Selecting A Microphone for Computer Recording

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Recently I was on the hunt for the best microphone for computer recording under $100 or so and I want to share a little of my experience with you.

Since we are underway recording our Blogging Your Passion 201 Course, I wanted to do what I could to get the best audio possible. Since we are using Skype to record the audio portion of our course, I needed a mic that worked well with Skype, but I also want something that is going to sound good for future webinars as well as our Podcast (to be rolled out later this year).

The big lesson learned

Audio is VERY subjective!

I figured that if I could just spend $100 or so on a well reviewed mic, I would have a pretty great solution. What I learned was that a $20 mic that I purchased a year or so ago outperformed (in my opinion) one that cost 5 times as much.

Have a listen for yourself

I decided to record each of the microphones side by side to get a good comparison between the two. When I did, I was very surprised with the results.

Mic 1: Samson G Track USB Microphone

G-track - a mic for computer recording.jpgClick here to listen to it.

This mic had a ton of great features, and I wanted it be great so badly, but after comparing it to the next mic I just had to return it.

Mic 2: Logitech USB Desktop Microphone

logitech usb mic for computer recording.jpgClick here to listen to it.

This mic is now my old faithful. At less than $20, I don’t think it can be beat for a cheap mic for recording on your computer or talking on Skype.

Another USB mic

I also tried out the Blue Yeti Microphone – which was a great sounding mic with tons of options (sorry I don’t have a recording for you), but it kept on freezing up on me. I make almost all of my business calls using Gmail and having a mic that freezes up just wasn’t an option for me. I didn’t see this issue in the reviews, so perhaps it was unique to my setup – not sure. Either way, I had to return it.

What I finally landed on

I remembered that I had a couple of good mics (SM58 and SM57) from my old band, so I came up with a solution that worked them together with the computer.

I bought a Tascam USB interface that allows me to plug an XRL or 1/4″ input in and it delivers the signal to the computer via USB. Since I had a couple pretty good mics I figured this would be a good solution for me.

tascam for getting audio mic to computer.jpg
And after playing with it for a while, I am really happy with the sound quality of it. It isn’t radio quality by any means, but it is a great intermediate step.

Anyway, that has been my process for picking out a mic for computer stuff. What about you? What do you use and love?


9 thoughts on “Selecting A Microphone for Computer Recording”

  1. Good advice! It’s good to know that audio can be sufficiently recorded via usb with a relatively inexpensive mic. I’m sure I’ll be revisiting this article when I begin podcasting and voice over slides/video

  2. Thanks Bob. It’s funny (read ironic) that you seem to post an article about a subject I happen to be researching at the time. I just ordered a mic and interface, (should be delivered today), but was wondering if I also needed a USB mic that plugged straight in to my computer. I was amazed in the difference in sound quality between the to mics you sampled. I realize different setups get different results, but it’s still interesting to hear the results others received.

    1. its funny how that works… Anyway if you got a standard mic and an interface with a USB output you shouldn’t need the usb mic. Basically the USB mic replaces the need for the mic and interface.

      Yea I can’t tell you how surprised I was when that $20 mic sounded so much better than the other one… live and learn I guess!

  3. I got a logitech pc 960 mic after reading this post and the comments but it has stopped working after a one time of using it! 🙁 I am not sure if its because I use a mac. I am returning it and would like to ask mac users what mic they recommend…Thanks!

  4. Hey Bob! I am trying to do simple home recordings of me solo and with a three piece bluegrass ensemble. I like your band pieces. Are they multi directional enough that I could set the three of us around it and get a live sounding recording?

  5. I am looking at the logitech, but the link takes me to a site that is selling this for a little over $100, not the “less than $20” the article mentions. Do you know why this is happening? (I like the ‘less than $20)

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