An XLR to USB cable and an audio mixer with USB will both help you connect your XLR microphone to your computer. They may achieve the same result, but these devices are quite different. 

In this article, we’ll help you compare the two options to find the best solution for you.

Quick Answer: We only recommend using an XLR to USB cable with an inexpensive handheld dynamic microphone, and that’s only if you don’t need a ton of volume. Otherwise, an audio mixer with USB is the best choice. It offers more gain, phantom power for condenser microphones, and flexible input/output options.

XLR to USB Cables

XLR to USB Cable

An XLR to USB cable is a simple way to connect an XLR microphone to your computer. Naturally, this simplicity comes with limitations, but an XLR to USB cable is still a valid option for those on a budget who don’t really need a mixer.

These cables work best with handheld dynamic microphones like the Shure SM58. You’ll need to max out the input volume on your computer and keep the microphone close to your face to get good results.

XLR to USB cables lack the gain to work well with studio dynamic microphones, like the Shure SM7B, and won’t work with condenser microphones because they don’t provide phantom power.

Current Price of XLR To USB Cable:

Audio Mixing Consoles with USB Audio Output

By comparison, audio mixers with a USB output are a lot more complicated. However, they offer you more options regarding the type and number of microphones or other audio input sources you can use. 

The Yamaha MG10XU audio mixing console with USB we’re using in our demonstration video also gives you a lot more control over your audio. This comes in the form of gain, volume, EQ, and compression.

Whether you’re mixing the audio for an event and live streaming it simultaneously or just recording a single voice track at home, an audio mixer with USB gives you a lot more flexibility.

Current Price of Yamaha MG10XU:

XLR to USB vs Audio Mixer Prices

XLR to USB vs Audio Mixer Topics

  • 0:00 – Introduction
  • 1:05 – XLR To USB Cable
  • 1:25 – Audio Mixing Console With USB
  • 2:55 – XLR To USB Demo
  • 5:12 – Audio Mixer Demo
  • 8:03 – Summary
  • 9:00 – Final Thoughts

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