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With the increasing trend of video streaming and video creation for online consumption, getting the best microphone is all the more relevant. Whether you are an avid gamer who likes Twitch streaming just for fun or someone from the pro-gaming community, you’d want a mic that oozes quality. And that, you will usually get in a standalone mic.
Best Microphone for Gaming and Streaming: Blue Snowball and Yeti Retain Top Spots
There is a variety of microphones that work great for gaming as well as streaming. But if you want only the best for your uses, you can always buy specific gaming microphones or streaming microphones. Overall, you will find yourself choosing between three types: mini, clip-on, and desktop. With the price usually increasing in that order.
Best Overall Desktop Mic
HyperX Quadcast will not only increase your streaming quality with its high quality sound input but also enhance it through the beautiful design and red lights. With its PC and console support, it is a must have for gamers!
You can say HyperX knows what gamers want from their game streaming experience. They introduced a microphone that not only looks great but also sounds and feels great. The red light not only acts as decoration though, but it also gives you an idea if the mic is live. Yes, that’s right the microphone’s lights turn off if you mute the microphone through its mute button.
And do not get my started on how awesome the mute button is, it is a tap to mute sensor that is directly connected to the LED’s on the microphone. Meaning you cannot make the mistake of saying something out carelessly when you have the Quadcast. Along with this sensor the Quadcast has a dial on the bottom to adjust the volume of the input. You can set the sensitivity too high and low depending on what you want with your streaming experience.
The highlight of this microphone is the 4 different kinds of polar patterns that can be adjusted by a dial. The microphones we reviewed mostly 3 kinds of polar patterns, the HyperX Quadcast takes it a step ahead and introduces a stereo polar pattern. This features enables it to make it a great microphone if you are streaming a live music video. It has a 48Hz/16-bit recording resolution, which is not the most premium grade quality you can get, but for a USB streaming mic, it is really ideal.
Along with the stereo polar pattern, you can adjust the dial to omnidirectional which enables the mic to sense voices from all over the surroundings. Cardioid is the most preferred adjustment for game streamers as it blocks out voice from most directions except the front where you will directly speak into it masking the noise of your rig fans or any other sounds. The bidirectional polar pattern will help you use this microphone in interviews, as it can catch sounds from both the front and the back. It has three 14mm condensers for enhanced voice capture quality.
The only concern we have with the microphone is the body is plastic, although the body is strong, it still makes it a problem as body material matters when it comes to sound resonances. Quadcast has a built-in mount which can be used to attach the mic to a stand. Not a lot of microphones give a built-in mount adapter.
The HyperX Quadcast will complete your streaming experience especially if you are a gamer. And it is not as expensive as other brands with fewer features making it ideal for all the features it has.
The Turtle Beach- Universal digital USB Stream Mic is a really good microphone, however, due to the larger price tag, it falls short from being topping the gaming and streaming microphone category. It can be attached to your PS4 Pro, PS4, Xbox One, PC and Mac and supports all these devices without issues. It features a 48Hz/16-bit recording resolution just like the HyperX Quadcast, it requires software to supports all its features. It has mount support so you can attach it to a boom or stand that you need to purchase separately. It has a great sound quality for professional sound recording experience with TruSpeak technology which you can fully take advantage of from your software.
Best Microphone on a Budget
Blue Snowball iCE
Obviously, not all good things are expensive. And a number of Blue microphones have made a point of that. We couldn’t find a higher graded streaming microphone than the Blue Snowball iCE. Although it sounds a bluff for just $50, the Snowball mic is great at noise cancellation and cardioid recording.
While it is no studio mic like the Blue Yeti Pro or the Shure SM7B, Snowball iCE carries a quality two-condenser capsule that makes for a crisp and clear sound with little to no distortion.
When you compare it with the likes of Razer Seiren Elite, the Snowball costs just a fraction. But in all these years, it has proven that the difference in quality between this entry level microphone and those studio mics isn’t as stark as the price difference.
For starters, it has a great quality single condenser capsule which is able to create very crisp sound. But there’s more to how it has been designed. Thanks to intelligent designing, the mic is can reduce distortion better than most of the competition. This stands true for a range of frequency responses between 40Hz–18kHz.
