Oct 10, 20161049 views

Little help about mics and usb vs xlr

ok. so im a newb at mics n stuff. i want a nice mic like a yeti or AT2020 or that V67G MD1 Bundle. (V67 is the most prefered)
should i get one of these? i would also like to know if i was to get the at2020 or yeti if i should get the XLR version and get an audio interface or if i should just get the USB Version.

Any and all help very much appreciated!
Also im in the UK.
AlexPk and calvinmd

Thanks for the replies everyone. this post is quite old but recently i went to university doing a Technical Theatre degree so i get to use a lot of analogue and digital desks and now im very familiar with basically everything sound and lighting oriented :D
You guys have helped a lot, thanks
Hi, do you know of a way which would allow me to listen through my usb dac>amp>headphones or speakers while using either a usb mic or usb interface connected to the same laptop at the same time? This has been bugging me for awhile now, as I feel the audio outputs from the usb mic and interface isn't quite up to standard. Thanks! :)
what are you going to use the mic for?
A proper interface will always make your audio better then Straight usb. the USB mic likely contains a cheap Analogue to Digital (A-D) Converter while an interface will definitely have a better one.
All audio is edited in a digital form now a days. A good rule is only to try to convert twice, once on the way in and once in playback. This will minimize the loss of detail on your audio.
"XLR mics" are a pure electrical representation of the source (diaphragm of the microphone pickup). Analog - No converter. USB is digital but at some sample frequency (44.1, 48, 96, 128, etc. ) with a converter. Remember both the original audio source to the mic and the ultimate destination (your ears) are analog. The only reason to convert at any point to digital is to change the source (add reverb, EQ, compression, limiting, delay, doubling, flanging, etc.) you can always do that to your analog source in Logic or Pro Tools, GB, etc. but why use a relatively cheap converter built in to the mics' USB spec rather than a high quality ADC? I would always choose XLR.
Both are good. You can buy anyone of them.
Simply put:
Plug and Play - USB XLR - You need a mixer, this is also higher quality. (Check out Behringer's selection)
I have the razor siren which is just the blue yeti rebrand. Was wondering the same thing when I was buying… I recommend you to watch some YouTube comparisons, but focus on one particular model between USB and xlr rather than everything. It's probably better that you arrive at your own conclusion by listening...
For me, I went with USB and spent the extra dollars on a nice boom-arm instead of buying an audio interface. Have no regret to date. Assuming you are like me… since you are asking the same question, u probably don't need an audio interface nor be able to tell the difference between xlr and good quality USB mic (I can't) and also if you are into music production... probably would already have an audio interface. To give you a bit more background… I stream, game with the mic but doesn't do anything music related. Hope this helps.
Thanks alot for the comments guys. The advice is very useful. think ill go with the Audio Technika AT2020 (XLR Version) with the Komplete Audio 6 Audio Interface
Honestly depends on your future intentions. USB is great for inexpensive and easy setup. However, getting something like a Scarlett 2i2 would give you a lot of future options. In my research, it is pretty easy to find cheap, used XLR mics amongst ebay and the like. Old school classics like the Shure SM57 work regardless how old they are (unless they are damaged).
I've owned both usb and XLR. Never get USB... yup you heard me... never get USB. I'm probably gonna get shit for it.... but entry level XLR are so much better then USB for the same price. And yes you'd need a simple audio interface with 48V of phantom power to run an XLR. In terms of the 2 brands you have there.... AT2020 all the way. blue are overpriced and overhyped (my opinion) I would even go as far as to say... don't have the money for the entire kit? (XLR mic and interface) then wait and save up for it and don't buy a USB. It is a shame to get a perfectly good mic to only bottleneck it to USB, don't be that guy.

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No problem. I care too much about sound and recording, and probably not enough about anything else. Pro audio community is the main reasonI joined Massdrop. I do want to add though that I'm not a professional audio engineer or scientist of any kind and all this info is based on my personal research and experience. I have done a lot of my own recording though, and have been lucky enough to use a really wide range of mics and other recording gear at other studios.
@calvinmd I totally didn't mean to look like I was ranting. Sorta rorgot I was replying to your comment, sorry. Your title says 'engineer', meaning audio engineer?
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All good~~~ ^_^ I am just a hobbyist in music/recording.
I feel the same way about myself, I just read a lot...... Was lucky enough to take some music recording and production classes in college and they had a lot of nice gear to play with. Didn't want to pay someone else to record my music.
Completely irrelevant but I'm in the UK too. XD
I was up in Scottland a few weeks ago, beautiful place, begrudgingly I'm back in London.
USB mics are really useful for basic recording tasks such as podcasts or YouTube videos. They don't have the same audio quality that an xlr mic and an audio interface can give though. If you want to record vocals or instruments for music you should use an xlr mic. The Audio Technica 2020 comes in both a usb and xlr version and is a good entry level, inexpensive mic.
Just depends on how much money you want to spend as well. If you plan to do ANYTHING with your mic outside of going straight into the computer you should get XLR and an interface. The Focusrite Scarlett Solo very affordable and pretty decent really. In general if you can swing buying the XLR + Interface I'd recommend that, you'll just have much more versatility that way.
what are the advantages to XLR then. is it just more expensive?
The advantage of XLR over USB is QUALITY! You will never get good audio from a USB mic. The only use for a USB mic might be gaming or Skype.
If you connect your mic to a mixer or pre-amp with XLR input, you should get a XLR. If you are connecting your mic directly to your computer via USB, then go with the USB.
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Thanks for the rundown : helps alot