Best microphones for streaming and gaming in 2024

One of the best microphones for streaming and gaming is probably the most important part of your streaming loadout. Yes, capture cards, cameras, lighting, and controllers are all important, but if you don't have good microphone quality, people will click away from your content quicker than if they saw an unskippable ad break pop up on screen. Speaking to your audience is the way you'll forge a connection with them, so if there's one bit of hardware you shouldn't hold back on, it's one of the microphones below.

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. Affording the best gear for streaming is bad enough these days, but opting for a cheaper USB-C mic isn't the hamstring it used to be. Technology has come a long way, and there are plenty of amazing USB options out there that would fool even the most obnoxious audiophiles today.

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.

The Quick List

The best microphone for streaming and gaming overall

The best microphone overall

Specifications

Polar patterns: Cardioid
Connectivity: XLR
Frequency response: 50Hz-20,000Hz
Features: Integrated pre-amp

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent sound quality
+
Versatile
+
Improvements over the SM7B
+
Iconic design strengths

Reasons to avoid

-
Overkill for most content creators due to its price
-
No USB-C means you need an interface (with 48V Phantom Power)
-
Very directional
-
Cheaper mics have closed the gap

The Shure SM7dB is the first major update to the world's most immediately recognizable content creation mic. The SM7dB takes the incredible quality of the SM7B and adds an internal pre-amp that will boost your signal up to +28db. Granted, this mic might be overkill for the majority of streamers or gamers who are just looking for a simple way to communicate with friends, but there's no denying its supreme quality for professionals.

You may notice a bit more branding on the updated Shure mic than we're used to. There's a glossy Shure logo as well as some more visible tape around the new version, but we still enjoy how muted and classy this mic looks on stream. You should note that this is a bit longer than the regular SM7B as well, and although it's not that much different, it might serve to mount this mic to some sort of boom arm to ensure it doesn't block the bottom half of your monitor. Regardless of the small differences, the SM7dB sports the same iconic design of the mic you see in the majority of professional setups these days.

The pre-amp on board here really does polish up the one thing owners of the SM7B had to complain about. There's a feeling with this mic that you have to crank up the gain to uncontrollable levels to get the best quality out of it. With an internal pre-amp, you take out the need for a middle device, and depending on your use-case and voice quality, match its settings to suit you. 

In testing, we did find that the cardioid pattern was fairly strict and that the best results truly came from being around 6 inches away from the mic, or up close and personal for that ASMR quality. You will need to mind your mic etiquette more than you would with others, especially if you're used to a USB-C option. Nonetheless, the quality this mic is able to pick up is out of this world. There's a reason it's one of the most popular picks for professionals. 

The best all-in-one microphones for gaming

The best all-in-one microphones

Specifications

Polar patterns: Unidirectional (Cardioid)
Connectivity: XLR (Alias Pro) USB (Alias)
Frequency response: 50Hz-20,000Hz

Reasons to buy

+
All-in-one XLR bundle
+
Microphone offers clean, full sound
+
Stream Mixer is compact and nicely laid out
+
Sonar app offers easy customization

Reasons to avoid

-
Pro sounds just as good as the cheaper USB Alias
-
Stand positions are limited

Whether you opt for the cheaper USB SteelSeries Alias or the pricier XLR Alias Pro, you're grabbing one of the very best microphones for streaming and gaming currently on the market. These dropped late in 2023, and were immediately met with universal praise for their convenient all-in-one package, and because they quite simply do the basics so well.

First and foremost, these are both brilliant microphones. They capture sound at a studio level, but they also look like no other microphone on this list. Inside both the Alias and Alias Pro is a cardioid capsule which manages to get that rich podcast quality up close, but doesn't fail to maintain that quality when you're a little further away from it. 

That's honestly just the tip of the SteelSeries iceberg though, because the Sonar software you get with your purchase takes things to a whole new level. Whether it's noise cancelling or managing multiple audio profiles running through your PC, this software is as conclusive as you'll find. Lump in the fact that you get a small mixer/interface with the Pro model, and you have a true all-in-one package with these brilliant microphones. 

