XLR or USB Microphone?

Apr 09, 2018 by rizzak - 0 Comments

After checking on what we can do in our surrounding to improve our quality of our recordings I will now show you what kind of microphone you can use to record your rap and what you have to consider when buying a microphone.

Types of Microphones

There are many other types of Microphones out there but I will focus on the two types of large-diaphragm microphones. It’s important to know that such type of microphone needs 48V Phantom Power to get it to work, I will come to it soon.

USB Microphone

This Mic is typically for broadcasting-shows. It is easy to connect with your computer (like the name says it) via USB. When you purchase a USB Microphone to get it to work with your computer you need to install a driver which can be downloaded from the manufacturers’ homepage. After this installation you are ready to go and the 48V phantom power is sent through your USB-Cable to your microphone. So your mic WILL record your voice without hesitation. In this type of mic you have an analog to digital converter so the voltage of the sound will be converted into digital signals for your computer to process.

XLR Microphone

The XLR Microphone looks exactly the same as the USB Microphone, but has a different jack on the bottom. You can see on my Behringer B-1 that there are pins ordered in a triangle position. This is the male jack for the female side of the XLR Cable. On the other side of your cable you have the male part. There are also three pins ordered in a triangle shape. But your computer (probably) has not the input for this kind of cable. And that’s the point where it gets a little more expensive than the USB version.

To get your Microphone recording sounds you need an audio-interface, which is connected with your computer or you need a plug in card which you can build into your computer. Those things have a button to turn on the 48V phantom power to get your microphone to work. Here you can see my Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 Audio-Interface and the button to enable the 48V power for the microphone.

Also, the audio-interface is a connector between the digital 0’s and 1’s in your computer and the voltage in your speakers. It has an analog/digital and digital/analog converter.

Quality of Sound

Don’t be afraid, the quality of the USB version to the XLR version does almost not differ, the differences could be heard when you’ve had high quality speakers and a very well prepared acoustic room.

What’s best?

In my opinion it depends on what you want to do in the near or far future with your computer, your recording/producing software and your microphone. When you are certain to say „I just want to record my voice“ a USB microphone is the best and cheapest way to get your vocals into your computer.

But if you are interested in producing, mixing and mastering, too, you should really consider to look after some types of audio-interfaces. My audio-interface has 18 Inputs and 20 Outputs, so I am able to record a whole drum set or I could route some tracks to different outputs and connect low budget speakers to those outputs just to get a feeling of how my mix would sound on these types of speakers.

But you have to spend more money on the XLR Version of the Microphone because of the extra equipment you need to buy.

I hope, I could show you the differences of the two microphones. I held everything very easy because I think you as a rapper doesn’t need to know too many specs of that gear. If you liked that article or think I should add some more Informations about the mics, feel free to contact me via e-mail, write a comment below and if you like my articles on rap and recording topics you can subscribe to the RizzakBeats Newsletter. No worries, I won’t spam you with a load of e-mails, but those you’ll get will have useful tips & tricks for you.

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