Trending December 2023 # How To Check For Software Updates For Your Beats Audio Accessories # Suggested January 2024 # Top 17 Popular

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If you have Beats-branded audio devices, then they might have a firmware installed on it that sometimes need to be updated.

In this tutorial, we’ll show you how to check for updates for any of your supported Beats devices. Keep in mind that some Beats audio devices do not need to be updated.

Software inside of these Beats audio devices controls the drivers that deliver your sound, and as such, the software refinements can often help with a variety of things, ranging from battery life, to sound quality, to connective reliability, etc. Since most of the devices that can receive updates are wireless, it goes without saying that improving your Bluetooth connection is a common reason for software updates on these devices.

Supported devices

Among the devices that Beats offers software updates for are:

Beats Solo2 wireless ovn-ear headphones

Beats Solo3 on-ear headphones

Powerbeats2 wireless in-ear headphones

Powerbeats3 in-ear headphones

Beats Studio over-the-ear headphones

Beats Pill 2.0 speaker

Beats Pill+ speaker

To update a Beats audio accessory, you need to have the following:

A Mac with OS X Mountain Lion v10.8 or later

A PC with Windows 7 or later

An up-to-date Web browser such as Safari, Chrome, Firefox, or Internet Explorer

A cable to plug into your computer (Lightning or Micro-USB, whichever your accessory calls for)

An internet connection

How to check for a software update for your Beats

To check for a software update for any of the above Beats audio devices, you’ll need to follow these steps:

1) Download and install the Beats Updater tool on your computer.

2) Launch the tool after the installation completes.

3) Plug your Beats audio accessory into your computer with the supplied (or equivalent) cable.

4) Ensure that you have at least 20% of battery juice remaining in your Beats accessory before continuing.

7) Your web browser will launch a new tab and show you information about your Beats accessory.

8) Right below the battery level, one of two things will be shown:

The page will say Your software is up to date. This means you have the latest firmware installed on your Beats accessory.

The page will display an Update button. This means there’s a software update that’s ready to be installed.

While your Beats product updates, you will need to follow a few additional on-screen instructions and then remain patient. The update process typically doesn’t take more than a few minutes, but this also depends on your internet connection speed and computer speed.

When you get the prompt that says the update is complete, you can unplug your Beats product and begin using it again.

What to do if the update can’t see your accessory

In some rare cases, the Beats Updater tool may fail to see your Beats audio accessory. If this is the case, check into the following possibilities:

Ensure your cable is secure

It’s possible that your cable is not plugged in all the way or isn’t making a good electrical connection between your accessory and your computer. Try unplugging and plugging the cable back in to see if this changes the situation.

Use another USB port

Perhaps the USB port on your computer is malfunctioning. If you’re using a hub, then the hub may not be performing as expected. Try another USB port on your computer to see if this resolves the issue.

Turn it off and on again

Turn your Beats accessory off and on again. Sometimes when you plug it in while it’s still on, things may not work as expected. Although rare, this can happen from time to time.

Are your Beats authentic?

There are a lot of very good copies of Beats products on Ebay and other third-party stores, and believe it or not, it’s very hard to tell the difference between authentic and counterfeit Beats products. If your Beats audio device is not authentic, then it won’t work properly with the Beats software updater. Try calling Apple to have them verify your serial number.

Contact Beats or Apple

If nothing is working, you should be able to call Beats or Apple for customer support. They’ll be able to point you in the right direction.


Unfortunately, Beats audio devices don’t stay updated automatically like Apple’s AirPods do. This is likely to increase the appeal of Apple’s own walled garden of devices rather than to make a sister product look just as good. On the other hand, it’s still good to know exactly how to keep your stuff up to date, especially if you chose Beats over AirPods for sound quality purposes.

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Best Gaming Accessories For Your Iphone In 2023

With the rise of mobile gaming, gaming accessories for your mobile phone have also become important buys. There are various accessories available for you to buy in different categories. I understand that this can get confusing, and I have curated a list of the best gaming accessories for iPhone.

The accessories are the best bang for their buck in their respective categories. Let’s dive in.

1. Razer Kishi – Best controller for iPhone

If you’re on the lookout for a great gamepad or controller for your iPhone, Razer Kishi is the one!

The design of this controller is future-proof. The two sides are attached to the back panels and are slideable. This means that even if your new iPhone is bigger, you can still use this controller for gaming. Moreover, the gamepad design is inspired by Nintendo Switch’s Joy-Con.

The stylizations are similar to the new Xbox controller, and you’ll find absolutely no issues adjusting the controller for new games. There’s support for Xbox Game Pass as well.

Moreover, the controller is light enough not to add too much weight to the phone. Despite the lightweight, the controller’s build is sturdy enough not to feel flimsy or breakable. Also, it’s easy to carry around!

With all these features, it’s pretty easy to guess that this controller is expensive. This is the only con I could find with the product. However, if you pay the big bucks, you’ll be getting your money’s worth.

Check out on Amazon

2. Nintendo Switch Joy-Con

The Nintendo Joy-Cons are dual controllers that are packed together with the Nintendo Switch console. Thanks to the Nintendo Switch’s hybrid system, you can either dock the Nintendo Switch for use on a bigger screen, or use its portability factor for fun gaming on the go.

These touch controls often become an impediment to the graphical fidelity and screen space that’s required with the latest games. Moreover, they’re not the best when it comes to providing you with a level of control. By pairing one or both controllers to your iPhone, the device will recognize the Joy-Cons as a single controller and allow you to play your games without the impediment of the touch controls.

