Interested in streaming on Twitch and gaming live? Or just looking for superior voice quality on a podcast or conference call? Then the quality of your microphone will have a significant impact on how clearly your audience can hear your voice.
While having the best microphone for streaming or gaming often gets overlooked, it can play an important role in keeping your listeners interested in what you are saying. If you voice is muffled by background noise you will struggle to keep followers interested in your content.
However, with such a wide variety of microphones available, it can be difficult to pick the one that is right for you. Luckily, we have done the hard work for you and reviewed a number of different microphones with varying features and prices.
What Type of Microphone is Best for Streaming?
1. Blue Yeti USB Microphone
If you’re in the market for a good quality microphone, then you will have undoubtedly heard of the Yeti brand. There’s a reason for this, build quality, features and performance. The Blue Yeti USB model continues this trend, at an affordable price.
What makes the Blue Yeti USB microphone stand out for many people, including some professional online radio presenters, is the headphone jack socket. What this means is that you can monitor what the microphone is recording. That may sound simple, but it’s an amazing feature.
Even better, Yeti guarantee zero latency on this monitoring, meaning that you won’t get even a microsecond of delay between what the microphone is picking up, and hearing it in the headphones.
The Blue Yeti USB microphone is also incredibly flexible for any recording situation due to its multiple pattern selection. You can select from cardioid, bidirectional, omnidirectional & stereo, meaning that it doesn’t matter which direction sound is coming from, and what type of sound you’re recording, you will get a perfect performance every time.
Related: Is Surround Sound Good for Gaming?
Because of this flexibility, the Yeti is perfect for the Internet, podcasting, Twitch live broadcasts, Internet radio. You name it, whatever you want it for, this microphone is a beast. It’s fully controllable through included software that is compatible with every version of Windows and also Mac OS. For the price, it’s one you really should take a close look at and is our choice for best streaming microphone.
2. Razer Seiren X Streaming Microphone
Let’s be clear, the Razer Seiren X streaming microphone is a surprise. It’s a surprise because it’s packed full of features, but it’s well within the budget-to-mid price range bracket. But in terms of quality, you getting an awful lot for your money, which is why it’s suitable for the youngster looking to make YouTube videos the first time, right through to somebody doing serious Internet broadcasting.
You get full control over using the Razer Seiren X through being able to monitor everything using the headphones, which can attach directly to the unit. There’s also a convenient mute button, which is a great feature because it means you have instant control over when the microphone is picking up sound. It’s also compact, which means it won’t take up a lot of room, and will allow you to use it discreetly.
Sound quality is good, with a built-in high pass filter. This helps to cut out low sounds, things like car noise outside, which can plague a home recording session. You also get further control direct on the microphone, because of volume and gain controls on it. No fiddling around with software, you can control all the basics needed directly on the Razer Seiren X streaming microphone during recording.
It is a budget microphone to some degree though. You won’t get high-end multidirectional sound capabilities, or the same level of bundled software options, as with more expensive USB microphone. But for anyone at entry level, or who doesn’t need a microphone for advanced quality recording, then it’s certainly one to consider.
3. Audio-Technica ATR2500-USB Cardioid Condenser USB Microphone
If you’re looking for a budget price with surprising performance, then the Audio-Technica ATR2500-USB is a USB condenser microphone that’s well worth considering. Some claim it’s comparable to a Blue Yeti or Snow Ball in quality, but that can be subjective; it will depend on what you are recording.
But the bottom line here is that if you are looking for a good quality microphone for basic home recording purposes, then this will certainly fulfill your needs. It has a mic jack socket allowing you to monitor input, although some people report occasional latency. However, that could be due to hardware problems rather than this microphone. A cool feature is you get up and down buttons on the microphone that change the volume of the headset monitoring levels.
No of course you’re not getting every feature out there, but for a low price you are getting a good quality side address, studio condenser microphone. Its USB, it’s easy to setup, and simple to use. Some people might not like the tripod configuration, in comparison to that classic radio microphone look, and it does increase the footprint, but it’s a minor problem when you take into account the quality of recording you can get.
