NOT recommended models


certain models of samson usb microphones produce background hiss.

So does a logitech headset usb microphone I tried

The 10$ labtec wand microphone (input is the microphone in jack on the pc) is serviceable, in so far as it produces discernible sound, but for reading books, it's not good because it's difficult to dial in exactly the right distance from your mouth, the loudness of your voice, and is overly sensitive to some sounds and not sensitive enough to others, produces distortion easily, etc. For casual use on skype, it's ok. For reading material which you plan to record of 10-20min length, it becomes a stressful experience trying to keep your face from not moving, keeping your voice exactly the same volume, etc. This comment extends to the cheaper USB microphones as well.

Even high end condenser microphones can share some of the same problems as the cheap microphones, in that the recording process can be very stressful because you have to find a quiet place, have to dial in the right distance to talk to the mic, and because high end microphones are sensitive, then you have to be more aware of many environmental factors such as echo (that's why recording studios are carpeted, padded walls to absorb sound and prevent bouncing). For those who are going for really high quality output, that's the price you have to pay. For casual consumers of audio-tipitaka, listening to recordings on their portable mp3 player with ear buds, it's probably not worth the hassle to pursue the high end setup.

 That's why the Zoom H2 is so highly recommended, because it is so forgiving of so many conditions that can sabotage a recording. So an inexperienced amateur can produce great results.