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Best Headset Microphones for Podcasting: Ultimate USB Headset Mic Roundup!

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A good USB headset microphone is the simplest, easiest way to start recording your voice. From online calls to recording a podcast, a headset can get you up and running in minutes, and requires no stand and little mic technique. Here we look at some of the best USB headset microphones on the market for podcasting, YouTube, or call recording. Our roundup will help you find the one most suited to you, so read on…

TLDR: Just Take Me to Your Best USB Headset Recommendations

When it comes to starting out in Podcasting, I’m a big fan of the ‘start small’ approach. Too many people dive in headfirst, spending a whole lot of money on digital recorders, XLR mics and mixers, creating a home studio of their own to boost their podcasting efforts.

While this can result in really excellent audio quality, it also introduces a whole load of complexity. And, to me, complexity gets in the way of ‘just doing it’ as our tick-based sporting friends would say.

To a beginner, it puts up barriers, lengthens the recording process and makes it pretty likely you’ll never get into the swing of releasing regular content.

building a podcast: best usb headset mics

To this end, I think one of the best ways into podcasting is to get yourself a good USB headset microphone. To be clear, that means a headset with mic attached via a little arm, so the microphone sits to the side of your mouth. This combined form means they’re super easy to use, they’re generally pretty inexpensive, and they serve double duty by being great tools for recording a remote call or using Zoom.us.

Even better, USB headset mics generally require little to no extra gear, like a mic stand or extra cables. They even take care of your mic technique for you, since the mic follows your head, no matter where you move.

Overall, they’re always connected, and always easy. You can record new episodes in no time, with no barriers. This means you’ll be putting out your weekly episode with ease and regularity. Achieving that aim will put you far ahead of those with much better kit, but less regular content.

8 of the Best USB Headset Microphones for Podcasting

In this article, I’m aiming to review some of the best USB headsets on the market. I want to provide a bit of my own input into what I think of them, and I’ll provide an audio sample from each so that you can judge for yourself.

We like to keep these roundups up-to-date, and Matthew has recently tested a few more USB headsets, which have been thrown into the mix below.

What Are We Looking for in a Good USB Headset Microphone? Do they fly?

What Are We Looking for in a Good Headset Microphone?

In this showdown, I’m looking primarily at audio quality. That’s the main yardstick by which each podcast headset will be judged, as that’s what we’re looking to deliver in the final product: our podcast.

Having said that, there are other things that we look for in good headsets. Build quality, for one. There’s little point in having a great sounding headset mic if it falls apart after 3 recording sessions. I’ll be commenting on how well they’re made and the quality of their components, hoping to refine the list down to long-lasting USB headsets.

I’ll also be looking at comfort. I’ve used some pretty uncomfortable headset microphones over the past few years, and it does have an effect on your Podcast quality. When your head’s hurting due to badly made earpieces or a hard little headband, then you’ll fidget and lose concentration. Neither is great for your podcast.

Apart from that, I’ll mention anything that’s unique about the USB headsets, but rest assured, audio quality is first and foremost.

In saying that, there we get a lot of requests for advice on cheap headsets, for folks on a budget. So I’ll point out which ones might be a little lower on the quality scale but are particularly good value.

Why USB Headset Mics?

Mainly, USB headset mics are by far the most common build. They’re also the simplest to use, and that’s the crux of what we’re aiming at here.

You’ll find headsets that plug in via a 3.5mm connection (the same as your earbuds), but these are a lot less common, AND a lot more temperamental in terms of their sound quality. You’d need a pretty good soundcard on your computer to make these work well for you.

You also get XLR headset mics, but these require an additional piece of kit (like a USB Audio Interface), so they’re just not really worth it. If you’re going down the XLR route there are plenty of better mic options out there.

The Candidates: Best USB Headsets for Podcasting in 2022

Here are the headset microphones I’ve covered. Click the links if you want to jump straight to the review.

A quick heads up, too, that we use affiliate links in this roundup. If you were to buy through any of them, we may earn a small commission – though at absolutely no extra cost to yourself!

Sennheiser PC 7 USB Headset

Around £25/$30 | Click here to buy

Sennheiser PC 7 Headset with mic

Build

  • Small unit and light
  • One-ear only design, leaving an ear free to monitor your own voice
  • Not quite as solid as the larger Senheiser but this feels like it’s designed to be a light, quick on-and-off headset for taking calls easily
  • Very light and comfortable

Audio

  • Very nice quality, quite balanced to my ear, as you’d expect from top brand Sennheiser
  • Very steady levels and safe from plosives, etc.
  • One of the best options as a budget headset microphone, in my opinion.

