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Best Microphone Reviews UK 2021 – Top 10 Comparison

Have you been spending more time on virtual calls lately? Or maybe you took the plunge and started that vlog or YouTube channel you dreamed up. From gaming and live streaming to recording music and attending virtual meetings, clear audio is more important than ever.

Unfortunately, the mics built into our computers and gaming systems leave a lot to be desired. Even the best platforms neglect audio features to the detriment of all users.

Purchasing an external microphone is your best bet, but with so many options, how do you know what to get? Read on for our top picks and a buyer’s guide to help you decide on the best microphone for you!

Best Microphone Reviews – Top 10 Picks

1. Blue Snowball iCE (Editor’s Choice)

Blue Snowball iCE

The Blue Snowball iCE uses cutting edge technology to deliver impressively clear audio, and it does so in a chic retro package. It’s an upgrade to your computer’s built-in microphone and works wonders for recording vocals, streaming, and conference calls.

Features

Reminiscent of a vintage microphone, the Blue Snowball iCE uses a modern cardioid pickup pattern to capture sound. It comes in white or black and includes an adjustable tripod for your desktop so that you can set it up just the way you like. One of the best things about this USB mic is that it screws into the stand for a more stable connection.

The Blue Snowball iCE is compatible with Mac and PC devices that have USB ports. It works without any extra software or the need to install extra drivers on your computer, just plug it in and get to work. The frequency response is 40 -18 kHz, and it has a sample rate of 44.1 kHz/16 bit.

We love this microphone because it’s easy to use, and the retro look is appealing, but it may not be the best option for everyone. Since it captures omnidirectional sound, some people may pick up too much ambient noise during live calls. This issue mainly occurs because the stand isn’t tall enough to achieve an optimal angle.

Pros:
  • Uses a custom condenser capsule to deliver crystal clear audio
  • Convenient plug and play setup that’s compatible with Mac and PC via a USB cable
  • Chic, classic design that’s available in black or white
  • Includes an adjustable desktop stand with tripod design
  • Skype and Discord certified
Cons:
  • It may be too large for some setups, especially since it needs to be close to you
  • Might pick up too much extraneous noise in some settings

2. Blue Yeti (Luxury Choice)

Blue Yeti

The Yeti is Blue’s top of the line microphone, and may be the best microphone for recording. Though there are several versions, the base Blue Yeti X microphone delivers excellent audio quality and an array of features, including four modes to work with. If you don’t love how the Yeti X looks in your studio, you can even upgrade to another version.

Features

The best selling point for the Blue Yeti X is the unique side-address design that makes it capable of taking sound from multiple angles. This USB microphone is known as a multi-pattern because you can choose between four different polar patterns depending on how you want to use your mic.

Blue accomplished this feat with a proprietary tri-capsule design. Choose the cardioid mode for podcasting, streaming, or webinars, then switch gears to stereo mode for recording instruments. The omnidirectional mode picks up sound from all directions, which works well for conference calls. Finally, choose bidirectional mode for a duet or two-person interview.

It comes with a sturdy stand, but feel free to mount the Blue Yeti X to an arm if you prefer. Setup is easy with a USB connection and multiple, intuitive controls. If you like to listen as you record, there is a 3.5-millimeter headphone jack.

Unfortunately, while the Yetis is a high-end microphone, it may be too sensitive for some setups. It also lacks a volume limiter to manage peak sounds.

Pros:
  • Delivers some of the best audio quality available
  • Durable construction with options to connect to multiple attachments
  • Multi-pattern mic capable of cardioid, stereo, omnidirectional, and bidirectional polarities
  • Delivers a frequency response of 20 Hz to 20 kHz and sample rate of 48 kHz
  • Multiple colour options to choose from
Cons:
  • It may be too sensitive for some
  • There may be no volume limiter which can impact the quality of some recordings

3. TONOR Dynamic Karaoke (Best Value)

TONOR Dynamic Karaoke

If you need the best budget mic, TONOR makes a dynamic mic that adapts to work with almost any machine. Don’t let the basic design fool you. This vocal mic proves that you can get great audio quality with even the best value options on the market.

Features

Unlike the USB microphones on this list, this mic has an XLR connector. It features an easy on-off switch, a lightweight but durable design, and a reasonably long cord. For users looking for a classic microphone design, especially for recording vocals, it’s tough to beat this one by TONOR.

