We already covered streaming and what it is, but we didn’t get too far in terms of equipment. Yes, we spoke about webcams, but there’s also the other key component – the microphone. If you’re even remotely serious about streaming, getting the best streaming microphone you can afford is going to make a massive difference to your stream quality.
That being said, there are a lot of good microphones out there. Some are a lot more expensive than others, so you might be debating which one to get. Well, we’d like to help. Below we’ll be discussing some of the best streaming microphone models at different price points.
To further sweeten the pot, we’ll also talk about the things you should keep an eye out for when you’re choosing, such as software support, interface, pattern, etc. Hopefully, when you’re done reading, you’ll be able to choose the best streaming microphone for your needs.
Picking the right microphone can mean the difference between your viewers being able to hear you loud and clear, and your voice being unbearably bad – and you don’t want that second one.
The pickup pattern is what dictates which direction the microphone is most sensitive from. The ideal one for streaming is a cardioid pattern. It’s most sensitive at the front and least sensitive at the back. This means your voice will be loud and clear, while sounds like your keyboard and mouse clicks will be indiscernible. Of course, super-cardioid is an option too. This captures a bit more from the side, and rejects a bit less at the back. You can, however, get a microphone that supports multiple patterns.
The interface is either going to be a USB interface or an XLR one. The USB interface is basically plug-and-play, and most microphones that are made for streaming and PC use have it. On the other hand, XLR is usually used in professional applications. Your motherboard probably doesn’t even have a connection for it. You’ll need an interface, and that doesn’t come cheap.
Last but not least, you should consider the software support and all the options you’ll get. Many good mics come with software that lets you fine-tune the gain, the pickup strength, and the background noise canceling as well. Some software will even let you add effects, which is neat. But it’s all up to you and what you need.
Blue’s Yeti X is one of the most popular condenser microphones for streaming. It comes at a high, but very easily justified price, and checks all the boxes for a great streaming experience. The mic comes with a great stand that you can use if you don’t have a boom arm.
You can choose between four pickup patterns, including a cardioid one, but you can find the one that works best for your needs. There’s an 11-segment LED meter that shows you how high your gain is, and you can set the light color to fit your setup. The four-capsule array really does a great job capturing crystal clear sound.
Last but not least, there’s the multi-function smart knob. It lets you adjust the gain, the headphone volume, and a few other things, making this a very versatile choice.
The QuadCast S is one of the most popular mics nowadays. It comes with a combination of looks and performance that fits right within any streamer’s setup. And while it’s far from cheap, it is actually very much worth it.
To begin with, it looks stunning. You can customize the RGB lights, and there’s a shock mount to eliminate any desk vibrations. You get four selectable polar patterns. Just choose the one that works best, and you have a tap-to-mute functionality with an LED indicator.
The dial at the bottom lets you adjust gain, and you have an adapter that allows you to mount the mic on pretty much any mic stand or boom arm. There’s an internal pop filter that blocks any plosive sounds. This rounds out an excellent mic that’s compatible with pretty much any system you could ever use.
Rode is a household name in the microphone world, and the Podcaster is a broadcast-quality option. Yes, it’s expensive, but it comes with a 28mm dynamic capsule that captures some of the cleanest sounds you’ve ever heard.
The pickup pattern is a rather tight cardioid pattern, and it has excellent off-axis noise canceling. The only thing your viewers can hear is your voice. The USB interface lets you use it as a plug-and-play option, and it comes with a ring-mount microphone stand that allows you to mount it on a boom arm or mic stand.
If you’re looking for a microphone that you’d put on a shock mount and set and forget, the Rode Podcaster is a great choice. The sound clarity is impeccable, and you get an optional 10-year warranty. This is, overall, one of the best streaming microphone models you can get.
Razer’s Seiren X is their wallet-friendly microphone for streamers, but don’t let that fool you – it’s incredibly capable. It comes with a subtle design and a compact stand. Also, it has a built-in shock mount to prevent any desk vibrations from reaching your mic.
The Seiren X has a super-cardioid pickup pattern, which eliminates any noise that’s not at the front of the microphone. The audio quality is really, really good, which is impressive when you consider how much the Seiren X costs. You do get excellent noise-canceling, too.
You get a volume knob, as well as a mute button, and what impressed us most is the zero-latency monitoring. The option to note the gain levels and be able to make adjustments as you go is seriously underrated, especially at this price point. If you need the best streaming microphone on a budget, this is a brilliant option.
