With live streaming on platforms like YouTube and Twitch becoming increasingly popular, more and more people are looking to explore this avenue. Among the myriad of things you’ll need to ensure, if you indulge in streaming quite often is owning a solid microphone. After all, you can’t expect to expand your fan base if you have terrible audio. But with so many different products readily available today, choosing the best one for your needs, budget and what you want to achieve can be challenging. We’ve looked at several different microphones which we believe will accomplish the task seamlessly.
Dynamic vs Condenser Microphones
Condenser microphones are typically used in studios to pick up sounds with tremendous detail and accuracy. Dynamic microphones work best when trying to record loud sounds like high-pitched vocals or those produced during live events. Here’s our list of the ten best microphones for streaming, gaming, and podcasting.
|Sound Quality Remark
|Phenomenal sound quality
|Very light and portable
|Comes standard with a shock mount
|Better than standard headset mics
|Razer Seiren Elite
|Excellent at isolating background noises
|Fantastic build quality
|Good but not great
|Great build quality
|Turtle Beach USB Stream Mic
Comes equipped with great software
Good but not great
One of the best-rated microphones available is the Samson G-Track Pro. Priced quite reasonably, the mic boasts dual track recording, instrument input, and zero-latency monitoring to ensure it has excellent sound quality. Besides, the front of the mic features gain, mute and headphone volume controls.
The mic can also be angled upwards, which makes it easy to set the mic an ideal distance from the speaker. There’s also a layer of foam behind the grill protecting the mic’s dual 1-inch capsule. A little LED lets you know when the mic is on, when you’re muted and when the signal is clipping.
The G-Track Pro’s additional features ensure it stands out of the crowd. A side-address condenser microphone that comes with multiple polar patterns, very low noise floor, and, rock-solid build quality. Its phenomenal sound makes this mic one of the best for anyone looking to get into streaming, podcasting, or music.
The G-Track Pro also features a ¼-inch audio input, allowing you to plug in an extra mic, a second audio source, or even a guitar. It will be difficult to find another microphone with so many functionalities at such an economic price, ensuring it can handle whatever task you throw at it.
One of the few downsides associated with the G-Track Pro is that there is no adapter for a standard mic included, and it can be a little tricky to set up. However, if having studio-quality sound is your main priority, you’d be challenged to find a better microphone.
| Supports multiple polar patterns.
Great build quality.
Incredible sound quality.
| Doesn’t include an adapter for a standard mic.
More expensive than similar models.
The Blue Yeti Nano offers a near-perfect combination of price and performance, making it the solid choice for beginners. Priced less than $100, the Nano is more affordable but supports only two polar patterns, notably fewer than the previous Yeti model.
However, that shouldn’t detract from all the positives. The Yeti features 48kHz sample rate, zero-latency monitoring, mute and headphone volume controls. In addition, the Nano measures 8.3” x 3.8” x 4.3” and this compact size makes it easy to transport, without sacrificing too much on sound quality. The mic stand also has a swivel mount and knobs on either side allowing you to lock the Nano in place once you’ve achieved the desired angle. Additionally, its height means the Nano is ideally suited for desktop recording.
It’s important to note, however, that its 24bit/48khz sample rate is noticeably worse than the original Yeti. Additionally, the Nano is cardioid and omnidirectional compliant and doesn’t support stereo or bidirectional modes. The lack of an onboard gain control dial means gain must be adjusted through software. Despite these shortcomings, the Nano still punches way above its weight, making it an incredible microphone for streaming for under $100.
| Easy to transport.
Very good sound quality.
Low latency headphone jack.
| Fewer polar patterns.
Gain levels can only be modified with a desktop Sherpa app.
