Though the aesthetic design of microphones has varied throughout the years, most have usually had one thing in common – they actually look like microphones.
Traditionally, mics were always analogue in their build, and marketed towards niche groups, such as musicians.
Nowadays though, the digital (USB) mic is every bit as popular as its analogue (XLR) counterpart. And finding a mic in someone's home is almost as common as finding a PlayStation or Xbox.
With the big increase in the size of the market – along the number of models available – manufacturers are upping efforts to make their mics immediately recognisable and unique looking.
Sure, the way a mic looks should be low down on your list of buying criteria, but there's still a few reasons why you might consider it to relevant.
For example, you might be a video podcaster or Youtuber, and visuals are just as important to you as audio.
Or maybe you're a perennially procrastinating “precaster” who'll never actually launch, and your mic will be nothing more than a desk ornament anyway. It might as well look good… (by the way, it doesn't have to be this way!)
Whatever your reasons, here's our roundup of some of the most unique looking mics on the market today.
The microphone itself is a sphere with a grille on the front. The microphone attaches to its stand, via another sphere-shaped screw.
The Shure MV5 has a 3.5mm headphone jack on its rear side, along with a headphone volume control dial.
It has a Mute button, as well as a Mode button which enables you to toggle through 3 different gain presets.
It costs around $100 on Amazon and £100 on Amazon UK.
You can also use the Shure MV5 as an iPhone mic, as well as on your laptop, Mac, or PC.
The Shure MV51 looks more like an alarm clock than a microphone. It's actually pretty heavy for its size too.
There’s a control panel on the front, and the mic is supported by a stand on the back for use at a table or desk.
It rests on two rubber shockmount pads, under the main mic body and the stand.
There's a 3.5mm headphone jack on the back, alongside the mic's USB connection port.
On the front control panel there's a volume slider which can be used to control both your gain, and your headphone volume. The MV51 has 4 gain presets which can be accessed too.
It costs around $200 on Amazon and £180 on Amazon UK.
And, just like the MV5, the MV51 can be used as an iPhone mic, as well as on your PC, laptop, or Mac.
The Samson Meteor definitely has bit of a 1950s sci-fi look going on. It reminds me of a retro-looking space craft, something that wouldn't look out of place in Fallout 3.
The mic's 3 legs fold up or down when needed, meaning it's very portable and easily stored.
On-mic controls are minimal on the Meteor.
There's a 3.5mm headphone jack for monitoring your recordings, as well as volume dial to control your listening levels.
There's a Mute button on the front of the mic, in the middle of the headphone volume dial.
Above the dial, there’s a little three-colour LED light. This light illuminates blue to indicate power, amber to indicate the mute button is on, and flashes red when the recording source is too loud and clipping.
The Samson Meteor costs $69 on Amazon, and £46 on Amazon UK.
The Samson Meteorite, as you might've guessed, is pretty much a downsized version of the Meteor itself.
The two have a lot in common. Again there's definitely a 1950s sci-fi/Fallout 3 vibe going on here.
The Meteorite is a little ball that sits snugly in a magnetic bowl, like a sort of digital egg cup holder.
If the Meteor's on-mic controls were minimalist though, then the Meteorite's are non existent. There isn't even a headphone jack to monitor your recordings on this one.
With that said, it's definitely the smallest of the lot, and is literally pocket-sized, if storage or portability is one of your big criteria.
The Samson Meteorite costs $40 on Amazon, and £38 on Amazon UK.
The Blue Snowball is a household name in the world of podcasting.
The microphone itself is a large sphere, which screws onto a tripod-style stand.
Size-wise, the Snowball is the biggest microphone here, standing taller than the rest. It's perhaps the most elegant looking design too, though obviously that's subjective.
Function-wise, the Snowball edges ahead of everyone else listed because it has two polar patterns – cardioid and omnidirectional – whilst the others only have the cardioid option.
But, like the Meteorite, it's let down by the fact that it doesn't have a headphone jack for monitoring your recordings.
What's Your Favourite Looking Mic?
Would you like to be snapped by the paparazzi coming out of the music shop with a Samson Meteorite on your arm? Would you swipe left on the Shure MV51 if it appeared on Tinder? Or is this whole thing stupid because it shouldn't matter what a mic looks like?
Whatever your thoughts, let us know in the comments section below!