Best USB Microphones for Laptops & Chromebooks Android Central 2020
Chromebooks are more than capable laptops compared to what they used to be, and that includes better support for peripherals. USB microphones are an easy way to record audio, but with Chromebooks, the path of least resistance is to find mics that don't need drivers to run on ChromeOS. There are several that fit the bill, including the Blue Microphones Yeti and others that you can use for audio recording.
- Like a pro: Blue Microphones Yeti
- The slimmer type: Blue Microphones Yeti Nano
- Ready to travel: Samson Meteor Mic
- A snowball's chance: Blue Microphones Yeti Snowball iCE
- Game on: Tonor USB Gaming Microphone
- On a tight budget: Fifine K668 Home Studio USB Mic
The Yeti is the most popular model in the Blue Microphones lineup, and works smoothly with a Chromebook, courtesy of its plug-and-play functionality that won't require installing drivers. With four different pattern settings and a built-in headphone jack, plus the ability to connect to a broadcast boom mic, this is a solid place to start.
The Yeti Nano sheds a fair bit of size to make it less cumbersome to set up wherever you want to take your audio podcast or video call. It can do cardioid or omni pickup patterns, so it's not without some versatility in how it records sound. Blue's Sherpa desktop app may not work on Chrome OS, but the microphone is plug-and-play.
Taking a USB mic with you is easier when it's small and nimble like the Meteor Mic is. The adjustable legs help lower or angle the mic to pick up sound through the cardioid pattern, which works to pull in audio directly facing it. Quality is solid for its size and should do the trick for podcasting and video calls on the fly.
Retro styling and adjustable tripod legs give the Snowball iCE plenty of character, and you can even choose between a black or white variant. This microphone is pure plug-and-play and sticks to a cardioid pattern to pick up voices with clarity. You don't get a headphone jack, but you do get good audio bang for the buck.
This microphone doesn't require any drivers, making it an easy setup on whatever laptop you plug it into. It has a gaming focus with a cardioid pattern to pick up voices directly in front of it. That's also part of the reason why it comes with a pop filter to smooth out sibilance, along with a mount for a boom stand.
It doesn't get much simpler or affordable than this USB mic from Fifine. The microphone can tilt up to a 90-degree angle, while the stand offers plenty of lateral adjustment as well. It's also better than its price point suggests at picking up good audio quality in close quarters through its omnidirectional pickup pattern.
Which is best?
Unlike Windows and Mac, Chromebooks are limited in how well they can integrate USB mics. Plug-and-play is great, but you will need third-party software to record any content, which you may find on the Play Store. With many of us now working from home, the need for good audio equipment is more important than ever, especially with video conferencing becoming one of hte key ways we communicate.
Blue Microphones Yeti is the most versatile of the bunch because it can capture excellent quality, and offers four different pickup patterns that make it easier to use it with multiple people at the same time.
If weight or price is an issue, there's always the other options, which are smaller in stature and less of a commitment from your pocket. The Yeti Nano will do about the same job if you're mostly sticking to cardioid patterns, but it won't give you the same level of flexibility if you're looking branch out.
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