5 Best External Microphones for Laptop in 2024

Looking to upgrade your audio game for video calls, podcasts, or just clearer voice recordings? A laptop’s built-in microphone often doesn’t cut it, leading to fuzzy sound or background noise that distracts from what you’re saying. An external microphone is the perfect solution to this problem, offering better clarity and quality. Whether you’re a professional content creator, an avid gamer, or someone who wants to sound crisp during online meetings, there’s an external mic out there that fits your needs and budget. In this list, we’ll dive into the best external microphones for laptops to help you find your audio match.

When looking for the best external microphone for your laptop, there are several key criteria to consider to ensure you get the right one for your needs. Here’s a breakdown of what to look for:

  1. Sound Quality: The most critical aspect, high-fidelity audio capture ensures your voice or instruments sound crystal clear.
  2. Pickup Pattern: Microphones have different patterns such as cardioid (picks up sound from the front), omnidirectional (all directions), and bidirectional (front and back). Choose based on whether you need to isolate your voice from background noise or include sounds from around the room.
  3. Connectivity: USB microphones are plug-and-play, while others may require an audio interface. Check compatibility with your laptop’s ports.
  4. Durability: A robust design can withstand travel and use in different environments, important for field or remote work.
  5. Portability: If you’re on the go, a smaller, lightweight microphone may be preferable.
  6. Ease of Use: Look for a microphone that’s easy to set up and operate, without needing extensive technical knowledge.
  7. Versatility: Some mics offer multiple pattern settings, interchangeable capsules, or other features that allow adaptability in different recording situations.
  8. Price: Determine your budget and find the best microphone within that range considering the other criteria.

Let’s dive into a curated list of the best external microphones for laptops, considering these specifications for varied users and usage scenarios.

Please keep in mind that prices can fluctuate based on promotions, retailers, and over time, so you’ll want to check the current prices when you are ready to make a purchase. Here’s a simplified comparison table:

FeatureBlue Yeti USB MicrophoneRode NT-USB MiniAudio-Technica AT2020USB+Shure MV5 Digital Condenser MicrophoneSamson Go Mic Portable USB Condenser Microphone
Price Range$$$$$$$$$
Type of MicrophoneCondenserCondenserCondenserCondenserCondenser
Polar PatternsCardioid, Bidirectional, Omnidirectional, StereoCardioidCardioidCardioidCardioid/Omnidirectional (switchable)
ConnectivityUSBUSBUSBUSBUSB
Sampling RateUp to 48 kHzUp to 48 kHzUp to 48 kHzUp to 24-bit / 48 kHzUp to 16-bit / 44.1 kHz
Frequency Response20Hz – 20kHz20Hz – 20kHz20Hz – 20kHz20Hz – 20kHz20Hz – 18kHz
Notable FeaturesMute button, Headphone jack, Gain controlBuilt-in pop filter, Detachable magnetic standMix control, Headphone jackDSP preset modes, Built-in headphone ampCompact and portable, Clip-on design

Keep in mind, this table provides a snapshot of each product and does not cover every specification or feature. When choosing a microphone, consider what you will use it for, such as podcasting, streaming, recording music, or conference calls, as some features might be more important for specific uses than others. For example, if you plan to record music, you might need a wide frequency response and high sampling rate.

Please check the latest prices and full specifications on the manufacturer’s website or a trusted retailer. This table is meant to be a starting point for making a decision.

Blue Yeti USB Microphone

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The Blue Yeti USB Microphone stands out as an exceptional piece of equipment tailored for anyone who demands superior audio quality for various applications, from podcasting to streaming and gaming. Upon unboxing the Blue Yeti, its sturdy construction and stylish design immediately communicate its premium nature. Set-up is effortlessly intuitive: it’s a plug-and-play device that doesn’t require any specialized drivers, allowing you to start recording almost instantly on your laptop.

Its versatility is owed to the multiple pattern settings—cardioid, bidirectional, omnidirectional, and stereo—making it extremely adaptable. Whether you are recording a solo podcast, an interview, or the ambiance of a room, the Yeti has you covered. The integrated controls for headphone volume, pattern selection, instant mute, and microphone gain put you in charge of the recording process in real time.

