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Best microphones for streaming and gaming

Best microphones for streaming and gaming
(Image credit: Blue, Rode)

Choosing the best microphone for streaming is a daunting prospect right now, as there are plenty of high-quality mics available. Finding a microphone that is the right fit for your needs is tricky, particularly when the jargon surrounding them is often complex or downright impenetrable. Are you a Twitch streamer, in need of crisp recording that eliminates the background chatter of keyboard clicks? Or perhaps you’re looking to record a board game session with some mates for a laugh-filled YouTube video? Whatever you’re after, we have you covered here - and we’re going to keep things affordable, too.

We’re looking at microphones that connect via USB and 3.5mm jack to your gaming PC here, not the more expensive XLR mics. Most serve one specific role particularly well, so pay attention to the features we list; in particular, note the polar pattern. This indicates the radius in which the microphone will pick up sound, and therefore what sort of activity it is best at recording. Here are the main patterns we’re going to see:

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

(Image credit: Samson)

1. Samson G-Track Pro

The best microphone for streaming for most people

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 one of the most advanced microphones available inside it’s very respectable price bracket. It’s physical design is excellent, a sturdy base combined with multiple settings that can be adjusted with physical buttons and dials. The condenser microphone can switch between cardioid, bidirectional and omnidirectional modes, allowing it to adapt to many different situations. The audio quality is crisp and crystal clear, almost beating that of more expensive studio microphones, with options for musical instrument input as well as voice recording. If you’re looking to stream or record some serious gaming sessions or musical creations, the G-Track Pro has you covered.

(Image credit: Blue Yeti)

2. Blue Yeti X

A flexible and affordable microphone

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
Nice LED lighting
Buttons are a bit noisy

Blue’s best microphone is unquestionably the Yeti X, a significantly improved version of their already decent Yeti model. A popular choice among gamers and podcasters, the Yeti X also costs barely more than a hundred pounds, making it great value for money. The design doesn’t feel cheap, though; it’s simple but effective, with an LED-illuminated ‘smart knob’ that shows incoming audio volume in real-time and allows for speedy customisation, even including a stereo audio setting perfect for those spine-tingling ASMR videos. Also included is Blue’s own Vo.Ce software, which allows for the use of audio filters, noise reduction, sound effects and more!

(Image credit: Blue Yeti)

3. Blue Yeti Nano

A great microphone for getting started

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

The scrappy younger brother of the Yeti family, the Blue Yeti Nano is an inexpensive offering that trades some of the features of the larger Yeti for a smaller, lighter design. Despite being a lot cheaper, the sound quality is still impressive thanks to a dual condenser setup, and there’s still the option to swap between cardioid and omnidirectional polar patterns. It’s almost half the weight of the Yeti, and although we wouldn’t exactly describe it as super portable, it’s easy to use and takes almost no time to set up, so it’s not a bad choice for the streamer on the go.

Best gaming keyboard | Best gaming mouse | Best gaming laptop
Best gaming TV | Best PC headset for gaming | Best gaming chair

(Image credit: Rode)

4. Rode NT USB

The best microphone for turning pro

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

Considering that it costs less than £150, the Rode NT manages to almost flawlessly replicate the style of high-end professional studio mics. It’s studio-quality sound too, with fantastic audio quality with excellent gain control. It comes with a clip-on pop shield (which is great) and an adjustable tripod (which is a bit unstable), looking particularly high-tech. It also has an advanced interior shock capsule, to quiet those rage-induced keyboard slams. It only uses a cardioid polar pattern, which means it is a lot weaker in situations with multiple people, but for solo streaming the Rode NT is extremely hard to beat.

(Image credit: Zalman)

5. Zalman ZM-Mic1

An absurdly cheap mic to replace your headset

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

Look, the ZM-Mic1 isn’t amazing. We know that. But it’s ten pounds, and it’s almost guaranteed to outperform the microphone built into your headset. It uses very little power, is lightweight enough to be clipped just about anywhere, and the audio quality is almost comparable to some standing mics. This could be an ideal upgrade for streamers who aren’t using a webcam too, since we’ll admit that it doesn’t look like much. For the price, though, the quality of speech audio is surprisingly clear, generally managing not to pick up the wearer’s breathing. It does pick up some background noises, though.

(Image credit: Razer)

6. Razer Seiren X

A compact microphone with a sleek design

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

Black, flat-topped, perfectly circular; the Razer Seiren X sits atop your desk like a futuristic obelisk, the only concessions to function over form being the single dial for volume and the LED-backlit mute button. It’s not just a looker, though; the Seiren X has a built-in shock mount, Razer’s fancy ‘super-cardioid’ polar pattern, and demonstrates a clear misunderstanding of how to spell the word ‘siren’. The sound quality is awesome for individual voice recording, although the advanced polar pattern seems to have a penchant for picking up the clatter of mechanical gaming keyboards. Still, it’s good value for the performance, so we feel comfortable giving this one a recommendation.