Live streaming on Twitch and services like YouTube has become increasingly popular over the years. Whether you want to show the world your prowess at Fortnite or put on a live podcast, bandwidth is your only limitation these days. Well, that and a good mic.
The best microphone for streaming ensures your voice will be heard loud and clear regardless of your activities. While poor audio quality will drive your viewers away in droves, it is far from the only thing to consider. Our guide touches on several key areas, and we’ve included a microphone with a price point for everyone.
How to Choose the Best Microphone for Streaming
When choosing a new microphone to suit your streaming needs, there are several factors to consider beforehand. Whether you’re shopping for the best XLR mic for streaming or just need a budget-friendly backup, keep these areas in mind.
If you are an audiophile, you already know what frequency response is and why it’s important. All audio equipment has a range including simple USB mics and the best wireless headphones. With the former, the range you need depends on how you plan to use your new microphone.
Frequencies always range from low to high and are measured in Hertz and Kilohertz. For gamers that stream, it’s not quite as important as it would be for a vocalist, but it is something to consider nonetheless. When in doubt, look for a microphone with a wide frequency response range. If you want to go a bit more in-depth on the subject, we’ve got just the thing for you.
It doesn’t matter if you have thousands of viewers or only a handful – it’s all for naught if they can’t hear you clearly. That’s where directional properties or polar patterns come into play. Those patterns vary across the board, so what works for a gamer may not be the best choice for someone doing a live interview or voiceover work.
- Bidirectional – As the name implies, a microphone that’s bidirectional picks up sound from more than one direction. In this case, that’s the front and the rear. This makes it ideal for performers that like to duet or streamers that conduct interviews.
- Unidirectional – Microphones that are unidirectional have multiple polar patterns. Most have three patterns with cardioid, hypercardioid, and supercardioid. Cardioid is the most common polar pattern as it only snags sounds from the front but not from the rear. While cardioid microphones can pick up a little sound from the sides, super and hypercardioid microphones take things a step further. These mics can pick up a little sound from the back, and have a wider 180-degree range from the sides. Needless to say, unidirectional mics are a great choice for gamers.
- Omnidirectional – Do you need a microphone that can handle sound from any direction? If so, an omnidirectional microphone is your best bet. On the flipside, it’s not the best choice for gamers as they can pick up all the background noise (including your keyboard) along with your voice.
- Multi-pattern – If you are unsure of what you might need or want to future proof your purchase to a degree, there is only one option to consider. That would be a multi-pattern microphone as it allows you to choose the properties you need whether it’s a cardioid or the classic figure 8 pattern.
Everyone loves getting something “extra” when you buy tech whether it’s a simple sticker from Apple or something a little more exciting. With microphones, the options are limited although something to keep in mind as they can save you money down the line.
The most popular accessory included with streaming microphones would be a desktop stand. Many come with one out of the box although the quality varies. You still need to pay attention to the thread size as well or see if an adapter is included.
A carrying case or bag is a nice thing to have on hand and can keep your new mic from taking a beating when you travel. Other features you should consider include the pop filters, ports, and software which can extend your mics capabilities.
10 Best Microphones for Streaming To Buy in 2018
Blue Yeti USB Microphone
The Best Microphone for Streaming Overall
If you have dreamed of taking your podcasts or streams to the next level, Blue Yeti has just the thing for you. Their USB Microphone comes in a wide variety of colors and is suitable for podcasters, gamers or anyone that wants a high-quality microphone.
Universal isn’t a word we throw around lightly, but one that certainly applies to the Blue Yeti USB microphone. You can select the polar pattern you want between bidirectional, omnidirectional, and cardioid. The Tri-capsule setup allows you to podcast like a pro, take group calls or lay down vocal tracks with ease. Looking to get your game on? It can certainly handle that as well.
Even the best mic for Twitch streaming can be a little bland. Well, that’s not a concern with the Blue Yeti. Despite its name, you can opt for colors like Satin Red, Slate, Platinum, Teal and Space Grey just to name a few. This microphone is also available in different bundles in case you want a Pop Filter or a copy of Ghost Recon.
- Easy to use and setup
- 2-year warranty
- 10 different colors
- 20Hz – 20kHz frequency response
- Knobs feel cheap
Rode NT-USB USB Condenser Microphone
An Excellent Choice for the Studio
The Rode NT-USB is another microphone in the professional class although this one is geared more towards vocalists than gamers. The company has been producing high-quality microphones since the early 90s, and the NT-USB is certainly no exception.