Sennheiser PC8.2 CHAT

Around £50/$70 | Click here to buy

Build

Sennheiser PC8.2 CHAT
  • Solid build
  • Padded headband
  • Sits snugly on head
  • In-line controls
  • Not the most adjustable of mic boom arms

Audio

  • Minimal background signal noise
  • Does a decent enough job picking up the voice
  • Though arguably not as good as the PC8 itself, despite being more expensive
  • Quite prone to plosives due to limited mic positions

Jabra Evolve 20 UC Stereo Wired Headset 

Around £29/$50 | Click here to buy

Build

Jabra evolve headset
  • Slightly flimsy
  • No padding on headband
  • Limited mic boom flexibility
  • In-line control with volume and mute buttons

Audio

  • Sounds a bit phone-like, unfortunately. Difficult to make a case for choosing this one above some of the other options listed here.

Logitech H390

Around £33/$40 | Click here to buy

Logitech H390

Build

  • Quality build
  • Comfortable with headband padding and ear cushions
  • Limited mic boom arm flexibility

Audio

  • Not the best – a bit “tinny”. Likewise, it’s difficult to make a case for choosing this one above some of the other options listed here.

Jabra UC MS Voice 550 Noise Cancelling USB Duo Headset

Around £35/$50 | Click here to buy

Jabra UC MS Voice 550 Noise Cancelling podcast Headset

Build

  • A mixed build – nice add-ons, such as padding, but other parts feel flimsy, such as the mic arm
  • Mic is not very easily adjusted – too springy and unresponsive

Audio

  • After a few tests I was still getting a lot of plosive effects – I perhaps could have spent more time on position, but the recording shows the results I received after far more fiddling than any of the others

Logitech H540 USB Headset

Around £30/$45 | Click here to buy

Logitech H540 USB Headset with mic

Build

  • Very high build quality of the group – big and chunky
  • Padded headphones and headband
  • The microphone arm is solid, easily adjusted and kept to the side of your mouth
  • Volume/mute buttons on the headset itself – causes noise in use and hard to find

Audio

  • Sounds a little bassy, and just a touch muffled to me, but decent quality. Again, good brand, Logitech, so reliable quality.
  • Despite the reliable mic arm, I found the volume increased/decreased a fair bit with movement

Sennheiser PC 8 USB Internet Telephony On-Ear Headset

Around £30/$40 | Click here to buy

Sennheiser PC 8 podcast headset microphone

Build

  • Good, solid build quality
  • Mic arm is very simple, very nice – easy to adjust
  • No padding on the head-band, but a wide area to keep it comfortable
  • Feels quite secure on the head

Audio

  • A great quality podcast headset microphone, very low noise, and conveys a decent richness of voice.
  • By far the most reliable recording with regards plosives & sibbilants
ModMic USB

Headset Mic Special Mention: The Antlion ModMic USB

What if you already own a decent pair of over-ear headphones, but still like the simplicity of a headset microphone?

If this sounds like you, then check out the Antlion ModMic USB. This handy device will turn your favourite headphones into a great USB headset mic. You can usually pick one up brand new for around $80/£80. Check out our full Antlion ModMic USB review for the lowdown, and here is a sound sample, too.

What’s the Best Headset Microphone on the Test?

I have to admit, for the most part, the quality of the headset mics on test were pretty high considering how much they cost. It’s not entirely surprising, though, since I did a bit of research around good headsets before ordering in the competitors above.

That said, there are 3 that it’s hard to make a case for buying. The Jabra 550, Jabra Evolve 20, and the Logitech H390 all had disappointing levels of sound quality. For the average price of headsets in this roundup, you can definitely get a better sound. To my ear, I’d pick out the Sennheiser PC 8 headset microphone as the winner.

Best USB Headset Mic

Sennheiser PC 8 USB Headset

2nd Best Headset Mic

Logitech 540 USB Headset

Each of the Sennheiser headset mics performed nearly identically in terms of audio quality. The PC 7 is pretty useful if you prefer to have one ear free to monitor your own voice, which is a definite plus to many.  It’s also a good example of the best cheap headsets around, coming in at a lower price than the PC8.

But, the PC8 is my pick for the best headset microphone here, because I prefer the comfort of listening to my interviewees with both ears and the steadiness that comes with being planted well on both sides of my head.

