Microphones Basics: How to Use a USB Microphone to Capture Professional Voice Recordings

September 29, 2021 3 min read

We often hear from customers who want to get started recording a podcast, but are kind of baffled at the technology. If you’ve never recorded anything besides a voice memo on your phone, the idea of jumping into the world of recording equipment can be intimidating. 

The good news is, if you’re hoping to record audio for a podcast, you only really need one piece of equipment: a good microphone.

There are many great options for microphone options, but in this post we’ll focus on a practical mic that will get you from unboxing to recording, and show you why a USB microphone for voice recording might be your best option for your new podcast. 

USB microphones are an excellent choice for anyone who is starting a podcast or beginning their recording journey. They are standalone and don’t require any other equipment besides a laptop or desktop computer or ever your smartphone. 

While traditional microphones require an interface, a device that converts the analog signal captured by the microphone into digital information that can be processed by a computer, a USB mic can transfer recorded audio directly through your computer’s USB port.

To get started using aUSB microphone for voice recording, connect via your computer’s USB port. Once you’re plugged in, go to your internal audio settings, and select the USB microphone from the available “Audio inputs.”  The default setting for the computer will often be something like “Built-in microphone.”

Now you’re ready to open whatever music program you use to record and edit.  We’ll do a deep dive on some great audio editing software in the next blog post, but Gargeband, Audacity, and Anchor are good programs if you’re looking for a free or low cost DAW (digital audio workstation) to use with yourUSB microphone for voice recording.

In your DAWs setting, you’ll also need to select the USB microphone as your audio input. Now you’re ready to hit record and start capturing your hilarious or informative or spooky podcast. 

Movo offers a number of excellent options for USB mics, ranging from mics that are perfect for beginners on a budget, to offerings with a whole suite of features. 

Starting off our UM line of USB condenser microphones, is our brand newUM300 mini USB microphone. With a compact design and super functional features, this mic is perfect for a brand new podcast producer on the go. 

The UM300 features two polar patterns: cardioid, which focuses on sound directly in front of the mic, and omnidirectional, which will pick up in a full 360 degree around the microphone capsule. Using an omnidirectional pattern is great if you’re looking to record multiple people, but only have one microphone. 

If you’re looking for a USB microphone with even more versatility, our UM700 andUM800 offer 4 distinct polar patterns.  They both feature Cardioid and Omnidirectional patterns, as well as Stereo, which is excellent for recording music, and Figure 8, which provides two polar patterns on either side of the microphone while blocking sound in the middle, perfect for capturing a conversation with limited outside noise. 

The UM700 connects to laptop and desktop computers via a USB cable. If you want to take your podcast on the go, you might want to consider the UM800, which includes three cable options, including USB for recording with a computer, lightning cable to record directly to your iPhone or iOs device, or USB-C for connecting to Android USB-C devices. 

USB microphones are a great way to quickly and easily record your podcast. For more info, check outour video on picking a podcast microphone, and our whole How-to video series on podcasting.

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