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The 8 Best USB Microphones

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Razer Seiren X, Blue Yeti, and Audio-Technica 2005USB against purple backdrop
Razer, Yeti, Audio-Technica

Finally getting tired of the subpar sound from your webcam mic? For professional recordings, it’s already a no-go, but even for video calls, webcam audio is generally hot trash. Fortunately, USB mics can deliver some solid audio quality at reasonable prices, along with a simple setup process—so let’s look at the best around.

Sherpa software, alongside the gain. The simple mic stand the Yeti comes with is fine for setting it up, but Blue also offers a dedicated boom arm mic if you need more movement (and most third-party arms will support the Yeti as well). Thanks to a combination of smart features, an elegant design, and good support among the accessory market, the Yeti is an easy choice to make.

But that’s not where the Yeti’s legacy ends, as there are a couple of other microphones under the Yeti label that, while similar to the original, offer some unique features. First up is the Nano, the Yeti’s smaller follow-up that still delivers similarly great audio—in fact, it even has a higher bit depth at 24-bit.  Besides that, the specs are extremely similar, though the Nano only supporting cardioid and omnidirectional polar patterns.

Second is the Yeti X, which is an upgraded version of the standard Yeti that offers better specs and audio, alongside a more versatile dial that can now adjust the gain. It’s a worthy upgrade if you already have a Yeti, or want something with some more features.

Best Overall

Blue Yeti

A well-garnered microphone that balances price, features, and quality excellently.

Blue Sherpa still controls your microphone gain. There are no on-device controls to speak of, nor is there a headphone jack, but considering the more casual approach to this microphone those are understandable.

And if the Snowball is still out of your price range, then the Snowball iCE lowers the price even further. This microphone is only capable of using the cardioid polar pattern and cuts down the number of condenser capsules (which, put basically, is the tech inside the microphone that actually records audio) from two to one. This does decrease audio quality overall, but the iCE still sounds fine and is more than enough for video calls.

Best Mid-Range Pick

Blue Snowball

Another option from Blue that offers some solid audio quality for a lower price.

Fifine K669B

An inexpensive mic that, while sensitive to background noise, still lives up to the price tag.

Yeti X in terms of quality—for a much higher price. It records at a max of 192 kHz, 24-bit (adjustable through Blue Sherpa), and can be switched between cardioid, bidirectional, omnidirectional, and stereo polar patterns. It also keeps the headphone output volume dial, zero-latency jack, and mute button of the standard Yeti.

But the most interesting feature of the Yeti Pro is it’s not solely a USB microphone—it also includes an XLR port. XLR is an alternative connector for microphones capable of transferring higher-quality audio signals, which makes it preferable for professional recordings. It does have some drawbacks, however. It’s more complicated and requires an audio interface to work. This feature makes the Yeti Pro a smart choice if you think you’ll want to switch to XLR in the future with the simplicity of USB to start.

Best Ultra-Premium

Blue Yeti Pro

Another mic from Blue which offers high-quality audio and a choice between USB and XLR connection.

smaller microphones released over the past few years, mostly targeted at streamers, and the Seiren X makes a compelling case for itself.

The Seiren X records at 48 kHz, 16-bit which can be adjusted alongside the gain in Razer Synapse. The most unique part of the Seiren X is the polar pattern it uses: Super Cardioid—an even more focused version of standard cardioid. This helps eliminate background noise, which is something a lot of other USB microphones struggle with. It also features a zero-latency jack, a dial for adjusting the volume, and a mute button.

Then there’s the Seiren Emote, which is extremely similar to the X but uses the “Hyper Cardioid” polar pattern, which is even more focused than Super. It also has an LED panel on the front of the microphone that can display small images and animations. This is mostly a fun alternative to the Seiren X than an upgrade per se, although you’d be forgiven for thinking the latter as the Emote is nearly twice as expensive as the X.

Small and Powerful

Razer Seiren X

A sleek and compact microphone that uses a unique polar pattern.

Elgato Wavelink, you can access a lot of features and settings that simplify the streaming experience. The main feature is you can balance and mix up to nine audio sources, including the microphone itself, games, or other programs. And then there’s the “Clipguard” setting, which automatically balances your microphone audio to avoid clipping on stream. Clipping occurs when your audio is too loud and overloads your microphone. Clipguard will ensure your audio never gets to that point by dynamically lowering the gain.

It’s a feature-packed microphone, but admittedly expensive. That’s where the Elgato Wave 1 is handy—it loses the multifunction dial and dedicated mute button, but still keeps the great functionality of Wavelink.

Versatile: Audio-Technica AT2005USB

Audio-Technica AT2005USB microphone
Audio-Technica

The final microphone on this list is one for users who want some freedom. The AT2005USB features a sampling rate of 48 kHz, 16-bit, and uses the cardioid polar pattern. So nothing too unique there, but unlike most of the other mics on this list, it has an XLR port alongside a USB. This allows you to switch from USB to XLR on the fly (assuming you have an audio interface for the XLR) and choose whether you want the simplicity of USB or higher quality audio of XLR. This is also a dynamic microphone, which means it’s more suited for recording loud noises and instruments than the other microphones here (which are all condenser mics).

Either way, the microphone still sounds pretty good for the mid-range price point, so if you want the ability to switch connector types at will, it’s an inexpensive way to do so.

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Google Enjoy Retail store to Call for Privacy Data Section, Like Apple Application Retail outlet

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Google Play Store application icon on Samsung smartphone
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Next Apple’s direct, Google will also start off necessitating applications to disclose their privacy and safety techniques in its Enjoy Keep. Google is also requiring its own applications to share this details so people will know what info is staying collected about them.

The initiative will start off sometime in 2022, and will see a new protection part included to every single app’s Perform Retailer listing. It is built to “help people today understand the information an app collects or shares, if that facts is secured, and added details that effect privacy and security. Just like Apple’s privacy diet labels, the protection area will checklist out accurately what data an application will have obtain to on your unit the moment it is downloaded. This can include things like your contacts, site, and/or bits of your individual details, this kind of as an electronic mail tackle.

Google would like application builders to offer supplemental details in context to describe how their app works by using the gathered data and how it impacts that app’s overall features. Builders should also disclose irrespective of whether any of this facts is encrypted, irrespective of whether people can decide out of any facts sharing, and regardless of whether or not it is adhering to Google’s guidelines for applications aimed at little ones. Google also ideas to be aware irrespective of whether a third party has verified all of the information and facts detailed in the basic safety section.

Google's implementation timeline for safety section
Google

By waiting until finally next calendar year to start out imposing this coverage, Google is hoping it’ll give developers enough time to put into action the changes on their close. According to a new timeline Google shared, builders can start off publishing their privacy information in the Google Enjoy Console beginning in the fourth quarter of 2021.

Consumers will start seeing safety segment facts early 2022. Google’s deadline for just about every app to include this information and facts is by the next quarter of 2022, and apps that are unsuccessful to comply by that time will be subject to policy enforcement. Developers that misrepresent facts will be expected to proper their details.

via The Verge

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