Best Microphones for Gaming and Streaming in 2021

The right gaming microphone can mean the difference between hitting Grandmaster in Overwatch, or your frustrated teammates hitting ‘mute’ on you. It can mean the difference between your first Twitch viewers clicking “Follow”, or clicking onto the next streamer. These days, you need to make sure you’re heard loud and clear — especially when aspiring a career in competitive gaming or content creation. Not sure where to look for great microphones? These are some of the best audio solutions out there.

Let’s be as clear as you intend your voice to be: not all microphones are equal. Although most microphones strive for great audio fidelity, there are all kinds of factors that set them apart. Some offer a swift addition to your existing headphones, others are broadcast grade stand-alones, requiring a seperate amplifier to even connect to your gaming set-up.

As we list some of our top picks for microphones, we tend to keep it broad. Some are relatively plug-and-play (while also being compatible with gaming consoles), others might push you towards a more professional set-up, exclusively on a PC. Easier solutions usually come at more affordable budgets, while high-end microphones can set you back a hefty sum of money. Take that in consideration when browsing for your next microphone for gaming.

Therefore, our recommendations are grouped on their connectivity — not necessarily their price point. The most versatile and affordable picks are usually found with a 3.5mm or USB connection, with analog XLR output skewing mostly more towards a professional spectrum. Without further ado, these microphones make great additions to your gaming set-up, as well as streaming.

Top 3 Gaming Microphones

Best 3.5mm microphones for gaming

As the iconic 3.5mm jack has long served as the one and only connector for audio, these microphones tend to be quite versatile. The jack connects to most systems — as well as controllers, phones and camera’s — and is immediately recognized as a microphone. Most 3.5mm devices don’t require any drivers or adapters to function, as they are analog in nature.

Some of the following microphones have digital brethren of some kind, but you can always plug the analog signal into a small USB-converter to get similar results. With (external) sound cards or analog amplifiers, you can push these affordable audio solutions even further, although we recommend you don’t use these options for lenghty, in-depth podcasts.

Antlion Audio ModMic Uni — The best 3.5mm microphone add-on

If you already own high quality headphones, or are considering getting some in the future, the Antlion ModMic Uni might prove an excellent upgrade. This add-on microphone is priced a bit higher than most headset adapters or clip-on lavaliers, but its excellent performance and sleek design are worth it, if it’s within your budget.

The ModMic Uni (as well as its USB alternative) comes with a clasp that you adhere to one of the earcups on your headphones. After that, the boom mic can be easily attached, detached, or positioned it a way that’s most comfortable for you. The ModMic’s two meters long cable can then be routed along your headphone cable to your PC or console, and offers a handy in-line mute button.

Antlion Audio ModMic Uni Attachable Noise-Cancelling Microphone with Mute...
  • TURNS YOUR HEADPHONES TO THE ULTIMATE HEADSET - The newly engineered Antlion Audio ModMic Uni can be attached to any headphone style and provide...
  • WORKS WITH GAME CONSOLES AND SMART DEVICES - You can also connect the ModMic Uni with Playstation 4, Xbox One, and USB-driven devices. All you need is...
  • PRODUCES CLEARER AUDIO - The attachable boom microphone features a new noise-canceling unidirectional mic capsule and better interference shielding to...

Antlion’s ModMics provide excellent audio quality, sounding richer than most integrated microphones on gaming headsets. It might not have a grand condensor-like recording profile, but as one can easily position it around the mouth, you can make sure you’re always heard loud and clear. The way the cardioid capsule is designed, it tends to keep unwanted noise out of your audio streams.

Most ModMics can be attached to a myriad of headphones, while also coming with additional clasps, adhesive material, as well as a hardshell travel case. If you need a reliable mic for on-the-go, a ModMic might be a handy companion when travelling.

V-MODA BoomPro — Upgrading your headphones, on a budget

V-MODA’s BoomPro is the layman’s ModMic. It’s about the same concept — that being upgrading your existing headphones — but it comes in at a lower price point. This microphone doesn’t attach to your existing audio solution per se, but is meant to be plugged into it directly. While it doesn’t support all existing hardware, V-MODA made sure to make the BoomPro as compatible as it can be.

