Besides having to transition curriculum from in-classroom to online, there is also the challenge of creating an online environment background that is clear, concise, and easy to understand. Part of being a competent online teacher is having the capacity to be heard clearly by students. While a standard headset with a microphone may work in some circumstances, having a stand-alone microphone for online teaching can better clarity and understanding between students and teachers. In this article, we will review the best microphones for online teaching.
Best Microphones for Online Teaching at a Glance
- Our Choice: Blue Snowball iCE Mic
- FIFINE Mini Gooseneck USB Microphone
- Samson Meteor Mic Condenser Microphone
- CMTECK USB Desktop Computer Microphone
- Tonor USB Gaming Microphone with Stand
Luckily, while in the midst of this new normal where online learning is becoming ever more popular, there are plenty of great microphones to help teachers get started. Below, we’ve rounded up our favorite microphones for teaching online. Each can help teachers to communicate clearly and effectively with students without breaking the bank. These microphones are simple to connect to any device and can truly take your online lessons on Zoom or Skype from lackluster to fantastic in minutes.
Top 5 Best Microphones for Teaching Online Reviewed
1. Blue Snowball iCE Mic for Recording and Streaming
Blue Snowball iCE Mic has long been regarded as a top choice among podcasters and game streamers for its high-quality audio, minimal feedback, and clarity. For the price point, it is easily one of the best microphones for online teaching as well. When teaching online, you need an easy-to-use microphone set up, small enough not to take up too much space, and clear in audio. This is a microphone that checks all the boxes.
Thanks to a custom condenser capsule, you can enjoy the totally crystal clear audio free from muddled feedback or static. This unit has a frequency response of 40-18kHz. Since the unit was designed with platforms such as Skype in mind, teachers can enjoy a vast range of compatibility among all online teaching platforms. Small enough to sit next to any keyboard, this is a plug-and-play device that connects to your Mac or PC via a USB without the need for additional software or driver installation.
Another great feature about the Snowball Mic is that you can easily connect it to a voice amplifier during lectures. Blue has also made it possible to garner additional accessories to truly take your online teaching setup above and beyond. Booms or clamps are sold separately. We found that this is a microphone that does live up to the hype during our review process. Easily record lectures or live-stream your lessons and enjoy crystal-clear clarity that won’t leave your students asking you to repeat yourself. For the money, this is arguably one of the best microphones you can get.
2. FIFINE Mini Gooseneck USB Microphone
FIFINE may not have the renowned following of Blue Snowball, yet they’ve been churning out high-quality microphones loved by podcasters, streamers, and YouTubers for years. Now they can add online teachers to their list of fans. The FIFINE Mini Gooseneck USB Microphone is a total workhorse for the price. Not only is this little USB microphone extremely portable, but it offers up a flexible gooseneck design that grants teachers a greater ranger. Tiny and compact, it won’t take up much real estate on a small desk, nor will it become an eyesore like larger mic models.
We loved being a plug-and-play device with a standard USB connection that worked well with both Mac and PC. This gives teachers a greater range of options. It works well with all online video platforms such as Skype and Zoom while also providing high quality audio for conferencing, dictation, and transcription. While we didn’t put the FIFINE to work with Google Meet, we suspect it would perform just as well here, largely thanks to the adjustable microphone.
The microphone also includes a handy windscreen to reduce background noise, along with the 6.5ft long shielded cord and adjustable gooseneck. This also leads to improved clarity and better sound quality. In our testing, we found little in the way of feedback, static, or overbearing background noise. This is paramount for teachers who may have busy households yet still want to maintain microphone clarity for students. Though small and compact, it holds a durable design that can withstand the rigors of online teaching.
The only actual drawback we found with the FIFINE Mini Gooseneck is that it does not boast the quality of a studio-level microphone. With that said, most teachers don’t need something of that caliber when teaching online classes. A candidate for the best microphone for online teaching? The pros outweigh the minimal cons.
3. Samson High Quality Condenser Microphone
The first thing you’ll likely notice about the Samson Meteor Mic Condenser Microphone is the retro appearance. Though small and compact, it certainly looks like something straight out of a 1950s recording studio. This can be a selling point for the stylish online teacher as it does look pretty nifty sitting out on a desk. Aesthetics aside, this is a professional-level USB microphone with a 1″ studio-quality capsule for clear, concise sound. Thanks to the USB, this is a plug-and-play device that works with numerous devices. It is also perfect for video chat platforms such as Skype, Zoom, Google Meet, and more.