It’s tempting to dismiss this as a pure karaoke mic, and maybe one of the best microphones for vocals. However, this particular TONOR product is plenty versatile with some decent power. The frequency response is 80Hz to 12 kHz and uses a super-cardioid polar pattern. With a proper stand or arm, you can work wonders.

No product is perfect, and this microphone is no exception. While the sound quality is decent, the lead leaves something to be desired. You may want to do a cord upgrade to make the most of the mic.

Pros:
  • Sturdy, durable construction that’s not too heavy
  • No batteries necessary, just plug and go
  • Delivers quality sound
  • Features a cardioid pickup
  • Includes a foam mic cover
Cons:
  • You may need to upgrade the lead to make the most of your microphone
  • There may be some quality control issues with this version

4. Yanmai Professional (Best Desktop)

Yanmai Professional

Yanmai created a solid USB mic for those seeking quality sound in a compact desktop microphone. It comes with plenty of features, including noise reduction to limit the impact of background sounds for a higher quality relay. Some would argue that it’s the best studio microphone for this reason.

Features

Plug it in and get started with no downtime for driver installation or software updates. This microphone is best for desktop use with the adjustable tripod, but you can remove it from the stand to go mobile. Additionally, Yanmai added a 360-degree flexible gooseneck in this version to give you plenty of room to adjust the mic to the perfect angle.

For sound, it’s tough to complain since it comes with great accessories, noise reduction technology, and a high-sensitivity capacitance mark. This condenser microphone does a fine job of recording vocals, delivering quality recordings, and live streaming audio with a flat frequency response for 20 Hz to 20 kHz.

There’s a good reason we chose this product as our best desktop microphone because it works wonderfully for that setup. However, this may not be the best option for every studio setup, and though it’s marketed for gaming, it isn’t compatible with Xbox systems.

Pros:
  • USB microphone makes for quick and easy setup for use with a Mac or PC
  • Comes with a universal shock mount and pop filter to ensure clear audio
  • Built-in noise reduction
  • Versatile microphone allows you to work almost anywhere
Cons:
  • The mount may not work for everyone depending on your setup
  • It may not work with older computers and may not work with phones or Xbox systems

5. YOTTO Professional Studio (Best Professional)

YOTTO Professional Studio

When you crave professional studio sound but require something easy to use, it may be time to look at YOTTO. This microphone looks the part, but more importantly, it also records great audio.

Features

This condenser mic has the best professional setup for home studios considering the quality sound chip that delivers a sample rate of 192 kHz/24 bit. You also have several options for noise reduction to get the crystal clear audio you want, including a pop filter. Add the foam windscreen to limit interference from wind and saliva.

The setup is as easy as other USB microphones, and you can choose which accessories to add on. Since the microphone attaches to a movable arm, you can easily clamp it to almost anything to find the best angles and height for you.

We didn’t find many complaints about this microphone. However, it would be nice to have a volume control or at least a mute button on the device. Also, some users reported background noise when typing.

Pros:
  • Professional studio look and feel to set the scene wherever you work
  • Includes multiple accessories to get the sound quality you desire
  • Clamps to the edge of your desk for convenient placement
  • Exceptional ambient noise reduction capabilities
Cons:
  • It might help to have mute and volume buttons on the mic
  • Depending on your arrangement, you may pick up static or incidental background feedback

6. TONOR TC-777 Gaming

TONOR TC-777 Gaming

TONOR touts this microphone, the TC-777, as the best microphone for gaming. This USB mic comes with a full gaming kit and audio interface features compatible with desktops, laptops, and the PS4 gaming system. It’s a desktop device but doesn’t have to remain in the stand.

Features

This USB microphone comes ready to roll in every way – no assembly required! It’s lightweight and portable at just nine inches tall and only 12.2 ounces. The mic comes attached to its sturdy tripod stand that happens to have rubber ball feet, so you don’t have to worry about damaging your desk. You can easily adjust the stand to best meet your needs.

Built-in technology dampens extraneous noise to optimize your experience for gaming, streaming, or engaging in meetings. You don’t need extra software or drivers to operate this mic on Windows, macOS, or Linux operating systems. You get a sample rate of 44.1 kHz/16 bit and a polar pattern of 100 Hz to 16 kHz.

Even though this USB microphone is touted as a gaming microphone, it’s not compatible with Xbox systems. There also seem to be some quality control issues since some users noted the microphone randomly stopped working.

