Best USB microphone for Mac in 2023

iMac 2021 with microphone
(Image credit: Luke Filipowicz / iMore)

One of the best USB microphones for Mac is essential if you're recording podcasts or making music. But it's also a great device to have if you often video chat with friends or have a lot of virtual work meetings, making your voice sound crystal clear compared to using the mic that comes built-in to your MacBook or even your iPhone.

We've selected our favorite USB microphones for Mac users in the guide below, whether you want a compact device for recording while you travel or a state-of-the-art mic that brings you professional-grade sound.

There's never been a better time to upgrade the mic you already have or buy a new USB microphone, because Black Friday is almost here on November 25. In the run up to the big day, many devices are getting significant discounts and, although we can't say with certainty, we expect many of the USB microphones in this list to be be reduced. 

Best overall: Blue Yeti USB Mic

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Blue Yeti in black

Blue Yeti in black (Image credit: iMore)

1. Blue Yeti

The best USB microphone for Mac

Reasons to buy

+
Headphone jack for live monitoring
+
Manually gain adjustment
+
Four record modes
+
Great price

Reasons to avoid

-
Micro-USB needed
-
You'll want a pop filter

The Yeti brand has become synonymous with excellent microphones over the years, and the Blue Yeti is one of the most popular and highly-recommended. 

The four different recording modes are where the Blue Yeti really shines because there's practically nothing you can't record with the mic if it's set in the right mode. If you have a new MacBook with only USB-C ports, like the MacBook Air With M2, you will need one of the best USB-C Hubs for MacBook Pro to plug it in. Once you do, you won't be disappointed.

I'm not the only one that loves the Blue Yeti, Rene Ritchie has been using his for years, and he loves how easy the Blue Yeti is to use.

Its basic cardioid mode is fantastic for capturing a single voice or instrument in front of the mic, making it perfect for game streaming, video calls, or vocals.

The omnidirectional mode allows the Blue Yeti to pick up sounds from all around it, meaning you can put it in the middle of a table and have multiple people speaking, and it won't miss a single word. This mode is great for podcasting with multiple hosts and guests or for capturing the noise around you.

Bidirectional mode allows the Blue Yeti to be an interview microphone with minimal setup. Just put the microphone between you and the other person speaking and never touch it again.

Lastly, stereo recording mode allows the Blue Yeti to use the left and right channels to record in stereo and give your recordings a more realistic soundstage when there is more than one sound source in front of the microphone.

With four recording modes, plug-and-play functionality, and live monitoring, the Blue Yeti offers the most versatile experience for the best price.

Best stylish mic: HyperX QuadCast S

(Image credit: Luke Filipowicz / iMore)
The best-looking microphone for Mac

Reasons to buy

+
Headphone jack for live monitoring
+
Manually gain adjustment
+
Four record modes
+
RGB lighting
+
Built-in pop filter

Reasons to avoid

-
Not all features are available on Mac
-
A bit more expensive

While the Blue Yeti may still take the top spot on our list because of its price, the HyperX QuadCast S, which we've reviewed, is a close runner-up. HyperX has been a key player in the USB microphone space lately, and this QuadCast S mic offers all the versatility you need. Although it's a bit more expensive than our top pick, it easily records clean audio if you're on top of your gain control.

This microphone has handled everything I have thrown at it and has always left me impressed. Although it's primarily billed as a gaming microphone, I recorded podcasts, took video calls, laid down some acoustic guitar and basic vocals using the HyperX QuadCast S, and all of that sounded stellar.

The microphone records 48kHz/16-bit audio and has three 14mm condensers, which provides enough data for post-production if you want to go that route. You can certainly pop this microphone down in front of yourself and tune your voice in lots of different ways in your favorite audio mixing program of your choice. 

Even though I'm not a talented audio engineer or musician, I was able to lay down a pretty simple acoustic guitar track and then record some vocals and come out with a mix that sounded pretty good. Of course, hardcore musicians are definitely not using a USB microphone to record, but it certainly works for very basic music recording in a pinch.

As much as I have become enamored with this microphone, the QuadCast S has one glaring issue that might be a big deal to you. HyperX's software to control the microphone called Ngenuity is not available on Mac. This means that you can't customize the RGB lighting when using the QuadCast S with your Mac, so you're stuck with the rotating rainbow pattern.

Lastly, the stylish RGB lighting and the built-in pop filter are nice extra touches that help make the HyperX QuadCast S a real contender.

If you're split between this one and our previous pick, the Blue Yeti, see how they match up head to head in our Blue Yeti vs HyperX QuadCast S guide.

Even though the Mac can't use all the features due to software limitations, the stylish look and beautifully clear audio recording make the HyperX QuadCast S a solid USB microphone for Mac users.

Best portable mic: Rode NT-USB Mini 

Rode NT-USB Mini Promo Photo (Image credit: Rode)

3. Rode NT-USB Mini

Perfect for staying mobile

Reasons to buy

+
Compact design
+
USB-C powered
+
Built-in pop filter

Reasons to avoid

-
Only one recording pattern

If you need something compact but don't want to sacrifice recording quality, the Rode NT-USB Mini is worth a look.

Rode has been an excellent producer of microphones for years now, and although the Rode NT-USB Mini may look unassuming, it's a handy little USB microphone. The Rode NT-USB Mini is a great compact option for recording voices with a magnetic stand that can easily attach to mic stands, an AUX input for live monitoring, and a built-in pop filter.

The 24-bit at 48Khz sample rate offers excellent audio quality, and the sound isolation that the unidirectional microphone gets out of such a small device is pretty impressive.

USB-C powered and a compact design make this an excellent microphone for a Macbook user.

