USB microphones are one of our favorite types of mics to write about, so we’re continuing our series of budget-friendly guides on this subject with a nice and balanced price-tag here today — $200 or less. Most USB microphones that are labeled as ‘higher-end’ fall within this category, so you’re in good hands for today. We did see in our USB mics under $100 or even under $50 guides give us some decent options, but today we have a nice collection that brings in some better quality models for you to check out.
Which USB Mic Under $200 to Buy?
As with any of our USB microphones guides, let’s talk about your intended use, although the beauty of USB mics in general is the fact that they’re so versatile and span across many categories of recording (or streaming). However, there are a few guidelines we suggest. If you’re actually using these USB mics to record vocals in a music studio, we recommend being very strict about the audio resolution.
We do not recommend going any lower than 16-bit / 48 kHz. This can even go lower for many of you who are streaming, doing YouTube videos, or perhaps even gaming; however, those uses aren’t as strict when it comes to the actual nitty-gritty numbers. Some people out there will say that they don’t hear the difference between 16-bit vs. 24-bit — we’d say we are in the middle when it comes to broadcasting, streaming, online meetings, etc — uses that don’t completely rely on actually recording. Recording however, especially vocals or instruments for music, try to hit 24-bit if you can. We’d say the kHz isn’t as relevant as the bit. Either way, all the models below are feasible in our opinion.
Aside from recording resolution, a lot of these USB mics are the same when it comes to size and a few other standout features. Some side notes to keep in mind: on-board monitoring (such as volume or gain control, headphone outputs), built-in tripods, mute buttons (you never know when you need to just cut the mic out for a bit if you need a break — depends on what you’re doing), and more. We’ll mention each USB mic under $200’s standout features below.
The Best USB Microphones Under $200
Up first, the NT-USB is continuing to make a name for itself as USB mic technology evolves each year. Coming out a few years ago, it first caught our eye of course due to that Rode name in the title but also mainly due to the overall audio quality we’re getting out of this thing. It comes with a pop shield, tripod stand for desks, storage pouch, ring mount and the USB cable (20′). There’s a headphone jack directly on the mic itself for some monitoring (zero-latency), and you can also adjust the direct mix control between the source output and mic input.
Recording quality here comes in at 16-bit / 48 kHz. Compatible with Windows and Mac, as well as iPads. You can also look into their Rode NT-USB Mini if you wanted to save some cash and can sacrifice a few features. Otherwise, the Rode NT-USB is one of the best USB microphones for an under $200 budget right now.
Next up is a USB microphone for under $200 dollars that we’ve recommended more times than we count, whether it’s in USB mic guides or even general microphone purposes such as recording in the studios. This is the USB version of their reputable AT-2020 (that we actually own ourselves), and it brings us some great quality regardless of use. It includes a built-in high quality A/D converter with some resolution hitting 16-bit / 44.1/48 kHz, a built-in headphone jack with volume control on the mic, ‘mix control’ for blending mic signals with your audio that’s pre-recorded, a nice frequency response to cover the spectrum of voices and most instruments.
It includes the tripod desk stand with folding legs as well. Doesn’t include a pop shield like the NT-USB previously listed but we’d say that’s only a plus for vocal recording (you can buy one separately). The Audio-Technica AT-2020USB+ is another solid option. If you’re torn between this or our previous pick, we’d get whatever is priced cheaper at the moment.
Samson G-Track Pro
It’s starting to get a little redundant if you’re still reading, we know. However, like we said before, a lot of these USB mics have the same features.
The G-Track Pro however brings us some of the better specs number-wise. We have most highlighted here 24-bit / 96 kHz resolution, combined with the essentials of USB mics with on-board controls. What we really love about the G-Track Pro is it’s friendliness for musicians. It can act as an audio interface as it also includes an instrument in. So you can record let’s say a guitar and a vocalist all at the same time, all with 24-bit resolution. This is definitely the best USB microphone for under $200 if you’re a musician.
Even though we’re getting sick of writing about the Blue Yeti, we won’t let that stop us from continuing to keep them included in our USB mic guides since they’re so effective and essentially paved the way for USB microphones to be taken seriously. You get the essentials with this one — gain control, mute button and a headphone output with zero latency. Plug and play for Mac and PC, a built-in desktop stand but what’s more impressive is the tri-capsule choices. You can choose between omnidirectional, stereo or cardioid, although most uses we recommend the latter. Still a plus for some of you depending on your application.
Audio resolution here is 16-bit / 48 kHz. You can also look into the Blue Yeti Pro for even better audio quality — 24-bit / 192 kHz, as well as a few extra features that may catch your eye. However, it’s a lot more expensive (about $100 more). The Blue Yeti is just famous now, and of course is a valid pick as the best USB microphone for $200 or less.
Let’s talk about a newer USB microphone we recently reviewed with the Mackie EM-USB. They typically aren’t really known for the mics but nowadays everybody is getting their feet wet in the USB gold rush; and quite frankly we were impressed with what they had to offer here. gain, headphone volume and mute controls, tripod mount, mic clip, USB cable included. What does differentiate this from others is software bundle included. If there are a few mics in here that attract your eye because of that, it will be important to assess which is best and what USB microphone under $200 can save you the most money. It comes with a download for Pro Tools | First, some Waveform software, and something called ‘The Musician’s Collection’ plugin (a bunch of FX VST if you need any).
Great for streaming, gaming or really anything honestly since it’s up to par with the others in this guide. If you’re down this far and the first few picks didn’t cut it for you, the software bundle may catch your eye with the Mackie EM-USB.
M-Audio Uber Mic
Let’s chat about a super new USB microphone by a decent brand out there in the mic world. This one is like the Yeti with a three-capsule condenser element, with 4 selectable polar patterns to held with those who use USB mics for different applications. There’s a headphone jack, USB/direct mixing control and of course, mute button like the others. A different little feature here you may like is the LCD display that shows you the selected control level. If that’s a must or a plus is your call. It’s compatible with iOS (need the iPad camera connection kit sold separately).
Nothing too crazy out of the ordinary here with the M-Audio Uber Mic but it’s at least the last option we’ll give you all for the best USB microphone under $200.