Today let’s focus on one of the most important live streaming prerequisites, a quality microphone.
Distortion, low sound quality, and unwanted echo are 3 of the most common problems that can cost you many views and subscribers in 2019.
Fortunately, these problems can be easily solved by picking out the best microphone for your needs, whether they are for streaming, podcasting, or gaming.
- Best Microphone for Streaming
- Best Microphone for Gaming
- Best Microphone for Podcasting
- Microphone Arms
Properties to look for in a Microphone
In order to find which microphone will best suit your needs, you need to know a little bit about 2 factors: frequency response and directional properties.
Frequency response is measured in Hertz. Although it’s more important for singing than for Twitch streaming or gaming, it is still worth considering. You will want the microphone with a wide frequency response range.
The directional properties (aka polar patterns) are a bit more complicated but absolutely crucial to understand. Plain and simple, they will determine from which direction your microphone picks up the sound. There are 4 main types.
The omnidirectional microphone will let you pick up the sound from all directions. These ones are not intended for PC gaming as they will pick up tons of background noise such as keyboard noises and stuff. They will best serve you in a podcasting or streaming environment.
Next, we have bidirectional microphones. They are able to pick up sounds from 2 directions, usually front and back. This property makes them a favorite toy for streaming and podcast users that do interviews. These ones we will be focusing on the most
Unidirectional microphones feature multiple polar patterns. There are many different patterns, but we will be focusing on Cardioid. This one is a good choice for gaming professionals and bigger podcasting studios as it picks up the sound from the front and sides.
If you are unsure where the future leads, you may opt-out for a multi-pattern microphone. These babies will let you change their properties on the fly to best fit your needs.
Best Microphone for Streaming
For quality streaming, you will need the best microphone you have for your desktop setup, not just an ordinary Logitech gaming headset, or your Turtle Beach.
The 5 models below will give studio-like warmth to your voice and the difference in your streaming quality will be immediately noticed. Couple them with a good arm mount, and you are all set.
Electro Voice RE-20
Here we have a top of the line cardioid microphone. It is currently being used by Ninja, a famous gaming/streaming user. Sound quality is extremely high and has exceptional clarity.
You can thank that to the combination of heavy-duty pop filter, shock mount which reduces vibration, and blast and wind filters which cover all openings.
The RE-20 is really built like a tank! It has a frequency response ranging from 45 Hz to 18 kHz. This is a very durable microphone that comes with a steel case. It uses a 3-pin XLR connection. All in all, if you are looking to take your gaming streams to a truly professional level, look no further than the RE-20, the best streaming microphone.
Samson G-Track Pro
Let’s continue the list of best streaming mics with a USB multi-pattern microphone.
This is a solid condenser microphone that lets you choose between 3 different patterns: bidirectional, omnidirectional, and cardioid. Recorded audio is of high definition: 24 bit and 96 kHz resolution.
The Samsung G-track pro features 1/8” headphone output that provides you with zero-latency (no echo) experience. It is constructed out of durable die-cast zinc and doesn’t require a microphone arm.
Plug-and-play technology coupled with an affordable price makes this model a good choice if you are just getting in the world of live streaming or podcasting.
PGA27 is another excellent cardioid condenser microphone for streaming. Wide dynamic range is provided with large diaphragm cartridge. What is even better though is the built-in high-pass filter that works wonders to remove those low-frequency hums.
The microphone also features switchable attenuator (-15 dB) that will help if you experience clippings by bringing maximum SPL to 145 dB.
The shock mount is also present, as it should be. This microphone is made by Shure, a company well renowned for its high-quality products. In 2017, the Shure PGA27 was the mic of choice for Markiplier, a famous gaming Youtuber that has over 23 million subscribers.
AT4040 is the second model made by Audio-Technica that made the list of best streaming mics. This is a state-of-the-art cardioid microphone. It is externally polarized and has a good dynamic range of 133 dB.
The maximum pressure level is set to 140 dB, meaning your voice will never become distorted, even if you are ‘streaming’ your head off!