Whether you plan to lay down a track with an instrument or use your voice, Rode’s microphone is perfect for the studio. You can control the input and source output through dials on the side which sit above a 3.5mm jack. The zero-latency microphone has the cardioid polar pattern with a frequency range of 20Hz – 20kHz. It also 16-bit resolution and is powered by a USB port.
Another perk of the Rode NT-USB would be the included pop filter. It slides onto the base of the mic and helps eliminate plosives. That base sports a 3/8” thread so it can be used on a traditional stand or with the desktop tripod.
- JFET Impedance Converter
- Zero-latency monitoring
- High-quality accessories
- 2-year warranty (with registration)
Razer Seirēn Elite
A Professional Mic for Gamers
Despite an onslaught of new competition, the Razer brand is still a force to be reckoned with – especially when it comes to peripherals. They have produced plenty of awesome tech over the years, and while the Razer Seirēn Elite may be overkill for some, hardcore gamers will absolutely love this microphone.
Latency is extremely important in the gaming world, and this mic has zero latency monitoring. That means your teammates will hear you in “real time” not 5-seconds later. The high-pass filter helps to keep things clean as well. It can kill most unwanted background noises to keep things crystal clear. If that doesn’t impress you, maybe the digital and analog vocal limiter will.
This distortion-free mic keeps things clean in the heat of battle and is extremely easy to use with its plug and play interface. It is one of the pricier streaming microphones around although the slightly dumbed-down Seirēn X provides a similar experience at a considerable discount.
- Quality construction
- Zero-latency monitoring
- Pro-grade dynamic capsule
- Control setup could be better
Samson Meteor Mic
The Best USB Mic for Streaming
Samson has the distinction of being the only company to make our cut twice. The Meteor Mic is a portable solution for streamers looking for an affordable cardioid microphone. It’s arguably the most portable model on the list, and one streamers on the go will appreciate.
This little microphone is around 3” x 5” x 6” so it won’t take up much space on a desktop. The design is interesting as well considering it has legs that fold back when not in use. Design aside, it’s capable of capturing high-quality audio at 16-bits and 44.1/48kHz resolution. The mute mic and headphone volume controls are nice features to have on hand as well.
Samson’s Meteor mic will work with anything sporting a USB port and has the standard 3.5mm jack on the back. When combined with the best webcam for streaming, your videos will sound and look better than ever before.
- Available in three finishes
- Folding tripod legs
- 25mm diaphragm condenser
- Legs can be an issue with some stands
- Sparse controls
A Budget-Friendly Studio Mic
Are you in the market for a microphone built for “enthusiastic” users? While the CAD GXL2400 looks like an ordinary mic at first glance, it has a unique feature. This one has a shock mount, which provides a bit of stability regardless of your excitement. Needless to say, it’s one of the best microphones for streaming on Twitch as well.
The CAD GXL2400 is a condenser mic that’s best suited for studio use. That includes laying down vocals, voiceover work, and gaming of course as the GXL2400 can sit on a desk or stand. The frequency response doesn’t offer the same range as top-tier models at 20Hz – 18kHz although you will be impressed by its overall performance.
While that shock mount will prevent damage to the microphone if it takes a tumble, it’s an isolating accessory. The design allows it to damper any errant vibrations that can interfere with your vocals whether you’re using a stand or in desktop mode at your gaming rig.
- Akos capsule
- Large diaphragm condenser
- Shock Mount and Desk Stand
- Frequency range could be better
- Light on features
Turtle Beach USB Stream Mic
Great Microphone for Streaming on Twitch
Like Razer, Turtle Beach is another name that gamers know very well. They make a wide range of accessories including the best gaming headsets for consoles and PCs. The company’s universal digital USB Stream Mic provides the kind of clarity you expect from the company and has a price that’s hard to beat.
Most of Turtle Beach’s audio gear is made to fit on your head, not sit on a desktop. The USB Stream Mic is an exception and the best option for gamers on a budget that need a freestanding microphone. This one has a built-in headphone amplifier with voice level mixing. It also allows you to customize things through presets and the Ear Force Audio Hub.