I also really like the build style which is a mix between good quality and minimalist. The mic arm is nice and easy to adjust, while the earphones are very comfortable and don’t block out too much sound.

If you’re looking to get started in podcasting in a quick and easy way, but still pump out great audio quality episode after episode, then I’d heartily recommend the Sennheiser PC 8 headset.

A word of caution that both the Sennheiser PC 8 and the Logitech 540 have been around a few years, and they’re not always easy to find, depending on where you are in the world. If you’re struggling with availability, consider the Sennheiser PC8.2 CHAT, instead. Remember you’ll find sound samples in the main part of the roundup, above. So have a listen and see what you think!

Bonus Resource: Free Online Mic Test

Looking for Other Options?

There are a whole lot of great microphone options if you’re looking to upgrade from a headset. Check out our flagship mic article here, for the best podcast microphones of every type. We also have a dedicated roundup on the best microphones for YouTube, if that’s your jam.

If you’re keen to keep things simple in the recording stages, then, chances are, you’d like to totally simplify the editing and production, too?

If that’s the case, be sure to check out our ‘Podcast Maker’ tool Alitu, which automates the heavy lifting and polishes up your episodes without the slightest need for any technical know-how. You can even publish your episodes from within the app!

Alitu: the podcast maker

And if you still need help with your podcasting setup (or anything else podcast-related) then we’d love to work with you too.

Check out Podcraft Academy, where run weekly live Q&A sessions. On top of that, you’ll find all of our courses, checklists, templates, and downloadable resources. Basically, everything you’ll ever need to plan and build a fantastic podcast!

What Our Readers Think About Best Headset Microphones for Podcasting: Ultimate USB Headset Mic Roundup!

Sorry, comments are closed.

  1. Very helpful article. Thank you!

  2. Mormo says:

    I am wondering if I will look unprofessional wearing a head set for videos?

    • Not at all Mormo, many a good video has been created that way. Create great content and noone will care what’s on your head!

      If you’re very concious about it, though, then get yourself a lapel mic and it’ll be well out of shot.

  3. Leesa says:

    Hi! I’m doing a podcast club with 3rd-4th graders. You think these would be best? No video involved, just using Audacity.

    Our IT rep gave us a stand-alone microphone, but we are going to have to use others to get the podcasts complete.

    What do you think?

    • Hi Leesa, yes, as I mentioned on my reply to your other message, I think headsets would be a good solution in this context. Much easier to use than a stand-mounted microphone and a bit less easy to damage!

      Thanks,
      Colin

  4. Max says:

    Thanks for the interesting article.

    I do screen-share podcasts, and I’m looking for a headset. I don’t have a recording studio. Just a fairly quiet room and a computer. Sometimes I may need to broadcast from a hotel room. In other words, the environment is quiet, but there might still occasionally be car noise or other unwanted sounds. Therefore, I was thinking that a cardioid microphone would be best because it would be more directional. And noise canceling too, perhaps.

    Have you come across that kind of headset microphone in your research?

    Thanks!

    • Hey Max, good question.

      Yes, there are a few more pro-level headset microphones out there, but I’m afraid I haven’t tried any of them out. The reason being that as soon as you’re up to spending ยฃ100 or so on a microphone I’d always prefer a ‘proper’ mic. Saying that, there’s always context, and if you do a lot of on-the-road recording, then it could well be worth it. This is the one I’ve been tempted by in the past: http://www.amazon.co.uk/SHURE-WH20XLR-Wired-microphones-Headsets/dp/B0001DBZNM/

      Shure always do good kit, and it’s not a ridiculous price at ยฃ100/$150, so I think it’d be worth a bet…

      Hope that helps!
      Colin

  5. Clara says:

    Thank you for this interesting article.
    I wonder though, how does it work with USB-headsets if I want to use two of them in my podcast (doing interviews and such). Will I need a mixer? Is there a mixer for USB-ports?
    I plan on using Audacity, since most podcasters seem to recommend it.
    Thanks!

    • Hi Clara,

      I’m afraid you can’t tend to connect two USB headsets without a bit of hacking, so it’s not something you can plan for. If you want to record someone else, in person, then you really need a more traditional mic which can be plugged into a mixer. Or, the simple version, get a digital recorder that can take two inputs, such as a Zoom H4n. That’s not a small budget though. The really budget version is a digital recorder, a splitter, and two low-cost lac microphones, which I’ve covered here: Recording Face to face interviews.