So, if you’ve got a Nintendo Switch lying around the house and want to elevate your mobile gaming experience, pair the Nintendo Joy-Cons with your iPhone today!

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The only caveat is that it’s made for beginners or intermediate gamers. If you’re an enthusiast, you’re better off spending a few more dollars.

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Best of all, you can access all the iPhone-compatible apps through the Merge Miniverse, the company’s portal for gaming. From education games to the latest mobile games, there’s access to plenty of content.

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5. Serafim Steering Wheel – Best for racing games on iPhone

Racing games on iPhone are aplenty, and some of them provide a proper racing simulation experience. The Serafim Steering Wheel is precisely for these games.

This steering wheel brings everything – from the pedals to a phone holder on the steering wheel. While it also works with major console games, it’s also been specifically designed with mobile games in mind.

The steering wheel comes with a one-year warranty. Moreover, its build quality is something to brag about. Don’t worry about stepping on the pedals too hard. The entire ensemble is made to be pushed to the limits.

The double vibration motors do a great job of making you feel the power of the in-game car’s engines. The X-input and D-input are standardized as well. Overall, this is a steering wheel covering all bases.

Check out on Amazon

6. Dizaul 3D Screen Magnifier – Best iPhone screen amplifier

Screen magnifiers are important for those who want more control in their mobile gaming experience.

Sometimes, the smaller screens of phones don’t do a good job of showing the game in all its glory. Moreover, playing mobile games for too long can be detrimental to your eyesight.

The 3D screen magnifier is a good choice for those who want to put less stress on their eyes while enjoying the mobile game as if they were playing a console game.

The screen itself is foldable, which makes it highly portable. It’s got a curved shape that works well for panoramic fields of view. The build quality is above average and can sustain a substantial amount of wear and tear.

Unfortunately, the screen magnifier is suitable only for one to two people. Don’t expect to watch a movie with your family through this screen.

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7. Altec Lansing BattelGrip Mobile Controller – Best for shooting games

Good controllers meant specifically for certain game genres can be difficult to find. If you’re into shooting games, the BattleGrip Mobile Controller should be a must-buy for you.

The controller features two triggers on either side for easier control. Triggers can be customized for specific actions, and the placement makes it easier for actions such as shooting and reloading.

There’s also a silent cooling fan attached to the controller. Shooting games can be heavy on the phone and lead to heating issues. The cooling fan ensures that the temperatures remain favorable for extended gaming hours.

I wish they bettered the build quality, however. The material, while durable for small knicks and bumps, may be unable to stand bigger falls.

Check out on Best Buy

8. Altec Lansing Charging Pad – Best charging pad for iPhones

This is another product by Altec Lansing that can enhance your gaming experience.

We know that gaming can be a heavy task for phones. With the latest games having superior graphics and intense gameplay, the phone may run out of charge quickly.

This is why a wireless charging pad can be a useful tool. The Altec Lansing Charging Pad doesn’t take up too much space. Moreover, it’s small enough for you to miss it when holding the phone.

This ensures that your gaming isn’t interrupted. The suction cup grip allows the pad to stick to the back of the phone, and the material doesn’t interfere with charging even if you use a phone case. More importantly, it has a 10W charging capacity. While this doesn’t sound like much, the charging is fast and efficient.

The charging pad also features a ring stand that can keep the phone at certain angles. However, the ring stand seems flimsy, so I’d recommend caution when using it.

Check out on Best Buy

9. Vakili Touch Screen Joypad – Best on-screen joypad for iPhones

Gaming controllers can be a hassle when you prefer something much smaller. On-screen controllers can be your go-to accessory for gaming if this is the case for you.

The Vakili Touch Screen Joypad is perfect for those who don’t want to spend too much on a controller. The small form factor allows you to attach the controller to the screen, especially in those areas where the on-screen controls are present.

There’s no additional pattern to increase the size of the joypad, and it can stick to the surface of the screen without causing any damage.

It’s especially useful for racing and shooting games as you have to control the direction.

Unfortunately, you cannot add any more functionality to this controller. You cannot sprint with this controller in games where the sprint function is present.

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10. MGC Clawsocks – Best finger sleeves for iPhone gaming

When you play competitive online games, especially the likes of Call of Duty Mobile, you’ll notice that there is a lag when you drag the camera from one extreme angle to another.

Often, this drag can cost your gaming experience. This is why the MGC Clawsocks are an important buy for you. Not only do they protect your fingers, but also reduce this lag to an almost frictionless situation.

It’s also thin enough to have sensitivity in your fingers and does not interfere with the mobile screen’s sensitivity. Even if your fingers have dirt or oil, these finger sleeves will ensure that you have smooth gameplay with uninterrupted touch sensitivity.

My only issue with the sleeves is that the strings may unravel after extended usage. While this doesn’t impact the gameplay much, it can be annoying.

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11. IFYOO Z108 Mobile Controller – Best budget alternative for shooting games

If you want to improve your experience at shooting games and have budget restrictions, the IFYOO Z108 controller is a good alternative.

The controller uses a clip-on system that protects your screen from scratches. It’s also compatible with a variety of screen protectors and phone cases.

Apart from the fact that the controller uses the lowest amount of your screen space, it also helps you avoid accidental button presses on the side of your phone. Moreover, the buttons are customizable.

The low latency feedback allows you to exercise quicker reactions when you’re in the middle of an intense gunfight.

My only issue with the controller is that it isn’t durable. The ABS plastic material may not withstand high wear and tear.

