Best Microphone For Mac mini?An external microphone compatible with Mac mini desktops is often a high priority for Macintosh users. Beside the Macintosh Pro tower system, the mini Mac is the only other Apple computer which doesn't include an internal microphone for sound recording needs. Of all Apple computer buyers, the ones who are most likely to be shopping for external Mac audio peripherals and accessories is a Mac mini owner.
Apple doesn't include an internal audio recording microphone in the mini, nor does it include an external monitor, or even a keyboard, mouse in the box. For PC switchers, the Mac mini at least allows you to you leverage some of your existing computer accessories that you might already own. For others, you're free to build your mini setup with the precise microphone and other computer peripherals that you prefer.
Depending on your audio, music and voice recording needs, you have four basic options to guide a Mac mini mic purchase:
USB Desktop MicrophonesSamson Desktop USB Mic
Built-In Tripod Stand
A digital USB desktop microphone for podcasting, music, voice, or audio recording. A stand-alone Mac USB microphone is best for podcasters, musicians and singers with more demanding Mac sound recording microphone needs.
USB Webcams With MicsStereo Microphone Webcam
Premium Mac Web Camera
A Mac mini compatible webcam with microphone can serve the dual functions of both audio and video capture. For many, a Mac webcam with mic is the smartest choice, especially if you buy a high-quality HD web camera that includes built-in stereo microphones. Higher-end HD webcams from, say, Logitech or Creative Labs in the $50-$100 range are more likely to have higher quality internal mics as well as providing a superior lens and image sensor over cheaper cameras.
USB Mic HeadsetsAndrea USB Earbud Headset
Lightweight Earbud Microphone
If you're fond of online chat or Skype, or using Apple Dictation for speech recognition and speech to text translation, choosing a headset with microphone for Mac mini is the best option for clear diction and minimization of unwanted background noice. A Mac compatible USB headset also gives you the option of private audio and stereo music enjoyment without disturbing others. Look for headsets with boom microphones that mute and flip up and out of the way when not needed - or descreet USB earbud headphones with mic without the bulk of a full-size headset.
For everyday, less demanding needs, an Analog 1/8" (3.5mm) microphone or earbud headset with mic like those that are used on iPhones may suffice. Shopping for these are a bit complicated depending on the age of your Mac mini and model number: On older Mac's, Apple used UN-amplified "Line Level" electronic output specs which Windows PC's didn't. PC's have separate Mic/Speaker jacks and on the Macintosh they're on a single jack. So many cheap and affordable 1/8" plug analog PC microphones SIMPLY DO NOT WORK on a Mac because they don't deliver a strong enough electrical voltage to work. This changed in more recent Mac's to the "Microphone Level" output voltage so that many Apple-specific earbud & headphone microphones built into the cable are now Macintosh (and iPhone / iPad / iPod touch) compatible.
For all of the above Mac mini compatible microphone options, I recommend a USB microphone or headset over those that might use Apple's 1/8" analog audio connection. USB headsets and mics are simple to connect and very straightforward to use and set up in Apple's System Preferences. They also provide the clean, digital audio signal that USB provides that's more resistant to nearby devices causing electrical interference or hum.
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