The Blue Yeti weighs nine pounds as a result of it being built almost entirely out of solid steel. This weight keeps the mic from tipping over and gives it a quality feel. The retro design and adjustable axel which allows the mic to pivot should prove to be more than sufficient for most streamers, gamers or podcasters. While it’s more expensive than its smaller counterpart, the increased price gives you multiple polar patterns and superior sound quality. An advantage of its 5v-powered USB is the Yeti’s ability to put many of the most important recording controls onboard, like a built-in gain dial.
The 7.5”-sized mic features a screw mount for when the mic is off the stand. However, this isn’t recommended as removing the mic from the stand’s axel leaves several washers on each side that have to be aligned when placing it back on the stand. The Yeti also Other features include a volume knob for the live-monitoring headphone amp and a mute button to pause your recording. Additionally, the mic comes with a pattern switch, allowing you to easily select between the four operating modes of its triple-capsule array.
Some of the downsides include a not-so-durable foam padding, meaning it tends to pick up keyboard strokes and mouse clicks. However, it’s important to keep in mind that the Yeti has earned its reputation as the quintessential microphone for streaming and amateur recording.
The Yeti is extremely easy to install and excels at almost everything it does, making it sort of a benchmark to compare other microphones against. It provides clear, high-quality audio, simple-to-usee controls, and a streamlined, sturdy design to ensure it’s easy to adjust and won’t break after a single accidental fall. Overall, if you’re looking for a good microphone, you can’t go wrong with the Blue Yeti.
| Supports four polar patterns.
Easy to setup.
| Foam pads are rather useless.
Picks up keyboard and mouse clicks.
HyperX forays into the microphone industry with the QuadCast, which is one of the more expensive microphones on this list. However, leaving aside its price, the mic supports four polar patterns, and offers phenomenal clarity in line with the Blue Yeti or the Samson G-Track Pro, making it perfect for voiceover or talking while you stream. It also does a good job of isolating outside noise.
What makes this mic shine is all of its additional features. The QuadCast has been built with gaming in mind, so it lights up from the inside with red LEDs letting you know when the microphone’s on. Additionally, the easily-accessible mute button located on top of the mic can prove a godsend if you live with family or roommates. All you need to do is tap, which is fantastic for eliminating any clicks the mic may pick up.
One of the best features HyperX have incorporated into their microphone is that it comes standard with a shock-mount, making it an ideal choice for those looking to stream gaming-related videos. While the mic is just over eight inches, it may seem an inch or two shorter when fixed on your stand or desk, which makes the product less obtrusive as compared to some of its competitors. However, if you want to move closer to ensure better recording, you’ll need to hunch over.
While the QuadCast is chock-full of awesome features, one drawback is that you will probably need to tinker with it to get the best results. It’s possible to adjust the settings using the gain control on the bottom, but you run the risk of affecting the clarity of your recording. As a result, so it’ll likely take a bit of experimenting to get everything right. Also located on the bottom is a polar pattern selector, a headphone jack for zero-latency monitoring, a facility to help sound pass through your computer, and a USB connection.
All in all, HyperX has demonstrated its gaming pedigree with the QuadCast, ensuring those who shell out the money will benefit from great audio and some nice additions which more than justifies its price tag, ensuring this is the best budget microphone for gaming.
| Outstanding performance.
Comes standard with a shock mount.
| A little pricey.
Needs some tinkering to get the best results.
If standing microphones aren’t your thing, Antlion provides an attachable mic that eliminates the need to clear space on your desk and offers admirable sound quality too. Since 2011, Antlion has done one thing and they do it well: allowing gamers to take a high-end pair of headphones and attach a microphone on the side, providing great sound with the convenience of a gaming headset. And, since it’s a magnetic connection, it really couldn’t be easier to set up.
The audio and mic cables are usually combined with a headset, but unfortunately, ModMic lacks this ability. Instead, you’ll need to run a second 3.5mm cable from ModMic to your PC, with an option to insert a mute toggle in the middle.
It’s important to point out here that the ModMic has two microphones. There’s a unidirectional mic with a cardioid pickup pattern for use in louder environments. For quieter areas, the microphone also offers what ModMic calls a “studio-quality” omnidirectional microphone.
