What is an XLR microphone? If you’re new to the world of microphones and audio equipment, this might be one of the first questions you have. In this article, we’ll look at how XLR and USB mics differ and what equipment you can connect an XLR mic to.

Quick Answer: XLR microphones come in all shapes, sizes, and price ranges, but they all share one thing in common. They all rely on XLR connectors and cables to connect with a wide range of professional audio equipment.

Looking for audio gear recommendations for your first setup? Check out our series of activity-specific audio equipment buyer’s guides.

XLR vs. USB Microphones

XLR vs USB Cable

A USB microphone is a typical first purchase for people getting into podcasting and live streaming. They’re easier to set up and use, with no requirement for additional equipment.

You’ll need to buy an audio interface or USB mixer to use an XLR mic with your computer, so it’s a little bit more involved. But XLR mics offer far greater flexibility.

Check out our in-depth XLR vs. USB microphone comparison article if you want to know more. We’ve got some great tips to help you figure out which one is right for you.

XLR Microphone Connection

XLR microphones all share a standard connection type, and they rely on XLR cables to connect with other pieces of equipment. The XLR connector is round, with 3 pins on the male end of the cable. The female connector is also round, with 3 corresponding holes.  

XLR Microphones & Professional Audio Equipment

The majority of professional-grade audio equipment on the market supports XLR. This includes audio mixers, audio interfaces, external effects units, and compressors.

It’s for this reason that an XLR mic is far more flexible. You can connect it to a mixer for a live sound event and then plug it into an audio interface when you want to use it with your computer.

USB Microphone Connectivity

In contrast to XLR mics, USB microphones cannot connect to these other pieces of equipment. They are solely designed to be used with a computer; however, this may be all you need in certain circumstances.

Pricing For XLR Equipment In Video

What Is An XLR Microphone Topics

  • 0:00 – Introduction
  • 0:10 – XLR vs USB Microphone
  • 0:28 – XLR Microphone Connection
  • 0:43 – Connect To Professional Audio Equipment
  • 1:17 – USB Mic Connectivity
  • 1:25 – Final Thoughts