So, there’s no doubt that the Audio-Technica ATR2500-USB microphone is a great budget model. Obviously, if you’re looking to do high-quality recording, or to record from diverse sources, you may come up against limitations, but for general broadcasting and recording, it’s right up there.
4. Rode NT-USB
If you’re looking for studio quality recording equipment that still fits into an affordable price bracket, then the Rode NT-USB Versatile Studio-Quality USB Cardioid Condenser Microphone is one to consider. This model will give you all the basics you need, and then sends it into the stratosphere through the quality of its recordings.
It’s simply great for recording. You get a zero latency headphones input socket. On top of that, you get on-mic controls, so you aren’t messing around with software controls. There are dials on the side of the microphone that allow you to alter monitoring and mix levels.
Plus, you won’t be disappointed if you want a little bit more in terms of extras. You get a premium pop filter, something a lot of microphones don’t include, which will filter out additional unwanted sound, and create even greater sound clarity. For ultimate control, you’ll want this on a shock mount, but even just on your desk, the way it filters out external noise and frequencies is impressive.
You will have to experiment with its recording levels though, because it’s so good. As a condenser mic, it’s insanely sensitive, and will pick up things you can’t even hear, but that will sometimes be heard in playback. That’s a good thing, but also a bad thing if you don’t control it.
It doesn’t have quite the level of on-mic controllers as some brands, but in terms of clarity and quality of sound recording for the price. You will struggle to find any other microphone out there on the same level, especially one that looks as good as this one. It does have a slightly larger footprint due to the stand, but overall the Rode NT-USB is flexible and powerful recording equipment.
5. Turtle Beach Stream Mic
The Turtle Beach Stream mic is one that’s definitely pitched directly at gamers. Although its recording quality is good enough for other purposes. It’s even marketed as one of the first USB microphones designed for people wishing to broadcast directly through their PlayStation or Xbox.
This little beast looks different as well. The Turtle Beach Stream Mic has a retro desktop look, but with a modern, chunky twist that gives it a pretty unique look in the USB microphone marketplace. You don’t get a lot of on-board controls, but you do get a mute button, which is something a lot of premium USB microphones miss. You also get a jack so you can plug in a headset to monitor with zero latency.
It can deal with a range of environments, thanks to its professional processing performance and adaptive mic pattern technology. If you go through the voice training at the start, this all fits together to create a microphone you barely have to touch, but that can cope with a wide range of sounds and environments.
No, the Turtle Beach Stream Mic is not the most powerful or flexible out there. But damn, it looks good, responds well and will look fantastic in any game streaming room. And don’t be fooled by the chunky unit, it is designed to attach to other stands as well, including being able to be placed on a boom stand. All in all, you’re getting flexibility, looks and performance for an incredible price.
6. Blue Snowball iCE Condenser Microphone
The Blue Snowball iCE condenser microphone sit very firmly in the budget end of the USB microphone market. If your needs are gentle, or you’re just getting started, then this could be the perfect entry point piece of kit. There’s no software to install, it’s plug and play on your device. This obviously limits it to the options you have on your computer, and in your recording software, but it’s enough to record voice clearly.
The Blue Snowball mic is an interesting looking creation, you’ll either love it or hate it for its uniqueness. It’s mounted on a small tripod stand, so it will have a slightly larger footprint wherever you use it. But it’s not a large unit, so it shouldn’t be a problem.
It may sound basic, but you do get a six-foot USB cable with it. This is something which is often surprisingly missing from even more expensive microphones out there. There’s nothing more annoying than buying something you need to plug into your computer, are finding it doesn’t actually have the cables to do so. That adds a hidden cost to some models which appear more affordable than they are.
Although options and performance are limited, noise reduction is very good and clarity of recording sound is superb under the right conditions. Optimally, you’ll want to mount it on a boom stand and use a pop filter to get the most out of it. But if you’re looking for a microphone to fulfill basic recording and streaming needs, then the Blue Snowball is certainly impressive, and at a price you may have to look at twice to believe.
7. Samson Go Mic
If you’re looking for simple, affordable, flexible and powerful, all bundled into one, then the Samson Go mic is definitely an entry-level microphone you should be taking a very close look at. It’s USB, plug and play, portable, simple to use and you can get it up and running in a matter of seconds.
