USB Headphone Mic recommendation


I need to purchase a USB headphone/microphone for a client who is going to add their podcast vocal from home. It needs to be a very simple plug-and-go device as the client has little knowledge of setting-up audio on to their PC, and with the current covid situation I can’t help in person. The cost should be £100 max.

I’ve read countless reviews and still none the wiser as the microphone, the most important part in this situation, often doesn’t produce very good results (Sennheiser PC 8 USB, for example). From what I can see, most headphone/mic devices are intended for gaming.

There is the option of using something like the Røde NT USB Mini, but the client would much prefer a headphone mic option if possible. I think they also only have a couple of USB sockets, although these could be expanded using a hub.

Does anyone have any experience using headphone mics and have any recommendations?

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In my experience I have not come across decent mic/headphones yet. Simply because they are not designed to record quality audio. They are much smaller than standard USB microphones and as such cannot fit the same technology in that space as normal USB mic would. So however you look at it - it just will not be ideal :confused: Is this a one off recording or will it be regular?

We are about to test Rode NT mini - looks interesting, and I am sure will do miles better than any headset you will get! I might be wrong and there could be some more opinions about it :slight_smile:

Thank you for your reply, Izabela. After quite a bit of research I couldn’t really find any Headphone Mics that seemed to have a decent mic and your comment confirms that. The recordings will (hopefully) become a regular thing, so probably worth going through the pain of getting our client set-up with a decent mic! Not being able to do it in person is a hurdle, so I’ll need to put together a little how-to guide, or direct them to a MCR episode or two. I imagine that remote recording is a challenge that many podcasters/businesses are currently facing.

I look forward to your Røde NT Mini review, it seems to be getting quite a good reaction from various YouTube sites such as Curtis Judd. It comes with a little table stand, but I think a boom arm will be more flexible - both physically and for workflow!

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That’s a good idea, and for remote recording check Squadcast - that’s a good service and captures audio at source too - which will mean better end quality! I would say start with a stand, you can then expand to boom arm once you get them used to mic itself :slight_smile:

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Squadcast looks perfect for what we need and seems a reasonable price. Thank you for all your help and advice, Izabela.

My pleasure Mark, it’s a great service!

Hi Mark, to get decent quality audio you need a large diaphragm microphone and as Izabella says most of the commercially available, reasonably priced headset mics are low quality.

Obviously broadcasters, particularly sports broadcasters, use headset mics sometimes but they certainly won’t come within your budget.

If the recording space is acoustically treated look for a large diaphragm condenser mic as this will get you decent sound. If the space is not acoustically treated look for a large diaphragm dynamic mic as these are much more forgiving to room reflections.

With your budget I’d suggest looking USB as otherwise you’d need to add an interface which will take your over budget. Again avoid the very cheap USB microphones as even a large diaphragm can sound awful in a cheap mic.

Thank you, Mark.

In the end, we went with the Røde NT-USB Mini as it was quite straightforward to set-up (important) and came in close to our budget. It also offers better quality audio capture than any of the headphone mics I looked at. We’ll also tryout SquadCast as brilliantly suggested by Izabela.

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