Sound quality is where the Yeti truly shines. It captures audio with clarity and depth, which rivals that of more expensive studio microphones. An essential feature is the zero-latency headphone output, allowing you to hear yourself without delay, critical for both professional recordings and casual use.

Specs

  • Microphone Type: Condenser
  • Polar Patterns: Cardioid, Bidirectional, Omnidirectional, Stereo
  • Connection Type: USB
  • Headphone Amplifier: Built-in
  • Controls: Mute, Volume, Gain Control, Polar Pattern Selection

Pros:

  • Excellent sound quality for the price
  • Multiple pattern settings increase versatility
  • Robust construction with aesthetically pleasing design
  • No need for an external audio interface
  • User-friendly controls for quick adjustments

Cons:

  • Its size may be cumbersome for those with limited space
  • It’s not the most portable option due to its bulk and weight
  • The provided stand, while stable, isn’t adjustable for height which may require additional accessories

Price

The Blue Yeti USB Microphone is frequently found in the range of $120 – $150. Its price point sits comfortably in the mid-range, offering substantial quality without venturing into the realm of professional studio equipment pricing. Given its broad set of features and the overall quality of performance, the Blue Yeti presents substantial value for its cost.

In my opinion, the Blue Yeti remains one of the best external microphones for laptops on the market today due to its exceptional combination of ease of use, diverse functionality, and quality audio capture. It’s most suitable for individuals looking to significantly upgrade their audio recording capabilities without getting entangled in the complexities of professional audio equipment. Whether for creating content, gaming, or remote work, the Yeti is a solid investment that hardly disappoints.

Rode NT-USB Mini

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The Rode NT-USB Mini is a marvel in compact microphone design, offering studio-quality recording in a portable and user-friendly package. My experience with this microphone has been nothing short of stellar. Its sleek and modern appearance, not too big or obtrusive, looks just as much at home on a desk next to a laptop as it does in a portable podcasting setup. The sound quality has consistently impressed me—it captures vocals with remarkable clarity and warmth, without the complicated setup of professional audio equipment.

Specs

While the technical specifications of the Rode NT-USB Mini are robust, what truly matters is how it performs in real-world scenarios. It boasts a cardoid polar pattern, which is perfect for focusing on your voice and minimizing background noise. The integrated pop filter is a lifesaver, doing an admirable job at reducing plosives that can disrupt the smoothness of your speech. I especially appreciate its built-in digital signal processing; it elevates the audio quality, ensuring your recordings are crisp and clear without requiring additional software.

Pros:

  • The sound quality is top-notch for a microphone of this size and price range.
  • An incredibly straightforward USB connection means setup is as easy as plug-and-play.
  • Its compact design makes it a perfect travel companion or for small workspaces.
  • The magnetic base is a brilliant touch, providing stability and ease of adjustment.

Cons:

  • It lacks multiple pattern options, which limits its versatility compared to some other mics.
  • Advanced users may miss the lack of onboard gain control.

Price

The affordability of the Rode NT-USB Mini is just the cherry on top. Sitting at a price point that won’t break the bank, it bridges the gap between economical and professional-grade microphones. For its combination of quality, ease of use, and design, it is an investment that makes sense for anyone looking to improve their audio game without overspending.

In conclusion, the Rode NT-USB Mini is a microphone that won’t disappoint. Whether you’re podcasting, streaming, or simply need a reliable mic for video conferencing, it offers a balance of quality and simplicity that’s hard to beat.

Audio-Technica AT2020USB+

image 908

The Audio-Technica AT2020USB+ is a stellar addition to any content creator’s toolkit, thanks to its excellent sound quality and ease of use. Straight out of the box, the microphone impresses with its sleek design and minimalistic approach. It feels like a sturdy piece of equipment, which is reassuring for those who are accident-prone or on-the-go. From my personal experience, this microphone is a game-changer for anyone doing voiceovers, podcasts, or acoustic recordings directly to their laptop. Its plug-and-play functionality is a massive plus, as it eliminates the need for additional audio interfaces or complicated setup processes.