The Rode NT-USB is an incredibly high-quality microphone. It gets you studio-quality but is made to sit on your desk (or on a boom arm – your call). It makes use of a USB connector for simple, plug-and-play connectivity, and checks all the boxes for a great streaming mic.
The pickup pattern is cardioid. Rode did a great job at isolating pretty much any unnecessary noise with the NT-USB. There’s also a high-quality pop filter at the front which helps further eliminate noise. The mic does come with a tripod mount that you can adjust. There is also a ring mount if you want to mount it on a boom arm.
You have a gain adjustment knob, as well as a knob that adjusts between mic and PC volume, and you even have a 3.5mm jack to connect headphones too, for live monitoring. A great premium choice.
Blue’s reputation is that they make some really good mics, and the Snowball iCE is their compact, wallet-friendly model. It’s meant to accommodate the needs of everyday streamers. Also, it has an eye-catching shape that looks nice on any desk.
The sound quality is really good, thanks to Blue’s tuning on the condenser capsule, and the excellent cardioid pattern. You’ll be hard-pressed to distinguish this from a studio mic. This USB mic also requires no drivers, making it plug and play. It’s a really simple option for just about anyone’s needs.
Unfortunately, the microphone comes with zero adjustments, bar for the stand adjustment. You can’t control gain, you can’t mute it, and there is no headphone connection for live monitoring. You can, however, control most of these things in your streaming software. If you don’t need too many physical adjustments, the Snowball iCE is still a great choice.
The Seiren X’s big bad brother, the Seiren Elite comes with a professional-grade dynamic capsule that gets you broadcast-quality recordings in a plug-and-play microphone. The super-cardioid pattern is tuned really well, and the mic cancels out unnecessary noise really well.
The mic comes with a built-in shock mount, which means you don’t need to have one on the outside to eliminate any unwanted noise that might come from movement. Another built-in thing is a high-pass filter, which gets rid of low-frequency vibrations such as footsteps, or the background noise of your AC unit.
We also love the mute button, as well as gain and volume adjustment knobs, which let you set things up just right. Razer also allows for zero-latency monitoring, and this combination of features makes the Seiren Elite one of the best streaming microphone models.
Elgato is a really well-known brand in the streaming world, and the Wave:3 is their more affordable foray into the microphone world. It’s a great mic for the price, and it comes with a USB-C connector which makes it a great choice for modern systems.
The condenser capsule inside the Wave:3 does a great job recording your voice at really high quality. The rather tight cardioid pattern captures your voice, but not anything else that’s behind the mic. You basically get noise cancellation, and oh boy does it work well.
The Wave:3 has one of the best software integrations we’ve seen, working with the Wave Link software that lets you have control over every aspect of your audio. Paired with the audio quality, and the frankly reasonable price, this is probably the best streaming microphone for users who want to set everything up just how they like it.
The AT2020 is a staple in recording studios around the world, and now Audio Technica has given it a USB treatment so it’s plug-and-play for all you PC users out there. It’s not cheap, but it punches way above its weight in terms of quality and no-fuss audio recording.
This cardioid condenser mic has a high-quality A/D converter that has a 16-bit, 44.1/48kHz sampling rate which makes the audio sound pretty much impeccable. The pickup pattern is tuned very well, so background noise is basically not there.
What’s nice is that Audio Technica not only gets you a mix control knob on the outside, but there’s also a headphone jack for live monitoring with zero delays. There’s even an internal headphone amp for higher volume and better clarity. Make no mistake, this is an excellent choice for people who are dead serious about their streaming.
We’re wrapping things up with another Blue mic, this time the Yeti Nano. It’s a more wallet-friendly variant of the flagship Yeti X we spoke about earlier, but it still checks a surprising amount of boxes.
First of all, you have two condenser capsules that let you choose between a cardioid pickup pattern or an omnidirectional one. It’s great for streaming, but you can use it for podcasts and interviews, too. You get a 24-bit bit depth and a 48kHz sampling rate, so you know the audio quality is pretty much impeccable.
While there’s no hardware knob, you can get gain control via a desktop app, and there’s a mute button, as well as a headphone output and volume adjustment. If you don’t need all the pro-level features of the Yeti X, the Yeti Nano is probably the best streaming microphone for you.