The software is only one reason this mic stands out – it also has a digital processor which increases performance. It lives up to its universal namesake by allowing you to use it with any USB-based system and can sit on a 5/8” mount if you tire of the desktop.
- Ear Force Software
- Plug-and-Play compatibility
- Zero-latency 3.5mm jack
- The stand is prone to vibrations
- Recording quality could be better
A Great Choice for Podcasts and Voiceovers
The Audio-Technica AT2020USB+ is a microphone in the lower echelon of the “Pro” class and one that’s well worth your time. That’s due in part to its reliability and clarity which makes it an option when you’re looking for the best mic for streaming.
Audio-Technica has produced the AT202USB in three different varieties with the regular model, the USB+, and the AT2020USBi. The USB+ is a fan favorite thanks to a reasonable price tag and several standout features. There are easy to use independent controls for mixing and headphone volume. It also has a permanently polarized condenser and sports the popular cardioid pattern.
As for the tech specs, the Audio-Technica AT2020USB+ has a sample rate of 44.1 kHz/48 kHz and frequency response of 20 – 20,000Hz. That’s lower than the G-Track Pro and great if you plan to use your microphone to record and mix audio. If you want something with a little more range, the USBi is 24-bit instead of 16 and has a sample rate up to 96 kHz.
- Easy to use Mixing and Volume controls
- High-Output internal headphone amp
- Pivoting stand mount & Tripod Desk Stand
- No headphone jack
- Tripod may be too flimsy for some
Samson G-Track Pro
A Workhorse Built to Last
Sometimes you need a microphone that can do it all. That’s exactly what you’ll get with the Samson G-Track Pro and why it’s considered the best microphone for streaming when users need an all-in-one solution. It’s the Swiss Army knife of the mic world, and filled with features you will appreciate regardless of how you plan to stream.
One of the biggest draws for this particular microphone (aside from the overall quality) are its directional properties. The G-Track Pro features cardioid, omni, and bidirectional polar patterns to go along with dual 1-inch condenser capsules. This makes it ideal for both gamers and podcasters alike.
This sturdy microphone is built to last as the die-cast base adds stability while grip hinges allow you to find the perfect angle. Other features to note for the Samson G-Track Pro include volume controls for headphones and instruments. As for the outputs, it has a USB port, a 1/4” instrument input and a 3.5mm headphone jack.
- Multiple Polar Patterns
- Mixing Controls
- Frequency Response 50Hz – 20kHz
- +6dB FS/PA (all patterns)
- Support could be better
- Pricey compared to similar models
Cyber Acoustics CVL-2001
Best Budget Microphone for Streaming
Not everyone needs an expensive microphone, especially if you are just starting out. That’s where products like the Cyber Acoustics CVL-2001 come into play as it won’t break the bank which makes it a solid entry-level device.
The Cyber Acoustics CVL-2001 is a USB microphone built to be budget-friendly. While it does not have the same set of flagship features as you’ll find on the Blue Yeti, it definitely gets the job done. The microphone simply requires a USB connection and it’s safe to say you will not be overwhelmed by ports. The cardioid-based mic comes with an adjustable stand and sports a threaded bottom in case you prefer a taller stand.
Simple is the best word to describe this mic, and that’s not a bad thing. It’s perfect for podcasts or interviews, and vlogging is a breeze with the CVL-2001. Aside from a few obvious drawbacks, it’s a great microphone for beginners and comes complete with a 1-year warranty.
- Compact design
- Ease of use
- Build quality could be better
- Limited features
V-MODA BoomPro Microphone
Reliable Omni-directional Mic
This one won’t be for everyone, but is a simple solution to a problem that plagues gamers and streamers. If you love your headphones but need a mic, the V-MODA BoomPro will be your new best friend.
This system from V-MODA will turn your favorite set of headphones into a full-fledged headset. You simply need to plug into a 3.5mm port, adjust the mic, and you’re good to go. It’s not the kind of microphone that will wear out easily either considering the arm is made from SteelFlex. It’s durable, and the in-line module lets you crank it up or mute the action as needed.
V-MODA BoomPro will work with any set of over or on-ear headphones provided they have a 3.5mm port. The cable length is listed at 79” which is longer than others in this class. You also have to appreciate the price point which opens the doors to professions outside of the gaming realm.
- Omni-directional mic
- Ease of use
- Expensive compared to a dedicated mic
- Limited features