Nowadays, most streamers no longer use the built-in microphone on their computer, or the microphone that’s built-in to their headsets, instead, most streamers will now have a dedicated microphone set up instead.
It may seem complicated to set up, to begin with, but you’ll soon realize that setting up a desktop microphone isn’t actually too hard!
A desktop microphone setup is now more accessible than ever, with microphones being available at all sorts of different price points, but will still make a world of difference when it comes to your stream’s audio!
So, whether you’re going to be live streaming on Twitch, YouTube, or elsewhere, your setup will be upgraded massively with the inclusion of a microphone.
However when it comes to buying a microphone, it can be extremely difficult to discern which is going to be best for you, and there are a lot of things to consider when deciding which microphone is going to be best.
So, in this article, we’re going to cover the top 9 best microphones for streaming, as well as what to look out for when choosing a microphone!
The Top 9 Best Microphones For Streaming
#1 Razer Seiren X
Razer is an extremely popular company amongst the gaming community and is well known for their quality peripherals and equipment, so it should be no surprise to see their name make an appearance on this list.
The Seiren X is a fantastic choice of microphone and features a supercardioid polar pattern, a condenser capsule, USB connectivity, a 48kHz sample rate, and a 16-bit bit depth too.
Other great features of the Seiren X include input gain and headphone volume controls on the mic, as well as having a 20Hz to 20kHz frequency response too.
The Seiren X provides great clarity, especially for higher frequencies, but does lack slightly for mid-range and bassier frequencies. This small and compact microphone is certainly one to consider for your setup!
#2 RODE NT-USB Mini
Another microphone from a well known brand comes in the form of the RODE NT-USB Mini, featuring a capsule condenser type, a cardioid polar pattern, USB connectivity, a 48kHz sample rate, and a 24-bit bit depth, as well as headphone volume control and a built-in pop filter and windshield.
The vocal clarity on this microphone is excellent and for such a compact microphone, provides great tonal reproduction too.
The only downside to this microphone is that there is no gain control on the microphone, which can lead it to become rather gain heavy sometimes.
Overall this microphone makes a great choice for someone looking for their first microphone to help elevate their streaming!
#3 Blue Yeti Nano
Blue Yeti at one time were the industry standard for microphones, producing quality products for streaming way before some of the other companies caught up, and they’re still producing those professional standard microphones to this day.
The Blue Yeti Nano features a omnidirectional and cardioid polar pattern, and a condenser capsule type, as well as USB connectivity, a 48kHZ sample rate, 24-bit bit type, a frequency response of 20Hz to 20kHZ, and a wide range of mic controls, including: volume and mute button, and a polar pattern switch.
Thanks to the ability to switch between polar patterns with this mic, this mic is extremely versatile, providing you with a good level of vocal clarity, as well as a decent level of tonal reproduction.
#4 Audio Technica AT2020+
The Audio Technica AT2020+ is a smart choice for anyone looking for a no frills no hassle microphone. Audio Technica is known for providing quality products on a budget, so it’s unsurprising that the AT2020+ makes its way onto this list.
Featuring a cardioid polar pattern, a condenser capsule type, USB and XLR connectivity, 44.1kHz sample rate, and a 16-bit bit rate. In addition to this is a 20Hz to 20kHz frequency response, headphone volume control, and is able to be used with whatever recording software you plan on using too.
If you’re a streamer who is going to demand flexibility from their microphone, then the AT2020+ is a brilliant choice, and the ability to make use of XLR connectivity is good news for those who want to ensure the best audio quality possible.
#5 Blue Yeti USB
As we mentioned earlier, this was a market that Blue Yeti used to dominate, so to see another one of their products on their list is to be expected!
The Blue Yeti USB is considered somewhat of an industry favorite, and it isn’t hard to see why whatsoever. It features a Cardioid, Bidirectional, and Omnidirectional polar pattern, a capsule condenser type, USB connectivity, 48kHz/16-bit bit type, 20hz – 20kHz frequency response, controls for headphone volume, pattern selection, mute, and gain.
