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Mac Audio Recording Blog

Mac and iPad Compatible USB-C Lavalier Microphones

Due to the wide adoption of USB-C audio in many new smartphones, we're starting to see a growing number of USB-C microphones, USB-C headsets and USB-C earbuds coming to market rather quickly. That makes them ideal candidates for use on recent Apple iPads and Macs / MacBooks which have either a Type-C Thunderbolt 3 / USB 3.1 compatible port.

Apple Compatible Movo USB-C Lavalier Mic

With Long Cable, Clip, Windscreen and Carry Case


Above is an example of a Mac / iPad compatible USB-C lavalier clip-on mic ideal for podcasting, speech recognition, online conferencing or video recording sessions and interviews where a small, unobtrusive microphone is desired. It's optimized for accurate and voice production.

So plug the Movo lav mic into a modern MacBook, Mac mini or iMac computer with their USB-C compatible Thunderbolt 3 ports, or into the USB-C connector on one of the new(er) iPads that now have a Type-C instead of a Lightning port - and after setting your sound input device preferences, you're good to go!

Who Makes Thunderbolt 3 Compatible USB-C Headsets?

Wondering which companies make USB-C headset with microphone peripherals for new Macs with Thunderbolt 3 ports? Because the new Type-C ports speak BOTH Thunderbolt and USB protocols, USB-C microphone headsets will supplant the older 1/8th inch 4-Pole analog microphone / speaker jack for audio device connectivity. Plantronics seems to be ahead of most competitors with a complete range of single and dual ear USB-C headsets in their Blackwire 32XX and 52XX series:

Plantronics USB-C Blackwire Stereo Headset

USB-C Dongle With Optional 1/8" Analog Use


USB audio isn't very demanding in general, and the notion of licensing an expensive Thunderbolt 3 chipset to put in a headset is ridiculous. So expect USB-C headsets supporting Thunderbolt 3 compatibility to be the way to go. There's a lot of USB-C earbuds with inline microphones on the market since a lot of smartphone companies are starting to use the universal Type-C connector.

USB-A To USB-C Mac Peripheral Adapter

For Legacy Devices On Thunderbolt 3 Macs


The rest of the market for larger, over-the-head style USB-C headphones and headsets with microphone is starting to take hold. But currently, the vast majority of Thunderbolt 3 compatible headsets with mic use the rectangular USB Type-A connection we're so familiar with. If you already own a USB-A style headset, a cheap USB-A to USB-C adapter is all you'll need to use it on a new Mac with Thunderbolt3 ports.

Yeti Nano Mac Compatible USB Mic Review

The best-selling USB microphone for Mac recently got a face-lift and a bit of weight-loss surgery. The venerable Blue Yeti microphone has been a #1 selling mic for Apple using podcasters, streamers, well heck - anybody wanting a really high-quality desktop mic. But admit it; the original Yeti is a HEAVY and BULKY computer peripheral monster on your desktop. So Blue recently updated it to the more diminutive Yeti NANO featured below:

Blue Yeti Nano USB Mic For Mac

Dual-Pattern - Omni Directional and Cardiod Modes


Far less weighty and klunky than it's hulking cousin, the Blue Yeti Nano delivers silky-smooth audio recording response in a somewhat smaller, lighter footprint. Available in Gold, Onyx, Grey and Blue, there are four microphone color choices to suit your aesthetic taste. And it still features a built-in 1/8th inch analog headphone monitor jack for real-time listening as you record. It's also more affordable, saving you $20-30 or more over the cost of it's larger sibling.

There's a lighted, front mounted volume control and mute combo button on the front for easy access. A rear push button also allows you to switch between Omidirectional and Cardiod pattern modes when needed.

Cheap Dekstop USB Conferencing Microphones For Mac

As with many other Apple friendly computer peripherals, we're seeing highly competitive pricing from overseas putting pressure on the top-tier brand names and their premium priced Mac compatible group video and voice microphone products. Companies like Jabra, iPevo, Plantronics have long dominated the table-top conference microphone for business scene - along with other audio studio brands like MXL, Samson and others.

MXL AC-424 Executive Web Conferencing Microphone

Tri-Capsule Mic Array with LED Mute


For often a third the price of a premium mic like MXL's shown above, OEM manufacturers in the far east are widely selling Mac compatible cheap desktop USB conferencing microphones for MacOS users that contain sensitive, high-quality condenser mic capsules at far cheaper prices. You'll often see the same OEM hardware sold under ever-changing 'no-name' brand names: same components, different branding and packaging.

CMTECK Desktop Cheap Business Conference Microphone

Noise Cancelling Mic with LED Mute Button Indicator


As shown above, we have two fairly comparable USB conferencing mics with plug and play Mac OSX compatibility, similar styling and performance - with one at a far, far cheaper price. This is just one example of the split occurring across the Mac compatible microphone market. Premium mic brands are under tremendous pricing pressure from 2nd-tier knockoffs.

Apple Compatible Analog USB Audio Adapter Dongle Recommendations

Here's a sampling of Mac compatible recommended USB sound card adapters for analog microphone or headset use. These are low-cost analog 'DAC' devices that convert between analog and digital audio signals. For MacBook, iMac or Mac mini/Pro users they can be handy for connecting particular microphones or mic headsets. They might also be useful if for whatever reasons your Mac's internal audio circuitry has failed and you need an alternate way of getting sound into and out of your Mac affordably.

TS/TRS vs TRRS Analog Audio Adapters

Currenty, there's two dominant approaches to the kind of 1/8th inch / 3.5mm plugs that Apple-friendly USB audio dongles accept. For many years, particularly in the Windows PC world, computers featured SEPARATE microphone and speaker / headset connections. In general the microphone is mono and the headphone/speaker jack stereo. As such you'll find many Apple compatible USB audio adapter dongles that support two-jack style devices.

Two-Jack TS / TRS USB Sound Adapters

Those with separate jacks are ideal for older 2-plug mic headsets or mono microphones. The mic is a 2-conductor 1./8th inch (mono) plug and the headphone a 1/8th inch 3 conductor (stereo) plug.

Dual Jack Mac USB Audio Adapter

Separate Microphone Input - Stereo Output


One-Jack 4-Pole TRRS USB Sound Adapters

More recently, since around 2010 and the rise of the smartphone and iPhone - audio in and out have been consolidated into a SINGLE 4-Conductor 'TRRS' type of plug that can handle both a monophonic microphone input and stereo audio playback to earbuds or headphones. These USB soundcard DACs have a single input jack on them to handle both mono audio in and stereo audio out. Those with a single jack are more appropriate for more modern 4-pole headphone with mic type of use.

4-Pole TRRS USB Mac Audio Adapter

For 1-Plug Mic Headsets or Earbuds


Note that the above featured products are USB audio DACs that attach via a short USB cable. These may be a far better choice - especially on Apple MacBook Pro or Air laptops where a more common dongle 'block' would literally block the adjacent USB ports nearby.

Combo USB Audio Adapter Hubs

Need to conserve USB ports? This MacOS friendly device combines a 3-port USB 3.0 high-speed hub AND a dual-input microphone / headset adapter into one device.

3-Port USB 3.0 Hub With 2-Jack Audio Adapter

TR Mono Mic + TRS Stereo Headset + Hub