Before we highlight some of the best microphones for streaming and gaming on the market, you should look at some of the most important parameters when choosing a microphone for live streaming:
1. Frequency response
The term frequency response means the range of voice frequencies your microphone can pick up. It is measured in Hz and kHz from the lowest frequencies to the highest. Typically, the golden standard for frequency response is from 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz. Anything lower or higher than these spectrum extremes is pretty much useless, as the human voice simply cannot produce such frequencies.
2. Polar pattern
A polar pattern, also known as directional property, is the inherent sensitivity to the direction of audio waves. Simply put, a polar pattern means the capability of a microphone to pick up your voice from different angles. The three polar patterns you need to know are cardioid, omnidirectional, and bidirectional.
Cardioid polar pattern: A classic cardioid microphone picks up the sound from the front. Cardioid microphones isolate unwanted ambient sound, as well as any other unwanted sounds from the back of the microphone. Such microphones are the most common choice for live streaming, as they block the surrounding noise, for instance, from a loud fan or the clatter of your mechanical keyboard.
Cardioid subtypes, super-cardioid and hyper-cardioid, have narrower sound sensibility angles and a greater ability to reject ambient sound. However, it is harder to place and aim such microphones accurately.
Omnidirectional polar pattern: Omnidirectional microphones are equally sensitive to the sound from every direction. This means they even pick up the sound 360 degrees. The bright side is that you don’t need to aim an omnidirectional microphone to the source of the sound. However, keep in mind, it will pick up all undesired sounds along with your speech.
Bidirectional polar pattern: Bidirectional microphones have a so-called Figure of Eight sound capture type. This means a bidirectional microphone will pick up any sound from two sides: the front of the microphone and its back. Such a microphone is especially useful for live streaming interviews, as it can pick up both your speech and the interlocutor.
3. Connection method
Two of the most common connection methods for streaming, XLR, and USB, have some significant differences. Firstly, you cannot connect XLR directly to your PC. You would need to buy a mixer or audio interface to plug in an XLR microphone. Therefore, you can get more control over the sound — therefore a better overall sound quality — thanks to these additional investments.
Another crucial difference is that XLR cables are more strong and durable than USB. This guarantees that an XLR microphone will live long enough to see two or three of his USB brothers die. This, however, is included in the price, making XLR-based microphones the most expensive on the market.
Lastly, we shouldn’t forget that TS/TRS/TRRS-based microphones exist. This connection method is pretty much designed to plug your microphone into mobile phones, tablets, and laptops. The sound quality of such microphones is usually worse than in the XLR-based. Such microphones are best suited for mobile streamers.
4. Pop filter
This is the most overrated feature in the world of live streaming — a pop filter, also called a pop screen or pop shield. This noise-protection filter serves one function, which is to get rid of any popping sounds that occur when the airflow bumps into the microphone. The result of applying a pop filter to your microphone is the somewhat-clearer sound of your voice on the viewer’s end.
But why are pop filters overrated? Well, the answer is hidden in their original field of application. Pop filters are most often used in recording studios. The airflow, which vocalists produce during the recording, can be quite intense, which may result in sound distortion or clipping. Pop filters can minimize the mechanical impact of the airflow and prevent such issues. Therefore, you should consider a pop filter an important factor if you are prone to producing high-pressure, loud sounds on your streams.
Best streaming microphones on the market
Eager to know what the best microphones for streaming and gaming on the market? Good news! Here are our top picks for best streaming microphones:
1. Samson G-Track Pro
The Samson G-Track Pro is a microphone with a solidly built, multi-pattern USB mic perfect for streaming or podcasts that doesn’t require any extra software, and it comes at a reasonable price to boot.
But what sets the Samson G-Track Pro apart is its 1/4-inch audio input, making this mic essentially a 2-track audio mixer. That means you can plug in an extra mic, second audio source, or even a sweet keytar without needing to buy a separate mixer. That kind of functionality at this price puts it at the top of my microphone list. You can buy the Samson G-Track Pro for your podcasts and streams, and even professional interview shows.
2. JLab Talk Microphone
With the JLab Talk, you're getting an affordable microphone without having to compromise on usability or recording capability. Even though it's just $100, the JLab Talk offers up a versatile microphone packed with three condenser capsules that can be set to pick up sound with a cardioid, bidirectional, omnidirectional, or stereo pattern. This will let you better tune it to your setup or adapt whenever your setup changes.
The JLab Talk also records at a rigid 96kHz sample rate and 24-bit bitrate, ensuring your voice is captured in high detail. The unit has simple and convenient controls and will connect directly to your computer over a USB A-to-C cable.
3. Blue Snowball
The Blue Snowball USB microphone is easily the best way to get into quality audio recording without spending much at all. This little guy includes a height-adjustable desktop stand, so you can plug it in, plop it down, and start recording right away.