Best compact mic: Blue Yeti Nano Professional

Blue Yeti Nano Press Image (Image credit: Blue Microphones)

4. Blue Yeti Nano Professional

A compact microphone that still offers a lot.

Reasons to buy

+
Compact
+
Less expensive than Yeti
+
Plug-and-play

Reasons to avoid

-
No manual gain control
-
Only two recording patterns

Blue's newest USB microphone takes a lot of what people love about the Blue Yeti and shrinks it down (both in size and price) into a pretty compelling product. Both its cardioid and omnidirectional pickup patterns support sample rates up to 24-bit at 48Khz. Its included stand keeps it stable while recording, so you don't get any noise from the microphone moving around.

The cardioid and omnidirectional pickup patterns support sample rates up to 24-bit at 48Khz, which is slightly better than its larger version.

Best for instruments: Audio-Technica AT2020USB+

(Image credit: Audio-Technica)

5. Audio-Technica AT2020USB+

Perfect for instruments and vocals

Reasons to buy

+
Shock mount compatible
+
Live monitoring with the headphone jack
+
Plug-and-play

Reasons to avoid

-
No gain control
-
Flimsy stand

Functioning much like a traditional XLR microphone, the Audio-Technica AT2020USB+ is ideal for the singer/songwriter in you who loves to record digitally, delivering a warm tone.

Being a cardioid microphone, the AT2020USB+ performs best when recording sound from a single source located in front of the microphone. The AT2020USB+ is so great for musicians that it can easily fit into shock mounts and mic booms, allowing you to position the microphone perfectly in your space.

The 16bit/48kHz recording sample rate and ability to fit in most shock mounts and mic stands make it perfect for recording all sorts of instruments and vocals.

Best for iPhone: Shure MV5

(Image credit: Shure)

6. Shure MV5

The best USB microphone for iPhone or Mac

Reasons to buy

+
Compatible with iPhone and Mac
+
Sturdy Design
+
Plug-and-play

Reasons to avoid

-
No gain control

The Shure MV5 comes with connections for both USB and Lightning ports. However, it is Apple MFi certified, which means it's designed to directly connect to iOS devices like your iPad or iPhone. It won't need special adapters or connection kits to work. So if you're looking for a super-fast way to record your voice and dictate some notes on your iPhone, this is a great way to do it.

Of course, just because it's designed to work well with iOS devices doesn't mean it won't work well with others. It can connect via USB and do all the same jobs with access to all the same features. Use this mic for vlogging, streaming, or just collecting your thoughts for whatever project you happen to be working on.

The MV5 comes with three digital signal processing modes for vocals, instruments, or flat recording. That makes it great for recording music in addition to your own vocals. It also automatically applies certain things like gain, EQ, and compression to get you optimal results out the gate, and you'll find you can really get the sound exactly the way you want it every time. There's even built-in headphones output for real-time monitoring. The mic's custom-tuned capsule provides the best audio.

Whether you're recording on your iPhone or your Mac, the Shure MV5 will provide a fantastic experience.

Best for impromptu recording: Samsung Meteor

(Image credit: Samson)

7. Samson Meteor (Chrome)

Perfectly portable to take anywhere

Reasons to buy

+
Super compact and portable
+
Plug-and-play
+
Inexpensive

Reasons to avoid

-
Poor sound isolation
-
Only one recording pattern

Although the Samsung Meteor is only meant to capture a single sound source, it does record all of its audio at a 16-bit, 48kHz sample rate, which means you're getting great-sounding audio every time you sit in front of it. 

It's lightweight and quite compact, allowing you to transport the Meteor anywhere you need to go, so you never have to worry about sounding bad when you're on the road. It's probably the best Mac USB microphone for people constantly on the go because it's incredibly portable.

It's small and easy to carry around, meaning you can always bring it anywhere with your MacBook, and its price can't be beat. The best thing about the Samson Meteor is its price. It's a neat little mic that can fit anywhere you want due to its compact size, but don't expect too much from the little guy.

How to choose the best USB microphone for Mac

Overall, the Blue Yeti is the best Mac USB microphone for most people. Its four recording modes offer an incredible amount of versatility, meaning regardless of what you're trying to record, you should be able to get a high-quality recording.

I have personally used my Blue Yeti to record podcasts with multiple guests, record guitar and vocals on a musical track, and for everyday use during multiple Skype and other video chat services, and I have never been disappointed. 

To find the right USB microphone for you, it's worth considering a few key factors. First up, size. If you need to record on the move, you'll need a smaller and more compact device, like the Samsung Meteor or Blue Yeti Nano Professional. Or, if you're using a smartphone, like the new iPhone 14 Pro, you might want a device specially for phones, like the Shure MV5. 

Also think about connections, if you're using a newer laptop, like the MacBook Air with M2 for example, you'll need to be sure you have the right connection – or an adapter – to connect to the Air's USB-C port. 

Finally, consider quality. If you need a microphone to simply make your voice sound clearer on calls, you can go for a simple, budget option. If you're recording instruments or host a pro podcast, you'll need something more premium, like the Blue Yeti or Audio-Technica AT2020USB+.

If you want a new microphone to upgrade your podcasting or calling, check out our best webcams for Mac guide too. 

Luke Filipowicz
Staff Writer

Luke Filipowicz has been a writer at iMore, covering Apple for nearly a decade now. He writes a lot about Apple Watch and iPad but covers the iPhone and Mac as well. He often describes himself as an "Apple user on a budget" and firmly believes that great technology can be affordable if you know where to look. Luke also heads up the iMore Show — a weekly podcast focusing on Apple news, rumors, and products but likes to have some fun along the way. 


Luke knows he spends more time on Twitter than he probably should, so feel free to follow him or give him a shout on social media @LukeFilipowicz.