What Microphone Should I Get? USB VS. XLR

When building a home studio a question that comes up is: Should I get a usb mic or invest in an audio interface?

Usb mics have came a long way. They use to all have poor quality. Now, a usb mic has the potential to sound just as good as the average xlr mic. Does this mean a usb mic is the way to go? In this article I will discuss the differences between the two types of microphones. When you are done reading, you should have a much better understanding on this topic. So let’s begin!

Related Topic: Dynamic vs. Condenser Microphones


USB Mic VS. Audio Interface


Introducing The USB Mic:


A usb mic is much more convenient for a beginner. No audio interface is needed. Just plug and play. Usb microphones use to have terrible quality. They were meant as a cheap way to get recordings into a computer. The average usb microphone costs about $100-$150 while the average XLR microphone is a bit cheaper. Usb microphones have a built-in amplifier. Usb microphones can be a more affordable away to get into recording. If you are doing podcasts, a usb microphone would be ideal for you. If you are recording for music I’d recommend going for an XLR microphone with an interface unless you absolutely can’t afford it.


Introducing The XLR Mic:

xlr mic

To start recording with an XLR mic you need a few things. An XLR mic(obviously), an audio interface, and an XLR cable. You can pick up a decent XLR mic for around $80, an audio interface costs around $100, and an XLR cable costs $10. Sometimes an XLR cable comes with the audio interface.

So why would you want to invest more? Simple. Expandability. With an audio interface you can later get new microphones. With a usb mic, you’d have to spend more money to get a completely new microphone. Having an audio interface can save you money overtime. You could upgrade each individual part of your setup instead of spending more money on a new all-in-one usb mic.

Another reason you would invest in an XLR mic setup is quality. The best usb microphone costs around $200. You can only get so much quality out of that $200. The most expensive XLR microphone costs well over $1000. You will never see a professional studio that has a usb microphone.


In conclusion, you should definitely think about investing in an XLR microphone. You are going to need it down the road anyway.

If you can’t afford it, don’t feel discouraged. You could buy an affordable usb microphone and still have a ton of fun. If you are getting into podcasting, usb microphones will give you excellent quality. For any music related recordings, I’d highly recommend an XLR microphone.

So there you have it! I hope you learned a thing or two.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comment section below!


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