Check out on Amazon

12. LucBuy Mobile phone case – Best phone case for retro games

Retro games can transport us into the past, into an era of vintage gaming. If you want the truest feel of playing these games, you have to try the retro phone case by LucBuy.

The phone case is designed to represent the classic GameBoy cases. There’s plenty to choose from, depending on the device you use.

There are 36 categories of retro games to choose from. Whether you prefer Mario or Sonic the Hedgehog, there’s content for everyone to try. All these games can be played at the back of your phone, as the case comes with a colored screen and the usual GameBoy button design.

The case itself is stated to be dustproof, shockproof, and scratch-resistant. It also comes in a variety of eye-catching colors.

You can also power the case by connecting it to your phone. The case will draw the battery from your phone. This guarantees extended gaming times. If you’re a connoisseur of older video games, this phone case is a must-buy.

A con of this phone case would be that it adds a fair bulk to the phone. So, if you don’t like a phone case that weighs too much, you might have to sacrifice the retro gaming.

Check out on Amazon

Summing up!

Mobile gaming is now considered a serious e-sporting phenomenon. If you’re an aspiring or budding mobile gamer, I hope you’ve liked this list of the best gaming accessories for the iPhone.

In case you missed!

Author Profile


Anirban is a literature post-grad who delves in philosophy and postmodern novels when not writing on tech and gaming. His love for research is only trumped by his love for chai and heavy metal.

How To Hire Programmers For Outsourced Software Development

Outsourced software development services are becoming more popular in today’s business world. This trend is easy to understand. Today, companies in different industries and spheres may need their own software solutions. It will not be possible to build an in-house team of developers as most development projects are not planned regularly.

This is why every year, more and more companies (especially those without programmers) choose to outsource services. Many of these companies don’t know how to organize everything and how to choose the right team.

This guide will help you with all of the tasks. We hope you find the information useful and that it will help you to establish a relationship with a trustworthy software development company. This will allow you to create your solution in accordance with all your requirements.

Step 1. Clear Describe Your Goals

Before you start looking for developers, it is important to establish the goals of your project. This should include the expectations of all stakeholders including management, clients and end-users. You will need to explain all requirements clearly to ensure that third-party programmers can understand them.

Step 2. Prepare Your Project Documentation

Without a plan and other documentation, it is not a good idea to even start discussions about possible cooperation with an outsourcing agency. You will be asked questions about your budget and requirements even before you start communicating with the vendor. Be prepared.

Step 3. Choose a Tech Stack

Step 4. Find a Reliable Software Development Partner

No matter what type of cooperation you choose (e.g., dedicated development team, augmentation, or other), it is important to have a professional company on your side. The company must not only have access to a large pool of experts but also be able to manage them in a manner that is easy for clients. Before making a decision about cooperation, make sure to review the portfolio and read reviews from clients who have worked with them. You should ensure that your future outsourcing partner has the same business values you do.

Step 5. Proceed to Work, Manage The Process

Your involvement in the development process depends on the type of cooperation you have chosen with your software partner. You may have the ability to control all steps in certain cases. In other cases, your involvement can be reduced if you feel it is more comfortable. It is recommended that you at least perform a high-level oversight during development to ensure that everything runs smoothly.

Also read:

Top 10 IT Skills in Demand for 2023

Tips to Choose The Best Software Development Company

It is important to find the right partner to work with. Let’s take a look at the most important points to remember:

Previous experience

Expertise in a specific business area

This agency often cooperates with certain types of companies


Tech stack

There are many talents in the pool

Cooperation models

Development costs


English proficiency (or any other language you will use to communicate)

Time zone (it’s important to be able to communicate with your developers at most for a few hours each day).

Closing Word

Outsourced software development can offer companies a lot more freedom and flexibility than traditional methods. This is why many businesses that specialize in software development sometimes use third-party service providers. This can be a result of the fact that they have special skills but don’t see the point in long-term collaboration with such people.

Outsourced software development services can help you save significant amounts of money without sacrificing the quality of your new solutions. In this instance, the most important thing is to choose a vendor and a cooperation model that works.

How To Check For And Possibly Prevent Allergies In Children

This post has been updated. It was originally published on October 27, 2023.

What are allergies, anyway?

Allergies are a broad, diverse group of ailments unified by the principle of hypersensitivity. When a person’s immune system starts overreacting to an otherwise harmless substances—like peanuts or pollen—it becomes an allergy. Your body produces far too much of an immune response when it detects an allergen, so much so that some people go into anaphylactic shock. Others just get itchy, or bits of them swell up, but they’re all related responses. Your body is trying to fight what it thinks is an invader.

We’re still not entirely sure why they develop in some people and not others. It seems like a combination of genetics and environmental exposure. What you eat, where you live, who your parents are, how many allergens you’re exposed to—they all seem to influence your risk. Which is why so many parents hope to find the right set of conditions to keep their kids allergy free.

Allergy rates are rising, even in adults

But while many parents have these intentions, it seems like every time we survey the American public there are even more food allergies. Shellfish reactions are up 7 percent, tree nuts are up 18, and peanuts up by 21. These numbers are courtesy of a survey presented this week at the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology conference, which sampled over 53,000 US households. This rise is almost certainly the result of a combination of factors, but one of the stand out explanations is known as the hygiene hypothesis.

You’ve heard it before: Kids just aren’t playing in the dirt enough. Young bodies have to learn how to differentiate dangerous substances from harmless ones, and if you don’t expose your child to enough would-be worldly allergens, their immune systems are more liable to get confused.

