When it comes to the best microphones for streaming, the uses are limited only by your imagination. If you’re streaming on Twitch, a microphone is a necessary accessory to compliment the best TVs for gamers and a great headset, like the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Gaming Headset. And if you’re looking to dethrone the best true crime podcasts by launching your own, a great microphone opens up opportunities to turn your pet project into a professional product. Even if you’re not looking to launch a lucrative creative career, a streaming microphone can be handy for business video calls. There are a lot of factors to consider when shopping for a streaming microphone — sound quality is essential, but it’s far from the only factor you should be looking at when shopping for mics.
XLR vs. USB
You can spend a lot on a microphone, but it’ll be useless unless you have a way to connect it to something. That’s why it’s crucial to consider whether you want an XLR or a USB mic. XLR has been around for a long time, and audio professionals trust XLR mics. The trouble with XLR mics is that your laptop or desktop doesn’t have an XLR port, so you’ll need an interface to stream to your computer or a recorder to write to an SD card. The advantage is that you can easily add more mics with an interface or recorder, which is great if you’re a podcaster who occasionally has guests. USB microphones are as intuitive as they sound — you just need to plug them into your laptop or desktop, which likely have a USB-A port. The advantage is that you don’t need to buy an additional interface that could clutter your desk, but you’re also sacrificing the versatility an interface affords.
Omni vs. Uni
Another factor to consider is buying an omnidirectional or unidirectional (or cardioid) microphone. As the prefixes imply, an omnidirectional microphone picks up sound from everywhere, while a unidirectional microphone picks up sound from one direction. Unidirectional microphones require more skill to ensure you’re at the best angle. Still, they have the benefit of cutting out unwanted noise, allowing for a clearer focus on the speaker’s voice. Omnidirectional microphones can be easier and more flexible, but some elements will be harder to control.
We’ve rounded up some of the best microphones to buy for streaming, including options that work well for podcasting.
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The Best Microphones for Streaming At a Glance
1. Best Overall: Blue Yeti Professional USB Condenser Microphone — $129.00 at Best Buy
2. Contender: Elgato Wave: 3 Microphone for Streaming — $149.99 on Amazon
3. Best Splurge: Shure MV7 Dynamic Cardioid USB Microphone — $219.99 at Best Buy
4. Best for Gamers: HyperX QuadCast S RGB Microphone— $129.99 at Best Buy
5. Most Versatile Handheld: Audio-Technica Dynamic USB/XLR Microphone — $82.99 at Best Buy
6. Best Value: Blue Microphones Snowball USB Microphone — $69.99 at Best Buy
7. Best for Group Gaming: FIFINE USB Microphone — $34.99 on Amazon
8. Most Classy: RØDE PodMic — $99.99 at Best Buy
9. Best for Podcasting: Maono USB Microphone— $49.99 on Amazon
1. Blue Yeti Professional USB Condenser Microphone
The Blue Yeti microphone is one of the most popular options — it’s a versatile mic for streaming that’s not overly expensive. The Blue Yeti is simple enough for beginners yet boasts high enough quality for serious streamers. You can customize the mic for omnidirectional, cardioid, stereo and bidirectional pattern modes. It plugs in using USB for a quick and seamless setup. An adjustable microphone stand is included. It’s also available in a few different colors.
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2. Elgato Wave: 3 Microphone for Streaming
Elgato is an audiovisual company that Corsair acquired, so their current line of products combines Elgato’s audio expertise with Corsair’s gaming knowledge to create products to suit gamers, vloggers and podcasters of all stripes. The sleek mic includes a knob to make quick adjustments, and a mute button on top silently cuts off the mic as needed. And if you get too excited, built-in technology helps reduce distortion from clipping. The Elgato Wave: 3 is one of the best streaming mics available.
3. Shure MV7 Dynamic Cardioid USB Microphone
If you’re looking for a premium option, the Shure MV7 is a worthwhile investment. It’s a versatile microphone that includes both XLR and USB, making it easy to vary your setup depending on your needs without needing a separate mic. Depending on your desk setup or sitting position, it can be mounted in various ways. This mic brings your voice to the forefront of the recording to minimize background noise which is great for at-home podcasters and gamers. Shure also offers an app to pair with the microphone for easy audio manipulation and editing.
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4. HyperX QuadCast S RGB Microphone
BEST FOR GAMERS
If you’re looking for something with a little more flair, consider the HyperX QuadCast microphone from HyperX, which boasts unique RGB lighting on the microphone, which can be personalized. The mic has a built-in pop filter and an anti-vibration shock mount. You can choose between cardioid, omnidirectional or bidirectional. This option is also straightforward to use. Simply tap the mic to mute yourself during a session, and the LED lights will turn off, indicating your recording status.
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5. Audio-Technica Dynamic USB/XLR Microphone
MOST VERSATILE HANDHELD
The Audio-Technica Dynamic microphone is a good handheld microphone for streaming, podcasting and other kinds of recordings. It’s a handheld option with a surprising amount of built-in features. It works with both USB and XLR, and a variety of handy accessories are included. There’s a USB-C to USB-C cable, USB-C to USB-A cable and XLRF to XLRM cable, plus a clamp and tripod desk stand.
6. Blue Microphones Snowball USB Microphone
The snowball is a compact and affordable microphone from Blue, and it’s a great option for recording and streaming audio. It easily plugs into your computer or laptop using USB, and you can use it as an omnidirectional or cardioid microphone. Its small size makes it easy to set up on your desk without taking up too much space. Its compact design also makes this one of the best streaming mics for on-the-go recording. Drop it in your bag and start crafting your story wherever inspiration strikes.
7. RØDE PodMic
As the name implies, the RØDE PodMic was designed with podcasting in mind, and it’s also a great option for streaming. It’s a cardioid mic, so it’s designed to pick up your voice without additional unwanted noise. It’s an XLR microphone, so you’ll need to invest in an interface, recorder or mixer, depending on your needs. This is the most stylish streaming microphone out there.
8. FIFINE USB Microphone
BEST FOR GROUP GAMING
The FIFINE USB Microphone works great for PS5 or PC gaming. This is the best mic for group gaming if you play online with friends. It features a cardioid condenser that picks up the front sound and makes it sound like multiple players are all playing in the same room. It’s straightforward to use; just plug it in and start playing, and it comes at a great price.
9. Maono USB Microphone
BEST FOR PODCASTING
This microphone from Maono features a pop filter and foam windscreen, making it perfect for recording voice-overs, podcasts and pre-recorded meetings. It’s compatible with a PlayStation4 and Windows, Mac OS and Linux. It’s easy to install and this design is so classic that speaking into it will make you feel like a professional host.
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