In terms of the microphone’s vocal clarity and the tonal reproduction, then you’ll be glad to hear that the Blue Yeti USB absolutely excels in both of these categories, and is able to detect and pick up even some of the most subtle sounds.
So if you’re looking for a microphone that will give you incredibly tight control over the recorded sound, then this is definitely an option for you to consider!
#6 HyperX Quadcast
The HyperX Quadcast stands out amongst the rest of its mid-range competitors for numerous reasons, but after seeing the specifications list, it won’t be any surprise as to why!
The Quadcast features an interchangeable polar pattern, with cardioid, bidirectional, stereo, or omnidirectional options.
A condenser capsule type, USB connectivity, a built-in shock mount, 48kHz sample rate, 16-bit bit type, a frequency response rate of 20hz to 20kHz, as well as a tap to mute sensor.
The Quadcast leads the way in adaptability and versatility for a microphone at this price point, and provides a great standard of audio overall.
#7 Elgato Wave 3
Made popular as a result of their famous capture cards, the Wave 3 is Elgato’s offering of a mid-range microphone designed to suit streamers no matter what sort of recording they’re planning to do.
With a cardioid polar pattern, condenser capsule type, USB connectivity, 48kHZ sample rate, a 24-bit bit type, a multi-functional knob that allows you to adjust the mic’s audio mix, and the headphone volume too.
The Wave 3 is excellent if you’re planning on recording some vocals up close to the microphone thanks to its cardioid polar pattern, and features clipguard technology, which ensures that your audio doesn’t suffer from any distortion at high frequencies.
So whilst other mics may be more versatile, the Wave 3 is really easy to use and ensures that your recording process doesn’t become too complicated when streaming!
#8 Shure MV7 Microphone
The Shure MV7 is a heavyweight in the streaming microphone world, with an impressive specs list and an even more impressive level of performance that is very rarely paralleled, its slightly higher price point soon becomes understandable.
The MV7 features a unidirectional cardioid polar pattern, a dynamic capsule type, both XLR and USB connectivity, a 48kHz sample rate, and a 24-bit bit depth, with a frequency response of 20hz to 20kHz as well as touch panel controls, allowing you to adjust both the mic gain, headphone volume, and the monitor mix.
The MV7’s sound isolation technology, XLR and USB connectivity and incredibly high quality audio make it one of the best microphones on the market, so if you can afford it, buy it!
#9 Shure SM7B
Perhaps the only challenger for the MV7 for the throne, the SM7B is the most expensive microphone on this list, but is one of the best professional standard microphones on the market, and will provide you with the highest quality audio for your stream.
The SM7B features a cardioid polar pattern, a dynamic capsule type, XLR connectivity, a same rate of 192kHz, a 24-bit bit depth, a 50hz to 20kHz frequency response, and features a built-in shock isolation and a built-in pop filter too,
Overall, the SM7B is perhaps the ultimate streaming microphone and is perfect if you stream full time too. With the highest standard of audio and exceptional build quality, if you have the budget for the SM7B, then it’s worth biting the bullet.
How To Choose The Best Streaming Microphone
If you’re unsure on what you should be looking out for when it comes to choosing the best microphone for streaming, then we’ve put together this handy buyer’s guide so that you can learn what makes a great quality microphone.
The frequency response of a microphone determines what sort of frequencies it will be able to pick up whilst recording, for streaming, you want the frequency response to be 20Hz to 20kHz.
Most microphones will come with either a USB or an XLR connection port, although some will come with both! High quality audio is achievable with both options for the most part. (Also see, ‘USB Mic Vs XLR‘)
USB microphones are great for beginners and first time streamers, as it helps to keep costs low and is an uncomplicated way of recording your audio whilst streaming. (Also see, ‘How To Connect A USB Mic To iPhone‘)
An XLR mic offers better sound quality, and outclass USB microphones as a result. Unsurprisingly then that an XLR mic is more expensive, but this is because an XLR connection requires a cable, audio mixer or interface, as well as a digital audio workstation.
So whilst they’re a little bit more hassle than USB mics, the difference in quality is undeniable.
