There are many things to consider when shopping for a new microphone. Each microphone has its own advantages and disadvantages. It is up to you to decide the sliding scale between price and quality. To help aid your decision, this list narrows down the best microphones for streaming and gaming.
For your convenience, I have organized the microphones into three distinct categories. The first category is the best microphone overall. It has the biggest emphasis on finding balance between price and quality. The second category is the best microphones. Instead of balance, it is lopsided slightly towards quality over price. The last category is budget microphones. This one places the most importance towards affordability over quality.
This article also includes microphones designed purely for streaming, so the price (and quality) of some microphones might be higher than usual. For pure gamers, who have no intentions of streaming or making gaming content, there is a list of affordable microphones at the end of the list.
10 Best Microphones for Streaming and Gaming
- Blue Microphones Yeti USB
- Audio-Technica AT2020 Cardioid Condenser Microphone
- Audio-Technica AT2035 Cardioid Condenser Microphone
- Blue Microphones Yeti Pro
- Razer Seiren Pro Elite XLR/USB Digital Microphone
- Audio-Technica AT2050
- Zalman ZM-Mic1
- Antlion Modmic 4.0
- Samson Meteor Mic
- Blue Snowball
Before we get started, there are a few terminologies that we have to get out of the way. Most of the microphones listed are USB microphones and cardioid mics. Some of the microphones have multiple polar patterns, which means you can speak into the microphone in whatever direction you want. This is important because it separates the microphones with high versatility from microphones with simple and basic functions. I won’t go over all of them, only the polar patterns mentioned in this article.
There are four polar patterns that will be mentioned: stereo, cardioid, omnidirectional, and bidirectional. The best microphones will generally have more than one polar pattern.
- Stereo mode uses both left and right channels to capture a realistic general sound image. It’s great for recording musical instruments or acoustics.
- Cardioid mode is perfect for recording sounds directly in front of the microphone. This is the most used polar pattern. It is the most beneficial and best pattern for streaming and gaming.
- Omnidirectional mode picks up sound equally from all directions. This mode is best for mutli-person broadcasts, so you can capture sound from around the room.
- Bidirectional mode records sound from the front and rear of the microphone. It’s typically used for interviews, but can be used by anyone sitting on opposite sides of the mic.
Best Microphones Overall
The perfect balance between cost and quality. An excellent choice for streaming, gaming commentary, podcasts, and more without breaking your wallet.
The Blue Yeti Microphone has widely been regarded as one of the best desktop microphones on the market due to its high quality build and reasonable price. It is packed full of incredible features and guarantees crystal clear sound. It is a versatile microphone with four different pattern modes for recording. The four modes are stereo, cardioid, omnidirectional, and bidirectional. An assortment of these modes help accommodate any streamer or gamer in any situation.
A few notable features of the Blue Yeti USB microphone is the mute button, gain control, and zero-latency output. It’s easy to have full control over your microphone without installing any drivers, the Blue Yeti is fully plug and play. The Blue Yeti may not be suitable for a dedicated studio quality sound, but for a home recording setup it is the perfect choice. The excellent sound quality combined with four distinct patterns make it versatile and well worth the money.
The Audio-Technica AT2020 was originally designed as a studio microphone but was later converted into a USB microphone. It is widely considered one of the most affordable studio condenser microphones. At just under $100, the AT2020 is hard to beat. It has excellent sound, can handle high frequencies exceptionally well, and delivers strong accurate tones.
However, it should be noted that the AT2020 lacks some features that are present in the Blue Yeti. The Blue Yeti features four different pattern modes, while the Audio-Technica AT2020 is a dedicated cardioid condenser microphone. For gaming and streaming, cardioid microphones should be ideal but the AT2020 does lose out on versatility to the Blue Yeti.
In addition, the Audio-Technica AT2020 microphone does not have any dedicated buttons. The mute button, headphone volume knob, and volume gain knob are all missing from the AT2020. Although if you want all the dedicated buttons, the Audio-Technica AT2020 PLUS version has them but it will cost you a little bit extra.
A microphone this good at this price is hard to pass up. Even though it may be missing some key features, the sound quality is equivalent or even better than the Blue Yeti. The most important aspect of any microphone is its sound quality and the Audio-Technica AT2020 is a solid competitor to the Blue Yeti.
The Audio-Technica AT2035 is a large diaphragm condenser microphone with a cardioid polar pattern. The AT2035, like the AT2020, is a cardioid microphone and does not feature any other pattern modes. When compared to the Blue Yeti, the AT2035 does lose out on versatility, but it excels at what matters the most — the sound.
Although the AT2035 may look similar to the AT2020, the innards have been significantly improved. The sound quality is outstanding. In terms of capturing low frequencies (bass) and higher frequencies the AT2035 is superior. The 2035 has a wider range, so sound is recorded more accurately.
