One of the best microphones for streaming and gaming is essential if you have dreams of conquering Twitch. The live streaming space is highly competitive, and even if you have an RGB rug to go with the lighting on your wall, you won't stand a chance if you sound awful. Even if you aren't trying to become the world's next big streaming sensation, a great mic for gaming will ensure your callouts are clear for your teammates. If it's just for chatting with friends, they'll seriously thank you for getting a mic that makes you sound your best.
When it comes to the best microphones for streaming and gaming, you have a choice to make. The first option is using a USB microphone, which will make things nice and easy since you can literally plug it in and use it. Alternatively, you can go for an XLR mic. Generally, these tend to be more expensive, plus, they require a dedicated audio interface. With streaming gear creating a pretty expensive shopping list, you might want to go for a simpler USB option. Affording one of the best capture cards is bad enough, and you won't miss out on quality by going for a non-XLR mic.
The other thing to consider, especially if you want the absolute most from your microphone, is getting the right one for your voice. If you have a rich, low voice, you want something that will support that, while also offering something that will boost any treble sounds so things remain balanced. On the other hand, if you haven't been blessed with the low dulcet tones of James Earl Jones, there are mics out there that will pick up and boost bass for you.
We've gathered our list of the best microphones for streaming and gaming down below, so there's bound to be one for you.
Best microphones for streaming 2023
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Shure’s certainly got a history of audio excellence behind its name, and its recent SM7B podcasting mic extended the brand’s remit beyond live and studio sound. Then the MV7 came along, with dual XLR and USB inputs and a lower price.
It sounds rich and full of detail out of the box with no need for plugin tinkering, with some subtle refinements to the EQ response that flatter a recorded vocal. But then you knew that because we’re talking about a Shure mic.
What’s more surprising is that the dual-input layout feels genuinely useful. Not everyone has an audio interface with XLR ins, so the USB connection solves that potential pitfall. And for those who do, recording a scratch track via the USB creates a handy failsafe, and can be used as a dry performance track to sit beneath an affected track in your DAW. (You might even nudge one fractionally ahead of the other for an efficient doubled vocal effect.)
- Read more: Shure MV7 review
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.
This is an amazing option for those who want to take advantage of Blue Yeti quality without forking out for the cost of a full-sized one.
Good things come in small packages with the RODE XCM-50. This super compact USB-C microphone is part of the RODE X launch range and a brilliant option for streamers.
Designed specifically with gamers and streamers in mind, the RODE X XCM-50 performed brilliantly in our testing. We found it delivered balanced, crisp vocals without a feeling of being overly fabricated or forced. The XCM-50 brings a more natural sound than you might see from a dynamic microphone and built-in post-processing does a great job of offering a high-quality overall sound. When live streaming, viewers commented on it sounding like we were speaking to them in the same room and less like a podcast.
Looking a lot like a red-tinted RODE NT-USB Mini, the XCM-50 packs in an integrated shock mount and pop filter inside a small black form factor. The 360-degree swing mount brings the flexibility of using the included tripod or a traditional mic arm and you’ll find a high-quality 3m USB-C to USB-C cable in the box too.
All of this comes at a reasonable cost though, $149/£169 is on the steeper end for USB microphones but the XCM-50 delivers performance well worth the investment.
Read more: RODE X XCM-50 review
If you want your streams to sound great with little to no tweaking on your part, Elgato’s utilitarian-looking Wave:3 should be right at the top of your list on your search for the best microphone for streaming. Now significantly cheaper than it was at launch, it’s no longer going toe-to-toe with Blue’s imperious Yeti X in price but offers something comparable in features and sound quality.
A lot of its best attributes are hidden away, like Clipguard, an anti-peaking hard limiter built into the mic without the need to install any software. It works intelligently, squishing your signal just enough for it to feel smooth and subtly processed for your audiences. This is a streamer mic, after all, not something designed to capture the dynamic range of a live orchestra.
You genuinely don’t need a pop shield with this one either, thanks to a built-in design that catches hard plosives before they explode anyone’s eardrums. Again, it works well and sounds great in conjunction with Clipguard.
The overall sound is crisp and detailed, not quite as warm as the very best we’ve tested but only by fractions. It will get you compliments on Discord and its easy operation will keep your Twitch sessions ticking over without tech issues - all except for an awkwardly placed touchscreen mute control, which is a bit too easy to accidentally tap.
- Read more: Elgato Wave:3 review
The RODE X XDM-100 is a debut product from RODE’s new ‘Streaming and Gaming Division’. A USB-C dynamic microphone offering studio-quality vocals in a unit with all of RODE’s usual build quality.
With a souped-up design based heavily on the popular RODE Procaster, the XDM-100 is a step away from RODE’s usual studio aesthetic but it’s not over the top and the red accents really pop off an otherwise all-black body, a nice fit for most streaming setups. It’s a big beast however, more than 21cm long and 11cm wide when sat in the shock mount, making it one of the largest microphones we’ve tested. This XL size brings XL weight too so make you have a mic arm up to the task.
