USB Vs. 3.5mm Microphone: What’s the Difference?

Last Updated on December 9, 2021 by admin

People who want to record audio on their computers or any other device at home or their workplace have two options; one is a USB microphone that connects to a normal USB port and has its drivers and software and the second option is a 3.5mm microphone which relies on the computer system for its processing. 

Both types of microphones capture sound in their way, it is almost the same but the difference between them is how they send the voice to the computer. In the case of the 3.5mm microphone, it sends the sound to the computer directly and it is up to the computer to process the sound. On the other hand, the USB microphone has its software due to which it processes the sound on its own.

USB microphones have their sound cards fitted in them, which is why computers consider them a separate audio device. This can be very useful in mixing different types of sound, on the other hand, 3.5mm microphones do not actually have any kind of soundcard and they rely on the computer for sound processing. 

Now, as USB microphones have good sound cards and they process great sound quality, 3.5mm microphones don’t produce the same results because of the low-quality sound card in the computer and sometimes computers have no sound card at all.


Now that some computers do not have soundcards at all; some do have and it is of great quality due to which the 3.5mm microphone takes great advantage. Furthermore, it can also use the other features of the high-end computer sound card but a USB microphone cannot take this advantage because they are unable to use any. 

While both microphones can connect to a computer it is not necessary that they can connect with all types of devices as we can see that the older devices can only connect to a 3.5mm microphone they do not have an option for a USB microphone to connect.

If we see the new devices, some of them can only connect to a USB microphone such as a gaming console It is also to be noted that a USB port does not always connect to a USB microphone because USB microphones have their drivers which they need to connect otherwise there is a no different way but 3.5mm microphones can be connected easily and they do not have a driver situation. Now, let’s discuss Latency.

Latency is a delay in the computer microphone. When a microphone connected to a computer via a USB port catches sound it has to convert the audio information into digital code that the computer reconverts into audio with the help of a sound card. 

The time which is taken by the software is the cause of it the more the software comes between them the more delay it causes. New generations of USB microphones are getting good with it but the older ones show great delay. 

The computer operating system has general audio drivers which can help with these microphones but they are not always matched because the manufacturer of USB microphones has special drivers for their microphones so this thing should be noted the drivers are often given with the microphones but if not they can be also downloaded. 

An audio port is a jack that can be used to connect any type of audio device it includes speakers, microphones, and headphones.

Inbuilt capabilities:

All laptops and personal computers have inbuilt jacks. There are many sources for a computer sound this can be anything like videos, audio, games, etc. there are many sources. The eldest and common port is the 3.5mm port 1/8 inch round jack used for speakers and headphones. Sometimes the signal is not so strong to drive the sound so computer speakers usually have their inbuilt amplifier and it works with its power supply.

Computers usually have two ports for their audio situation. One of them is pink which is used for 3.5mm microphones and the second one is green for the speakers. The USB ports present in computers today can be used as audio ports. Some external headphones or speakers are connected to a USB jack. 

The audio signal which is carried by the USB is digital. It has an excellent quality of sound than 3.5mm due to its latest technology but the audio signal has to be converted to or from 3.5mm by an external device and this can affect sound quality. 

A SPDIF (Sony/Philips Digital Interconnect Format) port is the best option for an audio port. It generates the best sound quality and is obtained through the SPDIF port. These ports are not available widely but they can be added by using an external USB device. This port is used to send audio signals to an external sound. 

Talking of USB microphones that are often affordable, they produce the same quality of output audio regardless of the computer you are using. When recording from multiple sources a source card is needed but as all computers recognize USB microphones as they are a separate audio device so this problem is solved automatically. 

The USB microphones are the latest technology so they are designed for quality but also for ease of use they can be used so easily to plug in or plug out’s microphones do not require extra types of equipment or extra cables. 

A wide range of voices with different tones, quirks, pitches, and timbres can be recorded with the help of a USB microphone. It is also to be noted that if we buy cheap USB microphones they always do not give the same or good results as mentioned, they can cause latency and different recording problems not to mention very cheap USB microphones do not last very long. 


Now, that you know how both of these types of microphones work and what both of these have to offer, you can better decide which one is better. Each has its own benefits and drawbacks accordingly with the situation.

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