Peripherals

Best Microphones for Streaming In 2020: For Gamers and Podcasters

Whether you’re a streamer, a podcaster or a gaming content creator, you need two main things to do well. Good audio and video quality. Whereas video quality is managed through the main bits and pieces of your computer, the audio quality greatly depends on the microphone that you’re using to record your voice. Now it’s not necessary to use a mic from streaming, your channel can be simply about your gameplay but that can get slightly boring, so, for those who want to gain viewers and give them a quality experience, you should get yourself a decent microphone.

One query many people have is if their gaming headset microphone will do. Sadly, the quality of the microphones attached to gaming headsets is sub-par. If you want a high quality stream, you’re going to need good quality audio as well. For that, you’ll need a proper microphone, a shock mount or a boom to place the microphone near your face and pointing towards you but not too close, so it doesn’t block the view coming from your webcam.

If you’re thinking of starting streaming or have recently started, you should move beyond microphones on gaming headsets and use a separate, dedicated USB microphone. Since there’s a plethora of microphones available in the market, it can be extremely difficult to choose which one is the best, and which one suits your needs the best. Especially with a ton of technical jargon involved, for which you’ll need a lot of research to truly comprehend. Therefore, we’ve curated this list of the best microphones available and provided relevant information, useful specs and explained why we’ve selected them.

1. Blue Yeti X

Perfect for Streamers

  • Amazing audio quality
  • Extensive software support
  • Useful LED lighting
  • Buttons are noisy

Type: Condenser | Frequency Response: 20Hz - 20kHz | Sample Rate: 48kHz | Bit Rate: 24-bit | Polar Patterns: Cardioid, Omnidirectional, Bidirectional, Stereo | Capsules: 4 x 14mm condenser | Max SPL: 122dB

Last Update on 2020-06-11 using Amazon Product Advertising API

Starting off the list is Blue’s Yeti X. The successful successor of the Blue Yeti which has reigned as one of the most widely used microphone by gamers and streamers for years, the Blue Yeti X continues its legacy and provides arguably the best sound quality considering its price bracket as a USB condenser microphone. It has extensive software support spanning from Logitech’s G Hub to Blue Sherpa for its VO!CE software which allow extensive control over the audio, and the useful LED lighting around its volume knob. The LED lighting is customizable and is used to show how loud you’re speaking into the microphone in real time. The buttons are slightly clicky and noisy though which is a minor nit-pick but one I felt like I needed to mention.

The Yeti X has a ton of features which increase its value manifold. It has four recording modes for various purposes. Cardioid mode for single direction recording, bidirectional mode for recording sounds from the front and the back, omnidirectional mode for recording sounds from all directions and the stereo mode for recording left and right channels, which is ideal for acoustics.

It has fantastic sound quality thanks to its 4 condenser capsules. Since it’s a condenser microphone, it is sensitive in picking up sounds but it has variable gain control, allowing users to adjust the sensitivity and monitor the result in real time thanks to the LED metering around the volume knob.

Speaking of the LED lighting, it’s fully customizable through the G Hub software. The use and the coloring, all of it is adjustable to your liking. The G Hub software has a plethora of other features available as well. Including advanced features such as high pass audio filtering which filters out lower frequencies, noise reduction which blocks out common background sounds such as the sound of a fan, or outdoor weather.

Another great feature of the microphone comes from the Blue VO!CE software which has presets like the Broadcaster, the Classic Radio Voice and the AM Radio preset which change your voice slightly. For most streamers it would be best to use the Broadcaster preset for a loud, full voice. Aesthetically, the Yeti X is a great looking microphone with a sleek, premium looking two-tone design. The LED metering takes it to the next level and makes the microphone fun to use on stream.

Overall, the Yeti X has great sound quality with a ton of useful features and some very nice aesthetics which is why it’s earned the number one spot on our list. It has got amazing specs and performance for its price and there’s next to nothing wrong with the microphone in any way. It’s an easy recommendation and a great buy for anyone who’s starting streaming or considering upgrading their existing microphone to a more premium USB microphone. For someone who wants studio quality sound, however, a more expensive XLR microphone would be a better option.

2. Samson G Track Pro

All in one solution

  • Detailed sound quality
  • Mixer-level control
  • Audio interface functionality
  • No software

Type: Condenser | Frequency Response: 50Hz - 20kHz | Sample Rate: 96kHz | Bit Rate: 16-bit, 24-bit | Polar Patterns: Cardioid, Omnidirectional, Bidirectional | Capsules: 2 x 25mm condenser | Max SPL: 120dB

Last Update on 2020-06-11 using Amazon Product Advertising API

The Samson G Track Pro has unmatched functionality and highly detailed 24 bit sound quality. It provides near professional level sound recording at a fraction of the price of studio microphones, while also providing an input for instruments. It’s an all in one microphone with dual input, extensive control with three knobs on the front for microphone level, instrument level and headphone output level.

