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Getting a podcast going is easier than you may think, and there’s never been a better time to do it. But before you can really get started, you’re going to need one of the best desktop microphones to really take things to the next audio level. Even if you’re using it for gaming, streaming, or remote work, a stationary desktop mic lets you be heard loud and clear every time. But not all desktop mics perform the same, and you’ll want one that can cut down background noises. Below, we’ve put together a guide on how to find the right one for you and every situation.
How to Pick the Best Desktop Microphone
Here’s a brief breakdown of what to consider in a desktop mic:
Cardioid vs. Dynamic: These are the two main types of USB mics you’ll run into when searching. They both offer their own pros and cons, and it all depends on what you’ll primarily be doing with it. A cardioid mic is a directional mic, meaning you’ll have to speak directly into it to in order for the mic to pick up the most sound. This is what many podcasters use, since they’re mostly in one spot the whole time. A supercardioid mic, on the other hand, takes it up a notch, reducing the ambient noise around you and balancing the sound automatically. A dynamic mic, however, is excellent at blocking unwanted noise around you, but typically consumes more power. They’re often used in studio settings with mixing boards.
Controls: If you don’t want to mess with mixing boards and balancing volume levels in studio applications, go for a mic with controls right on it. This makes it really easy to adjust things like volume when you’re in mid-conversation and the other person says they can’t hear you, without taking much attention away from the call.
Inputs: USB is going to be the easiest to plug in and get started fast. But an XLR is often what professionals use in the studio. If the mic you’re eyeing only has an XLR jack, and you want USB, there’s plenty of adapters to easily convert them too.
Extras: If this is your first mic, and you’re starting your home setup from square one, consider going for a bundle. These come with helpful things you’ll most likely need along the way, like a pop filter, boom arm, tabletop stand, windscreen, and shock mount.
1. Shure MV7 White Noir (Limited Edition) USB Microphone
Shure has been crafting microphones and other audio products for nearly a century now, and if you’re looking to do a variety of recordings at home, this excellent, and limited edition, mic is ready to go when you are. The MV7 is ideal for vocals and studio recording, but also proved to be best for recording a podcast and streaming – even for beginners.
The mic’s cardioid pattern lets you naturally project your voice from pretty much any angle and still captures it evenly, while the dynamic cartridge inside keeps vocals sounding clear, rich, and professional. Electromagnetic shielding and Voice Isolation Technology also helped to cut down on one of the most annoying aspects of recording for newbies: picking up unwanted signals, frequencies, and equipment noise that often adds background buzzing to your tracks. Auto Level Mode was another big selling point for those who just want to start recording and not deal with the headaches of sound editing, as it corrects and balances your audio in real-time as you speak.
This is compatible with both Mac and Windows, and connects up easily via USB or XLR.
2. HyperX QuadCast S
Weighing under 2 pounds and lit up in an RGB palette, this mic looks great on streaming cams, and it even delivers crisp sound. The USB connection makes it easy for excited users to get started fast, and the choice of four sound options (stereo, omnidirectional, cardioid, bidirectional) let every beginner find what’s right for them. There’s also an internal pop filter, so no need for an external one, and a physical, adjustable gain knob right on the base.
3. Tonor Computer Cardioid Condenser PC Gaming Mic
This cardioid mic is a good fit for new podcasters, gamers, streamers, or even anyone new to video calling. Setup is incredibly easy thanks to the plug-and-play USB, especially when used on both Windows and Mac. It’s an excellent all-in-one mic for creative content makers, and even comes with its own stand and pop filter.
4. Fifine Metal Condenser Recording Mic
This condenser mic makes adjusting and leveling the volume easy, even if you’re right in the middle of a livestream or call. A physical volume knob right on the mic itself puts you in control of how loud you sound. This works smoothly with most music software and games too (including PS5), comes with a stand, and is made of metal that’s tough enough to survive accidental falls off your desk.
5. CAD Audio CADLive A77 Large Diaphragm Supercardioid Dynamic Microphone
CAD’s A77 wins the microphone fashion show with its elegant style, but also brings the capability and performance needed for professional sounding vocals too. This supercardioid dynamic mic is ideal for every type of stage and performer – singers, standup comics, DJs and emcees to name a few. This updated version includes a PowerGap neodynamic high gauss magnet and a TrueFlex diaphragm, as well as a frequency response of 30Hz – 15kHz. Connect it up via an XLR cable. It’s also comfortable to hold for long stretches.