Specs

The microphone boasts a cardioid pickup pattern, which effectively isolates your voice from unwanted ambient noise. This is particularly useful if you’re working in less-than-ideal acoustic environments. It supports a 16-bit, 44.1/48 kHz sampling rate, which, while not the highest possible quality you’d find in the market, delivers crystal-clear audio clarity for most professional projects. The built-in headphone jack with volume control allows for zero-latency monitoring, and the mix control lets you blend your microphone signal with pre-recorded audio – a thoughtful feature for musicians and podcasters alike.

Pros:

  • The sound quality is superb for its price point, capturing vocals with fullness and clarity.
  • Direct monitoring capabilities allow for real-time auditory feedback, which is invaluable for tweaking levels on the fly.
  • Its USB connectivity marries simplicity with efficiency – it’s compatible with almost every laptop without the need for drivers or additional power sources.
  • It has a robust build that feels like it can stand the test of time, and possibly travel.

Cons:

  • The included tripod stand is not the most stable and might require an upgrade for serious usage.
  • It lacks onboard gain control, so you’ll need to adjust the input level through your computer, which could be a minor inconvenience.
  • The frequency response is tailored more towards vocal use, so while it’s excellent for speech, some instruments might not be captured as authentically.

Price

As for the price, the Audio-Technica AT2020USB+ sits in a mid-range bracket. It’s not the cheapest option available, but it is reasonably priced considering the professional-level audio quality it delivers. For those who are serious about their audio output and want the reassurance of a trusted brand, the investment seems quite justified. The cost efficiency is further emphasized when considering that there’s no need for extra gear like audio interfaces or XLR cables – it’s a comprehensive package.

In conclusion, if you’re looking for a reliable, high-quality microphone that simplifies the recording process while delivering exceptional sound, the Audio-Technica AT2020USB+ is an outstanding choice. Whether you’re a budding podcaster, an aspiring musician, or a professional voice-over artist, this microphone has the features and quality to elevate your projects. It strikes a perfect balance between functionality, durability, and affordability, making it effortlessly recommendable for anyone in need of an external microphone for their laptop.

Shure MV5 Digital Condenser Microphone

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The Shure MV5 is a stylish, solidly built microphone that strikes a balance between professional-grade recordings and user-friendly features. It is catered toward podcasters, gamers, and musicians who need a reliable mic that they can simply plug in and start using without fuss. In my experience, what stands out about the MV5 is its versatility – not only is it compatible with your laptop via USB, but it also works seamlessly with iOS devices using the included Lightning cable, making it a great choice for creators on the go.

The design is retro yet modern, and it comes with a detachable desktop stand, giving it a small footprint on your workspace. With three onboard DSP preset modes (Vocals, Flat, Instrument), you can tailor your recordings quickly. I personally found the vocal preset extremely useful for podcasting, as it helped bring out vocal clarity.

Specs:

  • Type: Digital condenser
  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid
  • Connectivity: USB and Lightning
  • Frequency Response: 20 Hz to 20 kHz
  • Built-in DSP with 3 recording modes
  • Integrated headphone output for real-time monitoring

Pros:

  • The MV5 delivers clear and professional audio quality which is quite remarkable for its compact size.
  • Plug-and-play functionality paired with both USB and Lightning connections makes it a very versatile microphone for different devices.
  • The DSP presets are a handy feature that optimizes recordings without the need for post-processing, which is a major time-saver.

Cons:

  • The lightweight and small form factor, while convenient, may not be as stable as heavier mics especially if you’re tapping the desk or moving around a lot during recording sessions.
  • It might lack some of the advanced controls and customization that more professional or seasoned audio enthusiasts might be looking for.

Price:
The Shure MV5 usually retails around $100, which is a competitive price point considering the brand reputation and the quality you’re receiving. It lies in the sweet spot between affordability and professional-grade performance.