It comes with multiple recording patterns, including cardiod, omnidirectional and bidirectional for different uses. It also has latency free monitoring if you plug in your headphones into the headphone output, which is great for adjusting your settings to your liking.The large 25mm condensers provide highly detailed audio which records crisp, full voice without sounding shrill. It has no software and is plug & play supported so you don’t get much customization besides what’s available on the microphone body itself.

The G Track Pro provides near professional level sound quality with its large condensers and 24-bit recording. It’s quite easy to switch between the three audio recording patterns, all you need to do is adjust the three-position switch to the pattern you want. The other two physical switches on the body of the microphone are used to switch between mono or 2-track recording, and to turn monitoring on and off.

The microphone has a secondary input for recording instruments which can be done simultaneously through the 2-track recording mode. So if you’re a singer and want to record yourself singing while playing a guitar, you could do that with this mic without needing any other equipment. However, it isn’t as useful for streamers and podcasters.

All in all, the Samson G Track Pro has a few features which provide extra functionality for multi-purpose uses. It has the ability to record 2 inputs which is great for streamers who may dabble in singing. Or, on the other hand, streamers could connect another microphone through the secondary input and increase audio quality without needing a mixer. Overall, this microphone provides amazing value and high quality sound for its price, but it doesn’t have any software support for increased customization. So if you’re looking for something that’s plug & play and don’t really require more than a few recording patterns and basic gain control, this is the mic for you.

3. Razer Seiren Elite

Broadcasting Specialist

  • Great sound for broadcasting
  • Visual peak indicator LED
  • High pass filter
  • Cardioid only polar pattern

Type: Dynamic | Frequency Response: 50Hz - 20kHz | Sample Rate: 44.1 kHz - 48kHz | Bit Rate: 16-bit | Polar Patterns: Cardioid | Capsules: Single dynamic | Max SPL: 120dB

Last Update on 2020-06-11 using Amazon Product Advertising API

The Razer Seiren Elite is a single dynamic capsule microphone which is tuned to be the best for streaming and broadcasting in general. It provides crisp, clear audio with adjustable gain which makes your voice sound richer and warmer. It comes with a foam windshield to cover the mic grille and eliminate any pop sounds which tend to come up when recording vocals. Vocals are recorded quite clearly due to the high-pass filter which eliminates low frequency disturbing sounds.

It’s also equipped with an LED ring around the middle of the mic which turns red when you reach peak volume, so you know you should be turning the gain down or lowering your voice. Real time headphone monitoring is also available for those that want on the fly adjustment. One drawback of the Seiren Elite is that it only has one recording mode: Cardioid. It’s not a big deal for streamers who usually just need the cardioid mode anyway.

Razer’s Seiren Elite provides amazing sound quality for broadcasters, recording at 16-bit. It has useful features which make the use of the mic easier and more intuitive for streamers. The high-pass filter reduces, if not eliminates low-frequency background noises like the hum of an air conditioner, music playing from your neighbor’s house or the sound of a fan. The gain control allows you to adjust the accordingly so the mic only picks up relevant sounds and doesn’t pick up clatter from your desk or the smacking of keys on your keyboard.

The visual peak indicator LED ring around the middle of the mic turns red when your voice is too loud and the signal gets blown out. The build quality is sturdy and the shock mount is quite useful for those who don’t own a boom arm. The Seiren Elite comes with a foam windshield included in the box which eliminates plosives, like a pop filter would do. There’s extra customization available through the Razer Synapse software in which you can adjust the audio settings slightly to match your liking.

Overall, the Seiren Elite is slightly expensive and it doesn’t cater to multipurpose usage since it has a specific digital signal processing style which suits streamers and only has cardioid mode. However, it is extremely well suited for streamers and broadcasters, the sound quality is near professional grade, it has useful features and great functionality. The software is slightly bloated but does its job well. It has good build quality, with LED lights adding to its aesthetics and a foam windshield included in the box. All in all, if you’re just going to be streaming, the Seiren Elite is a great buy for you.

4. HyperX QuadCast

Great for Newbies

  • Rich audio quality
  • Aesthetic looks
  • Useful LED lighting
  • No software customization

Type: Condenser | Frequency Response: 20Hz - 20kHz | Sample Rate: 48kHz | Bit Rate: 16-bit | Polar Patterns: Cardioid, Omnidirectional, Bidirectional, Stereo | Capsules: 3 x 14mm condenser | Max SPL: N/A

Last Update on 2020-06-11 using Amazon Product Advertising API

A giant in the gaming peripherals industry, especially in gaming headsets, HyperX released its first stand alone microphone for broadcasters last year, the HyperX QuadCast. To no surprise, it has great quality audio which sounds slightly richer and warmer than its competitors such as the Seiren and Blue Yeti X. It features four polar patterns which enable users to turn on different recording modes according to the situation they’re in. Most broadcasters use cardioid mode for streaming since it sounds the best with a single vocal audio source.