The audio performance is unsurprisingly impressive. In our testing, we found it to deliver excellently rich, warm vocals in particular. The RODE XDM-100 offers that close, rounded podcast sound synonymous with dynamic microphones and sounds great even without any extra post-processing. The USB-C connection saves the effort and cost of an external audio interface and once plugged in we couldn’t have told the difference between the XDM-100 and XLR microphones we’ve tested.
At $249/£269 the RODE X XDM-100 is certainly at the top end of the price range for a USB microphone but it’s also right at the top in terms of performance too and would make a strong addition to any creator’s setup.
Building off the hugely successful Wave:1 and Wave:3, the Wave DX is Elgato’s first dynamic microphone and a strong entry into a new area for one of the leaders in streaming gear.
In our testing we found the Elgato Wave DX to be excellent in pretty much every area. Despite a very reasonable $99/£109 price point, the Wave DX delivers premium build quality with a Lewitt audio capsule hiding inside a fully hardened steel chassis. Audio performance is just as good, with strong and balanced vocals out of the box plus you have Elgato’s intuitive Wave Link software on hand to refine your sound.
The Wave DX doesn’t feature the super intimate, deep podcast sound some dynamic microphones boast but this is to its credit. Our tests unearthed a pleasantly bright and neutral tone which will likely suit a wide range of creators and is perfect for gameplay commentary. You’ll still benefit from the rejection of unwanted off-mic noise like mechanical keyboard clacking but need to be more precise with your mic placement and etiquette than you would with a condenser microphone.
Perhaps the only weakness of the Wave DX is that while it features a built-in pop filter that works well enough, there’s no opportunity to shock mount so our testing revealed it was prone to picking up every bump and knock off the desk it's mounted to. It’s a minor blemish however and takes little away from what is already one of the best options for a balanced dynamic streaming microphone at a competitive price.
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.
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.
MSI is renowned for its plethora of PC components and accessories but hasn't really had a streaming microphone until now. The Immerse GV60 Streaming Microphone is a fantastic first try from the company boasting high res digital audio with a 24bit/96kHz sample rate. The GV60 is a USB condenser microphone aimed squarely at streamers and content creators who want a high quality, no fuss, plug-and-play experience.
Retailing for about $130/£100, the GV60 competes directly with some of the other microphones on this list like the Blue Yeti X and Razer Seiren V2 Pro. The MSI microphone delivers some of the most impressive audio we've heard from a USB microphone. And it manages to do so without any special drivers or software tricks like its competitors.
This means, all the controls are on the mic itself and they are simple with dials for polar pattern, volume, and gain. There's also a 3.5mm jack so you can do real-time audio monitoring with headphones. The mic comes with a solid stand that positions it well and dampens desk vibrations but you can also mount it to a boom arm.
- Read more: MSI Immerse GV60 review
Razer’s V2 refresh of the companies mics introduces an eye-grabbing pill shape around the mic capsule and an air of minimalism typical of the brand that adds a touch of class to any desk. The last Seirens were competent and attractive mics that fell short of the big market leaders in audio reproduction, most notably the Blue Yeti and Yeti X. Is that top of the agenda here, then?
In truth, probably not. The likes of Blue, Shure, Beyerdynamic, and Audio-Technica have decades upon decades of studio expertise to drawn upon when they design an affordable streamer mic, whereas Razer’s a relative newcomer. Beating those titans at their own game probably isn’t realistic, so instead the Singapore-Irvine, CA company focuses on smart looks, ease of use, and improving the audio characteristics of the original Seiren.
It does so successfully, with clear sound reproduction and tight low-end. That’s when you get the mic placement just right - too far away and a lot of roominess creeps in. The controls are typical of a USB mic - volume and gain dials and a mute button. Also typically, they’re not much use without level markers and infinite rotation. Nevertheless, Razer brings a smart and tight-sounding refresh to the best microphone for streaming market here.
- Read more: Razer Seiren V2 Pro review
Everyone likes an eccentric, and it only takes a glance at the Torch’s unconventional proportions and lighting to get the sense that this is very much an eccentric entry as one of the best microphones for streamers. Thankfully there’s nothing about its idiosyncrasies that hamper it in terms of sound or operation - quite the opposite.
What ROCCAT presents us with here is actually a mini mixer with a dual-capsule condenser mic mounted directly onto it. It can be unscrewed and mounted to a boom arm to eradicate those desk knocks being picked up, although you’ll need to source the thread adapter yourself.
Favoring physical controls over another bloated software suite, the Torch puts it all on the mixer for you, including a wonderfully weighted gain slider we may or may not have pretended to DJ with for extended spells during testing. While this slider’s well insulated against mic pickup, the other controls at the rear of the mixer can cause audible noise when you fiddle with them.
There are more cables involved here than most mics demand. A USB-C to USB-C connects the mic and mixer, then another hooks up the device with your machine. If you plug some headphones into the mini-jack at the back too, you’ve got a challenge keeping things neat and aesthetic. However, good quality sound and some useful light implementation just about bring the whole endeavor together.