V-MODA BoomPro Microphone for Gaming & Communication - Black
  • Professional-grade mic ideal for communication and gaming featuring enhanced voice clarity and background noise reduction
  • Detachable for maximum compatibility and usage; flexible ad adjustable for ideal mic positioning
  • Built to last with a durable and reinforced cable, 24k gold plated plug and SteelFlex boom arm

In addition to V-MODA’s own ‘Crossfade’ line-up of headphones, the BoomPro also connects to modular headphones by Beats, Skullcandy, and Audio-Technica, among many others. In those cases, the BoomPro substitutes the cable, while also adding a bendable microphone arm, and basic in-line controls. It’s all quite easy, as long as your existing headphones offer the exchange of cables to begin with. As it’s analog, most systems and gaming consoles support the microphone by default — or rather, they support your newly combined headset.

While it’s quite a nice upgrade to your existing audio hardware, the BoomPro microphone will only surpass some older gaming headsets in sound quality. By placing it correctly, you’ll make sure to be heard in games, but this option is not recommended for streaming or content creation. The BoomPro can output some pretty decent vocals, but its fiddly sensitivity and lack of proper noise cancellation might fall prey to background noise, and/or involuntary battle screams.

Aufgeld LM-07B — A budget-proof clip-on microphone

Although ‘Aufgeld’ sounds quite German, this capable clip-on microphone is actually mass-produced by Chinese companies. Don’t be fooled though: they pack a proper punch, especially considering their budget-proof price. This lavalier can offer a quick upgrade to your streaming set-up, as well as your blossoming YouTube career. Just clip the microphone close to your neck and plug it into any device — and you’re good to go.

Professional Lavalier Lapel Omnidirectional Microphone Condenser Mic...
  • ✔ PROFESSIONAL OMNIDIRECTIONAL FLAWLESS RECORDINGS: AUFGELD Lavalier Microphones records clean and clear sound for professional results. Podcasts |...
  • ✔ EXTRA-LONG LENGTH CORD! FREE extras included! AUFGELD Lavalier Lapel Microphone with 59” (approx.1.5m) cord and TRRS 3.5mm plug includes FREE...
  • ✔ COMPATIBLE WITH IPHONES AND MORE! Specifically designed for iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Sony, LG, Blackberry & Windows Smartphones, Retina Macbook...

As it’s a wired “lav mic”, the LM-07B doesn’t natively attach to your headphones. Of course, duct-tape makes anything possible, but the microphone functions alright when it’s clipped to your clothing. The omni-directional pick-up pattern is quite broad, but doesn’t seem to pick up noise from too far away — especially when properly angled towards your throat. As such, it proves good enough for some casual gaming and even some light vlogging, or other content creation that isn’t necessarily tied to your desk.

Quality-wise, you can’t expect top performance from a product like this. The LM-07B will get you talking in games and on camera, but the sound profile might be too imprecise for prolonged streams. If you tend to use this for your growing YouTube channel, it might be helpful to look up some tutorials on how to enhance and master your audio.


Best USB microphones for gaming and streaming

USB microphones are your all-in-one audio solutions for pc, as well as some gaming consoles. They might not plug into your camera or smart devices, but they offer great audio quality in a pinch. Most of these microphones come with proper audio-to-digital conversion built in, while higher-end models let you play around with settings and pick-up patterns too.

If you want some professional sounding hardware, without the need for an external sound card or amplifier, USB microphones are your go-to solution.

Blue Snowball iCE – The most plug-and-play condenser mic out there

For some time by now, Blue has been the brand that was synonamous for livestreaming. With solid sound quality and retro aesthetics, Blue microphones have seen many a gaming set-up. The Snowball has long served as Blue’s quick and easy entry point, but the more recent Snowball iCE takes that a little bit further. This is a proper condenser microphone, coming in at an affordable price point and greater ease of use. It’ll only work on PC and Mac natively, though.

Sale
Blue Snowball iCE Plug 'n Play USB Microphone for Recording, Streaming,...
  • Custom condenser capsule: Powered by Blue’s custom condenser capsule, Snowball iCE microphone delivers crystal-clear audio quality that’s...
  • Cardioid pickup pattern: Captures your voice with clear, focused sound for streaming, podcasting, broadcasting, Skype calls and Zoom meetings
  • Stylish retro design: Record or stream in style with a classic recording equipment design that looks great on your desktop and on camera

In contrast to the ‘regular’ Snowball, the Snowball iCE shortens its price by cutting multiple pick-up patterns. It offers one single cardioid pick-up pattern — which in most cases is all you would want out of a mic like this, anyway. But still, it offers great clarity and depth to your voice. The iCE puts out a 44,1kHz sample rate at 16-bit, leaning just into the somewhat professional spectrum. It’s definitely a more defined sound than you would expect from an entry level USB microphone, to say the least.