The best budget microphone

3. Blue Yeti Nano

The best budget microphone

Specifications

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

Reasons to buy

+
Compact design
+
Simple to use
+
Very affordable
+
Great bass response
+
headphone jack for live monitoring

Reasons to avoid

-
Less customization than other Yetis
-
Micro USB, not USB-C
Editor's Note: The Yeti GX

Editor's Note: The Yeti GX

Greetings, microphone shoppers! The Yeti Nano is still our go-to budget pick, but we appreciate that not everyone will be keen to buy a micro-USB mic that's over two years old in 2024. However, I believe the Yeti Nano is still a better all-round package, particularly because the new GX lacks a headphone jack for live monitoring, which is a basic must-have for any microphone in this day and age. Still, the GX will give you great audio quality and an updated USB-C design. If you'd prefer the updated version, you can grab it at the link below.

US: Amazon
UK: Amazon

Blue, which has now been absorbed into the larger Logitech G brand, is very well known when it comes to streaming mics, and for a good reason - they're masters of the craft when it comes to bang for buck. The budget Yeti Nano (the scrappy younger sibling of the Yeti range) is very impressive. It packs the accessible price tag of the entry-level Snowballs mics into a really professional package that sounds as good as any USB mic you'll find at this price range.

Hitting hard with great audio and a dual condenser setup, it perfects the Yeti formula while reducing that microphone's cost. 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 the cost of a full-sized one. Moreover, the newest Logitech G Yeti GX now exists, but for us, the best value still lies with the Nano. When that changes, we'll let you know.

The most versatile mic for streaming and gaming

The most versatile microphone for streaming and gaming

Specifications

Voltage: -55dBV/Pa (XLR) / -33dBV/Pa
Polar patterns: Unidirectional (Cardioid)
Connectivity: USB-C & XLR
Frequency response: 50Hz-16,000Hz

Reasons to buy

+
Wonderful, full sound
+
Near instant setup
+
Effective onboard DSP tools
+
Dual XLR/USB connections

Reasons to avoid

-
Exposed to bumps and vibrations
-
Some app teething issues

We deem the Shure MV7+ the most versatile microphone for streamers and gamers today because of its dual connectivity. Often in this microphone market these days, you find a battle between the USB-C contenders and professional XLR options. The Shure MV7+ gives you both, simultaneously.

Granted, this updated model of the Shure MV7 won't come cheap - Shure is one of the premium names in this space, so this will likely suit professionals more than it will a beginner. Still, if you're looking for something that will give you XLR quality in a USB-C package, the MV7+ is the guy who can do both. It isn't the first microphone to focus on this dual-connection package - the Rode PodMic USB is very similar, but the fact this one lets you use both outputs at the same time puts it a cut above. Not to mention, this is a Shure product that gives you iconic audio quality.

The design is a less muted black capsule than you'll find on the brand's SM7B - it has more branding and a nice RGB strip around its mid-section to help you control it, and to communicate with you. That RGB also doubles as a capacitive mute button. On its bottom, you'll find a USB-C output, XLR output, and a 3.5mm headphone jack for live monitoring - something we wish the more expensive XLR rivals on this list would include too. Inside, you'll get a unidirectional cardioid capsule.

We found this mic performed exactly as you'd expect a Shure product to. Using it with the Shure MOTIV Mix app really brought out the best in it, but considering you essentially get SM7B quality for significantly cheaper, there's value to be had here. Admittedly, we did find that there was better performance to be had at close proximity for this microphone, which makes sense since Shure has designed it for podcasters first and foremost. It also doesn't have quite the same Yoke mount as the SM7dB and suffers some bumps and knocks as a result. 

Still, if you're willing to invest in audio quality, and you go between XLR and USB-C use, or need to use both simultaneously, then you won't find a more versatile option than this.