Pros:
  • Comes with a shock mount to minimize incidental disturbances
  • Use the mic in the stand, in your hand, or mount it on a separate accessory
  • Chic, low-profile design
  • Cardioid pickup means you get crisp, bright audio
  • Easy to install and use with most platforms
Cons:
  • There may be some quality control issues
  • It may not be compatible with Xbox systems or mobile devices, including tablets

7. Trust Gaming GXT 232 Mantis

Trust Gaming GXT 232 Mantis

Though Trust Gaming touts this as a gaming mic and possibly the best microphone for streaming. It’s quite versatile because of the noise dampening features of the audio interface. It’s an easy install for most systems, including Xbox, but you need an adapter if you work on a Mac.

Features

The GXT 232 Mantis is one of the more versatile USB microphones on this list. It’s compatible with almost every device, and you can use it on the stand, as a handheld vocal mic, or with a mount of your choosing.

This USB microphone manages to deliver solid quality. It has many of the same features as higher-end mics, and it’s reasonably reliable. Expect a frequency response of 50 Hz -16000 Hz. Plus, the omnidirectional pattern picks up audio from more directions so you can move around or include multiple people.

There isn’t much to complain about with this microphone, and most people seem to like it. However, you need to purchase an adapter to use it with a Mac, and the stand isn’t as high-quality as it could be. Additionally, we saw a handful of complaints about the pop filter attachment failing.

Pros:
  • Sleek, shock-proof design
  • Easy setup for PCs, laptops, PS4, PS5, and Xbox Series X
  • Includes a pop filter to minimize unwanted noises
  • Use with the included tripod, as a handheld mic, or with alternate rigging
  • Uses an omnidirectional pickup pattern
Cons:
  • If you have a Mac, you may need an adapter to use this mic
  • There may be some quality control issues with attachments moving or falling off during normal use

8. Razer Seiren X

Razer Seiren X

For people who prefer condenser microphones, Razer’s Seiren X is a solid option with some helpful features, like a mute button. The chic design is appealing and low-profile, so it doesn’t take up too much space on your desk.

Features

One of the best features is the super-cardioid pickup pattern. The Seiren X records at a tighter angle than cardioid mics, so it may be the best condenser microphone on the market. It eliminates more background noise for a clearer audio relay. Expect a frequency response of 20 Hz to 20 kHz and a sample rate of 24-bit 192kHz.

In some ways, the Razer Seiren X is similar to the Blue Yeti because you can select your polar pattern. Choose stereo, cardioid, bi-directional, or omnidirectional depending on your needs.

Though it’s a superficial detail, one of the best parts about the Seiren X is choosing your color – classic black, quartz pink, or mercury white. In addition to a mute button, the Seiren X has volume controls. It uses USB connectivity and works with most devices, though some may require adapters.

It would be nice to see a better stand or a little more versatility with the setup options. It also seems to lack some of the range that other microphones have, which can lead to a muffled quality if you move too far away.

Pros:
  • Shock-resistant, compact design
  • Zero-latency, so there’s no lag between what you say and what you hear
  • Supercardioid pickup pattern means less unwanted background noise
  • Mute button conveniently located on the mic
  • Features a sound card and headphone jack for audio out
Cons:
  • May not be the best choice for gamers who like to move around or sit away from the mic
  • It may sit on a basic stand, which may not offer enough flexibility

9. SUDOTACK ST800 Professional

SUDOTACK ST800 Professional

SUDOTACK’s professional microphone offers one of the best accessory packages of any of the mics on this list. It’s a condenser microphone using a cardioid polar pattern, so you get excellent audio quality.

Features

Arguably one of the more versatile mics on this list, SUDOTACK’s product works with most systems, including iPhones (with an adapter). Speak, sing, or play into the side instead of the top of this studio condenser mic to get clear, high-resolution audio. It features a cardioid pickup pattern.

There are multiple options for arranging it to meet your needs because it comes with a stand and a boom arm. Just clamp it to the end of your desk and move it into the best position. It also features a 2.5-meter cable with a magnet ring to limit interference.

We like that it comes with a boom arm, but it’s not the sturdiest setup. While the arm can handle the mic, it struggles when you add accessories, like the pop filter. It doesn’t fall over all at once; it just gradually drops out of position over time. Also, the ST800 is not compatible with Xbox or Android phones.

