Best microphones for streaming and gaming 2022: boost your clarity this year

Best microphones for streaming
(Image credit: Samson)

When going live you'll want to ensure that you have the best microphone for streaming to ensure that your viewers can hear you loud and clear. Whether you're just chatting or playing games, it's always important that your audience know what you're saying. We've rounded up some of the best options for you which consider both budget and specifications. 

You have two choices as far as the best microphones for streaming go. You can either opt for a USB microphone for plug-and-play functionality with your gaming PC, or you can go for an XLR cardioid mic. The former of which is generally easier to use but offers a little less depth in the audio quality, whereas the latter tends to be more expensive to set up, requiring a dedicated audio interface and 48V Phantom Power. Both options are equally valid and ultimately depend on your budget and preferences. 

We've rounded up top performers from both fields in everything from the budget side of the scale to mid-range, and premium offerings as well. Arguably, audio quality is the most important factor of a great streaming setup, so be sure that you sound as good as you look when you broadcast yourself. 

Best microphones for streaming 2022

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The best microphone for streaming

Specifications

Voltage: Not stated
Polar patterns: Unidirectional (Cardioid)
Connectivity: USB
Frequency response: 50Hz-16,000Hz
Features: Dual XLR and USB output, touchscreen interface, SHure MOTIV desktop app

Reasons to buy

+
Dual outputs
+
Detailed sound reproduction
+
Cheaper than the SM7B with no obvious compromises

Reasons to avoid

-
Physical buttons might have been better

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.

This one in particular might be the streamer mic to rule them all

Shure MV7 review

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.)

2. Blue Yeti Nano

The best budget microphone for streaming under $100 / £100

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

Reasons to avoid

-
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.  

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. 

3. Samson G-Track Pro

The best microphone for audio mixing

Specifications

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

Reasons to buy

+
Awesome sound quality
+
Sturdy design
+
Audio interface functionality

Reasons to avoid

-
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.

4. Rode NT USB

The best premium microphone for streaming

Specifications

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

Reasons to buy

+
Brilliant audio quality
+
Pop shield included

Reasons to avoid

-
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.

5. Blue Yeti X World of Warcraft Edition

The best microphone for streaming roleplaying games

Specifications

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

Reasons to buy

+
Fantastic quality
+
Voice changer and sound effects
+
LED lighting and WoW design

Reasons to avoid

-
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.

The best Elgato microphone for 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 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. 

The best MSI microphone for streaming

Specifications

Voltage: Not stated
Polar patterns: Stereo / Unidirectional / Omnidirectional / Bidirectional
Connectivity: USB-C, 3.5mm
Frequency response: 20Hz-20,000Hz
Features: Real-time monitoring, plug-and-play functionality, pop filter, multiple condenser capsules

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent audio quality
+
Handsome design and sturdy build
+
Four polar patterns
+
No software needed
+
Mic monitoring

Reasons to avoid

-
No software for finer controls
-
Stiff competition at the price

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.

The MSI Immerse GV60 Streaming mic is a fantastic first try from the company

MSI Immerse GV60 review

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.

8. Blue Yeti X

The best microphone for flexibility

Specifications

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

Reasons to buy

+
Blue’s best-quality microphone
+
Flexible Blue Vo!Ce software included
+
LED lighting indicates volume

Reasons to avoid

-
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.

The best Razer microphone

Specifications

Voltage: 5V
Polar patterns: Cardioid
Connectivity: USB
Frequency response: 20Hz-20,000Hz
Features: High pass filter, analog gain limiter, 30mm dynamic mic

Reasons to buy

+
Typically gorgeous looks
+
Simplicity of design

Reasons to avoid

-
Sound reproduction isn’t Yeti X-level
-
Boom arm is almost mandatory

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. 

The best Roccat microphone for streaming

Specifications

Voltage: Not stated
Polar patterns: Cardioid, Stereo, Whisper (ROCCAT Proprietary)
Connectivity: USB
Frequency response: 20Hz-20,000Hz
Features: Contactless quick mute button, reactive lighting, mixer style controls

Reasons to buy

+
ALL the features
+
Solid sound reproduction

Reasons to avoid

-
Do you need TWO mic mute controls?
-
Unusual looks may divide opinion

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.