The best RODE mic for streaming and gaming

The best RODE mic

Specifications

Polar patterns: Cardioid
Connectivity: XLR and USB-C
Frequency response: 20Hz-20,000Hz

Reasons to buy

+
XLR or USB output
+
Crisp, rounded vocals
+
Onboard Aphex processing
+
Works with mobile devices

Reasons to avoid

-
Heavy
-
Requires a mic arm or stand

This is hands-down the biggest rival to Shure's MV7+, and might be one of the most underrated mics on the market right now. If you're sick of hearing the debate between USB and XLR mics, the RODE PodMic USB might just be the pacifier you need. As RODE mics go, this is accessible and versatile, so it has to be on this list for the folks that have always looked at RODE audio products as the golden goose that's just that bit too expensive to ever afford. 

The PodMic USB sounds just as good as you'd expect a RODE product to. There are crisp, full profiles to be had across a range of situations. Being a dynamic microphone, it benefits from a focused, directional pickup while ignoring unwanted noises from within the room. Vocals were unsurprisingly strong with a great level of presence and without wandering into over-the-top late-night radio territory.

The included windsock sleeve confidently rejected plosives without adding any noticeable muffle but despite an internal shock mount I did find the PodMic USB susceptible to desk bumps and knocks to the mic arm. Overall, if you need something with USB-C connectivity but you want to futureproof yourself for an XLR setup later, this is a superb option.

The best value XLR mic

The best value XLR option

Specifications

Voltage: Not stated
Polar patterns: Unidirectional (Cardioid)
Connectivity: USB-C
Frequency response: 20Hz-20,000Hz
Features: 3.5mm headphone output, includes shock mount and pop filter, UNIFY desktop app

Reasons to buy

+
Impressive audio quality
+
High-quality build
+
Shock mount and pop filter included

Reasons to avoid

-
Very big and surprisingly heavy
-
Supporting UNIFY app needs work

 

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.

The best Shure alternative

The best Shure alternative

Specifications

Polar patterns: Supercardioid
Connectivity: XLR
Frequency response: 40Hz-18kHz
Features: Onboard EQ settings, reversible mounting options, interchangeable windscreen

Reasons to buy

+
Top-end build quality
+
Clever design touches
+
Clean vocal performance
+
Impressive overall sound

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive
-
On board EQ toggles can be aggressive

Logitech has hit the ground running with its debut broadcast microphone. The Blue Sona leans on the years of expertise of leading audio brand Blue to deliver a premium XLR microphone perfectly suited to streamers and content creators.

At $349/£299 the Logitech Blue Sona is at the top end of home microphone options but we found it delivered audio quality in line with its price point. The supercardioid polar pattern, combined with a few clever bits of tech under the hood offered bright, clean vocals without unwanted room noise creeping in. Despite being a dynamic microphone the Blue Sona produced a nicely balanced tone without sounding overly close or stylized. On-board EQ toggles are a nice touch and will be beneficial to some voices, but we found them a little overbearing so kept them switched off.

The Blue Sona’s high-end metal body is designed with flexibility in mind. The integrated mounting bracket is reversible and we found it easy to integrate it into our existing studio setup. You’re treated to two windscreens in the box, either neutral black or striking red and they can be swapped on the fly thanks to a nifty magnetic joiner. We tested the white variant of the Blue Sona and found the red windsock gave the mic a little more personality.

Yes, the Logitech Blue Sona is one of the most expensive microphones for streaming that we’ve tested but it’s also one of the best and you won’t be disappointed in your investment if you take the plunge.

The best mic for Elgato fans

The best mic for Elgato streamers

Specifications

Voltage: Not stated
Polar patterns: Cardioid
Connectivity: USB-C
Frequency response: 70Hz-20,000Hz
Features: Wave Link software, built-in pop shield, Clipguard feature

Reasons to buy

+
Built-in limiter
+
…and a pop shield too
+
Polished sound

Reasons to avoid

-
 Awkward mute button 

If you're already integrated into the Elgato ecosystem with any of the brand's other premium content-creation gadgets, its USB-C mic might be the best audio solution for you. This is ideal 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. 

The Elgato Wave 3 is a workhorse model for any streamer

Elgato Wave 3 review

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. 

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?

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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.