The HyperX QuadCast, as is common with other HyperX products, features an aesthetically pleasing design, with a black and red color scheme. The red lighting on the microphone lights up when the microphone is un-muted and in use, when it’s muted, the lighting shuts down so you can easily differentiate when it’s in use or not to avoid on stream accidents.

The microphone is plug & play which is a good thing, but it doesn’t have software support and customization beyond the controls available on the mic itself, which isn’t quite good considering the price of the mic. Also, it’s slightly shorter than its competitors so you’ll likely need to get a boom arm to avoid unwanted noise and uncomfortable positions to speak in for clarity of voice.

The first microphone ever from HyperX, the QuadCast does a fantastic job as a streaming microphone. It provides 16 bit audio with a warm and rich tone, perfect for broadcasters through its three 14mm condensers. It’s got four recording patterns for multipurpose usage but there’s no software to be used as an equalizer. Streamers will often only need the cardioid mode for broadcasting. However, there’s a stereo mode for instrument recording, a bidirectional mode for dual voice recording and an omnidirectional mode for recording sounds from all over to emulate a live an immersive experience.

You can adjust the gain and polar pattern, that’s pretty much it. It does have an instant mute button on the top surface of the mic and the bottom surface is a rotating knob which controls the gain. Excluding that, there’s not much you can do to adjust sound quality. However, that isn’t much of an issue for streamers at all since the equalizer that’s built in is adjusted well to cater broadcasters and provides crisp, warm sound quality in which the bass is slightly neutralized and the mids are focused.

In conclusion, the HyperX QuadCast is a great choice for streamers who don’t know much about setting a microphone up, adjusting equalizer levels and customizing sound, or simply don’t want to put in the effort to do so. It’s a plug a play microphone with great aesthetics, amazing sound quality for broadcasting with a warm and rich sound output, and has pleasing features like the live headphone monitoring and red LED mute indicating light. It’s a superb choice for anyone starting streaming and wants a mic with professional level sound quality but without the hassle of adjusting it.

5. Blue Snowball iCE

Budget King

  • Decent audio quality
  • Plug & play
  • Affordable
  • No sound adjustment

Type: Condenser | Frequency Response: 40Hz - 18kHz | Sample Rate: 44.1kHz | Bit Rate: 16-bit | Polar Patterns: Cardioid | Capsules: 1 x 14mm condenser | Max SPL: N/A

Last Update on 2020-06-11 using Amazon Product Advertising API

Another microphone from the respected Blue company, the Snowball iCE is a super affordable entry level mic. Even though it’s an entry level mic, it provides much greater sound quality than that of most mics on headphones. It’s got decent specs with a 44.1kHz sample and 16 bit rate. Definitely not the best in any regard but considering its price, it’s easily worth it. It doesn’t require any drivers and is a plug and play device.

However, there are a few features that this mic lacks. It doesn’t have any gain control, volume control, mute button or live headphone monitoring on the microphone itself. These features are missed but again, on a budget, entry level microphone, it doesn’t really matter. What it should provide, is decent audio quality through its cardioid polar pattern for a streamer, which is precisely what the Blue Snowball iCE does, and does quite well.

Equipped with a single 14mm condenser, the Blue Snowball iCE provides clear, crisp sound recording with a single cardioid recording pattern which records sounds from directly in front of the microphone. This suits streamers and podcasters the best. It comes mounted on a small, height adjustable tripod stand which is useful for beginners if they don’t want to spend extra money on getting a boom arm for streaming and recording.

Some third party software are available to adjust the equalizer levels of the sound input. Otherwise, there are no sound adjustment options present on the microphone itself. It comes in two colors and an aesthetically pleasing globe like shape which looks good on stream as well.

Overall, the Blue Snowball iCE is an entry level, budget microphone which does the basics superbly well. It provides decent sound quality which is far greater than that of headphone microphones, but isn’t as good as high end, more expensive microphones. It has minimal features but that’s quite excusable given the price it’s available for. All in all, the Snowball iCE is the best budget microphone available in this range for streamers and podcasters as well.

Eric Jones

A tech enthusiast and avid gamer, Eric Jones has been into the gaming world for over a decade. With a wide array of experience including putting together a number of gaming PCs for himself and his friends, he imparts the knowledge he's curated because of his curious nature to you in an informative and entertaining way as a tech writer.

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