Then there’s the influence of antibiotics. A healthy bacterial flora seems to ward off allergic diseases, so perhaps our propensity to dole out antibiotics for even minor ailments has hurt our immune systems overall. Vitamin D deficiency and obesity have also been linked to asthma and allergies, though the exact mechanism behind this potential connection is still unclear. And there’s the fact that for many years we told parents not to give kids allergy-inducing foods until age two, which we now realize was exactly the opposite of what we should have been doing.

[Related: Everything you ever wanted to know about vitamin D]

But it’s not just kids who are developing more inflammatory reactions. That same survey found that 45 percent of people with food allergies didn’t develop them until adulthood. Shellfish seems to be the most common culprit. Children have the highest proportion of peanut allergies, but by the time they’re grown up, shrimp has overtaken Skippy’s as public enemy number one.

We’re still not entirely sure what causes allergies—it’s probably a constellation of combined attributes—or why certain groups of people tend to be at higher risk. In the US, black children generally develop more allergies. Australia has one of the highest rates in the world, and immigrants who arrive there from lower-risk countries tend to have kids with increased risk, which suggests there are environmental factors at work.

There’s still some resistance to giving peanuts to babies, despite all the evidence

In January 2023, the National Institutes of Health officially revised its recommendation on peanut exposure, saying that kids who aren’t at any especially high risk for allergic diseases should be fed peanuts around age 4 to 6 months. This was based on a massive study published in the New England Journal of Medicine back in 2023, showing that kids who ate peanuts at that age were 80 percent less likely to develop an allergy to them. A follow-up study found that the exposure even protected those who didn’t continually consume the legumes after that first tentative taste. Even high-risk children should be evaluated to see whether they truly have a reaction, or whether early introduction could help prevent further development of a full-blown allergy.

“With clinical guidelines, it takes 10 years before they’re fully implemented in practice,” says Dave Stukus, an associate professor of pediatrics at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and a spokesperson at the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. Stukus was part of the group that drafted the peanut guidelines at the NIH earlier this year, and he knows it’s not going to happen overnight. Physicians have to be brought up to date and educated about how to communicate with their patients.

The hardest people to reach, in Stukus’ experience, are the parents with older children who already have peanut allergies. They can be upset about the sudden switch in recommendation, and wary of the logistical nightmare of introducing a baby to peanuts in a household where another child is allergic. “You have to take the time to explain why the changes are taking place and what the potential benefits are,” he says. “Once you do that, people are very excited about it.”

Having eczema as a baby can be an early sign of later asthma and allergies

Eczema might seem unrelated to allergies and asthma, but research has been building up a theory that a rash early in life can progress into serious immune problems. The idea is called “atopic march”—atopy is the tendency to develop allergies. The link between eczema and later immune issues may in part be a predisposition to developing multiple immunological diseases, but more studies are suggesting that there’s also a causal relationship.

Because “eczema” is actually a blanket term for a variety of related skin problems, many people think of it as a fairly random condition. But the most common type—atopic dermatitis—is essentially the result of a defective patch of skin that overreacts to irritants.

“With eczema, you have an altered skin barrier where the surface is sort of broken, and it allows moisture to escape. That’s why you get the dry skin,” explains Stukus. “But the barrier works both ways, so it’s also letting allergens in when maybe it wouldn’t be if it weren’t impaired.”

[Related: What’s the best allergy medication?]

That extra exposure and inflamed immune response could sensitize kids to reacting more easily to allergens, which could prompt the development of asthma and other allergic responses. “I see this every day in the clinic,” says Stukus, “and I tell my colleagues ‘listen, when you have a baby with terrible eczema, they’re declaring themselves to you that they’re maybe predetermined to have allergies and asthma.” Eczema gets better after a year or so, and you probably won’t see environmental allergies until age two or three, and then asthma takes even more time to develop—but they’re probably all linked.

What should parents do with this information?

Parents of babies with eczema should consider going to an allergist, who will have experience treating and managing hypersensitive kids. Your baby could be tested for allergies before you expose them to potential triggers, just in case they’re likely to have a severe attack; the exposure could even take place in a doctor’s office for safety. It’s become pretty common for parents to pick a spot close to an emergency room for their kid’s first taste of peanut butter.

In general, it seems clear that parents should try to introduce allergens early on. All the evidence suggests that this will actively help children avoid sever allergies later. If you’re worried, head to an specialist. They’ll be able to walk you through the process and address your concerns, and even provide a plan for how to proceed. It’s scary, but necessary—and allergies are no joke.

Best Usb Microphones For Streaming: Upgrade Your Stream With Quality Audio

Thankfully, you don’t have to blow your budget on pro-level audio equipment to significantly improve the quality of your voice chats and audio recordings. USB microphones are extremely affordable, easy to use, and provide great sound quality.

We’ve tested a lot of USB mics at PCWorld and have curated the mics that we’ve like the best below. When selecting our picks for the best USB microphones, we look for models that offer easy plug-and-play setup, great quality, and an affordable price. We also look for flexibility in audio settings that will work with different voice types and volumes. If you want to learn more about how to pick the best microphone for your particular needs, scroll down to our buyers’ guide below our recommendations, and check out our FAQ at the bottom for even more information.

The best USB microphones

Elgato Wave:3 – Our top pick


Powerful and accurate audio

Fantastic ADC

Easy-to-use hardware controls

Feature-rich software options

Clean and sleek look

Great value for the price


Mic mute placement

Included stand not usable for serious streamers

Price When Reviewed:


Best Prices Today:

The Elgato Wave:3 packs in a lot of performance for a $160 USB microphone. Not only does it sound great out of the box, but it can be tuned further, too. You can also easily adjust the mic during streams, thanks to a capacitive mute button and a physical dial that controls mic gain, headphone volume, and crossfade (aka the balance of your mic versus PC volume when using connected headphones).

