Visit SPEED MUSIC for information & advice on a great range of USB Microphones:
A USB microphone works like a standard microphone, allowing the user to record voices, instruments and sounds made near the microphone. It connects directly to a computer or laptop through an available USB and utilizes the "plug and play" technology that is associated with USB ports. Combined with recording software, such as Cakewalk, Cubase, Garageband, Audacity, or Pro Tools etc the user records the audio that the microphone picks up and can then edit and save the audio on the computer.
A basic USB microphone simply consists of the microphone, (pick-up) and has a cable with a Universal Serial Bus type plug that connects directly to a USB port. These simple mics can have many different uses, including recording podcasts, talking to people on other computers, recording music & instruments, gaming and more. The use of the USB microphone will determine the quality required, and the quality can range dramatically from poor, to microphones that can record at studio-quality levels for high fidelity purposes, like pro-quality music or podcasts.
"A USB microphone is much more than a microphone capsule with a wire on it. If you attached a mic directly to a USB port, you'd get nothing at all.
It consists of a microphone capsule, preamplifier, analog to digital converter and a USB chip to interface all this to the computer. It's basically the complete input side of a sound card with a microphone built in." - anon.
A key benefit of a USB microphone is that they do not require a separate adapter or mixing board - plugging directly into the computer. The microphone is powered by the USB connection and audio data is transferred directly through the USB connection. They can be placed in a variety of locations near a computer, making them ideal for voice chatting online, recording podcasts or recording vocals while playing an instrument without having to hold the microphone in hand. Another benefit of USB microphones is that the firmware for the device can be updated anytime by connecting the microphone and waiting for the device to check for updates.