Pros:
  • Compact design with versatile setup options
  • Reasonable range and reliability
  • Convenient plug and play setup that works with most systems
  • Frequency response of 30 Hz to 16 kHz and up to 192 kHz/24-bit sample rate
  • Kit includes stand, shock mount, table clamp, foam cap, USB cable, and a pop filter
Cons:
  • Boom arm may need reinforcement to support the mic and accessories
  • May not be compatible with Xbox gaming systems or Android phones

10. RODE Mini

RODE Mini

RODE’s mini microphone delivers studio-level audio and manages to look the part despite its compact design. You have a wide range of setup options for your home studio thanks to a 360-degree swing mount that works with a desktop, mic stand, or studio arm.

Features

This side-address microphone features two dials to give you control over monitoring levels and a built-in headphone jack with zero-latency monitoring. You also get some premium accessories with this vocal mic, including a pop filter to limit interference and sound spikes.

RODE opted for a cardioid polar pattern and USB connectivity. For a mini microphone, you get a frequency range that’s competitive with larger mics. Expect a range 20 Hz to 20 kHz and a sample rate of 48 kHz/24-bit.

Since it’s so compact, you can mount this mini vocal mic on the sturdy tripod stand or attach it to your own setup. It’s portable and features a ring mount for easy attachment to most devices. One cool feature for this microphone is the storage pouch to protect your mic for transport.

It’s not easy to find complaints about this microphone. However, the volume controls may be problematic for some users depending on your setup. Also, an upgrade to the plastic cover would be helpful for preventing scratches.

Pros:
  • Compact but sturdy construction
  • Versatile enough to work with multiple platforms, including some cross-platform options
  • Built-in 3.5mm headphone jack eliminates latency issues
  • Features a detachable magnetic disk to offset bumps for use on desks
Cons:
  • Volume controls may be difficult to operate while recording
  • The plastic shell could use an upgrade

Buyer’s Guide: How to Pick the Best Microphone for You

These are the best microphones we found, and many of them have similar features. To whittle down the list of finding the best microphone and make a choice for your home studios, it helps to understand some key terms. Let’s talk about everything from what a shock mount is to how a diaphragm condenser works and even cover what a form factor is.

What is a form factor? Basically, it is the physical size, shape, and layout of a mic in relation to its function. For now, let’s just stick with some basic explanations about each of these aspects because things can get quite technical.

Small Diaphragm vs. Large Diaphragm Microphones

young man having a video call

The best thing to remember when shopping for mics is that the diaphragm determines how it processes and converts audio. A small diaphragm microphone tends to catch more high-frequency audio while large diaphragm mics have more air disturbance, like the hum of speakers or other mics.

Small diaphragm condensers tend to sound more natural. On the other hand, a large diaphragm condenser provides warmth and adds a level of richness that you don’t get with the smaller version. If you want that “studio record” audio quality, you may want to choose a large diaphragm condenser to capture more of your surroundings.

A Note About Tube Mics

You may hear about tube mics during your shopping. It’s not a term frequently used in product descriptions, because the term “tube mic” refers to how a mic works. All you need to know is that a tube mic uses a vacuum tube as an impedance converter and they tend to have large diaphragm condensers.

Understanding Frequency Response

We included the frequency response for each mic on our list because it’s one of the best comparison points. Though some people can get super technical about these ranges, a general understanding of the concept should be enough to pick the best mic for you.

What Is Frequency Response?

The simplest answer is that it’s the range of frequencies that microphones can pick up. It is measured in hertz (abbreviated Hz) and kilohertz (kHz).

To put this in perspective, the audible frequency range of your human ear typically ranges from 20 Hz to 20 kHz. Most of the microphones on this list mimic this range, and the best mics exceed it.

Why Does Frequency Matter?

Gamers, live streamers, and those using microphones for casual meetings may not care as much about this aspect. However, people recording vocals and instruments usually require an impressive frequency response range to adequately capture their highs and lows.

The Differences Between Polar Pickup Patterns

If you read the above reviews and wondered what cardioid meant and why it mattered, then this section is for you. Also known as polarity, these patterns identify the way a microphone picks up audio.

Imagine your microphone as an invisible circle, a 360-degree map, that shows the strength of audio input. Each type of polar pickup would appear as a unique shape on that map to reflect the way the mics receive sound.

Cardioid

Microphones that use a cardioid polar pickup pattern only receive audio from one direction, making them perfect for recording vocals. They have a heart-shaped polar pattern that focusses on the front of the mic.

