Buyer's Guides

Best Budget USB Microphones in 2024 - Convenience & Quality Sound

Whether we like it or not, we are living under the oppressive rule of the word ‘content’. And whether the content you create is music, podcast, streaming, or vlog-related, it’s important for your creations to sound as good as possible in order to stand up against the rest. But microphones are so expensive and require lots of expertise, I hear you say. W-r-o-n-g! In the year of 2024, some of the biggest names in audio offer cheap USB microphones which plug straight into your laptop, computer, tablet or smartphone (check which devices each mic can connect to before buying if you have something specific in mind).

But don’t let the word ‘cheap’ deter you, as these are all sleek, high-quality build microphones that sound top-notch. So let’s embark on this journey, listed from the lowest to highest price, with the very best cheap USB microphones money can purchase.

CAD U37 USB Studio Condenser

It doesn’t get more affordable than this in the world of microphones, which is what makes the CAD U37 a popular cheap USB mic. It doesn’t look as flashy as some of the mics listed below, but costing less than £/$50, it’s probably best to taper expectations looks-wise. It doesn’t offer direct monitoring, but the low-cut switch that is included is very handy if you need to reduce background noise, for example if your neighbour decides to mow the lawn the moment you hit record, or perhaps there’s traffic outside where you live. This USB mic is also very capable at handling audio overload, minimising clipping or distortion when hit by them. That said, the best advice is to keep this mic to voice recordings, rather than trying to record a brass fanfare or something like that with it.


Joby Wavo Pod

A popular mic among video creators, the Wavo Pod is Joby’s offering as a cheap USB mic, which you can buy for way below £/$100, if you shop around. It isn’t features galore, and its plastic build means it’s not a titanium mic that will survive serious knocks and falls. But it warrants its popularity on the simple fact that it does what it does well. If you need a no-frills cheap USB mic that does what it says on the tin, the Wavo pod is a good consideration.


Monoprice Dark Matter Sentry Streaming Microphone

Bet you didn’t think you could wield dark matter at this price point? The Dark Matter Sentry officially costs around the £/$100, but there are definitely deals to be found with this one. While some of the cheap USB mics on this list can only handle spoken voice, this microphone does an admirable job with music instruments, vocals of the sung variety and gaming. It’s one of the beefier models on this list, so will likely spend most of its life on a desk rather than being portable-friendly, but then included tabletop stand, swing-arm stands, and stereo and bidirectional polar patterns certainly sweeten the deal. The latter means two people can use a single microphone when streaming or podcasting.


Samson Meteor Mic

This is the cheap USB mic to consider if you’re after a mic that will travel around with you, and portability is a big priority, perhaps more so than sound. It’s highly affordable, and users love the fact it fits in jacket or jean pockets. The Samson’s little legs fold away for you. That, and the fact it’s a capable condenser mic for voice recording, and some undemanding instruments, make it a winner for many. Again, this is not the mic to record a string quartet performing Beethoven — it’s there for those that want a mic they can take with them and record a podcast or what have you on the go. The mute button and monitoring knob on the mic are nice touches, and it has great iPad connectivity.


Mackie EM-91CU

The Mackie EM-91CU is a straightforward, fantastic-sounding microphone that's reliable in many recording scenarios. It performs very well with music, which for some is a bonus, and others is essential. The sturdy yet lightweight design is a winner, it’s effortless to get up and running. Just don’t get set on additional features, as there are no onboard controls or headphone jack, and you can't adjust the polar pattern. That said, if your priority is top-notch sound quality and you don't mind foregoing those extras, then this microphone is definitely worth considering.


Logitech Blue Yeti

I feel like most of us have owned a good old pair of Logitech speakers at some point or another, so why not make your cheap USB mic their flagship microphone? The Yeti is one of the true OGs of USB mics, having launched more than ten years ago. You will almost certainly have seen several YouTubers rocking one of these microphones. A fetching design, simplicity of use, four pickup patterns and general versatility have seen its popularity grow and grow in its time. There are quite a few varieties of the Yeti available now, but this originator really deserves its special place in cheap USB mic lore and remains the best in the Logitech range.


Audio Technica AT2020USB-XP

You may have already known Audio Technica makes great mics, which might have left you sweating over the price tag. Happily, their AT2020USB slides into the cheap USB mic multiverse as you can pick one up for around £/$100. There was also a time the AT2020 had XLR connection only, so we welcome this USB version with open arms. Built-in active noise cancelling, automatic gain control and recording all the way up to 24-bit ensure you get all the bang for your buck. Audio Technica is a serious-sounding name, and this a serious mic at an affordable price.