- Read more: Roccat Torch review
Most gamers know Blue primarily as purveyors of fine USB microphones for streaming that made their way into, more or less, every streamer’s setup since the early twenty-teens. But the Logitech subdivision has skin in the studio game too, of which this Blackout Spark SL XLR condenser mic is evidence.
Given the connection type, hooking it up to your setup requires more financial investment than a USB model because it requires phantom power to operate (and obviously an XLR input) which means you need to add an audio interface to the signal chain between mic and PC/Mac.
So although it’s veritably bargainous given the sound quality on offer, it’s not a cheap option on the whole, but it does justify the price as one of the best microphones for streaming. If you’re putting content out there on highly compressed platforms, you don’t need to spend this much - and likely your audience won’t hear a massive step up in quality if you did.
However, if you record music or spoken word vocals and want to achieve the highest possible standard without having to pop down to Abbey Road, the Blackout Spark SL gets you there. A -20dB pad lends some versatility to the sources it can handle, from softly spoken vocals to drums being absolutely wailed on, in true metal fashion. Meanwhile, a low-cut filter brings out the more pleasing frequencies from a vocal and saves on EQ-shaving in production.
There’s simply nothing to fault about this mic, other than its rather more involved setup than dedicated streamer models.
- Read more: Blue Blackout Spark SL review
Aesthetes rejoice: peddlers of upmarket Danish audio gear EPOS just released its first streamer mic. The B20 boasts four polar patterns for different recording setups, a brushed aluminum finish, and a stand that wouldn’t look out of place in a B&O showroom. But it’s priced only slightly under the $200/£200 point, and that puts it right in the fight with the best USB mics out there. We think this rate is solid as one of the best microphones for streaming, though.
Sadly it’s not the new reigning champ in terms of sheer recording quality, but with a studio standard 48KHz/16-bit it’s certainly more than capable of delivering your dulcet tones to the masses over a stream, a podcast, or a Discord chat with particularly high production values.
A few small design tweaks are needed to elevate the B20 among the ranks of the very best, chiefly markers on its volume and gain dials, which rotate forever and keep those perfectly tweaked level settings a mystery. That’s an easy fix with either a new model or some Tippex, though - your move, EPOS.
This is one for the streamers who don’t mind shelling out for a grown-up aesthetic, and with podcasters and music producers with an eye on those additional polar patterns beyond the cardioid mode.
Best microphones for streaming - FAQs
What type of mic is best for streaming?
You have two choices when it comes to the best microphones for streaming - USB and XLR. The former is usually cheaper and easier to use with its plug and play functionality, however, the latter, offers greater overall sound quality closer to true studio sound. Every microphone in our roundup sounds the part, but if you want the best for streaming then you can find high quality USB and XLR models around the $100 mark that won't disappoint.
What mic do most YouTubers use?
Different content creators will use varying mics, and although there are more popular options you'll see regularly, it's hard to nail down one that's the absolute best mic for streaming and YouTube. A popular choice is something like the Blue Yeti, since it comes in a few different models and doesn't break the bank. Another you'll see that is used by a lot of popular podcasters is the Shure MV7, or the Shure SM7B. For the most part, however, we'd recommend cheaper options that offer strong performance - especially if you're just starting out.
Do I need a microphone for streaming?
Gaming headset mics and built-in mics on webcams are okay for talking to your friends, but if you're addressing an audience (or trying to build one) then a dedicated microphone is essential. It won't matter how good your gameplay is or how captivating you are on screen. If you're not being heard clearly, or your sound quality is poor, people won't have much patience to stick around and watch you.
What is the best budget streaming microphone?
In our eyes (or ears), the Blue Yeti Nano is the best microphone for streaming if you're on a tight budget. It can usually be found under $100 / £100, and it offers amazing sound quality for that price. It's no slouch in terms of features either, since it has zero latency monitoring, mute functionality, and can switch between omni-directional and cardioid modes. One of the underrated qualities of this mic is that it has great bass response, too. Essentially, the Blue Yeti Nano gets you a lot of the quality and features of the more expensive Yeti X, without breaking through your budget in the slightest.
Why do streamers need an audio interface?
Some streamers use an XLR microphone for better sound quality which needs its own 48V Phantom Power source to work. However, an audio interface is a versatile piece of kit that will let you customize you and your sound mix with ease, and that's why many streamers feel they need one. Audio interfaces range from budget options, like the Behringer UMC202HD ($89) and Scarlet Solo ($119) to higher-end alternatives if that's the route you want to down.
How we test microphones at GamesRadar
Every microphone that passes our desks goes through a rigorous testing process which includes being used for streaming and video creation, through programs such as OBS and Nvidia Shadowplay, but is also utilized for music creation. Such software includes Cockos Reaper, Audacity, and other DAWs to test the microphones to their full capacities.
You can find out more about how we test microphones in our full GamesRadar Hardware Policy.
Complete your setup with the best webcams, green screens, and ring lights, too, in order to stand out from the crowd online.