Answers: 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
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