Powering the excellent audio is a 24-bit/96kHz analog-to-digital converter and a large condenser capsule sensitive to voices of all volumes, plus a lone cardioid polar pattern that keeps the focus on you and not background noises. Overall, voices sound natural coming through the Wave:3, and transitions from loud to quiet speaking are smooth. Our one nitpick is that this mic would sound even better with a little more sharpness in the mid-tones.

The Wave:3 also comes with built-in hardware to reduce unwanted vocal pops (those distracting bursts of air that happen when saying words that start with letters like “p” or “b”), as well as a unique feature that reduces clipping (the distortion that happens when you talk or yell louder than the mic can handle) by switching to a secondary signal that’s been picking up your voice at a lower volume.

Streamers with a two-PC streaming setup or the use of additional non-Elgato mics may need to look elsewhere, but for most people, the Wave:3 is the closest to a one-size-fits-all solution—especially since Elgato’s Wavelink software gives you control over audio routing of other sources beyond your mic, too.

Elgato Wave:1 – Runner-Up


Same great sound profile as the Wave:3

Same amazing software features

Same clean and sleek look

Easy-to-use mic mute


Not a great value for its price

Lacks dedicated mic gain/crossover control

Lower-tier ADC compared to Wave:3

Best Prices Today:

The Elgato Wave:1 may lack its sibling’s fancier features, but don’t count it out. It still has the same fantastic large condenser capsule and protection against plosives and clipping as the Wave:3, and you get similar sensitivity and tonal clarity, too. This mic plays nice with almost every voice out there—it provides warm, full tones in the low end that mix perfectly with a crisp high range.

Where it falls behind the Wave:3 is with its lower-quality analog-to-digital converter, which offers a 24-bit/48kHz signal. Less data in the digital capture of your voice means a less faithful reproduction of it, though as noted above, it still sound pretty good.

More disappointing are the stripped-down hardware controls. The control dial on the Wave:1 only toggles muting of the mic and headphone volume. You can still control mic gain and crossfade through Elgato’s Wavelink PC software, but the experience is more cumbersome than having dedicated controls on the mic. We think it worth the extra $30 to get a Wave:3, but if you’re on a tight budget, this $130 mic is still one of the best on the market.

Shure MV7 – Premium pick


Inspired by a legendary microphone

Rich, bright, radio sound

USB/XLR connections

Easy-to-use software

Built like a tank


Touch controls

Requires more knowledge to use

Micro-USB connection

Steep price

Price When Reviewed:


Best Prices Today:

Last fall, Shure released the MV7, a USB microphone inspired by the well-known audio company’s legendary SM7B—a professional microphone used for decades by vocalists and countless radio shows. But while still aimed at a more experienced user, the MV7 requires far less time to learn its ins and outs for the best possible experience.

And what an experience it is. This dynamic-capsule mic sounds fantastic in the lower range (think booming radio voice), with smooth, clearly defined reproduction of tones in the mid and high range, too. To get the best results, you’ll need to tweak the EQ settings using Shure’s easy-to-use MOTIV software, but you largely get similar performance to the unparalleled SM7B. Furthering the MV7’s professional vibe is its solid build quality, though its heavier weight and lack of included stand means you’ll need a strong boom arm to use it effectively. The MV7 is also compatible with XLR connections, so if you upgrade to a more high-end audio system in the future, you can do so without having to buy another mic.

The MV7 isn’t for everyone, however. Its dynamic capsule is better suited for a loud voice, and it also has a highly directional hyper cardioid polar pattern, which limits how you can use it. (Its position relative to your mouth strongly affects performance.) This mic’s signal also caps out at 24-bit/48kHz. Most disappointing is the touch panel interface on the device for mic gain control, mute button, and monitor levels, which can be awkward to use during streams. But if you’ve got the patience and the right kind of voice, it’ll make you sound like liquid gold.

Razer Seiren Elite – More affordable premium pick


Low-end heavy, radio-like sound

Simple controls

Light-up compression warning


No software tuning

Micro-USB connection

Razer’s top offering boasts specs that put it on par with the best mics in this round-up. Like Shure’s MV7, the Razer Seiren Elite sports a dynamic capsule that works well with many vocal types, emphasizes low-end tones, and requires close proximity for smooth output. (That last aspect is a positive when in a noisy environment, as it keeps background noises from being picked up.) And like Elgato’s Wave:3, the Seiren Elite has easy-to-use physical controls, with one knob controlling mic gain, another controlling headphone volume, and a mute switch. It even features an LED ring around the base of the mesh grill that lights up to indicate when mic’s built-in compressor kicks in to even out high spikes in volume.

But while this compact mic generally takes a radio-like approach to mic design and sound signature, its $200 price tag drags down its appeal compared to our top pick, the $160 Wave:3. That’s particularly so with its analog-to-digital converter limited to a 16-bit/48 kHz signal—the baseline of usable signal by today’s standards. Other mics with higher bit rates will have a longer life as future standards (and audience expectations) rise. You won’t be able to tune its output further, either, as Razer’s Synapse app doesn’t support that—a real bummer, since Seiren Elite lacks the clarity and sharpness of other mics in the mid-to-higher frequencies necessary for that classic radio sound.

