When it comes to capturing audio, a normal USB microphone simply doesn't cut it. You need the very best audio capturing equipment, and that's likely to be a condenser microphone, and today we're looking at the very best ones, powered by USB allowing you to use in the studio, on your computer, on a teams call or with a games console.
Buying a USB condenser microphone is a tricky process, with many different models out there, what do you actually need? and how much should you spend? Today we'll be looking at a wide range of options from brands such as Blue Yeti, Rode, Samson and Arozzi, to suit a wide range of budgets and use cases.
The Best USB Condenser Microphones
1. Blue Yeti X USB Microphone – Black
The Blue Yeti X USB microphone is a suitable product for casual gamers or experienced streamers and podcasters.
This is the flagship product from Yeti that has a capsule condenser array with 4 different functions and polar patterns.
There is cardioid for streaming and recording, omni for professional meetings, bi-directional for interviewing people and stereo to pick up the faintest sounds.
These settings are all designed to deliver clear and distinct vibrations and suitable for all contexts and circumstances.
To control volumes, there is a physical dial with smart features that allows accurate control during the present moment.
Additionally, there is also an LED meter that shows the voice volumes, making it easy to notice if a voice is too loud and adjust accordingly. There is a frequency response of 20Hz to 20kHz.
The Blue VO!CE by Yeti is specifically programmed to run with this microphone. There are several customizable filters that can be applied to make voices seem sultry, classic or modern.
A purchase of this microphone comes with a user guide and USB cable. This product comes in a modern black finish and is catered towards Twitch streamers, Youtubers and various other content creators.
Voted: Best Overall USB Condenser Mic
2. Razer Seiren X USB Digital Condenser Microphone
The Razer Seiren X USB Digital Condenser Microphone is a suitable addition to professional gaming set-ups and recording studios.
The added super cardioid feature is designed to accentuate voices and drown out unwanted background noises.
This condenser microphone has a wide frequency response, ranging from 20Hz to 20 kHz, detecting the quietest and loudest noises. The maximum input is on par with other condenser microphones.
There is a zero-latency controller which prevents echoing and distortions and also allows lag free recordings to flow.
There is also a dedicated physical mute button at the front of the microphone for easy access without having to go into settings. Additionally, a volume dial is also situated above the mute button.
There is wire connectivity, making it easy to plug into computers. This product is designed to be compact and portable with an integrated shock-resistant mount to prevent unwarranted noises when touched or bumped into.
This model comes in various colours namely, mercury white, quartz pink and classic black to suit all personal preferences. The small size of this device is to ensure a non-intrusive appearance, making the user the centre of attention.
The microphone is catered towards professional streamers on platforms such as Twitch and Youtube.
Voted: Best USB Condenser Mic For Vocals
3. Blue Yeti Multi-Pattern USB Microphone
The Blue Yeti Multi-Pattern USB Microphone is a highly equipped product, catered towards professional content creators such as podcasters or streamers.
There are 4 polar patterns which are bi-directional, stereo, cardioid and omnidirectional, making this a suitable device for professional or casual settings.
The design of this microphone can pick up sounds from singing, instruments or just simple speech. There is a standard frequency response from 20Hz to 20kHz. The maximum sound input is at 120dB.
On the front of this microphone is a dedicated knob that can be turned to adjust the volume of voices.
A physical mute button is also present for easy and simple access. Latency-free monitoring is built-in using the headset output to prevent distortions, echoes and deliver sounds in real-time without lags.
The stand of this product provides a space for cable management and can be situated on a desktop surface.
There is also the option to attach this device on a threaded mount. Included with a purchase of this model is a USB cable for easy connection to a MAC or PC device.
The microphone comes in a variety of colours ranging from creams, silvers and a stark black. There is a 2-year manufacturer’s warranty.
Voted: Best Expensive USB Condenser Mic
4. Arozzi Colonna Microphone
The Arozzi Colonna Microphone is an ideal product for professional content creators such as streamers or podcasters on different platforms such as Twitch and Youtube, or also just simple voiceover work.
There are 3 pick-up patterns, namely omnidirectional, bi-directional and cardioid. The omnidirectional pick-up pattern is optimized for conference meeting use while the bi-directional option is best suited for interviews between 2 people.
