HUSTLR Awards for

Best Microphones

A microphone is one of the most crucial components of an audio recording kit. Whether you’re a podcaster, musician, or YouTuber, you’d swear by the importance of selecting the right microphone. However, the overwhelming variety of microphones available in the market will leave you spoilt for choice. That’s why we’ve curated our top picks for microphones in various categories.

Here’s how we shortlisted the top contenders and selected the winners:

BEST USB MICROPHONE

Audio Technica’s AT2020USB+ comes with a high-quality 16-bit A/D converter. It also includes built-in volume and gain controls. Additionally, it includes a Mix option that lets you combine the recorded signal with pre-recorded audio files.

It’s great for diverse recording environments including home studios. Its rugged build makes it easy to carry around. Moreover, it’s compatible with various devices and operating systems. It comes with a decent tripod stand and a padded carrying case.

  • Superior audio quality
  • In-built headphone jack for latency-free monitoring
  • Easy to set up and use
  • Impressive frequency response and transient response
  • Low self-noise
  • A fixed cardioid polar pattern for excellent sound isolation
  • Picks up keyboard clicks and CPU fan noise
  • Tripod stand is slightly difficult to balance
  • A variety of polar patterns would have made it more versatile

HUSTLR analyzed more than 15 USB microphones. We evaluated various factors including the price, features, and add-ons of each microphone.

We selected AT2020USB+ as the winners because the microphone is beginner-friendly, can be used in multiple recording environments, and is compatible with different operating systems. It also produces supreme quality audio, is affordable, and sturdy.

Apart from these ratings, our team considered how well a microphone fulfilled a user’s needs. We looked into user reviews available across various online platforms. Additionally, we interacted with content creators who have the first-hand experience of using these microphones.

BEST XLR MICROPHONE

The Shure SM7B is a premium dynamic XLR microphone that is suitable for vocalists, broadcasters, musicians, and podcasters. It’s been designed to reproduce smooth, warm, and crystal-clear vocals. It includes a built-in windscreen, “air suspension” shock mount, and a pop filter.

It also comes with an easy-to-use yoke mounting bracket and a detachable A7WS windscreen. The cardioid pickup pattern and wide frequency range (from 50Hz to 20kHz) make it ideal for a professional recording setup. Even though it’s slightly pricey, the aesthetic design and impressive audio quality justify the cost.

  • Suitable for recording vocals as well as music
  • Flat and wide-range frequency response
  • Cardioid polar pattern maximizes off-axis rejection
  • Internal air suspension system eliminates mechanical noise
  • Minimizes electromagnetic hum from studio equipment
  • Rugged construction guarantees longevity and reliability
  • Price is on the higher side
  • Requires a preamp
  • Bulky (less easy to carry around)

HUSTLR reviewed more than 20 XLR microphones from various reputed brands. We analyzed various factors including price, features, accessories, durability, versatility, and overall utility.

We selected SM7B as it can adapt well to the growing needs of a user and can be used in various recording environments and comes with great accessories. It also records great audio and is sturdy and gives good value for money.

Apart from the ratings, our team considered whether a microphone fulfilled or exceeded a user’s expectations. We looked into user reviews available across various online platforms. Additionally, we interacted with musicians, sound recordists, and podcasters who have first-hand experience of using these microphones.

BEST GENERAL USE MICROPHONE

A great general-purpose microphone is one that offers a wide range of versatile features at an affordable price. Rode NT1, with its wide frequency response and ultra-low noise, perfectly fits the bill. It’s an XLR condenser microphone with a large 1-inch diaphragm.

It uses Rycote’s Lyre system to suspend the transducer. This makes it immune to external vibrations and mechanical noise. It also includes a high-quality built-in pop shield. Moreover, it’s coated with a military-grade ceramic layer to make it durable and long-lasting.

  • Produces crisp and warm vocals
  • Suitable for vocals as well as musical instruments
  • Low self-noise of only 4.5dB (A)
  • Designed to minimize external vibrations
  • Aesthetic design and rugged construction
  • Extensive frequency response
  • Requires a 48V phantom power supply
  • Expensive for beginners

HUSTLR reviewed more than 30 dynamic and condenser from various reputed brands. We analyzed various factors including features, uses, accessories, durability, and price.

NT1 is a versatile microphone that comes with loads of accessories and is sturdy enough to work in most environments. It’s also light on the pocket and can suit a variety of needs.

Apart from these ratings, our team also analyzed how well a microphone fulfilled a user’s needs and expectations. We looked into user reviews available across various online platforms. Additionally, we interacted with musicians and content creators who have the first-hand experience of using these microphones.

BEST OUTDOOR RECORDING MICROPHONE

The Rode VideoMic GO is a sturdy and compact directional shotgun microphone that is suitable for vloggers, YouTubers, filmmakers, and podcasters. Its super-cardioid polar pattern eliminates ambient noise. It ensures that the mic only records from the source directly in front of it.

The microphone includes a built-in Rycote Lyre shock mount that isolates it from mechanical noise. It comes with a windscreen and can be easily mounted on a camera. Moreover, it can be powered by your camera’s external microphone, thus eliminating the need for an external power source.