All unwanted low frequencies are successfully eliminated with the help of transformerless circuitry. Nickel-plated brass is here to give you ideal sensitivity. This microphone is being actively used by Myth, a famous Fortnite streamer.
Samson Meteor Mic USB Studio Microphone
Samson, the pioneer in wireless microphone technology, has introduced Meteor, another awesome mic for twitch streaming.
It features a 25mm wide diaphragm condenser that gives your recordings richness and warmth. It has a cardioid pickup pattern and good frequency response of 20Hz to 20 kHz.
The sound is of CD quality (16 bit), and you can choose between 44.1 and 48 kHz resolution. The microphone is set on a built-in tripod like legs that can be set as needed to give you the best positioning.
The 1/8-inch headphone jack is here for 0 latency monitoring. On the visual side, you can choose between the following colors: chrome, brushed nickel, and titanium (red/black). Meteor is an excellent option for beginning streamers and podcasters.
Best Microphone for Gaming
If you aren’t fully into streaming yet, a good compromise can be found in the world of gaming microphones. They cost a little less, but still offer above-average audio quality.
The AT2020 is a standalone medium priced cardioid gaming microphone made by Audio-Technica.
Versatility is achieved with a combination of wide dynamic range and high SPL handling (144 dB). It features a low-mass diaphragm that will give you good frequency response of 20 Hz to 20 kHz.
The sound is not of the best quality some people say, but it is more than enough for PS4 and computer gaming needs. For an additional 50 dollars, you will get headphones and a mic arm, which will let you use this model for podcasting as well as well as streaming.
Razer Seiren Elite
The Seiren Elite is a microphone made by Razer which targets streaming and gaming professionals. It has a built-in single dynamic capsule that will give you warm sound while minimizing all electronic interference.
It comes with a high-pass filter that will remove all annoying bass frequencies to give you a really clean signal while gaming.
Digital and analog vocal limiters are here to remove any unwanted distortion (clipping). Your recorded audio can have 16-bit depth and 48 kHz sampling rate, which is more than enough for us streamers.
The best part? The zero latency 3.5 mm headphone monitoring makes sure your sound will never lag mid-game while live streaming, which is one of the most annoying problems.
Neumann TLM 102 MT
Neumann TLM 102 is a high-end cardioid condenser microphone. Condenser microphones are known for providing extremely high sound quality while gaming and they follow sound waves super accurately.
The maximum sound pressure level of the TLM 102 is set to 144 dB, which allows it to record some very loud noises without distortion for passionate streaming and unexpected outbursts. It features a touch of presence boost above the frequencies of 6 kHz that gives your voice an excellent, radio-like presence.
The Neumann TLM 102 is frequently used by the famous gaming YouTuber called PewDiePie. This is one of the more expensive and best microphones of 2018, but it’s worth every penny.
Rode NT-USB Cardioid Condenser Microphone
Rode’s NT-USB is a versatile shotgun microphone that offers you studio-quality sound. Zero-latency headphone jack makes this microphone an ideal option both for twitch streaming and gaming. Maximum SPL is set to 110 dB, which is a bit low in my opinion.
Note: Edward Murray personally has one of these, and says its good and Rode have really high quality microphone equipment. But he doesn’t think it makes his voice sound as deep and resonant as some other microphones.
The sound is recorded in high 16-bit quality and midrange is elevated to give you that immediately recognisable warm sound. Excellent pop-filter will give you the protection you need. The direct mix provides ultimate control between your mic input and output, so there won’t be any surprises here. All in all, the Rode NT-USB is really good microphone for streaming and gaming as well.
CAD GXL2400 USB Microphone
CAD’s GXL2400 offers an amazing value for money. This gaming mic earned its place among the best with an Akos capsule that provides a wide frequency range and gives audio of decent clarity. The shock mount makes sure noise canceling levels are at the maximum.
Microphone perfectly responds to frequencies in the range between 20 Hz to 18 kHz. The CAD GXL2400 comes with a desk stand, so you can jump into gaming ASAP. This is a cheap mic that is worth way more than its actual price. Probably the cheapest microphone to get a good sound while streaming.