The cardioid is complimentary with a single voice. This gives the option to focus on an independent voice or pick up various sounds at once. The frequency response is standard, ranging from 20Hz to 20kHz and there is a maximum input of 120dB.
On the microphone is a 3D dial to control the volume and a physical mute button. Connections to the computer, gaming set-ups and consoles can be made through the 3.5mm headphone jack positioned at the rear.
This product has a heavy foundation covered by a rubber coating to prevent slips on surface. There is also a boom arm mount included to save space on the desk. The stand can be adjusted to suit many height preferences.
This product comes in 4 different colours including rose gold, black, silver and gold.
Voted: Cheapest USB Condenser Mic
5. Samson Satellite USB Broadcast Microphone
The Samson Satellite USB Broadcast Microphone is a product optimized for use with computers and phones. There are 3 pick-up patterns to suit various casual and professional settings.
The option to choose cardioid, bidirectional and omnidirectional patterns makes it easy to accentuate and focus on a single voice or adjust to accommodate many voices. There is a regular frequency response from 20Hz to 20kHz.
The maximum input is 135dB. Zero-latency is a given through the 3.5mm headphone jack to deliver sounds with minimal or no lags. An LED panel provides a background for the mute, volume and clip adjustments.
This microphone can be connected to a variety of products through cords for Micro-USB and USB to Micro-USB ports. This makes the device compatible with MAC, PC and consoles.
This product is out of aluminium and steel, making it durable and sturdy. It is a compact microphone, useful for on-the-go convenience. The legs can be folded back to save space or just for personal preference.
The shock mount included is useful for providing a stable base. The microphone is catered towards content creators such as podcast directors and streamers on platforms like Youtube and Twitch.
What is a USB Condenser Mic?
It is effectively a microphone that uses diaphragm vibrations as a capacitor which is often powered by USB-A connection, which provides the pre-amplification, in turn converting the audio data.
Unlike traditional microphones, they are much more expensive, but provide a much clearer, crisp audio recording. Music producers, artists and sound engineers, make use of condenser microphones for this purpose.
Best Budget Friendly USB Condenser Microphone?
Personally, I love the Rode NT-USB which is from an Australian company. You will struggle find this microphone on many NZ electronics websites, so you may need to checkout sites such as PB Tech or Amazon.
This microphone can be purchased for as low as $199 during their frequent sales, or around $249 via online websites. It's also available in a mini size.
Best Expensive USB Condenser Microphone?
The Yeti Multi-Pattern is around $600+ and is a top end USB condenser microphone available to buy in New Zealand. It offers a lot of upgraded features from the original younger brother Yeti.
You can buy this Yeti model from sites such as The Market, Amazon and Mighty Ape. Be sure to look for sales, as it's frequently discounted.
What to look for when buying a USB condenser mic?
You'll want to consider a device that is plug and play as this means no software required and you can use your condenser microphone with pretty much any other software program or device that accepts a USB connection. Further you'll want to ensure the mic provides a clear signal without background noise, a minimum of 16-bit or ideally 32-bit is required and one that doesn't produce a 'hum'
Most users will want to choose a cardioid pattern which means we speak directly into the microphone from one direction. This reduces audio being picked up from behind or sides. You can of course enable this feature on most modern USB condenser microphones if you were to host a podcast per say.
Zero latency monitoring is also a nice feature to have which ensures there is no lag between speaking and the audio being captured. Further you should ensure you're buying a microphone within your budget. If you're going to be an aspiring singer you will definitely want the very best, while gamers and those using one for frequent teams calls could probably make do with a smaller budget friendly option.
How to make a condenser microphone better?
Make sure you purchase a high quality pop-filter that goes with your microphone. Some brands actually include one in the box, but they are usually cheap and nasty so you may want to spend another $100 - $200 on a reputable pop-filter. There's many different brands out there for brands such as Blue Yeti, Rode, Samson etc.
What's the difference between Blue Yeti X vs Blue Yeti?
Probably best to checkout this video as it's difficult to explain in written form.
You now know the best USB condenser microphones available to buy in NZ, but don't just take our word for it. Be sure to research the model you're thinking of buying online, check for reviews and buy from a reputable store or marketplace.