However, the omnidirectional mic tends to pick up a little more noise than intended. One such problem you might encounter is, with the microphone being quite close to your face is that it picks up a fair amount of breathing.
If you’re looking at streaming games, this unidirectional microphone offers a much broader frequency reproduction than the tinny microphones you get with most gaming headsets. It provides clear audio while also cutting back on outside noise.
One of the problems that typically plague headset mics like the ModMic is that they don’t have the best audio fidelity, usually because they come attached to a pair of headphones. This isn’t an issue the product has. It was built from the ground up to be a good microphone and nothing else, and this is exactly what it achieves.
All in all, if you have an expensive pair of headphones, the ModMic could prove to be a worthwhile investment, offering better sound quality than lower-priced standing mic options. However, considering the ModMic’s price, it may be more convenient to buy an expensive headset.
| Extremely convenient.
Sound quality is better than standard headset mics.
Two mic configurations.
| Quite expensive considering.
Requires a Y-adapter for game systems which isn’t included.
With Razer’s diverse product range and reputation for making striking, high-quality products, it’s no surprise the hardware manufacturer has cornered a portion of the microphone industry. And when looking at Razer’s Seiren series, it’s easy to see why. The Seiren Elite is Razer’s current flagship and is built from the ground up for broadcasting.
One of Razer’s trademarks is their RGB Chroma lighting system and programmable lighting schemes. However, the feature is absent from the Seiren, with Razer instead including a green mute button (which turns red when activated) and a little LCD screen on the front.
This screen allows you to quickly see the volume and pattern information. Additionally, the volume adjustment for both the mic and pass-through headset are displayed on the front. Around the base, Razer has included a built-in ring that glows red to let you know when you’re talking too loudly.
The Seiren supports four polar patterns and comes standard with a small form factor and a detachable base so you can easily mount it to a boom arm. It also features a dynamic microphone capsule for superb background noise cancellation.
The Seiren may be overkill for some, but this will feel right at home for hardcore gamers. The microphone features zero-latency monitoring and a high-pass filter to ensure everything stays clean, and it includes a digital and analog vocal limiter as well.
While the Seiren’s recording quality is good, it’s not outstanding. The microphone handles streaming with ease, ensuring it picks up sound at a notably higher quality than a standard headset microphone. If podcasts are more your speed, the Seiren will more be more than enough.
The Seiren is undeniably good, it’s price tag may give you second thoughts considering it doesn’t do anything its cheaper competitors don’t.
| Fantastic at isolating outside noises.
Zero-latency headphone monitoring.
| Audible hiss at mid-to-high gain levels.
Audio Technica’s AT2020 microphone is an excellent, professional-quality condenser microphone. With the microphone costing just under $100, its quality is fantastic and worth the price, but it does come with several downsides. Firstly, the AT2020 requires an XLR cable (which isn’t included with the unit) and a mixing board, so it’s much less plug and play than many of its competitors.
The mic is geared more towards people who are looking for the best sound quality possible and are open to experimentation. While that doesn’t put it out of reach for casual hobbyists, it does require a few more steps before you’re able to start recording.
It’s also important to note that this microphone only comes with the bare essentials, meaning you’re going to have a slight problem if you’re looking to dive right into streaming and podcasting. It comes with a leather pouch and a microphone stand adapter, that’s it. However, the lesser number of accessories also makes it affordable.
Another factor to keep in mind is that the AT2020 requires several extra pieces of equipment to operate, which can be quite tricky. If you’re unfamiliar with the professional audio equipment, you may find yourself in a position where you seem to have hundreds of cables but none of them fit. If you find an XLR cable requiring 48v of phantom power intimidating, it may be a good idea to skip this microphone. At the very least, you’ll need a mixing board or a dedicated voice recorder that’s compatible with XLR inputs. Long story short, it’s much more complicated than a standard USB mic.
