I've been working in radio for close to 30 years now, and I have access to all kinds of recording equipment, including some great microphones. Most of the gear I can get my hands on is pretty high-end stuff that uses XLR connectors and would require elaborate equipment that I just don't have at home. So I was really interested when the MXL Studio 1 USB microphone ($130) landed on my desk. It's a portable condenser microphone that connects to your computer via USB. MXL boasts that it's plug-and-play, and that's not a joke: No installation discs. No drivers. No preamps, mixers, or extra gear. Nice.