Most of the mics on this list use a cardioid pattern. It is considered an industry standard for solo users. You can get close and project to the most sensitive part of the vocal mic, so you worry less about surrounding noise to your sides and behind the mic.

Of note, some microphones use hyper-cardioid or super-cardioid patterns. These options retain the heart-shape common to a cardioid pattern but have a tighter area. They pick up more direct sounds and less ambient noises from around the mic.

Bidirectional

If you do a lot of interviews or duets, it doesn’t work well to have the focal point on one side of the microphone. You may want to choose a mic with a bidirectional polarity. The 360-degree map resembles a figure-eight shape with focal points on two sides of the mic.

Omnidirectional

Now that you know about cardioid and bidirectional polarities, it’s probably rather easy to figure out omnidirectional ranges. Choosing a microphone capable of omnidirectional polar pickup patterns receives sound equally from all sides. It’s the ideal option for conferences or including ambient noise in a recording.

Understanding Transducer Types: Dynamic Mics vs. Condenser Mics

Microphones are transducers, which means they convert sound into electrical readings. Though there are other types, people using mics for vocals usually choose dynamic mics or condenser mics.

Dynamic Mic Basics

Dynamic microphones rely on magnetics and coils to transfer and convert sound. They tend to be more durable than a condenser mic, even when you expose dynamic mics to heat and humidity. The audio signal tends to come out a little rough, but you don’t end up with distortion at higher volumes.

How Condenser Mics Work

Instead of using magnets, condenser microphones rely on charged backplates. Popularized by Audio Technica in the 1980s, the conductive receptor vibrates against the backplate and converts the sound into electrical energy.

Using a condenser mic means you end up with a smooth frequency response and clear sounds. They handle low-frequencies well and give you crisp highs. However, hot and humid settings can have a negative impact on condenser mics.

Compatibility: USB Microphone vs. XLR Mic

What ports does your device have available? The most common options are USB or XLR connections. Keep in mind, even if you have USB ports, if you have to unplug another device to plug in your mic, you may want to choose one with an XLR cable.

USB Microphones

man playing video games

USB microphones are easiest to set up since you just plug the cord into the port on your device and start. However, it’s challenging to record multiple USB mics on one device. Most home studios can’t support more than one USB mic.

XLR Microphones

XLR mics remained the industry standard for podcasters, radio pros, and rock bands because of the sound quality. They use a cable with male and female connectors designed to deliver high-quality audio. You gain a lot of flexibility with XLR cables, but you may need additional equipment to record.

A Word About Phantom Power

Phantom power refers to the voltage running through two pins on an XLR cable. It’s known as phantom power because it uses the same cord as the audio. A condenser mic needs phantom power to reduce impedance. A dynamic mic can use phantom power, but they don’t need it to function.

Additional Features and Accessories

Each microphone comes with different features and accessories that may make them better suited for certain setups or tasks.

Stands and Boom Arms

How do you want to set up your microphone? Setting it on your desk requires a stand or a clamp and arm. If you hope to go mobile at some point, you will want one that’s detachable so you can hold it in your hand and move around.

Many mic stands include a shock mount to mitigate certain sounds and movement of the surface. If your stand doesn’t have one, you may want to upgrade for the best results. Tripods and adjustable stands tend to be the best options because you can move them around enough to find the optimal recording angle. Plus, in a studio setting, it helps with aesthetics.

Boom arms offer something different because they don’t take up space on your desk, you can move the mic out of your way, and they often provide better angles. However, not all arms are durable enough to hold a mic and all accessories you use, so it’s a good idea to do your research before buying one.

Pop Filters

Several of the mics on our list include pop filters. These handy little accessories don’t look like much, usually a circular device attached to a flexible wire that you connect to your mic setup, but they work wonders on sound quality.

These accessories, also known as pop shields or screens, filter excess noise. As you might guess from their name, these accessories mitigate the popping noises caused by fast-moving air on the mic.

Best of Luck Choosing Your Next Microphone

That was a lot of information about mics! You should have everything you need to decide on the best microphone for your studio. Just take the time to consider your options, including your preferences and workspace before choosing a product.

Of course, if you’re still not sure what mic to choose, we suggest Blue’s Snowball iCE as the best microphone you can get. It’s super easy to set up and delivers quality audio. Plus, the fun retro design looks great in every setting.

We would love to hear your opinion on the best microphones available. Leave a comment below to share your thoughts about your favourite mic!

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