A microphone’s polar pattern is what shows the direction or angle (or directions or angles) that it is able to pick up audio from.
There are three different types of polar pattern that will commonly feature on most streaming microphones, these are: the cardioid mode, omnidirectional, and bidirectional.
Cardioid mics are most sensitive to audio coming from directly in front of the microphone, and make a great streaming microphone because they’ll be able to cut out any unwanted background noise, so you can ensure that the focus is solely on your voice.
Omnidirectional mics pickup sound all around the microphone, which is great if you don’t want to be too close to your microphone, but you might notice that these mics pickup more background noise as a result. (Also see, ‘How To Reduce Background Noise On Mic‘)
Bidirectional mics have an almost figure of 8 pickup range, and will tend to pick up audio from both the front and the back of the microphone, and are typically best used for an interview.
Digital Signal Quality
Two things go into determining your digital signal quality, your Sample Rate, and your Bit depth.
The sample rate of a microphone is what tells you how many times per second the analog signal that the microphone picks up is sampled, typical sample rates are 44.1kHz and 48kHz.
The bit depth is the difference that is between the quietest and the loudest volumes, which is also known as the dynamic range. The usual bit depth on a streaming microphone is 16-bit, but this can sometimes increase to 24-bit.
This is exactly what it sounds like, and is a way of describing just how clear the output coming from the microphone really is.
Amplification of the input audio via the connecting lead and the mic’s sensitivity are the two main contributing factors to a mic’s vocal clarity.
Tonal reproduction is how well the microphone’s output is able to replicate the input audio. Essentially, how well does the microphone reproduce your voice when you speak.
Depending on your voice and the mic you’re using, you’re likely going to have varying degrees of success, as some mics are better suited to higher frequency voices, whereas other mics are preferred for lower frequency voices with loads of bass.
Unfortunately, figuring this out is simply down to trial and error!
Frequently Asked Questions
What Type Of Microphone Is Best For Streaming?
A question like this is incredibly broad, as a lot of different factors go into making a microphone suitable for streaming, things such as the polar pattern, connectivity, frequency response, capsule type, as well as many other elements, including built-in pop filters or windshields, are all characteristics that combined can make an excellent streaming microphone, you just have to do your research on what combination of these elements is going to be best suited for you at your price point.
What’s Better: Dynamic Mics Or Condenser Mics?
For streaming or broadcasting, the best option is always going to be a dynamic microphone, this is because dynamic microphones have a lower sensitivity as well as having an increased amount of background noise rejection, so are perfect for those streamers looking to record live.
In addition to this, condenser mics sometimes struggle with fluctuations in volume, which means that if you’re someone who is likely to raise their voice or scream whilst streaming, you’ll be better off using a dynamic microphone to ensure your audio quality remains at a decent level.
What Mics Do Most Twitch/YouTube Streamers Use?
Typically, most YouTube or Twitch streamers will be making use of a high quality cardioid microphone.
But just because it’s a good quality microphone, doesn’t automatically mean that they’ve spent hundreds of dollars for it, sometimes the best microphones are the compact, robust, microphones that are able to survive a bit of rough treatment. (Also see, ‘How Much Does A Microphone Cost‘)
Ultimately, the microphone you choose is all down to what your budget is, what sort of features you’re looking for in your microphone and the one that suits your voice best.
How To Get The Best Sound From My Mic?
Once you’ve got yourself a microphone, remember that you want to try to minimize as much background noise as possible when you’re streaming, which will ensure that the mic is only picking up on your voice, which keeps you as the focus. (Also see, ‘How To Make Your Mic Sound Better‘)
Additionally, things such as pop filters, shock mounts, and desktop stands can make a world of difference to the quality of your audio, to be sure to supplement your microphone with these accessories too.
Verdict: The Best Microphone for Streaming
As you can see, choosing a microphone is an extremely difficult task and is one that requires a lot of research and thought before an informed decision can be made. For us though, the choice is clear, and despite the high price tag, the best microphone for streaming is easily the Shure SM7B.