Despite the similarities in appearance, the AT2020 is not a large diaphragm condenser microphone. The AT2035 has a 24mm diaphragm compared to the 16mm diaphragm on the AT2020. A larger diaphragm means the 2035 is more sensitive, covers a very wide dynamic range, and the frequency range covers almost the entire audible spectrum.
There are two switches on the AT2035: a low-cut switch (meaning it reduces the low frequencies) and a 10 dB pad switch, which cuts the incoming levels by 10 decibels. This helps reduce the amount of unwanted bass to come into the microphone.
The AT2035 condenser microphone is an excellent choice for people who value sound and are willing to pay a bit extra. If you’re looking to buy a condenser microphone for under $100, then the AT2020 is the clear winner. However, if you’re willing to pay an extra $50, then don’t hesitate to buy the AT2035.
The perfect microphones for streaming and gaming professionals. Highest quality and flexibility that fits almost any situation.
The Blue Yeti Pro may be one of the best USB microphones on the market. There are four recording patterns: stereo, omnidirectional, cardioid, and bidirectional. Blue Yeti Pro is a highly versatile microphone that continues to be the most advanced in its class.
The pattern selector in the rear of the microphone lets you easily change between recording patterns. It’s similar to having four microphones packed into one.
The Yeti Pro is the first USB microphone to combine 24-bit/192 kHz digital recording resolution with analog XLR output. It can capture digital audio up to four times the clarity found in CDs. The maximum recording resolution on the Yeti Pro is 192 kHz/24-bit compared to the 48 kHz/16 bit of the original Yeti. The Yeti Pro also offers professional recording via analog XLR, which is not present on the standard version.
All of these renovations make the Blue Yeti Pro one of the most desired microphones to own. Its attractive price makes the professional studio quality microphone affordable to many consumers. The price for the Yeti Pro is roughly $100 more than the original Yeti, but if you want the best then the Yeti Pro is well worth the price.
The Razer Seiren Pro is another heavy hitter. Just like the Blue Yeti Pro, the Seiren Pro is a versatile multi-pattern XLR and USB microphone. It has the capabilities of a professional-grade studio but without the complicated setup. It has been designed with gamers and streamers in mind, but built to meet the expectations of professional artists and musicians in the studio.
There are four dedicated recording patterns: stereo, cardioid, omnidirectional, and bidirectional. A high-pass filter helps you remove low-end unwanted noise from your recording. By enabling the high-pass filter function on the Razer Seiren Pro, all of the unwanted noises such as air conditioning systems, cars driving by from a distance, and noises from stages/floors are eliminated without post-processing edits.
The Razer Seiren Pro has an XLR output option, which allows you to plug the microphone directly into a professional mixing board. This feature makes it easy to chain together multiple microphones and make greater adjustments on the fly when recording live. The XLR output option is only available on the Seiren Pro, not the standard Seiren.
The Razer Seiren Pro is a serious competitor to the Blue Yeti Pro. It has the same high sample and bitrate, 192 kHz and 24 bit respectively, as the Blue Yeti Pro. The same polar patterns, which allow for great versatility and flexibility when recording. And it is one of the few XLR and USB supported outputs on this list. The Razer Seiren Pro has a price-range that is slightly higher than the Blue Yeti Pro, but with all of its amazing features it is definitely a worthy contender.
A number of Audio-Technica microphones have already made this list so far, but what separates the AT2050 from the others is its superior performance and flexibility. Unlike the previous Audio-Technica 20 Series microphones, the AT2050 is a multi-pattern condenser microphone. There are three switchable polar patterns: cardioid, omnidirectional, and figure-of-eight (also known as bidirectional). Multiple patterns inside a single microphone means this mic is adaptive. It is substantially better in terms of quality and functionality when compared to the other 20 Series microphones.
The microphone is equipped with a switchable 80 Hz high-pass filter and a 10 dB pad. It’s ideal for a studio environment with live recording on a wide variety of sound frequencies.
Best Microphones on a Budget
The least expensive and most affordable microphones for gaming. Microphones in this category are $50 and under.
The most affordable and least expensive microphone mentioned on this list. It is the most portable and compact microphone and is attached directly onto your headphone cable. It may not be the microphone with the best quality but the portability and low-cost makes it very attractive for gamers.
The Zalman ZM-Mic1 is a highly sensitive microphone that should be placed close to your mouth. It is omnidirectional so speak into it in whatever direction you want, just make sure it’s loud enough for the mic to pick up.
It is a clip-on microphone so owning headphones should be a prerequisite to owning the ZM-Mic1. The clip should fit most headphone cables, but if your cables are too thick/thin it may not fit. The length of the cord is about 10 feet, which should be more than enough for most people.
