software. If you just need a no-nonsense tiny USB mic this may be a good option for you.
I’ll talk about the Earthworks Icon in a second. But first let’s take a look at the Behringer Bigfoot. Yes, Beringer Bigfoot, Blue Yeti Bigfoot, Yeti, something is similar here. The Behringer is pretty much a clone of the Blue Yeti for $30 less. Actually it just dropped in price again so now it’s $50 less. So it’s a $80 USB mic. Does it sound any good? Well it’s decent, certainly not as natural sounding as the Blue mic or the others in this comparison. The Bigfoot also accentuated some mids and highs in my voice which was fine for my song mix but it didn’t really give a true sound for my voice. As far as features the mic includes the gain, headphone volume, mute button it’s all there if your budget is really low and you still want all the features this is a decent mic.
All right, I’ve got a high-end USB mic. Actually the most expensive USB mic I found on Amazon. It’s about $350. This is the Earthworks Icon and it’s beautiful! I can’t tell you how well built and gorgeous this mic is in person. It’s all metal and it kind of reminds me of an airplane or something. Okay but how does it sound? It sounds excellent and it sounds professional. I like it almost as much as the Earthworks SR314 which is a $700 mic. The SR-314 also hits some resonating lows in my voice which I really liked. The Icon seems to kind of do the same so if you have a singing voice like mine I think you’ll really like this. The Icon has a good deal of high-end sparkle compared to the other mics here. Not very even across all frequencies but it’s very pleasant for modern vocals. The spoken word was great but honestly the Shure MV7 had a more natural quality to it. Also when I raised the gain of my recordings really high I heard a slight buzzing sound but that was only at extreme volumes during silence otherwise it sounded excellent. Hope this article helped you to make the right choice.