Best Microphone for Podcasting
Shure SM7B Cardioid Dynamic Microphone
SM7B is an amazing unidirectional microphone. It features a flat and wide frequency response. Sound comes out exceptionally clear and mid-range is particularly emphasized, which makes it the best dynamic microphone for streaming, as well as gaming and podcasting. Internal shock isolation is present to eliminate any unwanted mechanical and electromagnetic sounds.
A premium pop filter is here for protection against loud breathing sounds. This microphone will always stay in position thanks to the high-quality yoke mounting. SM7B is used by Joe Rogan on his podcast, and that in itself is a huge testament to its quality. For when you want only the best.
Blue Yeti USB Microphone – Blackout
The Blue Yeti Blackout is a microphone Joe Rogan uses when he conducts the interviews on the road. Blackout is a USB microphone made by critically acclaimed Blue Yeti. It can be used in various settings as it features multiple patterns: cardioid, omnidirectional, bidirectional, and stereo.
Frequency response ranges from 20 Hz to 20 kHz. It has excellent sound quality, which is achieved with tri-capsule technology. Aside from being portable, it is user-friendly and very easy to set up. There are simple controls for pattern selection, volume and gain control.
You can also instantly mute the microphone if you encounter some technical difficulties while streaming, which is good. The zero-latency feature means you can use it in real time without any problems. All of these things work together and make this one of the best microphones for beginners.
Here we have another model made by Shure. SM58S offers brightened midrange that will let your vocals stand out, while bass roll-off gets rid of all the unwanted noises. For protection and greater sound quality, it features built-in pop and spherical wind filter.
Shock-mount system is present to cut down all of the mechanical noises. Shure’s microphones are widely regarded in the gaming world in terms of durability and sound quality. SM58S has a frequency response of 50 to 15,000 Hz, which is solid for podcasting purposes. This microphone is most commonly used by Tim Ferris, he is not into streaming but is an extremely famous author, and podcaster.
Blue Snowball USB Microphone
Next, another ‘best budget’ option. Blue Snowball is a USB mic that lets you choose between 2 polar patterns: cardioid and omnidirectional. With it, you will be able to record straight out of the box, which is good news for streaming beginner and podcasters. Keeps things simple.
The cardioid mode has -10 dB attenuation that will let you record louder sounds without distortion. Audio sample quality is set to 44.1 kHz, which is decent. The microphone comes with a tripod stand, so you don’t need to buy any fancy microphone arms. Blue Snowball can cost you as low as 70 dollars. For that price, it’s hard to find much better.
RODE NT1-A is one of the industries standards. It packs sound which is both warm and crystal clear and has a wide dynamic range. Maximum SPL is set to 137 dB, so you can be as loud as you want and still have excellent audio.
The self-noise level is set to a mere 5 dB, which makes this one of the best quiet studio microphones. Maximum output level is set to 13.7 mV. With it, you will also get a high-quality pop shield and transformerless surface mount. Overall, this is one of the best cardioid microphones in its class.
Although many of these models have a stand, buying a good arm mount will make things a bit easier. It is particularly important for streaming, as they can get in the way of mouse and keyboard.
Heil Sound PL-2T
What makes this mic arm interesting is the fact that it uses a balanced internal spring system. It features a standard sized (5/8”) shock mount. It can handle microphones up to 3.5 pounds of weight. The top plate can be removed to thread mic cable inside the boom and removing all the hassle, good for keeping cables away while streaming. The Heil Sound PL2T is a durable design, and once you lock the mic in it does not budge.
PSA1 is a mount that costs more than some microphones on this list. It is extremely flexible as it has a 360-degree rotation. Horizontal reach is set to 32.5”, vertical reach is 33”. This stand is designed to support microphone weighing between 1.5 and 2.4 lbs. PSA1 is a golden standard in the streaming and podcasting community.
InnoGear Microphone Stand
The InnoGear offers quite a good combo: microphone stand, windscreen, and pop filter. The heavy duty stand has a strong spring that will make sure your mic doesn’t budge. Max load is set to 3.3 pounds. Setting up the stand is quite easy as it can mount to any desk up to 2” thick, and offers a 360-degree range of movement. It is a good choice for streaming beginners.
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