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Best microphones for streaming and gaming

Best microphones for streaming
(Image credit: Samson)

Finding the best microphone for streaming and gaming can be a daunting prospect. There are loads of high-quality mics available now, and it's also an industry stuffed with jargon. 

That's why we've rounded up contenders for the title of best microphone for streaming and gaming - our team is here to point you in the right direction. Are you a Twitch streamer who needs good audio that also blocks out background chatter and keyboard clicks? Would you like to record a podcast with your friends or stream a session with the latest games? We've got you covered. Although you won't find studio-grade XLR mics here, you'll have plenty of choice when it comes to microphones that use USB or 3.5mm jack connections. This makes them great companions for the best capture card.

Before we begin, it's worth getting you up to speed on the basics. Namely, what the hell is a 'polar pattern'? The answer is more straightforward than you might think - it's how microphones pick up sound. Some mics are better at certain tasks than others because of this, so it's worth figuring out what you need and narrowing down your options as a result. 

Here are the main polar patterns to be aware of:

  • Cardioid: Captures sound from directly in front of the microphone. Great for gamers who only need themselves to be heard.
  • Bidirectional: Picks up audio from two sides: the front and back of the mic. Great for two speakers.
  • Omnidirectional: Captures audio in a wide circular radius. Ideal for podcasts with multiple speakers.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at the best microphones for streaming and gaming!

Best microphones for streaming

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(Image credit: Samson)
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(Image credit: Samson)

1. Samson G-Track Pro

The best microphone for streaming

Specs: Voltage: 100V | Polar patterns: Cardioid, Bidirectional, Omnidirectional | Connectivity: USB | Frequency response: 50Hz-20,000Hz | Features: Dual track recording, instrument input, zero-latency monitoring, gain, mute, and headphone volume controls

Awesome sound quality
Sturdy design
Audio interface functionality
Tricky to set up

Samson’s G-Track Pro is easily one of the best microphones for streaming and gaming that we've tried. Providing excellent sound quality to go with a very sturdy base, it's armed with three polar patterns - cardioid, bidirectional, and omnidirectional - instead of one. That makes it a very flexible, adaptable choice. 

Thanks to crystal-clear sound that almost beats more expensive studio mics, the G-Track Pro won't disappoint when you're playing back recordings either. Throw in specific options for instruments or vocals and you've got a very comprehensive piece of kit on your hands.

Perhaps most importantly, it won't break the bank. Even though it's pricier than other recommendations on this list, it beats them all in terms of value for money.

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(Image credit: Blue)
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(Image credit: Blue)

2. Blue Yeti Nano

The best microphone for streaming on a budget

Specs: Voltage: 5V | Polar patterns: Cardioid, Omnidirectional | Frequency response: 20Hz-20,000Hz | Features: 48kHz sample rate, zero-latency monitoring, mute & headphone volume controls

Compact design
Simple to use
Very affordable
Less customisation than other Yetis

Blue are very well known when it comes to streaming mics, and with good reason - they're masters of the craft. The budget Yeti Nano (the scrappy younger sibling of the Yeti range) is no less impressive. 

Hitting hard with great audio and a dual condenser setup, it perfects the Yeti formula while reducing that microphone's price. It's a whole lot smaller and lighter, too; the Nano is half the weight of the original Yeti, making it much more portable than its counterpart. The ease of setting it up certainly helps. Thanks to a plug-and-play USB connection, you can be recording in no time.  

Sure, you lose out on some options by going for the cheaper Yeti Nano. However, it won't disappoint and still has a couple of surprises up its sleeve - more specifically, it allows you to swap between cardioid and omnidirectional polar patterns.

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(Image credit: Rode)
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(Image credit: Rode)

3. Rode NT USB

The best premium microphone for streaming

Specs: Voltage: 5V | Polar patterns: Cardioid | Connectivity: USB | Frequency response: 20Hz-20,000Hz | Features: Side-address, on-mic mix control, pop shield, tripod, zero-latency stereo headphone monitoring

Brilliant audio quality
Pop shield included
Only uses cardioid radius
Flimsy tripod

There's a lot to love to love about the Rode NT-USB, and it's  undoubtedly one of the best microphones for streaming if you can stretch your budget. With studio-quality sound and a very professional air, it's a good call for those who want to go pro.

Besides its excellent cardioid audio, the NT-USB features an advanced interior shock capsule. That allows it to quieten - or avoid - the clacking of keys, thumps on the table, and more. It's a very handy selling point for those who'll be streaming PC games.

The mic's other unexpected bonus is a clip-on pop shield. That helps to avoid those irritating, hard 'p' sounds that can ruin a recording. Because you usually have to pay for a shield separately, getting one in the box is pretty fantastic.