However, if that’s okay with you, the AT2020 offers excellent sound quality and does a great job of capturing voices. Its lack of a USB connection is a benefit if you’re an audiophile, as the sound is richer and more precise. It offers everything a professional, studio-grade microphone should offer. With that being said, a USB connection is perfect for almost all non-professional applications and doesn’t require all the extra setup time and costs.
All in all, Audio Technica’s AT2020 microphone is highly recommended, but only if you’re not afraid to tinker and are willing to fork over a few bucks more for the additional equipment.
| Professional sound quality.
Affordable and offers a great build quality.
|Requires extra equipment.
Samson’s Meteor microphone is a portable solution for streamers looking for an affordable cardioid mic. If you frequently stream in different locations, you’ll appreciate just how portable this microphone is.
Considering its 3” x 5” x 6” size, the Meteor won’t take up much space, and the addition of foldable legs ensures it’s easy to pack away. The legs are designed to ensure the mic remains firmly planted once they’re deployed. A piece of black rubber attached to the bottom of each leg which prevent the mic from slipping or rattling and works well at minimizing vibration transfer. While they aren’t quite enough to completely isolate the mic, if you’re streaming in a relatively quiet environment, you shouldn’t have a problem getting noise-free recordings.
It’s also compatible with anything that has a USB slot, so installation couldn’t be easier. It’s built from thick plates of chromed steel and styled so it oozes retro class while feeling remarkably solid. Additionally, the Meteor only weighs 236g. Another major perk is that it requires no drivers, meaning you can take it out of the box and use it immediately.
However, there are a couple of the downsides associated with its level of portability. The Meteor consists of a 25mm diaphragm condenser capsule with a cardioid pickup pattern. Additionally, the mic’s onboard conversion is capable of outputting “CD quality,” 16-bit data at either 44.1 or 48kHz sort of output. While this is fine for those looking for close-mic vocal work, the more serious users will find this quite limiting. The legs have also been known to cause issues with some stands.
As far as sound quality goes, the Meteor is capable of recording great sound quality. There have been reports of a digital ‘whine’ being captured alongside the audio. This isn’t exclusive to the Meteor and is often a problem associated with USB microphones and can occur in different amounts on different machines, so it’s largely luck of the draw. If you’re looking to remove the sound, it’s easy enough to do with Notch Filtering or with a noise-reduction plug-in.
As with most microphones, the Meteor also includes a headphone output so you can hear the recorded signal with zero latency. There is also a mute button and headphone volume controls. However, it’s missing a gain control and an analog output. Quite economically priced, the Meteor strikes the perfect balance of economy and quality.
| Great sound quality.
Compatible with an iPad.
| Less good at recording music.
Foldout stand can get in the way when mounting.
Developed by the well-known music equipment manufacturer Shure, the SM7B is a studio-quality cardioid microphone. You might recognize the mic if you’re a fan of the Joe Rogan Experience. Additionally, Michael Jackson used the SM7B for ‘Thriller’, his most successful album.
It has phenomenal quality with a bass roll-off that prevents sounding too loud. It also uses an internal air suspension system to prevent any vibrations from your desk or computer from coming through in your recordings.
One difficulty experienced here, however, is that the switches for the bass roll-off and the mid-range emphasis are located at the back of the microphone and are too small to be adjusted with a finger. A small screwdriver or a paperclip would suffice.
Not only does the SM7B sound good, but also well built. It comes with an integrated pop filter and foam cover as well which further reduces vibrations and keeps your audio crystal clear. The mic is ridiculously good at recording low-end sound, keeping it perfectly clean and balanced. It performs just as well when recording mid-range and high-end sound, ensuring the quality is nothing short of astounding. In short, this is one of the best mics for streaming.
