14 Replies
Bob S

Hi Judy,

It might be worth considering the type of mic first... USB vs Analogue. There are pros and cons to both, here are just a few....

USB: Pros -

  • Can be easier to get "right" just starting out
  • Can be slightly less expensive to get same quality sound for narration work
  • Simpler to set up/travel with

USB: Cons -

  • Can never have a two-mic set up for dialogue etc
  • Lower sound quality when not close recording (lose "bits" with lower input levels like recording a room conversation)
  • On the high-end, you tend to reach a quality cap

ANALOGUE: Pros -

  • Can run multi-mic set up when needed
  • More flexible mic configurations possible (size, shape, specialty purposes, etc) such as lapel mics, etc
  • Better at recording at distances from mic (ie conversation)
  • Mics can often be repurposed for use with other devices such a camcorders, some slrs, portable recorders, pa systems, etc
  • No limits on sound quality at the high end

ANALOGUE: Cons -

  • Requires an interface/convertor to record into your PC
  • Can be slightly harder to get things matched up correctly
  • A little more expensive (at the entry level) for the same sound quality for narration work

Lots of great choices for both, including some in the thread Michael linked. Many wind up with and use both like I do, depending on the situation at hand.

Over generalizations....   If all you ever want to do is close mic a single person (eg solo narration) you can get decent quality for just under $100 with a USB mic. If you think you might do more some day, then for $120 you can get an analogue mic and interface that will allow future options.

Hope this helps and good luck!

Sean Naes

I started with an Audio Technica AT2020 USB, (I still use it with my iPad on the road). It's a great quality workhorse that costs a little over a 100.00, but worth it if you can manage to squeeze a little extra into your budget.

You can get it at guitar centerhttp://www.guitarcenter.com/Audio-Technica-AT2020USB-USB-Condenser-Microphone-104992326-i1391208.gc

or at Sweet Water onlinehttp://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/AT2020USB

or this one on ebay currently for 3 more days as of this postinghttp://www.ebay.com/itm/Audio-Technica-AT2020-USB-Condenser-Microphone-/281459111458?pt=US_Pro_Audio_Microphones&hash=item4188453622.

Jonathon Miller

Layton F said:

A good starter microphone is the Blue yeti microphone.  It is close to the price range you are looking for and is a USB powered mic.  Good quality if you are on a budget and very well built.  If you are fortunate you may be able to find one used.


Can not agree more. I work in a very noisy office environment. Other than being outdoors near traffic it's about as bad as it gets for recording conditions. The Blue Yeti, though a little over $100, is well worth every penny spent. I think I spent $169 on mine. Haven't been at this post long, so I don't have all of my systems dialed yet, but you can see my improve recording "booth" in the attached pic. I use this and find the quietest room  I can. 

I suggest USB over analogue. It makes it much easier to record clean audio directly into your software with minimal equipment. There are lots of technical reasons, but suffice to say unless you have had some experience with sound recording you'll be happier. And the Yeti makes things SO EASY.

Matthew Bibby

I have a Blue Yeti that I bought a couple of years back and it works great.

I've built an isolation box for it out of an archive box and some acoustic foam. It works great and makes for easy storage of the mic when not in use. Actually, I've got a bunch of acoustic foam left over so if anyone wants to pay postage I'd be happy to send some over (I'm in Australia by the way).