With little to no help, the sound quality can be an absolute pleasure for the entry level to mid-range streaming activities since the pressure gradient transducer used by Blue records the audio at 16-bit/ 44.1 kHz resolution, which sounds great for a single source of audio.
However, if you are looking for absolute cover against plosives, you can go for the Knox Studio Boom Arm and Pop Filter bundle for an additional 25 bucks. Not only will the pop filter block unwanted noises, but the arm also makes it ultra portable for you to fix according to your needs.
Moreover, the desktop mic is very easy to set up since it uses a USB, so it is basically plug and play. All the extra legwork required of you is to further improve the quality, by using digital audio programs like GarageBand or Audacity. We have loved how the Blue Snowball makes it a challenge for the competition although it is capable of just cardioid pick up patterns and not omnidirectional ones. For that you will need to upgrade from the Snowball iCE to the Snowball Textured, which also comes in a larger range of fancy colors.
We were surprised to find another actually considerable product for pro streaming, podcasting, and gaming in a price range as low as the Blue Snowball. With a singular, 25mm large condenser capsule, the Samson Meteor excels all over the 16-bit, 44.1/48 kHz resolution. Performance wise, we have experience zero to very low latency, smooth frequency responses, and a very rich over all audio which will not only sound great in your YouTube videos but also look good with the chromed shell and mini tripod.
Best Modular Mic
Antlion Audio ModMic
Many of us would just prefer to stick a better quality of modular microphone to their headphones instead of dealing with a standalone accessory altogether. That is where the ModMic comes in, packing a sweet omnidirectional capsule coupled with a unidirectional capsule that suits your PUBG matches more.
Do you play games on the Xbox One or PS4? The PC, Mac or mobile? How about one shoe that fits all! The Antlion Audio ModMic is a great modular microphone one of the widest range of compatible platforms. What’s more, the little guy is also flexible for the type of external environment where you are using it.
For instance, when using it for an in-game chat in a loud environment, you can choose to stick with the cardiod capsule for its impressive noise cancellation technology. And when you are sitting back in a quieter place, you can switch to the omnidirectional capsule for a higher quality of audio recordings.
The end result is surprisingly clear and accurate audio, with a much-improved noise cancellation than earlier iterations of the ModMic. As opposed to most of the other microphones in this list, this is a much affordable choice. Blue Snowball iCE is the only standing microphone in the out list that is as affordable as the clip-on mic.
Another much-loved feature of the ModMic is that its cables aren’t a headache, and you get to arrange it according to your wishes. There are two cables (1m and 2m long) for the 3.5mm jack, and there also is a separate mute module. But then again, not everyone likes all those cables and joints running around. So it is a choice between modularity and neatness.
Naturally, this won’t suit gamers and streamers who prefer not to tag together their headphone and their microphone, because the ModMic will always require you to attach it with headset using the inbuilt magnets. But if you are like us, and tend to have a gaming desk full of clutter, it might actually be a task to find a safe place for the desktop mic.
This is as low as the quality gaming and streaming microphones can go. Zalman, all thanks to their 20 years of experience is able to churn out tiny models like the ZM Mic1 here, under just $20. While they don’t promise unreal quality, you do get a high sensitivity mic with a steady clip-on and decent clarity of sound. However, the clip on mic isn’t as good at reducing ambient noise from your background.
As a studio-grade recording, streaming and gaming users start overlapping jobs, picking your type of microphone is trickier than before. Not only do you have to choose between the analog or digital connections, but you also have to buy the best microphone for your type of use specifically.
For instance, someone who is never going to use the mic for studio recording might actually prefer the Antlion Audio ModMic over, say something as high end as the Blue Yeti Pro or Razer Sieren X despite the lower price. The reason is that the ModMic is compact, lightweight, easier to handle, more portable and insanely cheaper.
But on the other hand, if you are an ambitious YouTube or Twitch streamer, you’d one day want to turn your content into studio grade professional content. Clip-on mics, modular options, and even mimicking models like the Rode NT-USB aren’t going to get you the ambiance, sound clarity, and feature set required for that. We have tried to include a variety of different choices, picked up from the best-reviewed products on Amazon and others. Nonetheless, the choices are extensive, so choose wisely!