What Are The Differences Between XLR Vs. USB Microphones

What Are The Differences Between XLR Vs. USB Microphones

Thanks to the availability of high-quality equipment, we can easily record music in the comfort of our own homes. In fact, if you have the right microphone, you can rely on it for recording almost anything.

Still, before finding it, you’ll have to pick between an XLR vs. USB microphone. The first thing you should do is get acquainted with the differences between the two so that you can make the best decision. Let’s get started!

XLR Vs. USB connection

To start with, microphones can be categorized depending on the type of connection they feature, namely XLR and USB.

XLR Vs. USB connection

So, an analog mic features a three-pronged connection referred to as XLR. Meanwhile, a digital output microphone comes accompanied by a USB cord you can plug directly into your computer or device.

Now we’d like to discuss the primary distinctions when it comes to XLR vs. USB mic.

Introducing XLR Mics

Utilizing an analog mic featuring an XLR connection enables you to connect it to preamps, mixers, recorders, so on and so forth. Evidently, this offers more versatility and options.

Nonetheless, choosing an XLR microphone equals a more complex setting-up process.

Concurrently, unless you plan on recording to an analog tape recorder, you’ll require an audio interface. The audio interface has the role of converting the analog signal into a digital one.

Man talking on XLR Mic

Depending on the type of recording device you utilize, you might also need to use an audio interface equipped with sound or pre amp card.

Pros

  • More versatility
  • More recording options
  • Excellent sound quality

Cons

  • More expensive
  • Complicated setup
  • Requires the use of more equipment

Introducing USB Mics

There are various misconceptions regarding USB mics, one of them being that their sound quality is inferior to their analog counterparts. While this might be accurate in some situations, it’s not a universally available truth.

There are various USB microphones that deliver identical sound signature. The main distinction between the two is the performance of the interface. On a different note, a USB mic has analog-to-digital converters that may further influence the quality of the recording.

On the other hand, there is another misconception according to which USB microphones are prone to create latency problems when it comes to recording. This could be true, especially if the microphone is of poor quality. But it’s not a generally available rule.

Blue Yeti USB Microphone - Silver

On the whole, USB microphones are preferred due to their convenience, affordability, and the fact that they are simple to use. Additionally, considering that you won’t need to invest in an audio interface, you keep your costs low.

Pros

  • Convenience
  • Affordability
  • ​Ease of use
  • Less of a learning curve

Cons

  • Bullet Point 1
  • Bullet Point 2

Processing live effects may be difficult, if not impossible.

Some USB mics have compatibility issues.

USB Vs. XLR Mic - Which One Should You Choose

On a final note, we cannot say that any of these is the best microphone out there that will address the needs of each recorder. That’s the fundamental reason why we can choose from an extensive range of products: because each user has distinct needs.

If you’re still clueless after reading our article on the differences between an XLR vs. USB microphone, take your time to establish your priorities, budget, and expectations, and choose subsequently.

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