It has built-in noise reduction, and even has switchable cardioid and omni polar patterns, allowing you to focus on vocals close to mic, or sound from around the room, perfect for impromptu recording musical recording sessions, or conference conversations.
It’s incredibly compact, coming in a small case that doubles up as the stand. Some people describe it as feeling cheap and plasticky, and certainly for the money, there have to be compromises somewhere. But as long as you are careful, it’s perfectly adequate in its physical design.
So, if you’re looking for robustness and sharp looks, then Samson Go might not be totally for you. But in terms of performance, you would be hard-pressed to find a device with the recording clarity flexibility at anywhere near this price. If you are really interested in sound quality, then for the money, alongside its portability, the Samson Go is tough to beat.
8. FIFINE USB Microphone – Best Budget Gaming Microphone
The FIFINE USB Microphone is a truly budget model, and perfect for entry-level gaming enthusiasts or conference call regulars. It’s a traditional design, it looks like a classic old-style microphone on a small tripod stand. It looks good, it’s functional, and this thing works. For the little money you pay, there’s not much better out there.
Performance is good. It’s not exceptional, but at this price you really can’t ask for more. It doesn’t deal with low-end sound very well, so you need to have an environment where there is not a washing machine spinning away in another room, for example. But if you are within a few feet of the microphone, then the quality of the audio it will pick up and produce is far better than anything built in.
So, the FIFINE USB microphone isn’t going to win any design awards for its looks or it’s audio options, but it will definitely improve the sound of your vocals. A lot of people use it for conference calls, and you’ll read reviews on Amazon saying how people even commented on the clarity of their voice. It’s the same for gamers, put this slightly to one side of where you sit when you are playing, and the increase your vocal clarity will be significant.
Simple, functional, and affordable, the FIFINE USB microphone is a brilliant piece of simple kit if you just want to get on with talking online.
9. Tonor Professional Studio Condenser Microphone
Let’s start by saying that the Tonor Professional Studio condenser microphone really looks the part. It’s clamp mounted, with a scissor arm that you can move to match any setup. It looks like a real recording microphone and comes with a metal shock mount and a good quality pop filter.
For the money, it looks unbelievable, and indeed the quality is good as well. But that’s not quite the whole story, which is where the confusion comes in. It’s not USB, it has a 3.5 mm jack microphone, so you will need a USB soundcard to plug it into a USB port on a computer.
More confusing, although it will get power from its normal jack, or the USB port, it’s only minimal. Although it will work, to run it at its full recording capability, it needs a 5 V power supply, a phantom power unit. Now this, on top of the USB soundcard will cost you more money. But even buying both of these, will still put it far below the cost of some of the other comparable studio recording condenser mics out there.
In terms of audio quality, some people say it is superior to the $180 Razer Sieren, which is some claim. Regardless of that, in testing, it’s certainly an incredibly good microphone for the money. But you do have to invest in the USB soundcard and 5 V power supply to get the most out of it.
10. CMTeck USB Computer Microphone
Coming in firmly at the bottom of the budget end of the market, the CMTeck USB computer microphone certainly won’t win any design awards for its looks. However, it’s very functional. It has a firm stand, and a flexible arm, much like a directional office light. That makes it perfect for using at a desk and directing the microphone where you need it.
Surprisingly, at this incredibly low price, it has a mute button on the stand, and you can even see if it’s muted or not because of an on/off LED light. This is something you don’t get in some higher spec USB microphones.
Now obviously this is not going to help you with recording music, conference calling or complex sound environments. But if your room is quiet, and you want to talk on Skype, record a tutorial, or talk hands-free when you are gaming, then this is certainly a model you could get on with. It will undoubtedly improve the quality of your voice.
Because it’s right at the bottom of the USB microphone market, there is no audio jack, so you can’t hear as you talk through the microphone, but that’s solvable with speakers, feedback permitting, or a USB headset.
So, if you’re looking for a simple, functional USB microphone that’s good enough for podcasting, Webcamming, gaming, Skype and work, without any complex settings to deal with, and at the cost almost anyone can afford, this is definitely a USB device to consider.