Blue Yeti X – Best multi-purpose option


Simple and clean sound profile

Sturdy build for mic and included stand

Feature-rich software

Multiple polar patterns make it versatile


Sound lacks character

Micro-USB connection

Big and bulky

Buggy software

Price When Reviewed:


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Like Shure, Blue is a well-respected name in professional audio. But unlike Shure, Blue also has a history of producing great USB-based microphones for many use cases—and the company’s Yeti X comes closer to the Wave:3 in terms of audio performance than the rest. 

Unlike the other mics on this list, though, the Yeti X doesn’t focus specifically on streamers. The company’s top microphone features multiple polar patterns (cardioid, omnidirectional, bidirectional, and stereo), which you can easily toggle through using the physical dial on the back. The condenser capsules in the Yeti X pick up voices easily and capture voice in all vocal ranges well, with an output at 24-bit/48kHz that has a neutral, more generic sound and works well for a variety of scenarios. That’s both a plus and a minus for this mic—with no features or distinct identity in its sound, it lacks a personality worth lavish praise. While you can tweak the audio profile in Blue’s Voice software quite a bit, the program can be buggy, making such adjustments unreliable.

Build quality is solid on this mic, which also comes with a heavy and sturdy included base. The main drawback of Yeti X’s design is how imposing it is in size—it takes up a lot of space within your field of view.

At $170, the Yeti X is the best Blue has to offer, but unless you’ll use your microphone for other purposes (in-person interviews, multi-singer recordings, etc.), you’ll be better off with a streaming-focused mic like the Wave:3.

MSI Immerse GV60 Streaming Mic – Affordable Yeti X alternative


Simple, clean sound profile

Multiple polar patterns

Included pop filter

Sturdy build


Big and bulky

No software support

Price When Reviewed:


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At first glance, you might mistake the MSI Immerse GV60 for a Blue Yeti—and we wouldn’t blame you. The two microphones share more than similar thick profiles. 

Like the Yeti, the GV60 is a solid, all-purpose USB microphone that produces clear, neutral output and works well with most voice types. It also sports excellent physical controls, with separate dials for gain level, headphone volume, and polar pattern (cardioid, omnidirectional, bidirectional, and unidirectional), plus a mute button.

But the GV60 edges ahead with several stepped-up details, like a 24-bit/96kHz signal that surpasses both the baseline Yeti (16-bit/48kHz) and the more expensive Yeti X (24-bit/48kHz). A foam pop-filter also comes in the box, which arguably improves recordings more than the signal quality. Distracting puffs of air when saying words with “b” and “p” sounds won’t plague your recordings—which more ears will notice than the signal fidelity. That said, the GV60 still sounds more pleasing for streaming, as it doesn’t highlight mids as enthusiastically as the Yeti. We prefer the more straightforward USB-C connection, too.

As a condenser mic, the GV60 picks up audio incredibly well, even faint noises like pressing its mute button. But this MSI model still isn’t quite as sensitive as the Yeti, making for less background noise during use. You’ll want to put it on a microphone arm to easily move its bulk and avoid capture of keyboard and mouse sounds, however.

At a list price of $130, the MSI Immerse GV60 is a fantastic, cheaper alternative to the Yeti X. The only thing holding it back is a lack of software adjustments—the out-of-the-box experience is superb, but that’s exactly what you get and no more.

Neat Bumblebee II – Budget alternative to the Yeti X


Clean, neutral sound profile

Solid base included with mic

Affordable MSRP

Excellent signal quality


Very small mute indicator light

Lack of control labels

Price When Reviewed:


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On the surface, the Neat Bumblebee II may seem like just another USB-C microphone, but it actually comes from a team that includes the original founders of Blue.

Despite that heritage, the Bumblebee II stands on its own. This $100 condenser mic offers good sensitivity and clear, neutral output. Recordings are clean and pleasant to listen to, with just enough warmth to prevent a sterile vibe—the sound is not as bright as with Blue mics.

Bumblebee II does offer just one polar pattern—cardioid, which picks up sounds only from the front of the mic. But it also provides excellent signal quality, with 24-bit/96kHz output. (Close rivals stop at a more modest 24-bit/48kHz [Blue Yeti Nano] and 16-bit/48kHz [Razer Seiren X]). It’s perfect for streamers and podcasters who don’t need multifunctionality and care more about faithful voice reproduction.

Support is scant for this microphone, so don’t lose your included quick start guide. Neat and parent-company Turtle Beach’s websites are both slim on documentation. There’s also no software for fine-tuning audio output. But for folks looking for a simple plug-and-play solution, the Bumblebee II does work extremely well out of the box.

Capsule type

This cutaway shot from Elgato’s Wave:3 product page shows what a capsule looks like.

Capsules are pieces of hardware that converts sound-pressure levels traveling through the air (in this case, your voice) into a direct-current (DC) signal, aka the audio signal. How a capsule picks up audio signals is determined by its type. The two most common kinds you’ll encounter—and should seek out—are condenser and dynamic capsules.

Condenser capsule microphones: This variety of mic uses extra voltage (+48V aka phantom power) to charge the capsule, which makes it more sensitive. Generally, condenser mics are better for people who speak at softer volumes or have voices with more dynamic range.

Dynamic capsule microphones: Dynamic mics don’t require that extra voltage and are thus less sensitive. This sort of mic is better for people with loud voices or folks trying to better isolate audio pick-up to only what’s close to the microphone (i.e., trying to block out background noises like a mechanical keyboard or loud PC fan). Dynamic mics tend to last longer, as too much sensitivity can harm a capsule over time.