      Hope that helps!
      Colin

  6. Megan says:

    Great reviews on the headsets! Do you have experience running multiple headsets into a mixer? (I’m trying to figure out how to mic 4 or 5 people at the same time)

  7. Ben says:

    Hi Colin,

    This might be out of your remit in terms of help, but I take part in a fortnightly podcast, using an Android tablet and up to now have been using in-ear headphones and in-line mic, although I sound a bit distant and not at all bassy.

    I’ve bought an audio splitter which opens me up to the entire 3.5mm PC headset market, but my budget is $30 and under. Is there one you would recommend above the rest?

    Thanks!

    • The best budget 3.5mm headset I’ve found Ben is the PC131 from Sennheiser – it’s $35 and worth the stretch ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Thanks for writing this Colin – it’s put my mind at ease with some of the equipment I have for audio recording (and stopped me dropping a heap of cash on stuff I don’t really need).

    And it was a nice surprise to hear a Scottish accent!

    All the best.

    • No worries Chris, glad to help! Are you a fellow Scot? There aren’t enough up here Podcasting, so if you’re looking to start, let me know. Would love to make contact.

      • Hi Colin – sorry for the late reply! I am indeed a fellow Scot, based in Fife so not far from you.

        I’m not looking to podcast per se, but was looking for decent microphones for doing video voiceovers. I used to podcast a looong time ago but kind of fell out of the habit. Maybe I should get back into it.

        • Always good to get back into it Chris – do it ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Bob says:

    Thanks for this article. Even though a year old now, it is still my “go to” article when students and faculty ask about using a headset for lecture capture and podcasting. Headsets help ease the microphone equivalent of “stage fright” when looking a large microphone for the first time.

    For the question about multiple USB microphones, it is possible with any Mac computer and a USB hub using Applications->Utilities->Audio Midi Setup. Windows requires serious hacking and it’s best to just go with a mixer and XLR microphones.

  10. Thanks for this article–the audio samples were a great touch and really help me evaluate these options. I’m a university professor looking to generate videos quickly for my students (video assignments, lectures, etc.), and a headset looks to be the way to go.

  11. Arlene says:

    Great article. Very thorough and loved the audio comparisons. Thank you so much!

  12. hannah says:

    THANK YOU for doing this. I’ve just spent over an hour searching for a podcasting headset microphone review smackdown. I know I want a headset microphone, and I know I want it to sound good. Everybody in the world is suggesting the blue yeti or the audio technica 2100. And all of the video reviews of headset mics on youtube have…no actual audio recordings!

    And finally I find this. Thanks again!

    • Cheers Hannah, let us know what one you go for. Is it a new podcast series you’re planning?

  13. Terry says:

    Hi and thanks for the article.
    Question: I have a voice-over recording setup in my home studio with a Shure mic, Focusrite preamp and Audition. I want to start podcasting and most of my planned shows feature a guest for an interview sequence. I am trying to figure out how to best mic the guest in my studio so I can use my mic and each of us has our own audio track. Would a headphone mic be best or a small mic with a desktop stand such as a Blue Yeti? For remote interviews, I was thinking of using two headset mics with an audio recorder rather than going back and forth with a handheld for 20 minutes. Any opinion on this as well?
    Thanks for any help!

  14. Paul Naude says:

    Based on some reviews, I don’t think it included yours though, I also bought the Logitech that you gave a second place. But I am not really happy with it, mainly because of the noise which in my opinion is quite high. I appreciated your test audio sample that was the same for all the models although you could have left a little more silent portions in it to compare the mic noise. In your recordings I can barely hear the noise and was wondering if I am just being too critical about it?

  15. Paul Naude says:

    So this is my second comment and it comes with a decent amount of meat about why the Logitech is not a good choice after all!
    I did a frequency analysis in Audacity on these same recordings and it became clear that the Logitech records no sound above around 9500Hz, while the Sennheisers go to almost double that. You can view the plots in this quick blog I put together based on these tests

    • Paul, thanks for the feedback, really appreciate it!

      You’ve put together a great technical review of the mic there, I enjoyed reading through it. You’re right, there’s a bit of noise on the Logitech, absolutely agree there. We’re never going to get the same audio quality on a headset mic at this price range. You’re right though, saying it’s very noisy might be over-critical at this price range (I don’t think it’s awful), but it’s definitely not top quality, and the Sennheiser, to me, is significantly better. Did you go ahead and get yourself a PC7 or PC8 in the end? Would love to hear whether it suited your setup better!

      Colin