The Snowball iCE will get you yelling picks, livestreaming, and even casual podcasting in no-time. If you want to add to the experience, the ball itself can be placed on a microphone arm, additional shock mount or extra pop filter — although it comes with a handy stand and built-in pop filter too. In all cases, this might be the easiest and cheapest way to pick up your audio in (semi-)professional ways.

Elgato Wave: 3 — An all-in-one microphone for streamers

If you’re looking for something easy and professionally built, but you aren’t down with Blue’s vintage style, Elgato’s got you covered. Their Wave range has proven to offer fine audio quality, with the Wave: 3 being their latest top level USB-C microphone. It’s lightweight and looks slick, but offers features and extendability like no other. Again, it’s mostly oriented towards PC and Mac; the Wave series doesn’t support any gaming consoles as of yet.

Being a brand that mostly serves broadcasters and content creators, Elgato knows what a solid microphone needs to do. The Wave: 3 comes with great clarity out-of-the-box, with 96 kHz analog-to-digital conversion at 24-bits. It’s a sleek addition to your desktop, while nearing studio grade audio depth. The housing for the Lewitt branded condenser capsule features an internal shock mount and is surrounded by an integrated pop filter.

Sale
Elgato Wave: 3 – USB Condenser Microphone and Digital Mixer for...
  • Condenser capsule with a tight cardioid polar pattern captures speech with precision
  • Use the Wave Link app to control Wave: 3 and up to 7 other audio sources, plus create 2 independent mixes
  • Up to 24-bit / 96kHz analog to digital conversion delivers lush detail

In addition to the technical prowess, the Wave: 3 is loaded with ease-of-use benefits. Among those are quick tap-to-mute touch controls, as well as handy controls for the built-in digital amplifier. You can easily dial your own gain up, or crossfade certain channels directly in your livestream. The internal DAC also comes with a smart clipping filter, that automatically lowers gain when the going gets though.

As is Elgato’s norm by now, the Wave: 3 works exceptionally well with most broadcasting software, as well as other Elgato products. If you’ve already tapped in their ecosystem with, for example, an Elgato Stream Deck, you can use those interfaces to tweak the microphone as well.

All in all, the Elgato Wave: 3 and its extensive possibilities are an absolute overkill for your regular gaming sessions. On the other hand, it might be the best microphone for livestreamers who don’t want to commit to fully analog gear.

Blue Yeti X — Blue just got better, and RGB-er

No microphone buyer’s guide is complete, it seems, without the iconic Blue Yeti on it. That’s not without reason, as Blue got into the USB microphone game at the right time, and most definitely at the right price. The Yeti has long served solid price-to-perfomance audio, with the Yeti X now branding more towards gaming and livestreaming than ever before. It works with PC, Mac, and Chromebook, but the Yeti X is not supported by any gaming consoles yet.

To wow gamers worldwide, the Yeti X features a handy RGB lighting ring (with support for Logitech’s G Hub), as well as a seperate World of Warcraft edition. And even though gamers aren’t usually demanding diskjockeys, the auditive fidelity isn’t lost on Blue. The Yeti X features four seperate condenser capsules, as well as four different cardioid patterns to choose from. It’s a more than comfortable microphone for gaming and livestreaming, but it stands solid in podcasting or musical recordings too.

Blue Yeti X USB Microphone for PC & Mac, Gaming, Podcast, Streaming and...
  • Four-Capsule Array – Capture legendary Blue broadcast sound with greater focus and clarity than ever for professional streaming, podcasting and...
  • High-Res LED Metering – Visualize your voice level at a glance and adjust up or down for powerful, broadcast quality sound
  • Multi-Function Smart Knob – Fine-tune your on-stream sound with easy-access controls for mic gain, mute, headphone volume and blend

The sample rate tops out at 48kHz, on a studio-grade 24-bits depth. Those statistics might be outgunned by other brands and microphones, but Blue excels in making the Yeti X sound good in almost all cases. The LED lighting updates you on peak audio levels, with an easy push-in dial for control over your gain, headphone audio, and muting. It’s all you could ever wish out of an all-in-one package like this.

