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How Do I Choose the Best Laptop Microphone?

A desktop microphone is not ideal, especially if you need something with portability.
To achieve a decent quality recording, you should consider using a professional microphone instead of a laptop's built-in microphone.
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  • Written By: Mitch Morgan
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 26 September 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
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Choosing the best laptop microphone can be an easy decision by first considering a few things. Since there are many sizes and styles available that can achieve different results, the most suitable laptop microphone will typically depend on how it connects to the laptop, its intended use, and the sound playback quality that is desired. Whether the laptop microphone will be used simply for online communication, or for music, gaming, and voice recording is an important factor to consider. Knowing a few technical aspects of the laptop microphone should help make the deciding process an easier one.

Though some laptops may have a built-in microphone, a stand-alone laptop microphone will typically provide higher-quality sound playback. There are many options available, including headset-style microphones, free-standing microphones, pocket-sized microphones, and a range of other styles to suit specific needs. A headset microphone might be a good choice for online voice communication, for voice recognition computer software, or to record vocal tracks with less background noise interference. Stationary and handheld laptop microphones might be used to record a single musical instrument, a group of musicians, or even a live concert. Most compact microphones usually connect through the laptop's microphone port, and may an ideal choice for online communication via voice chat, unless a built-in microphone is to be used.

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If the laptop microphone is to be used for talking over the Internet or used with voice-recognition software, sound quality may not be much of an issue. For those who wish to record music, voice, or instruments with a laptop microphone, it will be much more important to find one that offers high-fidelity sound playback. Although many microphone brands may claim to offer high-quality sound reproduction, few will likely meet expectations, making it difficult for some consumers to discern one from another in terms of quality. To know what sort of sound quality to expect from a certain microphone, one should be familiar with some technical aspects.

Knowing a few microphone-related terms such as uni- and omni-directional, frequency response, and noise canceling, will help ensure a wise investment. An unidirectional microphone records sound that is emitted from one specific direction, while an omni-directional microphone will pick up sounds from virtually all directions. Frequency response refers to the range of high and low tones a particular microphone is capable of receiving, and is expressed in Hertz (Hz). The Hz rating of the microphone will determine how uniform the recording playback will sound, and the range of tones that will be picked up. Microphones which offer noise-cancellation will help diminish the amount of background/ambient noise that is captured when in use, and may be a suitable choice for music or voice recording in high-noise environments, and a good microphone for the professional or studio musician.

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