In conclusion, the Shure MV5 is an excellent contender in the realm of external microphones for laptops, particularly for those who appreciate a no-nonsense setup with the flexibility for high-quality recordings. Whether you’re conducting an interview, recording a new song idea, or streaming your favorite game, the MV5 is a reliable workhorse that won’t let you down. Its cost-to-quality ratio presents a great value for anyone looking to up their audio game without breaking the bank.

Samson Go Mic Portable USB Condenser Microphone

image 910

The Samson Go Mic is a versatile little condenser microphone that provides surprisingly high-quality audio recordings for its size and price. Ideal for podcasters, mobile journalists, or anyone needing to upgrade their laptop’s built-in audio capabilities, the Go Mic offers a plug-and-play approach which I find incredibly convenient. The design is compact and the mic can be easily clipped onto a laptop or used on a desk with its fold-out stand. You can switch between cardioid or omnidirectional pickup patterns, a flexibility I appreciate when recording in different environments.

Specs:

  • Dual pickup patterns: Cardioid and Omnidirectional
  • Frequency response: 20Hz – 18kHz
  • Resolution: 16-bit, 44.1kHz
  • Built-in headphone jack for zero-latency monitoring
  • Compact size with a foldable design and included carry case

Pros:

  • The portability is fantastic. It’s small enough to take anywhere without a hassle.
  • It’s extremely easy to use. No extra drivers needed, which means it’s practically plug-and-play with any laptop.
  • Offers multiple recording patterns. The flexibility to switch between cardioid and omnidirectional is quite handy for different recording scenarios.

Cons:

  • The build, while compact, might feel a bit less robust compared to higher-end models. However, this is a trade-off for its portability.
  • Audio quality, though good for the size and price, may not match that of professional studio mics, which isn’t surprising.
  • It picks up background noise more readily in omnidirectional mode, which can be an issue in noisier environments.

Price:
The Samson Go Mic typically retails for around $40 – $50, making it an affordable option for those on a budget. The price can vary depending on retailers and any ongoing sales or discounts.

My Opinion:
For what it is and whom it’s meant for, the Samson Go Mic impresses me with its straightforward functionality and good sound quality. I find it to be an excellent choice for newcomers to audio recording or for professionals who need a mic on-the-go. The versatility with recording patterns is a standout feature at this price point. While it’s not going to outperform high-end microphones in a studio setting, it’s not supposed to. It’s built for convenience and portability, and it serves that purpose well. For those starting out in podcasting or needing to upgrade from their internal laptop mic for video calls and basic recording tasks, this is a little microphone that could make a significant difference.

Conclusion:

To elevate your audio experience, a top-notch external microphone can make all the difference, be it for remote work, podcasting, streaming, or simply chatting with friends. The options we explored today offer a gamut of features tailored for various needs and budgets. Remember to consider compatibility with your laptop, the mic’s recording pattern, and portability when making your choice. With the right external microphone, your voice will be crystal clear, allowing you to communicate effectively and produce impeccable audio recordings.

FAQs:

Q1: Do I need a driver to use an external microphone with my laptop?
A1: Most modern external microphones are plug-and-play, meaning they don’t require additional drivers. They use your operating system’s built-in drivers to operate.

Q2: Can I use these microphones for both recording and live streaming?
A2: Absolutely! The best external microphones are versatile and suitable for both high-quality audio recording and live streaming, ensuring your voice is always clear and professional.

Q3: Are these microphones compatible with all laptops?
A3: Most external microphones use standard USB or 3.5mm connections, making them compatible with the majority of laptops. However, always check the input options of your laptop and the microphone’s connectors before purchase.

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John Doe

John Doe

I am John, a tech enthusiast with a knack for breaking down complex camera, audio, and video technology. My expertise extends to social media and electronic gadgets, and I thrive on making the latest tech trends understandable and exciting for everyone. Sharing my knowledge through engaging content, I aim to connect with fellow tech lovers and novices alike, bringing the fascinating world of technology to life.

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