The so-called Blue VO!CE effects offer some further tweakability, as well some brevity. These drivers make it easy to tweak the pitch and delivery of your voice. You’ll need the G Hub or Blue Sherpa software for it to work, but it’s a nice little touch. Sounding like a cartoon squirrel is not recommended for podcasting, but it’ll freak your teammates or viewers out, should you feel like that. In more everyday scenarios, you can easily add filters to make sure your voice comes through as clear as possible. Which is, in fact, extremely clear.

HyperX QuadCast (S) — All-out gaming fidelity, and aesthetics

Gaming brand HyperX is hopping on the broadcasting bandwagon as well, with their mid-range QuadCast (S) microphone. It offers a lot of the previously listed luxuries and platform integrations, while also being compatible with PlayStation 4.

The QuadCast comes with its own shock mount, internal pop filter, and physical dials for four different pick-up patterns and gain control. Audio fidelity comes in clean at 48 kHz over 16-bit depth, while also offering direct monitoring over a 3.5mm audio connection. The top part of the microphone features an easy tap-to-mute system, with corresponding LED illumination to tell you wether you are muted or not.

HyperX QuadCast USB Multi-Pattern Electric Condenser Microphone - PS4, PC,...
  • 【Four Polar Patterns】Easily switch to multiple polar patterns for all your broadcasting needs: cardioid, bidirectional, omnidirectional, and...
  • 【Gain Control Adjustment】Set mic input levels with the conveniently-located gain control, and monitor sound via headphone jack.
  • 【Tap-to-Mute with LED status indicator】Conveniently tap-to-mute the microphone, easily check the mute status with the LED indicator.

Technical specifications aside, the QuadCast mostly serves as an eyecatcher due to its bright lighting This all radiates form the pop filter, which is illuminated from within. It’s all shades of red on the regular QuadCast, while the QuadCast S lets you make mesmerizing RGB gradients. You’ll need HyperX’s own NGENUITY software to make the most of it, but it surely makes for a stylish addition, if you’re into the whole color-coordinated ‘gaming aesthetic’.

Sound-wise, the QuadCast is highly capable and flexible in gaming communication and ‘casting’ — what’s in a name — but it’s mostly the looks that set HyperX apart. In contradiction to the brand’s standard approach, you could get roughly the same package for less, if you want to your ratio price-to-performance a bit sharper.


Best XLR microphones for streaming and gaming

If you want to get the most out of your microphones, you probably want to look into XLR connectivity. While the port itself is all analog, these microphones tend to have the biggest range and purest performance. To get them to even work with your PC, Mac, or other content creation devices, you most likely need a proper amplifier with built in analog-to-digital conversion. You might get them to work on a gaming console, but only through elaborate cabling solutions.

Does that mean that XLR microphones are the most expensive? Not necessarily. They do however require some of that additional hardware, which can come at elevated price points. A good XLR microphone is nothing without a solid pre-amp, and vice versa. Often, you’ll need (extra) shock mounts or microphone booms to get the best results. Netting more audio quality, means paying more. If you already own a microphone amplifier and converter (or intend to get one), buying the right microphone can make your livestreaming set-up top tier.

Optionally, some of our XLR recommendations come in USB flavors too. These cut the versatility an amplifier might offer, but by directly outputting a digital signal, they steer more towards a plug-and-play nature.

Audio-Technica AT2020 – An all-rounder for all vocal performance

While Audio-Technica as a brand leans more towards audio— well, technicians, their products have seen a surge in popularity among livestreamers. The AT2020 condenser microphone, along with its AT2020USB+ counterpart, offers some great quality in an affordable package. You might have seen and heard a few of these while browsing top-tier Twitch streamers.

This slick looking XLR or USB microphone delivers a high-end cardioid polar pattern, ensuring your vocals get isolated neatly. Audio-Technica’s custom engineered diaphragm really gives your voice that radio-esque depth. This microphone is still pleasant to the ear after hours of podcasting, granted your talking points remain interesting that long.

