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  The benefits of using a USB microphone - this FAQ explains how USB microphones work and when you should use one
FAQ on the benefits of using a USB microphone

1-What is a USB microphone?
A USB microphone is much like any other type of microphone (there are many types), except that all USB mics have a soundcard built into them. So, the audio from the microphone is processed right inside the mic and what comes out is an already digitized audio stream. Think of a USB mic as a microphone and soundcard combo.

2-Why would I want this?

Most computers made today do not have good quality soundcards. So, even if you had a good microphone, plugging it into a mic jack on a computer will result in medicore quality recordings. Also, some computers have built-in microphones and again, these are generally not very good. When you consider that a good quality microphone can sometimes cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars, it's not surprising that the little mics built into a computers don't sound very good. Using a USB microphone eliminates these problems because the sound processing is done within the mic, not within the computer.

3-Why is this better than using a regular microphone plugged into my computer?

When you plug a mic into your computer, even a good quality mic, the sound from the mic must be processed by the computer's soundcard. This process includes the powering of the mic, amplifying the mics audio signal and converting the microphones analog audio stream to digital (this is done in the A/D converter). Most computer soundcards do a decent job of playing sounds - music, computer bleeps, etc, but the microphone components are generally an afterthought and not designed for high quality recording. Also, the inside of a computer is a very hostile environment for the tiny microphone level audio signals and it is very easy for these signals to pick up unwanted noise from other computer components. Moving all of this processing outside of the computer eliminates these issues.

4- What type of USB microphones are available?

There are several types of USB mics available: Studio, Lapel, Wireless, Miniature - here are examples. For a side-by-side comparison of the most popular USB microphones, click here.

If you have any questions regarding this topic, please contact us.


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