Can you recommend a good quality USB mic for Audacity

In another post I was trying to sort out problems with a USB microphone.

I have come to the conclusion that I will have to purchase a mic that will allow me to hear my vocal and the track which will play in Audacity together whilst recording without latency.

I am considering the Audio-Technica AT2020USB+ USB Studio Condenser Microphone. Do you have experience of that or similar mics?

Your advice much appreciated.


What was your old microphone and what was wrong with it?

I like that it lets you set headphone volume and local/remote mix.


– The AT manual for the AT2020USB+ features setup for Windows 7.

Support for Windows 7 ended on January 14, 2020. If you are still using Windows 7, your PC may become more vulnerable to security risks.

– The connection, according to the manual, is by USB. Full Stop. As near as I can tell, it’s classic USB-A/B (printer cable) and may not easily connect to newer computers with USB-3, USB-C and Thunderbolt. If you have an older computer, this may not make any difference to you. Pay attention.

– Articulation

The AT2020USB+ offers studio-quality articulation and intelligibility perfect for home studio recording, field recording, podcasting, and voiceover use.

I suspect that’s promotion-speak for a microphone with high pitch boost and subject to “Essing.” The manual published frequency response claims otherwise, but Essing doesn’t always show up on classic measurements. We can suppress Essing in software, but it’s an extra production step.

– Mount

Many microphones come with a handy desk tripod. That’s not the best for good sound. The microphone should be held higher—roughly even with your face and you should have a blanket or moving pad on the desk to avoid reflections, comb filtering, and slap distortion.

Save the papers.


I don’t own a USB mic but it should be fine. Audio Technica makes good microphones and I think the AT2020-USB is popular for audiobook recording and for recording podcasts.

Watch-out for those cheap mics sold on Amazon (etc.) that “look like” a studio mic but they’ve put more money into the chrome plated case and accessories than the functional part of the microphone.

As long as you have a decent mic the main “sound quality” difference between mics is frequency response and that can be adjusted with EQ. Some people (including pros) go a little nuts looking for that “perfect mic” or a particular “vintage mic sound” but 90% of it is frequency response/EQ. …Of course if you are in a pro studio you have the luxury of choosing almost any mic you want.

Another issue with USB mics is that noise can get into the analog electronics through the USB power. USB-powered audio interfaces can have the same issue. Unfortunately, there is no spec for that and you never know if the computer’s USB power is extra-noisy or if the mic (or interface) is extra-sensitive to noise. The Blue Yeti is sort-of famous for power-supply noise but maybe it just gets reported a lot because it’s a popular mic…

The AT mic has a headphone jack for zero-latency direct-hardware monitoring (the monitoring doesn’t go through the computer). That’s probably the most important feature.

It’s also got a recording-level control. That’s important with a USB mic because if you want to control the recording volume it’s best to adjust the analog signal before it’s digitized.

It’s also cardioid (directional). That’s important because room noise comes from all directions and it’s helpful to reject as much room noise as possible, especially when you don’t have a soundproof studio. (Most “studio” mics and “studio style” USB mics are directional.)

The biggest downside to USB mics is that you can only use one USB audio device at a time and they don’t work with a mixer or PA system.