The design of this USB condenser microphone features fold-back legs that make the microphone easy to travel with or transport from room to room. For educators who live in busy households without a stand-alone office space, this can be a real lifesaver when things get noisy in one room or another. With Cardioid pickup patterns built right into the mic, you can also enjoy less background noise. We found that this mic minimized ambient sounds from coming through in audio recording, only picking up audio right in front of the unit. As any teacher knows, this is profound.
Unlike similar budget-friendly microphones for online teaching, the Samson also boasts a very smooth flat frequency response that can capture every detail of your voice. This lends itself to high quality audio recording and clear conversations with students or colleagues. Despite its size, we found the unit itself to be rather sturdy and durable. It is made from a die-cast construction with that retro chrome-plate finish. As a USB condenser microphone, it also holds a generously sized 25mmm diaphragm.
So what are the drawbacks to this small yet mighty tool for online teaching? Our only major issue was with the mute button. Even when the button was muted, the device was still picking up on a bit of audio. With that said, this was not a standard-issue across the board while testing, but it is worth noting.
4. CMTECK USB Desktop Computer Microphone
The CMTECK USB Desktop Computer Microphone certainly looks like something stolen straight from an alien spacecraft. With a unique semi-flat triangular design, this is the least traditional-looking microphone on the list. Yet, we’d still consider it a contender for the best microphone for online teaching. The reason? Our review found that despite the paltry size of this device, you’re getting outstanding sound quality for the price.
We found that this little unobtrusive microphone can offer up crystal clear voice capture with a 360-degree sensitivity pickup range. That’s an estimated 10x better than the microphone built-in to your computer. Despite the impressive range, background and ambient noise were minimum. Generally, the device only picked up on audio that was in close range to the device itself. With that said, it may not be the most ideal if you’re working in a shared space.
Clear and concise audio quality is paramount for any teacher, yet so is a convenient working, mute button. Unlike the retro option above, this microphone offers a quick mute/unmute option with a built-in LED indicator light that will tell you when your mic is on (green) and muted (red). A flashing green light also indicates when the device does the audio recording. As a plug-and-play device, there is nothing to install and zero software to contend with. We found that the device works best with Windows and MAC but is not compatible with Linux or Android.
For the most part, we found this to be a highly capable and clear little USB Microphone that should prove perfect for online teaching. It is simple and straightforward without too many bells and whistles, which is great for the minimalist teacher who wants to educate and do their job, not record the next viral video hit.
5. Tonor USB Microphone with Stand
If you’re willing to spend a little more, the Tonor USB Gaming Microphone with Stand could be your best microphone for online teaching. As the name implies, this is a microphone that was initially designed for online gaming streamers. Much like online teachers, these streamers require concise and high audio quality with zero latency or lag. Everything they say or do must come across as intended, just as you would expect in your virtual classroom. Thanks to a cardioid audio pickup pattern, this compact yet powerful microphone does just that.
What a cardioid pattern does is capture a clear and crisp sound in front of the microphone while blurring out and suppressing any background noise. This is ideal for anyone teaching online, especially if you share a household with kids or other adults working from home. This comes equipped with a standard USB port, meaning you can plug in the device to any computer and get to work. You do not need any additional software or sound cards. We’d say this is an ideal microphone for online teaching platforms and voice recording.
We also enjoyed the versatility of the unit. One can easily attach or detach the boom or even take off the shock mount. Since the microphone has such a low profile, it won’t feel obtrusive or unsightly on a desk or table. The unit also works with Mac, Windows, and Linux, offering a range of solutions for online teachers of all types. While there are certainly more pros than cons to this little device, we would like to touch upon the one drawback we encountered. Sometimes there was a bit of finagling to get the unit to show up on the computer.
Depending on how old or new your computer is, you may have to take some additional steps to connect it to your device.
Choosing a microphone for teaching online via webcam doesn’t have to be a complicated process filled with a whole host of specifications or complex tech terms. All you need is an excellent plug-and-play device that can capture clear audio quality, boats minimal background noise, and be offered up at a neat price point. The transition from the classroom to online teaching is hard enough; choosing a microphone should be a pretty straightforward task that ups your teaching game and allows you to engage students like never before.