How do I Choose the Best Computer Microphone?

John Lister

When choosing a computer microphone, the most important factor to consider is how it will be used. There are many different possible tasks for a microphone, including speech recognition, internet-based phone calls, and online gaming. Each has specific needs which should affect your choice of model and budget.

Some microphones link directly to a computer through a USB cord.
Some microphones link directly to a computer through a USB cord.

The main decision you face in choosing a computer microphone is whether to use a wired or wireless model. A wired microphone, usually in the form of a standalone desktop model, will nearly always be the cheapest option, and often comes included with a new computer. A wireless microphone can be a model that clips on to your clothes or comes as an earpiece, similar to a Bluetooth device for a cellphone. However, the most common form is a headset, similar to that used by telephone operators, that includes earphones and a microphone. A wireless model will usually be more expensive but offers much more flexibility.

Standard desktop microphones do not produce high quality audio, therefore they should only be used for a limited selection of applications and activities.
Standard desktop microphones do not produce high quality audio, therefore they should only be used for a limited selection of applications and activities.

You also need to consider the type of connection available for your microphone. Many work with the dedicated microphone socket that is in your PC’s soundcard, but others work through a USB connection. There isn’t a major difference in use, but you may find the USB connection is more practical because most computers have multiple USB sockets available, giving you more options for locating your microphone in a convenient place. The design of dedicated microphone plugs and sockets can also be more vulnerable to cracking or breaking, which can be a lot more troublesome to fix than simply switching to a different USB port.

If you are planning to use a computer microphone for an internet-based telephone service such as Skype, a headset will likely be the best option. This is particularly important if you are planning to take part in conference calls or create podcasts with online colleagues. A standard desktop microphone will likely produce too poor sound quality, and may even cause a feedback loop by picking up the sounds you hear from the person at the other end of the call.

A headset is also a good option for online gaming, such as World of Warcraft. The headset leaves your hands free for typing more comfortably and avoids you having to lean into the microphone. Because users often spend extended periods playing online games, it’s particularly important to be able to get good posture and avoid neck strain.

If you are using a computer microphone for speech recognition, it is worth paying extra to get a good quality model. Look out for microphones with built-in noise cancellation, as this will reduce the risk of background noise affecting the accuracy of the speech recognition. Some software packages recommend that you keep the microphone the same distance from your mouth at all times, so a headset model which lets you adjust the microphone to the most comfortable position would be the best option.

Some computer headsets come with a built-in microphone for hands free use.
Some computer headsets come with a built-in microphone for hands free use.

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Discussion Comments


I like to be able to set my computer on my kitchen counter and talk to my friends via my computer through my voice. Because of this the type of computer microphone I purchased was an omnidirectional computer microphone. unlike unidirectional computer microphones, and omnidirectional microphone is capable of picking up sound from a large area. These condenser style microphones mean that they can record an entire rooms audio sources. If I walk away to the other side of the kitchen and go to another counter I can still start speaking and my friends will be able to hear what I have to say.

Microphones are critical input component for interacting with the computer and others attached to computer networks. Ensuring that you have a good microphone for your computer can make a huge difference in the lots of new notebook computers include microphones built into them specifically for this ease of use convenience.


As a professional musician, it is extremely important that the types of microphones I opened my computer are of the highest quality available. Because computer manufacturers do not always use the best parts available when manufacturing computer microphones, I sometimes have to use true musicians microphones and professional audio equipment event interfaces into the computer.

These audio interfaces can be very costly but makes a big difference when I am trying to record professional sound. Being able to use a high-quality and professional grade microphone with my computer, means that I have a whole new world of flexibility and audio possibilities that have been opened up to me as a recording artist. If you are recording artist or any type of musician has to record your own work, you know how critical it is to have a computer to help as a recording device. I recommend looking into these professional audio interfaces to ensure that the microphone you use with your computer is of the highest quality possible. If you try unplugging one of these professional microphones into the computer microphone input, you have very mixed results and often not the results that you want.


The only thing that I use my computer microphone for is when I do online and Internet gaming. Because of this simple task that I have for it it really isn't about the quality of audio that comes from my microphone as all I need is simple voice messages to be sent to my colleagues and to my competitors. For me it's more about comfort of how my microphone is positioned and how I can adjust it to my voice.

The headset has been the best way that I have found to easily communicate with my fellow gamers and to provide a level of comfort where I can wear the microphone for several hours. Allowing the microphone to come around for my earpiece means that I don't have to hold the microphone with hands so I'm completely free to do my gaming. My poor microphone probably has a lot of spit and as I have a tendency to yell into it but it seems to have held up quite well and is still doing the job that I needed to do when gaming.


Getting the right kind of computer microphone for you just really depends on what you're going to be using it for. For instance, I use a microphone connected to my computer in order to dictate text. This requires a high quality of microphone it also means that you need to have a low noise level in your background. You want to make sure that you purchase a microphone capable of dictation practice if this is the type of job that you will have for your computer microphone.

While sometimes headsets are easier to use in dictation, I personally think that the mobility of not having anything attached to your head or around your ears is the best way to go. It is much more comfortable in the freedom and accessibility that is available to you increases drastically when not attached with wires.

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