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(Image credit: Blue)
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(Image credit: Blue)

4. Blue Yeti X

The best microphone for flexibility

Specs: Voltage: 5V | Polar patterns: Cardioid, Bidirectional, Omnidirectional, Stereo | Connectivity: USB | Frequency response: 20Hz-20,000Hz | Features: Blue Vo.Ce, zero-latency monitoring, Smart knob controls

Blue’s best-quality microphone
Flexible Blue Vo!Ce software included
LED lighting indicates volume
Buttons are a bit noisy

Blue has dominated the microphone business for a long time, yet it's rarely been able to escape the shadow of the Yeti - its original bestseller. Until the Yeti X, that is. This new contender takes everything that was great about its predecessor, improves upon it, and pushes the brand to the next level.

To start with, the X's audio is unquestionably excellent. It sounds great in action, and it also impresses with four polar patterns (cardioid, bidirectional, omnidirectional, and stereo). That's something lacking in the cheaper Yeti Nano, so it's nice to see this flexibility return with the X. Speaking of which, the X has taken design cues from the Nano to make it lighter and less bulky than the original Yeti. That's a win in our book.

However, the Yeti X's coolest features would have to be the LED-illuminated 'smart knob' and Blue's own Vo!Ce software. The former shows off audio volume in real-time for easy adjustments on the fly, while the latter provides filters, noise reduction, and sound effects. A must-have.

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Yeti X World of Warcraft Edition

(Image credit: Blue)
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Yeti X World of Warcraft Edition

(Image credit: Blue)

5. Blue Yeti X World of Warcraft Edition

The best microphone for roleplaying games

Specs: Voltage: 5V | Polar patterns: Cardioid, Bidirectional, Omnidirectional, Stereo | Connectivity: USB | Frequency response: 20Hz-20,000Hz | Features: Voice changer, WoW sound effects, zero-latency monitoring, Smart knob controls

Fantastic quality
Voice changer and sound effects
LED lighting and WoW design
A bit of a price-hike

The Yeti X improved upon everything that came before, and the World of Warcraft Edition pushes it even further. Although you might think it's just a reskinned version of the original mic, this is much more than a new lick of paint.

Aside from the WoW-specific design (complete with golden trimmings and runes around the base) the main difference lies in its voice changer. This version of the Yeti X allows you to throw your voice via filters and turn your dulcet tones into those of an orc, demon, and more. In addition, it's stocked up with a vast collection of sound effects you can play at any time. This is perfect for playing the MMO itself, but it's also a real boon for those playing some of the best tabletop RPGs online. If you're a Dungeon Master, being able to quickly use those features to more convincingly voice a gnome NPC is really cool.

Naturally, this all comes with the Yeti X's already-superb performance. It sounds crisp and clear, offers four polar patterns (cardioid, bidirectional, omnidirectional, and stereo) and an LED-illuminated 'smart knob'. This allows you to make quick adjustments on the fly when needed.

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(Image credit: Zalman)
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(Image credit: Zalman)

6. Zalman ZM-Mic1

The best starter microphone for streaming

Specs: Voltage: 2V | Polar patterns: Cardioid | Connectivity: 3.5mm | Frequency response: 100Hz-16,000Hz | Features: three mini-clips, lightweight, low power

Incredibly cheap
Better sound than most headset mics
Smaller frequency range
Picks up background noise

Alright, the ZM-Mic1 isn’t awe-inspiring. All the same, it's basically guaranteed to outdo any mic built into your headset. That's a bargain at such a low cost.

What makes it special, then? For starters, the ZM uses very little power and is lightweight enough to clip on almost anywhere. This is perfect for streamers who want to keep their head in the game without being distracted by a dirty great mic planted in front of them. Furthermore, the quality of the audio is on par with many more expensive microphones. That's no mean feat, especially considering the price of this one. 

Even though it does pick up a few background noises here and there, it's pretty good otherwise - it generally doesn't register the sound of the wearer's breath, for example. As such, it's an excellent purchase for those wanting to dip a toe into streaming or recording without spending lots of cash.

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(Image credit: Razer)
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(Image credit: Razer)

7. Razer Seiren X

The best compact microphone for streaming

Specs: Voltage: 5V | Polar patterns: Super-cardioid | Connectivity: USB | Frequency response: 20Hz-20,000Hz | Features: built-in shock mount, mute button, zero-latency 3.5 mm headphone monitoring port

Portable, compact design
Brilliant cardioid performance
No other polar patterns
Picks up keyboard noise

Some mics take up loads of real-estate, but not the Razer Seiren X. It perches atop your desk like an alien obelisk from a sci-fi movie, and it's not much bigger than a can of soda. That makes it ideal for streaming on the likes of Twitch, where you want viewers to be able to see you as well as the gameplay.

As you'd expect from Razer, there are a few big selling points to speak of. First up is the built-in shock mount, designed to dampen vibrations (when you accidentally knock the table, for instance). Next up is the 'super-cardioid' polar pattern, a feature that purportedly reduces background noise and hones in on your voice. While it's not 100% effective, it's still a solid effort.

Finally, it's good value considering its price. There are more expensive versions out there like the Seiren Elite or the Seiren Emote (the latter has an 8-bit LED screen to show emoticons and the like), but this is still our favorite.

As one of our Hardware Editors, Benjamin looks after many of the tech reviews, board game features, deals, and buying guides you’ll see on GamesRadar+.