The Blue Snowball USB microphone only offers omnidirectional or cardioid capture patterns, so it's not as flexible as the more expensive microphones on this list, but it's perfect for catching your voice or that of a few of your cohorts crouched around it. It's available in four colors and can even be mounted to a traditional mic stand if you want to get a bit posh.
4. Blue Yeti
The Yeti microphone from Blue offers a near-perfect blend of performance and price, making it our almost-top pick for anyone getting into the game of streaming and podcasting. It's not that expensive and it includes cardioid, bidirectional, omnidirectional capture patterns, so it can start recording audio in pretty much any environment without breaking the bank.
It's also a USB microphone, so setup is super easy, and we also dig the fact that it has a gain control and comes in a bunch of nifty colors. For amateur and even advanced streamers/podcasters, the Yeti does everything you need it to do at the right price, with fantastic performance too.
5. HyperX QuadCast USB Microphone
The HyperX QuadCast USB Microphone has arrived as a spectacular first appearance from the company better known for making gaming headsets. This microphone is tuned to capture the spoken word with a warmth that makes it perfect for voiceover or talking while streaming.
In this way, the QuadCast USB Microphone is even more of a broadcast microphone than other products we’ve tested like the Razer Seiren or Blue Yeti. While we appreciate the included shock mount, the HyperX QuadCast USB Microphone stands a little too short for us to be talking into its side without having to lean down all the time. So, you’ll want to pick up an aftermarket boom arm and a better pop filter to make the most out of this microphone.
6. Razer Seiren X
The Razer Seiren X is Razer’s current top-of-the-line microphone and it’s made for broadcast. It's smaller than most microphones and it comes with a detachable base so you can more easily mount it onto a boom arm or pack it up for a LAN event or anywhere else you might go on the road. Unlike most gaming microphones, the Seiren X features a dynamic microphone capsule for excellent background noise rejection.
Around the base of the mic, Razer also has a built-in ring light that lights up red to let you know when you’re talking too loud and clipping. It also includes a foam windscreen, so you don’t need to buy a pop filter to stop those ‘plosives.’
You may be interested:
1. How do I get the best quality microphone?
These are some points that you may need to consider to make your podcast stand out from the majority of the audio content available on the web.
Quality audio defined.
Value your listeners.
Invest in the right microphone.
Use a microphone stand.
Find a great place to record.
Speak near the microphone.
Set up a pop filter.
Select an audio interface.
2. How do I make my microphone clearer?
Here are a few tips on how to get a good audio recording with a computer mic:
Try to be in a quiet and absorptive environment to avoid background noise and echo-y reflections.
Do a Volume test to set the right recording level and avoid clipping and distortion.
Stay close to the microphone.
3. Will a sound card improve my mic quality?
Yes! A sound card may affect the quality of microphone recording. The sound card may in some way affect the recording quality of a microphone. Quality sound cards, have excellent A/D converters, consequently, are the most expensive you can find.
4. How far should you be from the mic?
About 6-12 inches. A good rule of thumb is to have the mic positioned about 6-12 inches away from your mouth. As you get closer to the mic, an increase in low-frequency response can occur, causing your voice to be overly bassy.
5. What do I need to start streaming?
The short answer to this question would be something like your PC, Mac, or smartphone, and a stable internet connection. However, there are many more nuances you can stumble upon when starting live streaming. The essential equipment for streamers can be divided into two components: physical and mental. Both of these are equally important, where the lack of one leads to an absolute disaster.
As for the physical component for live streaming, you need a rather powerful machine able to transfer your live content, especially if you are planning to start streaming video games. You should, at the very list, have a decent webcam and microphone. Another important factor you should keep in mind is the upload speed. You should aim for around 5.6 Mbps and higher to have top-notch video quality.
The mental side of the streaming setup includes your streaming goals and ways to monetize your streams, as well as your attributes, like charisma and determination. You need a strong foundation to be able to grow as a streamer. Therefore, the more you know and understand about the world of live streaming, the better your chances are.
The best streaming microphone here is the Samson G-Track Pro. The Samson G-Track Pro won us over with its extra features that put its functionality above and beyond the other mics on this list. It's a solidly built, multi-pattern USB mic perfect for streaming or podcasts that doesn’t require any extra software, and it comes at an attainable price to boot. If you are not a fan of Samson, then the Blue Yeti is the runner-up here, it brings you near-perfect recording experience, making it our almost-top pick for anyone getting into the game of streaming and podcasting.
On the other hand, if you want to save money but still have quality streaming microphones, then look no further than the JLab Talk and the Blue Snowball USB microphone
For gamers, the HyperX QuadCast USB Microphone or the Razer Seiren X is a must-have, which both come from the very-trusted gaming accessories manufacturers.
In short, depending on your purpose, needs as well as your budget to choose the best microphones for streaming and gaming. Below, our experts recommend some suitable items for the best streaming microphones:
That’s all for this guide of the best microphones for streaming and gaming right now. We hope this guide could help you to choose the best streaming microphones.