Electret condenser capsules: This capsule type is cheap and small, and more often used in laptops and smartphones. Unlike a true condenser mic, electret condensers aren’t actively charged—instead, they essentially come pre-charged, so they’re lower power and produce lower-quality audio.

Digital signal quality (bit depth / sample rate)

After your voice has been transformed into an electrical signal by a microphone’s capsule, it then passes on to the analog-to-digital converter (ADC) found in all USB mics. As you might guess, the ADC converts the incoming analog signal (your voice) into a digital signal that your computer can use.

How accurately the ADC does so depends on its defined bit depth and sample rate. These two technical specs indicate how faithfully an audio signal replicates the original sound—in this case, the transmission of your voice through your mic to your PC. As the microphone transcodes your voice, it captures parts of the audio at specific intervals (sample rate) and a specific level of detail (bit depth) and then reconstructs the original based on that data.

The digitization of an analog waveform involves two measurements: bit depth, which refers to the amount of amplitude samples available, and sample rate, which refers to the amount of samples per second (measured in Hz) available. More bit-depth samples mean more dynamic range, while more sample-rate samples mean more granularity between frequencies.

The higher the number of both bit depth and sample rate, generally the more faithful the reproduction. Other factors, such as the condenser type and how the microphone is tuned, also influence what you actually hear as the end result, but because bit-rate and sample-rate numbers reveal the amount of data captured and kept for use, they can serve as a quick way to screen for anything underpowered. A low bit depth and sample rate results in a voice that sounds digital and robotic—the signal lacks enough detail to keep all the nuance and personality of the original speaker—so avoid microphones that are stingy in this regard.

Consider a 16-bit/48kHz signal a minimum (it’s roughly the level of a CD in quality), and aim for higher to prolong the use of your microphone. Like with photos and video, standards gradually climb over time, and so too audience expectations for quality.


The sensitivity of a mic indicates how easily it picks up sound. If you have a quieter voice, seek out a more sensitive microphone for more accurate reproduction of your voice—conversely, if you have a booming voice, you’ll need a less sensitive microphone for the same effect. Condenser types (see above) influence how sensitive a mic is, as does the ability to tweak the gain level.

Mic controls

Touch-based controls might be popular for some microphones, but physical controls like buttons, knobs, and dials are superior: No looking is necessary when making on-the-fly adjustments during streams—you can keep your eyes on your screen while fiddling. Better microphones offer control over mute, gain level, and headphone volume (if you can plug in headphones directly into the mic) at minimum. We like to see crossfade (the balance between your PC’s audio and hearing your own voice fed in from the mic) as an option, too.

Software controls

For a USB microphone, you’ll do all your audio processing—that is, tweaking the audio that comes through the mic—in a desktop PC program. Ideally, this companion software should be easy to use, easy to navigate, and allow you to tune the audio output. The best software also lets you configure the routing of other audio sources (e.g., the game, chat from programs like Discord, and music from Spotify). You can choose what gets pulled in and how that’s directed out.

Build quality

The build quality of a microphone affects more than just how the device holds up with use—it also has an impact on audio performance. The better the materials, the better quality of vocal performance. The capsule type, housing around it, and any shielding placed between you and the capsule (to tamp down unwanted noises) all influence the mic’s output.

Type of USB connection

That said, micro-USB should still serve fine, especially if you don’t plan to move your microphone around (a potential source of stress on the port) or regularly plug and unplug the cable.

Polar pattern

This screenshot from the Blue Yeti product page illustrates which parts of the mic are active for each polar pattern supported.

A polar pattern (or pick-up pattern) indicates the areas of a mic that are sensitive to sound. Streamers should focus on microphones with a cardioid pattern, which makes the mic more sensitive right in front of the capsule (typically the top of the mic) and less so on the sides and rear. This type of polar pattern helps physically isolate the audio source being recorded—in this case, you.

Some mics feature other polar patterns as well, making them more versatile for use. Other common ones are omnidirectional, which makes the mic sensitive to pick up on all sides (useful for conference calls); bidirectional, which picks up from the front and and rear (useful for face-to-face conversations between two people); and stereo, aka mid-side, which makes the mic pick up the right and left channel separately while being sensitive at the front (useful for multiple people conversing or singing while sitting side-by-side and all facing the mic).

What to look for

Our picks for best USB microphones work well with a wide variety of voices, but to find a mic that fits your voice just that much more, keep these factors in mind.

Tonal reproduction

Tonal reproduction refers to how close the microphone’s output matches the sound of a person’s actual voice. Some microphones cater to lower-end vocal ranges by doing things like boosting mid-range frequencies, while others cater to those with higher pitches by having a less sensitive capsule. To get your desired style of output, find out how a microphone is tuned, plus the size of capsule in the mic and the type of mic. These add up to form the microphone’s profile—and once you know it, it’s pretty easy to narrow the field of mics that are right for you.

Vocal clarity

Vocal clarity refers to how loud and clear someone can be heard with a microphone. While tone can certainly play a part in this, the biggest influences on clarity are how sensitive the microphone is to the audio it’s receiving and how strong the amplification process is in translating that to a digital signal. A quiet voice will need both a more sensitive microphone and stronger amplification in order to achieve desired volume levels, while a big, booming voice will need the opposite. (In fact, if a highly sensitive microphone is regularly subjected to loud sounds, it can actually damage the capsule over time.)

The distance from you to the microphone has an impact on this as well, but we don’t recommend shifting your position to make a mic work with your voice. Generally, you want to have a microphone as close as possible to your mouth, as that’s the position for getting its best performance.

Stay close to the mic to get the best sounding audio from it.