  • Records clear, crisp, and directional audio
  • Easy to set up and use
  • Doesn’t require any batteries
  • In-built shock mount isolates it from sudden bumps and vibrations
  • Lightweight and compact design
  • Rugged ABS construction
  • Overall bass quality could be better
  • In-line power drain camera battery fairly fast
  • No XLR output

HUSTLR reviewed more than 20 lavalier, shotgun, and dynamic microphones. We analyzed various factors including features, portability, durability, pickup pattern, and price.

We selected Videomic GO as the winner due to its capability of isolating the audio signal from surrounding sounds and background noise. It also provides great portability and is easy to use. This makes it a great fit for the outdoors.

Apart from these ratings, our team also analyzed how well a microphone fulfilled the needs of new-age filmmakers and podcasters. We looked into user reviews available across various online platforms. Additionally, we interacted with YouTubers, vloggers, and video producers who have the first-hand experience of using these microphones.

BEST PORTABLE MICROPHONE

The Samson Go Mic is a pocket-friendly and hassle-free USB condenser microphone that is suitable for podcasting, streaming, gaming, etc. It’s compatible across a wide range of Windows and Mac devices. All you have to do is attach it to your computer using the in-built clip and plug it in using a USB cable.

The availability of dual pickup patterns (cardioid and omnidirectional) makes it versatile. It’s suitable for recording interviews and podcasts as well as conferences. Moreover, it packs all these features in less than $50.

  • Lightweight and compact design
  • Supports multiple pickup patterns
  • Easily mountable on computer monitors
  • Built-in headphone amplifier enables real-time monitoring
  • Plug-and-play microphone
  • Picks up ambient noise
  • Requires an external pop filter

HUSTLR evaluated more than 30 USB and XLR microphones. We analyzed various factors including versatility, weight, design, compatibility, and ease-of-use.

Go Mic was selected as the winner because of its versatility, ease of setting up, value for money, and portability. You can seamlessly carry this microphone around without any hassle.

Apart from these ratings, our team also analyzed how well a microphone performed in different recording environments. We looked into user reviews available across various online platforms. Additionally, we interacted with podcasters, gamers, and YouTubers who have the first-hand experience of using these microphones.

BEST MICROPHONE FOR PHONES

The Rode VideoMic Me is a shotgun directional microphone that can be easily connected to your smartphone. You just have to plug its built-in 3.5mm TRRS output into your phone’s headphone socket. It includes a built-in flexible mounting bracket that lets you use it with both the front and rear cameras.

The microphone is suitable for podcasts, YouTube videos, and live streams. Moreover, it has a 3.5mm headphone jack that lets you monitor or playback the audio without removing the microphone. It also comes with a high-quality furry windshield.

  • Cardioid polar pattern ensures excellent audio quality
  • Built-in headphone jack simplifies real-time monitoring and playback
  • Compact and lightweight
  • Easy to use
  • Sturdy and adjustable mounting bracket
  • No volume and gain controls
  • Doesn’t come with a storage case

HUSTLR evaluated more than 15 lavalier and shotgun microphones. We analyzed various factors including frequency response, audio quality, ease-of-use, and price.

We selected VideoMic Me as the winner due to its ease of setup and accessories. It can be easily used with your phone and eliminates background voice well. It’s also affordable for the average buyer.

Apart from these ratings, our team also evaluated how well the microphone fulfilled the needs of different users including podcasters, YouTubers, and influencers. We looked into user reviews available across various online platforms.

BEST MICROPHONE FOR PODCASTS

The Blue Yeti Pro is a condenser microphone that offers both USB and XLR outputs. What makes it great for podcasting is the in-built pattern selector that lets you switch among different pickup patterns. While the bidirectional mode is great for interviews, the cardioid pattern is more suitable for solo podcasts.

The best part is that it’s a standalone microphone that doesn’t need any audio interface or mixer to start recording. It’s also compatible with various Windows and Mac devices.

  • Four different pickup patterns (stereo, cardioid, omnidirectional, and bidirectional)
  • Extensive frequency response (15hZ – 22kHz)
  • Supports both USB and XLR outputs
  • Built-in gain, volume, and mute controls
  • Built-in headphone amplifier enables real-time monitoring
  • Bulky; not suitable for a portable setup
  • Small and unstable mic stand

HUSTLR evaluated more than 20 USB and XLR microphones (both condenser and dynamic mics). We analyzed various factors including frequency response, ease-of-use, price, versatility, and durability.

Yeti Pro is a winner due to its superior audio quality that helps with podcasting. It can also work with various setups and comes with numerous accessories too. It can also seamlessly adapt to your growing needs.

Apart from these ratings, our team also evaluated how well a microphone fulfilled the needs of different podcasters. We looked into user reviews available across various online platforms. We also consulted many podcasters who have the first-hand experience of using these microphones.

BEST MICROPHONE FOR YOUTUBE

If you want your YouTube videos to have crystal-clear audio, Sennheiser MKE 600 is your best bet. It’s a highly-directional shotgun XLR microphone that’s great for recording vocals and musical instruments. Its compact and sleek design makes it suitable for vlogging too.