Like its many positives, the mic has its share of drawbacks as well. The SM7B has relatively low signal levels, which means you’ll probably be turning up the gain on your audio interface to compensate. However, this shortcoming can be mitigated by using a Fethead or Cloudlifter. Additionally, there have been reports that the mic doesn’t do a great job at rejecting large amounts of ambient audio.
While its price is quite hefty, considering the quality the product offers, if you’re serious about streaming, investing in the SM7B will be well worth your time and money.
| The best mic for male vocalists.
Great at reducing background noise.
| Lower output compared to condenser mics.
Just one polar pattern supported.
Much like HyperX and Razer, Turtle Beach is another name gamers should know well. The mic will appeal to any gamer or podcaster looking for a USB microphone that offers crisp sound at an affordable price. The USB Stream Mic uses more Digital Signal Processing (DSP) than many of its competitors, which ensures its sound quality is crystal clear from almost any recording distance. However, this level of DSP may not be ideal for those looking to record music.
The USB Stream Mic also supports four polar patterns. Further, the mic has one built-in headphone amplifier with voice level mixing, allowing you to customize things through presets and the Ear Force Audio Hub. It’s this software that sets the USB Stream Mic apart from other microphones in its price range as it also comes with a digital processor which increases performance.
The front panel features a mute button surrounded by a multi-color status LED band. There is a mic panel button found on the rear of the mic which lets you switch between the four polar patterns, with the LED changing colors to green, purple, orange, and blue, depending on which one you’re using. There’s also a 3.5mm headphone jack, a volume knob for headphones and a switch labelled Xbox and PS4/PC.
It’s also important to point out that when using the headphone jack, there is some latency depending on the recording program or gaming console you’re using. Many of its competitors feature a zero-latency headphone jack. Another downside is the lack of a gain knob.
For gaming and podcasting, Turtle Beach provides you with a variety of opportunities about how best to approach your recording process. While the USB Stream Mic is certainly versatile and sure to satisfy gamers, cheaper alternatives that offer better features are available.
| Multiple polar patterns supported.
Can be used with standard mic stands.
| No gain knob.
Headphone jack can be prone to latency.
1. What type of microphones do streamers use?
For professional studio-quality sound, the Audio Technica AT2020 won’t disappoint. Alternatively, Shure SM7B has also garnered rave reviews and is recommended by veterans belonging to the entertainment industry.
2. How to make your mic sound better?
Ideally, you want to be between two and six inches, and using a pop filter as well
- Try adjusting the gain with a peak input levels of around -12db or 75% of your input gain meter
- Limit background noise and echo
3. What is the best microphone for gaming?
The Turtle Beach USB Stream Mic, the Razer Seiren Elite, and the HyperX QuadCast have all been built with gaming in mind.
4. How to use the Astro A40 headset for live streaming
If you’re looking to attach your Astro A40 headset to a PC, you have to attach the PC splitter to the end of the Quick Disconnect cable included in the box. Then, plug the end of the PC splitter into the corresponding ports on your computer. On most PCs, the microphone slots into the pink jack while the green jack controls external speakers.
It sounds obvious, but if your headphones aren’t producing any sound the first thing to do is check your PCs volume settings. If it’s your microphone that isn’t working, make sure the mute control on the Quick Disconnect cable is disengaged. Alternatively, double-check the microphone volume level on your PC.
5. Do condenser microphones need phantom power?
Almost all condenser microphones will need phantom power which is ideal because you won’t need as much gain at the preamp to get the signal to a usable level.
6. What is a dynamic microphone?
A dynamic microphone converts sound into electrical signals through electromagnetism. The output is considerably lower than a condenser mic, which makes it ideal for clearly recording loud noises.
We hope this compilation helps you figure a microphone best suited for your gaming and streaming needs. The number of product choices available today make the task of deciding on one quite cumbersome. If excellent external noise cancellation is your topmost priority, the Razer Seiren Elite is one of the best things around since it helps you achieve an immersive experience even when your neighbourhood isn’t exactly peaceful. Probably the price can be overlooked considering its many benefits.
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