The best XLR condenser microphone for streaming

Specifications

Voltage: 5V
Polar patterns: Cardioid
Connectivity: XLR
Frequency response: 20Hz-20,000Hz
Features: Large-diaphragm cardioid condenser, 100Hz low cut filter, -20dB pad

Reasons to buy

+
Studio quality sound
+
Low cut filter
+
Extremely versatile condenser

Reasons to avoid

-
Requires audio interface & phantom power

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. 

12. Razer Seiren V2 X

The best entry-level Razer microphone for streaming

Specifications

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

Reasons to buy

+
Great design
+
Simple, minimal controls
+
Wonderful sound quality that's easy to get

Reasons to avoid

-
Small stand makes placement tricky
-
No markers on gain dial

Is it possible for something to look cute and menacing at once? Tiger cubs and Razer’s revamped Seiren X make a good case for it. The pill-shaped capsule design is shared by the bigger Seiren VR Pro model but looks especially aesthetically pleasing in a diminutive form and an all-black matte finish making for one of the best microphones for streaming. 

Controls are once again minimal, just as they were on the older model. Mic gain and a mute switch - that’s all. The gain dial needs a marker to be useful though - it’s impossible to see where you have the level set without software. This is ideal for those looking for a Razer streaming setup on a budget. 

A small mic gets a small stand, and though it’s not going to blow over in the breeze, it also makes optimal placement a bit tricky. You need a boom arm to get the most of its cardioid pickup pattern so that you can get the capsule right up close to the source. 

When you do, the sound reproduction is really impressive for the size and justifies the $100 / £100 pricing. It’s clear and punchy, perfect for compressed media platforms like streams and YoutTube audio. In fact, it’s easier to get a broadcast-quality sound from it than from the full-size Seiren V2 Pro to our ears, which is a happy oddity. 

The best EPOS microphone for streaming

Specifications

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

Reasons to buy

+
Sophisticated looks
+
Four polar patterns

Reasons to avoid

-
No volume or gain markers
-
Sound can’t quite cut it with Blue’s Yeti X

 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.

14. Neat Bumblebee II

The best Neat microphone under $100 / £100

Specifications

Voltage: 3.3V - 5V
Polar patterns: Cardioid
Connectivity: USB
Frequency response: 20Hz-20,000Hz
Features: Full-range 24 bit/96 kHz audio, permanently polarized 25mm condenser capsule, internally shockmounted

Reasons to buy

+
Revamped look is great
+
Crisp mids and highs in sound reproduction
+
Sounds great for the money

Reasons to avoid

-
USB connection is sub-optimal
-
Hard to get a good mic placement using stand

The original Bumblebee was a sharp left turn in visual design from what the USB streamer mic as a whole could offer. A bold black and yellow colour scheme, a mixer-style stand, and some vaguely ‘golden age of radio’ looks made it a far cry from the sea of very similar, serious-looking black models on Newegg. This Bumblebee 2… isn’t that.

It’s a dramatic move towards conformity from Neat, who fall in line and go all-black for the new edition, and shrink the dimensions down to a small condenser capsule and a traditional stand design. It still looks presentable, and we like the lines of the stand in particular, but there are certain problems with it. Problems like the awkward angle that the USB-C connector juts out at, looking primed for terminal damage at the slightest knock. Trust us, we’ve had much sturdier and more expensive mics suffer the same fate thanks to their precarious USB input placement, and this one looks the most precarious of the lot. It’s also quite a squat stand, which means it’s hard to work both it and yourself into a position that gets the most audio quality out of it - about 4 to 5 inches - without a boom arm. So you could just buy a boom arm, then, but the best streamer mics don’t assume you’ll do that - they provide a workable stand. 

There’s quite a bit of handling noise too which underlines the need to get it up off your desk and floating on an arm, but the Bumblebee 2’s saving grace comes in sound reproduction quality. It’s a £100/$100 mic so it’s inevitably lacking some low-end richness offered by the likes of the Blue Yeti X, but there’s a ton of detail and liveliness to the highs and high mids. That produces a vocal tone that cuts through a game mix or a sound bed easily, and sounds pretty polished before any kind of processing.

Read more: Neat Bumblebee II review

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.  

Best microphones for streaming -

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. 

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 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. 

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. 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. 


Complete your setup with the best webcams, green screens, and ring lights, too, in order to stand out from the crowd online.