The microphone comes with a sturdy shock mount that can be used to attach it to your camera. It also includes a foam windscreen and built-in switchable low-pass filter that eliminate wind noise. It can run on a battery as well as 48V phantom power.

  • Crystal-clear audio output
  • Supercardioid polar pattern eliminates off-axis sounds
  • Can be mounted on DSLR cameras as well as boom arms
  • Suitable for both indoor and outdoor recording
  • Phantom and battery-powered
  • Provides only XLR output; need a specific adapter to connect with a camera
  • Higher price point

HUSTLR reviewed more than 20 lavalier, shotgun, and condenser microphones. We analyzed various factors including frequency response, versatility, accessories, and price.

MKE 600 is the winner for the best YouTube microphone because of its stellar audio quality and camera mounting capabilities. It also has great accessories and can cancel unwanted sounds with ease, making it ideal for YouTubers.

Apart from these ratings, our team also analyzed how suitable a microphone is for different types of YouTubers. We looked into user reviews available across various online platforms. We also consulted many YouTubers who have first-hand experience of using these microphones.

BEST MICROPHONE FOR STREAMING

The Blue Yeti Nano packs the best features of the original Blue Yeti USB microphone, albeit in a smaller body. You can start using the microphone right after you plug it into your computer using a USB cable. Moreover, it supports 24-bit audio at 32, 44.1, and 48kHz, thus ensuring that the output is of the best quality.

You can use the pattern selector to switch between the cardioid and omnidirectional modes. It’s suitable for both entry-level as well as experienced gamers and content creators.

  • Plug-and-play microphone
  • Compatible with Mac and Windows devices
  • Supports dual pickup patterns (cardioid and omnidirectional)
  • Zero-latency monitoring
  • Built-in volume and mute controls
  • Compact design (occupies lesser desk space)
  • No gain controls
  • No built-in pop filter

HUSTLR reviewed more than 25 USB and XLR microphones from various reputed brands. We analyzed various factors including ease-of-use, audio quality, compatibility, and price.

Yeti Nano was selected as the winner due to its ease of setup and compatibility with a wide variety of devices. It delivers stellar audio quality and has all controls you’d need. Lastly, it comes with great accessories too.

Apart from these ratings, our team looked into user reviews available across various online platforms. We also consulted many gamers and YouTubers who have first-hand experience of using these microphones.

Conclusion

Whether you’re a digital content creator or an avid gamer, selecting the right microphone is a crucial step. That’s why our team reviewed more than 50 USB, XLR, dynamic, and condenser microphones to help you make an informed decision. We evaluated the microphones based on different parameters such as versatility, durability, compatibility, etc. We also analyzed technical specifications including frequency response, polar patterns, sound pressure level (SPL), etc.

Additionally, we consulted various real-life users including experienced YouTubers, podcasters, vloggers, gamers, and influencers. While our team used ratings to shortlist the top five picks in each subcategory, the final decision was made based on how a microphone fulfilled the user’s need. Weighing the features and accessories against the price was also a crucial part of the decision-making process.

Our Methodology for Best Microphones Award

How We Shortlisted the Top Contenders:

HUSTLR reviewed more than 50 microphones to cover the different subcategories. For each subcategory, our team shortlisted between 10 and 30 contenders based on the following criteria:

  • User-level – How does the microphone cater to the needs of entry-level, intermediate, and experienced users
  • Affordability – Is the microphone affordable for its target users
  • Versatility – How effective is the microphone in different recording environments
  • Compatibility – Is the microphone compatible with different types of devices?
  • Ease of use – What kind of additional hardware or software is needed to start using the microphone?

Additionally, our team considered specific parameters depending on the subcategory. For instance, weight and design were taken into account for portable microphones. Likewise, frequency response and pickup patterns were evaluated for podcasting microphones. We also reviewed when the microphones had been launched and how they’d aged over time.

How We Selected the Winners:

Once the top contenders for a subcategory were shortlisted, our team assigned ratings (between 1 and 5) to each microphone. The criteria for assigning these ratings were based on the subcategory. Each subcategory included 5 or 6 rating parameters. Here are some of the common parameters:

  • Audio quality – How good is the microphone’s audio reproduction capability
  • Accessories – Does the microphone come with high-quality pop filters, mic stands, etc.?
  • Value for money – Do the features and accessories justify the cost?

Based on these ratings, we selected the top 5 microphones for each subcategory. Thereafter, our team analyzed the overall usefulness of each microphone. We focussed on determining whether a microphone succeeded in fulfilling the needs of different types of users. For instance, to select the best XLR microphone, we analyzed how each mic suited the preferences of podcasters, musicians, and sound recordists.

How We Validated the Winners:

Each winner was validated based on user reviews available on various online platforms. Our team also verified the technical specifications and reviews on the manufacturer’s website. Additionally, we frequently consulted content creators, gamers, musicians, etc. who’ve had the first-hand experience of using these microphones.

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