This microphone is under $10. It’s not the best but it gets the job done. If you live in an area with a lot of loud ambiance noise, then this microphone may not be for you. Furthermore if you care about quality and don’t want to annoy teammates, this mic may not be for you.
The microphone is best used with noise suppression software, which is typically found in VoIP applications such as Mumble or Teamspeak. Using this microphone in games without noise suppression software may leave background noise like fans, speaker noise, and small children unfiltered. Using this microphone for casual gaming is fine, but using it for streaming is not recommended.
The Antlion Modmic 4.0 is similar to the Zalman ZM-Mic1 but instead of attaching itself to the cable, this one attaches directly to the headphone. It turns your headphones into a headset. And for the most part the sound quality should be better than a regular headset microphone.
There are additional features that come with a dedicated microphone too. The Modmic 4.0 comes with two different pattern options: omnidirectional and unidirectional. The omnidirectional pattern is usually preferred over a unidirectional capsule because it offers better frequency response and sensitivity. But omnidirectional does not offer as much noise-cancelling as unidirectional. In general, if you need noise suppression/cancelling, go with unidirectional. If you want higher quality and responsiveness, then go for omnidirectional.
Another thing that separates this microphone from a headset mic is a dedicated mute button. While there are many headsets with volume control and mute buttons, they often cost extra. The Modmic 4.0 is a high quality microphone that is for $49.95 and $42.95 for the Modmic without a mute button.
Once again, add-on microphones are typically great for gamers but not streamers. For streamers, the quality may not be adequate for your viewers to have a satisfying experience. This microphone is a cheap alternative to turn your headphones into a headset without buying a whole new headset.
The Samson Meteor is a desktop microphone that is incredibly portable. It weighs only 10-ounces and stands at just over 6 inches tall. There are three fold-back legs that help support the Samson Meteor mic. When folded the ultra-portable Meteor mic is only 4 inches tall.
The audio quality is not quite studio level but it is very good. Compared to the other microphones in this category, this microphone is extremely clear and perfect for podcasts and streaming. It might not come close to a dedicated high-end studio microphone, but it’s close.
However, there are limitations to this microphone. It is a unidirectional microphone so it should be used for recording podcasts or streaming. It should not be used for interviews or conferences for multiple people in a surrounding room.
The portability and affordable pricing is where this microphone triumphs. At just under $50, the compact Meteor mic offers higher quality and flexibility than other microphones in its class. The previous two microphones are extensions of headphones, while the Samson Meteor mic is its own dedicated desktop microphone.
10. Blue Snowball
Last but certainly not least is the Snowball from Blue. The Blue Snowball is an ultra portable microphone and is extremely affordable. The microphone is shaped like a ball and has a diameter of about 4 inches. With the tripod base it has an adjustable height of 5 to 6.5 inches. The Snowball is the only microphone in this category that is built with two microphone capsules. It features three pattern modes: cardioid mode, cardioid mode with 10 dB PAD, and omnidirectional mode.
To get a studio or professional quality microphone, you have to get Blue’s higher-end microphones such as the Blue Yeti or Blue Yeti Pro. But if you want the best microphone for streaming and gaming without breaking your wallet, then this is it.
Some microphones on this list are professional quality microphones, so it is important to match them with professional quality accessories. A highly adjustable microphone boom arm is incredibly important to improving sound input. A 360-degree swivel allows you to place the microphone closer to your mouth. A shock mount will prevent vibrations, while a pop filter will reduce or eliminate popping sounds caused by the impact of fast moving air.
Microphone Boom Arm
The RODE PSA1 is an extremely well designed professional studio boom arm. It has been built with premium quality materials. The microphone arm is heavy and sturdy. It can hold large microphones without having any sag or droops. The microphone has a full 360 degree rotation, which allows for versatile and precise movements. In addition, there are two methods for mounting, a desk-clamp and desk-insert attachment method. The RODE PSA1 comes with Velcro cable straps to hold your cables in place. The product is relatively expensive but it should last a very long time.
Blue Microphone’s RADIUS II shock mount is custom designed and compatible with the Yeti and Yeti Pro. A shock mount isolates the microphone from noise, shock, and vibrations. In a studio setting, it may be essential to have a shock mount eliminate the noise. A shock mount will keep your microphone in place and prevent unwanted noise. The RADIUS II has a flexible but sturdy mounting system. It has a new and improved hinge design that locks in place.
Pop filters reduces or eliminates popping sounds caused by the impact of fast moving air. It is important to ensuring crystal clear sound. In addition to preventing popping sounds, it can also protect against accumulation of saliva on the microphone. The Dragonpad pop filter is an affordable solution to guarantee the best vocal recordings. It has a flexible 360 degree gooseneck holder for convenient use. The swivel mount is easy for installation and can be clipped directly onto the microphone stand or microphone boom arm.