Analog-to-digital converter quality

As mentioned above, when you speak into a mic, that analog signal gets captured by the microphone’s capsule, then an analog-to-digital converter (ADC) transcodes that to a digital signal that your computer can use. How good an ADC is will impact both the tone reproduction and clarity of the digital output, as well as how loud it is. Output from low-quality ADCs sound less natural and can even have more digital artifacts, resulting in a tinny sound with less range. An ADC can also affect the signal transmitted to your PC by not providing enough power to the output of the audio, resulting in less clarity and a quieter volume to work with.

Think of an ADC like the middle person in a three-person game of Telephone—it has the ability to dramatically convolute or distort what the original person passed on. Generally, the better the converter, the more the voices of all types benefit from accurate reproduction, but some folks with specific voice concerns (like quiet volume or a thinner sound) might need to pay more attention to specs like bit depth/sample rate, which influence how strong a signal the ADC sends to your PC.

Once you’ve narrowed down your potential microphone picks, find videos of them in use to get a better sense of how their output sounds. As a starting point, we’ve used all of these microphones in this roundup in our live videos on YouTube and Twitch.



Is a USB or an XLR mic better?

For most people, a good USB mic will be the easier and cheaper solution. You don’t need any extra equipment; it works right out of the box. Just plug it into your PC and you’ll immediately sound great. Plus, different models offer some variety in their characteristics, like how sensitive they are and how they make you sound. As time passes, the options only increase—and improve.

On the flip side, if you want the most out of your microphone setup, an XLR mic has a much higher ceiling for audio fidelity. The catch: You must pair XLR mics with gear like an interface and pre-amp, or a mixer. The added equipment not only raises the price of your setup, but the complexity. For clean, crisp recordings, you have to work a bit to draw out your mic’s best qualities. But that elbow grease can make your voice go from sounding great to incredible.

Our suggestion? Start with a good USB mic. You probably won’t even notice that the quality can be improved. Not at first, anyway. As your needs expand, you can then upgrade to XLR with an understanding of which features suit your taste and what sound profiles compliment your voice best.


Can you use a USB mic without headphones?

Yes, a USB microphone is only for audio input. You can speak into one without needing headphones. Some microphones come with a 3.5mm auxilary jack that you can plug headphones into. Depending on the model, you’ll either hear yourself as you speak (known as sidetone) or incoming PC audio. Neither are standard features on all USB mics, however.


How do I get rid of background noise on my USB mic?

You have several options for reducing environmental distractions. The first is your choice of microphone—a dynamic mic is better at only picking up audio near the microphone. Condenser mics pick up audio from a wider area, which make them ideal during group recordings and distressing when your dog’s barking.

But if you’re asking this question, you probably already have a mic. Try turning down your mic’s sensitivity and instead position it closer to your mouth. You can also enable background noise cancelling in your device’s companion software (as applicable), or even potentially through your graphics card’s software (i.e., Nvidia RTX Voice or AMD’s Noise Suppression).

For specific issues like sounds from keyboard or mouse use being picked up, you can also put your mic on an arm that clamps to your desk (and even go one step further and combine an arm with a shock mount). For a room fan or heavy breathing, add a pop filter or a foam windscreen to your setup.

Check Your News With Cnn App For Windows 10, Windows 8

Check Your News With CNN App for Windows 10, Windows 8






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readers this month.

I agree that there are lots of news apps available on every platform, and Windows 8, Windows 10 is no exception. However, there are some that outrank the vast majority, and one of them is the well known CNN app for Windows 10, Windows 8. If you like to know the latest headlines from around the world, then the CNN app is a must have on your Windows 8, Windows 10 device.

CNN is one of biggest news broadcasters in the world, therefore you might want to have their services on the go, via your Windows 8, Windows 10 device. The CNN app for Windows 10, Windows 8 is perfect for reading news and watching videos, and as you’ll see in a few moments, it is one of the best news apps I’ve tried in a while.

CNN app for Windows 10, Windows 8 – How good is it?

The user interface of the app is very well thought, having intuitive menus that offer just enough information so the user can decide if they want to read a certain story, but not as much as to make it cluttered. Each menu has been designed to look its best and the stories are shown in a form that is easy to read and scroll.

The main window of the app is where all the important content is shown. Once you’ve opened the app, you will the Top Story occupying the main portion of the window, and in the right, you can see the Latest Stories. Also, by scrolling to the right of Latest Stories, you will find other content in the form of a dedicated Videos section and a menu of story categories.

Expert tip:

The videos look awesome, having great quality, unlike other news apps. Once you’ve opened a video, it will run in full-screen mode, and there is no option to minimize it. In case of photos and photo galleries, it’s the same story. You can also share articles via the Share charm if you please.

Overall, the CNN app for Windows 10, Windows 8 is one of the best news apps for Windows 10, Windows 8 I’ve tested, and thanks to its awesome looking user interface and it’s quality build, I’d recommend it to anyone who enjoys CNN News. This is how official apps should be created.

Download CNN app for Windows 10, Windows 8

CNN App for Windows 10 users

What’s so important about this release? In Windows 8 you had the possibility to contribute to your story, with CNN iReport. This awesome feature is also available in Windows 10, and you can continue to contribute with news after upgrading your OS to Windows 10.

The app has been ‘abandoned’ by its support team, but it’s still available on Microsoft Store. However, you also can use it on your Windows Phone.

In case the app does not work on your devices or does not satisfy your hunger for news, you can always switch to another app. We would strongly recommend you to take a look at this list as we handpicked the best news apps for Windows 10 users.

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