AKG Lyra

Meet the Lyra – the winner of a NAMM 2021 Tec Award. It’s not your average USB microphone. Wrapped up in its sleek, retro-futuristic metal casing are four condenser mic capsules, arranged in a stereo setup. Two face forward, while the other two face backward, ensuring comprehensive recording coverage. Lyra also offers four capture modes to tailor your recordings perfectly. Whether you're podcasting, recording vocals, or capturing wide ambient spaces, there's a mode for you – Front, Front & Back, Tight Stereo, and Wide Stereo. These features mean we’re not venturing into the £/$150, so get saving up if you want all these things at your disposal.


PreSonus Revelator

The PreSonus Revelator sounds more like the name for a piece of advanced sci-fi technology rather than a cheap USB mic, but we’re not complaining! This is a very strong entry in this microphone list, with its condenser mic capsule, and a feature called Loopback — this handles recording audio from an application such as Zoom for example, which is very common nowadays. But the bottom line? It sounds fantastic and offers tricks that others don’t.


Razer Seiren X

If gaming and/or streaming is your bag, having a crystal-clear voice channel is key. Whether you're coordinating with teammates in co-op games to capture the flag or talking to your following during streaming sessions, a strong but cheap USB mic can significantly enhance your experience. Now gaming bigwigs like Razer are stepping into the arena with the likes of Shure and Audio Technica. The Seiren X is compact, well-designed, and hassle-free with its integrated base – no need for extra accessories. A great price-point and does its job very admirably.


Røde Podcaster

We’ve seen some wide-ranging prices for this one, so have a good look around rather than hitting buy on the first link you see! If you have even cursory knowledge of microphones, then you’ll likely know Røde is a very respected name in this field. And for you podcasters out there, you’ll struggle to find a more specialist mic that fits within the cheap USB mic category than this one. Other mics we’ve discussed here love to show off their versatility, while this one shouts ‘I am a podcasting mic!!’ pretty loudly. In fact, despite its affordability, this mic should easily suit the needs of most budding podcasters, assuming Spotify isn't on the verge of offering you a $100 million exclusivity deal. Note that a tripod isn’t included, pads or filters and only one pickup pattern. But considering many podcasters initially record straight from their phone (hopefully this article has shown this is an avoidable scenario), you should find the quality of this mic very impressive, with excellent sound quality.


Røde PodMic USB

Sticking with Røde, this is one for those who don’t feel referring to sub-£/$200 as a cheap USB mic as blasphemy. Because, if this isn’t too great a stretch for you budget-wise, or you don’t mind a wee period of saving, then the PodMic really is a fantastic choice. Again, the name hopefully makes it clear this is for the podcasting peeps of the world, and for those of us who don't have Joe Rogan’s net worth. This microphone has consistently proven to be one of the best models for voice recording. Its included pop filter will expertly deflect those pesky ‘puh’ and ‘tuh’ sounds when you drop a plosive, and the cardioid polar pattern means there’s little need to worry about your room’s reverb or background noise (within reason). You’ll be well on the road to amazing sounding podcasts if you opt for this one.


Shure MV7

Can we squeeze Shure into a cheap USB microphone article?! Sure we can! Because, admittedly, some of you may be preparing your pitchforks with us daring to include the MV7, which is just north of £/$200, but hear us out. This more affordable version of the legendary SM7B is so worth saving up for — voiceover artists and podcasters everywhere have made this their trusted microphone, and for very good reason. You won’t come across too many dynamic mics with USB connection, and this means you don’t need to sweat recording in a room that isn’t a perfect recording space. As you would hope from the higher price point, it has a superb build quality so is a great investment for longevity. The bundled MOTIV software brings you lots of features like EQ, a compressor, auto gain and more, to make this mic sound even more special (and it does).


A top trick for reducing plosives in voice recordings with a basic USB microphone

When you buy an affordable USB mic, there’s a fair chance a pop shield/filter won’t be included, these tend to come with the more pricey mics, besides some of those just mentioned in the higher budget category. However, there is an easy way around avoiding plosives in your recording — aka when you say words like ‘top’ or even ‘plosive’, the resulting ‘tuh’ and ‘puh’ sounds can spoil the quality of your recording.

In short, you can mitigate this problem by not positioning the mic directly in front of your mouth. Instead, speak just to the side of your microphone; this directs the worst plosives away from the mic, while still picking up your voice. Another alternative is to invest into a pop-filter, which can be placed between your mouth and the microphone to catch unwanted plosives and avoid them disturbing the microphone capsule in an undesirable way.

There you have it — the very best budget USB microphones that won’t shatter your bank account. It’s time to share your voice with the world, and it can all begin with one of the mics above.

Further reading:

Best podcasting microphones

Tips for better vocal recordings