Audio-Technica AT2020 Cardioid Condenser Studio XLR Microphone, Ideal for...
  • The price/performance standard in side address studio condenser microphone technology
  • Ideal for project/home studio applications; The noise level is 20 dB SPL
  • High SPL handling and wide dynamic range provide unmatched versatility

The AT2020 delivers a great analog all-rounder, without getting too gritty with its price and possibilities. Audiophiles might opt for the newer AT2035 for additional oomph, but for this price, the AT2020 still makes a great addition to many a content creation set-up. Most livestreamers don’t need much more than what this offers sound-wise. Then again, an additional pop filter or external shock mount wouldn’t hurt. Audio-Technica has some built in as well, though.

Some users could make do with its slightly pricier USB counterpart, although that does take certain possibilities away. The USB2020USB+ is more plug-and-play, but makes it somewhat less useful for audio set-ups with multiple microphones, or home studio’s. Because, yes: when analog, this microphone can quite professionally.

Shure SM7B — High-end, podcast-proof microphone

You’ve seen it everywhere on the internet. It’s been used extensively by your favorite livestreamers, as well as commentary YouTube channels. This is, without a doubt, the holy grail of dynamic microphones: Shure’s SM7B. Coming straight out of the home studio’s of top musicians, this microphone is seen as a flex among content creators. You can tell, by the steep price at which it sells to this day.

Sale
Shure SM7B Vocal Microphone
  • ONE MICROPHONE FOR EVERYTHING - Studio Recording, Home Recording, Podcasting and Streaming. The SM7B Is Trusted By The Worlds Leading Vocalists,...
  • STUDIO VOCAL RECORDING - The SM7B’s Dynamic Cartridge With Smooth, Flat, Wide-range Frequency Response Produces Exceptionally Clean and Natural...
  • PODCAST and BROADCAST - Found In The Top Podcasting Studios Around The World, The SM7B Air Suspension Shock Isolation and Pop Filter Eliminate Both...

As it targets professional vocalists, the SM7B is exclusively available with XLR output. The sound itself is meant to be extremely ‘flat’ and neutral, with a wide-range frequency response. This results in audio performance that is exceptionally clear, without distorting specific frequency ranges, or picking up unwanted noise. It performs exceptionally well with close-range speech, and it comes with its own heavy-duty pop filter and wind shield.

With its unidirectional pick-up pattern and leading edge on close-range performance, the Shure SM7B puts your voice on a pedestal. Whisper, shout, and mash your keyboard all you want — this bad boy will output your vocals crystal clear, no matter what. The only thing limiting this microphone, is the recording and broadcasting gear you hook it up to. A proper amplifier and analog-to-digital converter is a must, before you even consider getting one of these.

Samson C01 — Solid sound, great price

Samson proves that solid, studio grade microphones don’t have to overly expensive. The Samson C01 has been a great budget-proof XLR audio solution for years, along with its USB counterpart, the Samson C01U (Pro). The microphone itself is a rather basic package, but offer a solid enough sound for most gamers and casual livestreamers. It might pick up some keyboard rattle, but not to an annoying degree.

Samson C01 Large-Diaphragm Cardioid Condenser Microphone
  • Multi-purpose studio condenser microphone with large 19mm diaphragm
  • Cardioid pickup pattern with excellent off-axis rejection
  • Perfect for vocals, guitars, stringed-instruments, drums and more

Multiple variations of the Samson C01 microphone have been bundled into a myriad of different kits. By itself, the microphone is affordable as can be, but certain kits net you helpful accesories like stands, a shock mount, and extra pop filters. The ‘mic only’ option will only do, if you already have mounts and filters to begin with.

Combined with a solid stand and maybe an additional pop filter, the Samson C01 punches way above its weight. The USB counterpart can sound somewhat ‘stiff’, but over XLR, the possibilities really open up. Combined with a decent amplifier or DAC, this sounds radio-like to most ears. Especially while talking up close with lower gain levels, the Samson C01 will have fellow gamers call you out for “definitely being a streamer, dude”.


Let’s hear it from you!

That’s it for our recommendations on microphones for gaming and livestreaming. It’s quite a list, but it might just send you in the right direction for your next purchase — be that a flexible adition to your headphones or a studio grade dynamic microphone.

Is there anything you feel we might have missed? It could be technical questions left unanswered, or a great suggestion for a certain category. Whatever it is, feel free to let us know, in the comments down below. We would love to keep talking great microphones. But please, stop us before we make a way too lengthy and unnecessary podcast on the topic. It’s for the greater good.

Leave a Comment: