Starting a stream for your worship community is a worthwhile endeavor, but which microphone will deliver the best experience for your church? If you’re a little overwhelmed by livestreaming and the dense variety of microphones available, we’re here to help. In this article, we’ll outline the differences between USB and XLR microphones and recommend the microphones for live streaming worship services.
USB vs XLR Mics for Streaming
While you’re searching for a streaming microphone, you’ll come across USB and XLR mics. Continue reading to learn more about the differences between both microphone types.
USB microphones are capable of capturing professional audio, but they're better suited for single-sermon worship services. Any service that requires a band, choir or multiple instruments will require XLR mics and a mixer.
USB microphones are connected to a PC or mobile device using a USB cable, which powers the mic and carries the audio signal. They don’t require any extensive setup or specific equipment to make them work or sound great. Even better, the price point of most USB microphones is pretty reasonable—$200 will get your church a well-rounded USB microphone.
From studios to stages, XLR microphones are commonly used in live sound. If your service has a band or choir, using XLR mics with a PA system is your best option.
With an XLR cable, these microphones are connected to a variety of analog and digital equipment—mixers, mic preamps, audio interfaces, and more. Unlike USB microphones, XLR mics cannot be hooked up directly to a computer without using an audio interface. In live settings, XLR microphones are usually connected to a mixer instead.
Benefits of Using USB Mics for Small Service
Because of their convenience and intuitive setup, USB microphones are great for small church worship services led by one person. The bus-powered design makes it easy to connect the microphone to a PC and begin recording with the software of your choice—no mixer or audio interface required.
USB microphones are also versatile. Many USB models are packed with features that allow you to change the microphone’s sound. While shopping for a microphone, you’ll come across USB mics with switchable polar patterns and built-in vocal effects, giving you the ability to fine-tune your sound whenever you want.
Benefits of Using XLR Mics for Large Worship Events
XLR microphones are best for large worship events with a multichannel mixing console instead of a computer. The setup will be similar to concerts and other live events that involve a variety of sound sources, like drums, guitars, vocalists or a full choir.
Although USB microphones come with useful features, they’re typically better for vocals. There’s a wider range of XLR microphones to choose from, many of which are preferred for specific uses. In a full PA setup, every microphone is used to capture a specific sound source to get the best results. This is one of the many ways to improve the sound quality of your stream.
Using XLR microphones for your stream grants better flexibility. In addition to PA mixers, XLR microphones can be connected with other analog and digital hardware that has XLR connectivity. You can even route a board mix to Mevo cameras for quick and easy livestreaming.
Best Microphones for Streaming
Now that you know the difference between USB and XLR microphones, check out some of the best microphones for streaming your church service.
The Blue Yeti is a multi-pattern USB microphone for streaming
Yeti is a multi-pattern USB microphone that is versatile enough for any application. The polar pattern selector allows you to toggle between four different microphone settings—cardioid, bi-directional, omnidirectional, and figure-8. Combined with Blue VO!CE software, you can use vocal modulation and broadcast effects to dial in the perfect sound. Overall, Yeti is perfect for live streaming across any platform.
Ember is a professional XLR mic for recording and live streaming
For stunning results, you can’t go wrong with Ember. It’s a studio-grade XLR condenser microphone that delivers a strong, clear signal for your live stream. The excellent sound comes from Ember’s custom hand-tuned capsule and tight cardioid mic pattern. With Ember’s low profile, you’ll be able to stream without the microphone taking up too much space on camera.
Blackout Spark SL
Blackout Spark SL for professional recording and streaming
If you want your streams to have superb detail and rich harmonic audio, Blackout Spark SL is the right choice. This large diaphragm XLR mic features a custom JFET design that keeps the capsule’s backplate evenly charged and delivers a clean, transparent sound. The onboard 100Hz high-pass filter and -20dB pad give you the flexibility to improve the clarity of your voice when streaming your worship service.
Baby Bottle SL
Baby Bottle is a premium studio condenser microphone with a classic vibe
Baby Bottle SL has the rich, classic presence that legendary studio condenser microphones are known for. As a vocal microphone, Baby Bottle SL excels at capturing the natural character of any voice and enhancing the subtle details. From the hand-tuned capsule to the Class-A discrete circuitry, the Baby Bottle is an inspiring microphone that enhances any voice that passes through it.
Hummingbird is a small diaphragm microphone with an extended frequency response
Hummingbird is a small diaphragm microphone with a hand-tuned capsule inspired by the acclaimed Blue B1. In addition to its premium capsule, Humminbird is known for its sonic precision, extended frequency response, and ability to handle high sound pressure levels. Like Ember, the Hummingbird has a slim profile that stays out of sight while you’re streaming. It’s also the only mic on this list that has an adjustable 180° head, which allows you to dial in the perfect mic placement for your stream.
enCore is a vocal condenser mic with an open, detailed sound
If you prefer a rugged stage microphone with superb sound quality, enCore 300 will fit the role exceptionally well. It’s a premium vocal condenser mic that brings studio precision to the stage. With Blue’s proprietary phantom power circuit and floating capsule design, you’ll get a powerful sound with minimal noise. As a stage mic, enCore 300 can handle anything, thanks to its heavy-gauge barrel construction and hardened metal-plated finishes.
USB microphones and XLR microphones each offer unique advantages. Whether you’re looking for a USB microphone to stream small sermons or multiple XLR microphones for a large service, there are plenty of great options available. Want to learn more about livestreaming? Browse the blog for more useful guides and information.