Skip to content


USB vs XLR Microphones – Differences? Better?

Choosing a microphone can be difficult because there are so many different mic types and features to consider. Before you know it, you’ve lost all sense of direction and are right back where you started.

While a USB microphone only requires a USB cable to connect to a computer and generate sound, an XLR microphone (as you might have guessed) takes an XLR connector to transform sound energy into electrical energy. These might seem like insignificant distinctions, but there are significant variances in their functions and the tools required to utilize them, so you may find one that is far more suited to your own requirements.

How Do XLR Microphones Work?

The type of microphone you will probably encounter most frequently is an XLR one. If you’ve ever been in a recording studio, it’s probable that you saw XLR leads coiled up and put on a wall. You’ll have seen them utilized countless times in the studio and on stage. Three tiny sockets and three prongs are the standard configurations of an XLR lead.

How Do USB Microphones Work?

Almost entirely XLR microphones were used up until about 2005. That is, up to the advent of the USB microphone. An XLR microphone and a USB microphone both operate on a similar principle, but a USB microphone simply uses a USB lead to transform sound into a digital signal that can be input into a computer.

The only skill required to use a USB microphone is to insert it into your computer or laptop; that’s really all there is to it. A USB microphone can be used to record without an audio interface, which is why they are becoming more and more common due to their inexpensive cost, simplicity of usage, and functionality.

USB vs XLR Microphone – Which is better?

This genuinely depends on your situation. A USB might be the best option for you if you want something that is easy to plug in and utilize. However, an XLR microphone with an audio interface is definitely more appropriate if you’re a singer trying to record clear, high-quality voices.

In addition, there are a few other things to consider. For instance, you might discover that your USB microphone isn’t as durable as an XLR microphone. Normally, any breakages or problems necessitate the purchase of a whole new microphone. On the plus side, USB microphones may be rather inexpensive, so it’s not the end of the world if yours needs to be replaced.

On the other hand, XLR microphones might be more durable but will probably cost more money, in addition to the expense of an audio interface and any extras like a pop shield, mic stand, and XLR lead. An XLR microphone will typically provide better quality than a USB microphone and be much more suited for music production.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Do XLR Mics Sound Better Than USB Mics?

It is a little misleading to declare unequivocally that all XLR microphones have better audio quality than USB microphones. After all, an extremely cheap XLR microphone might sound awful. However, in most cases the components are of a higher caliber, and the addition of an audio interface or preamp can add coloration that the listener will find much more pleasing.

Additionally, there is more room for customisation. For instance, many microphones have switchable polar patterns that allow the user to alter the direction in which sound is captured. They also frequently have high pass filters that can help cut down on background noise and pads that can be used to tame overly loud signals.