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Best microphones for streaming

Streaming is gaining more traction with each passing year, and it seems everyone is scrambling to get in on the fun. If you have some solid gaming skills or just want to hang out and chat, there is a streaming community out there for you.

If you want to start your own stream, one of the most important things you can get is a quality microphone. A decent mic will sound better than any built-in microphones on your computer, and decent audio is practically a necessity to keep anyone watching. However, not all mics are built the same, and some are better for the casual environment of streaming than others.

For the best experience, we recommend the Elgato Wave 3 because of its ease of use and its streamer-first design.

For more on streaming setups, be sure to check out more on the best webcams, the best gaming chairs, and the best gaming desks.

Best overall: Elgato Wave 3

Why you should buy this: The Elgato Wave 3 is fine-tuned for podcasters and streamers looking to plug and play.

Who it’s for: Streamers who need a mic with clear signal without a lot of setup time.

Why we picked the Elgato Wave 3:

There is a lot to love with the Elgato Wave 3, especially if you aren’t an experienced audio person. The Elgato Wave 3 was designed with podcasters and streamers in mind, and it provides a streamlined cardioid mic experience. It doesn’t have any other pickup patterns, which may not be best for people who want to fiddle with settings. But for someone looking for a mic that just works, the Elgato Wave 3 is hard to beat. The Wave 3 also includes free software to blend audio while you’re streaming.

The Elgato Wave 3 doesn’t come with a pop filter, but you can pick one up pretty cheap. It doesn’t have digital signal processing (DPS), but the Clipguard feature essentially does the same thing by limiting peaks in the signal. You can always disable this if you want a clean signal.

For a simple and convenient mic that’s been built from the ground up for streamers, the Elgato Wave 3 is our top recommendation.

Runner-up: Blue Yeti X

Why you should buy this: An excellent update to one of the best USB mics around.

Who it’s for: Beginners looking for excellent audio and flexibility.

Why we picked the Blue Yeti X:

If you close your eyes and imagine a streaming or podcasting mic, the Blue Yeti probably comes to mind. That’s because this mic was everywhere, and the Blue Yeti X is a worthy upgrade to one of the most popular mics around.

The new model comes with a four-condenser capsule array and four mic patterns, making it great for streamers who are recording in different environments or with other people. The Yeti X also has no DSP, which is a plus if you’re looking for a compression-free signal.

Like its predecessor, the Yeti X is sturdy and functional. It also includes BlueVoice, a recording software that lets users apply DSP-like presets to the audio. It’s OK if you’re starting out, but users will likely migrate to their own software.

As a mic, though, the Blue Yeti X is another great option for streamers looking for a bit of flexibility and clear audio with no processing.

Best dynamic microphone: Rode Podcaster

Why you should buy this: The Podcaster is a premium mic with great signal and no DPS.

Who it’s for: Anyone looking for premium audio with some built-in quality control features.

Why we picked the Rode Podcaster:

If you have a booming voice, a dynamic mic may be a better option for you. Dynamic mics are generally used to capture loud instruments, but they are also better than condenser mics for broadcasting or if you intend to do a lot of yelling. That’s where the Rode Podcaster carves its niche. This streaming mic captures great highs, lows, and mids for an all-around crisp and detailed sound.

The Podcaster has a built-in pop filter, and while it is certainly better than not having one, you may want something more substantial to go along with it. The Podcaster also doesn’t come with a mount or a stand, so you will want to factor that in.

However, for those in need of a dynamic mic over a condenser one, it is hard to beat the Rode Podcaster.

Best for features: HyperX Quadcast S

Why you should buy this: The HyperX Quadcast S has a lot of extra features that will appeal to gamers and streamers.

Who it’s for: Anyone who wants to show off their RGB mic on stream.

Why we picked the HyperX Quadcast S:

The HyperX Quadcast S is designed for gamers first, which should come as no surprise coming from HyperX. This is most notable in the programmable RGB, but it’s also a high-quality mic that will appeal to streamers whether it’s for gaming or just talking. It has four recording patterns, a gain wheel, and support for USB-C charging.

The shock mount is only made of plastic, which feels a little cheap compared to the rest of the package. But aesthetics aside, the Quadcast S is one of the best streaming mics you can get. It doesn’t offer any flexibility for bit rates or sampling, so this is another option best suited for those looking for simple functionality.

However, the package comes together to be one of the most feature-rich mics available, and its simplicity and eye-catching RGB makes it perfect for streamers.

Best compact option: Razer Seiren X

Why you should buy this: It’s a solid and simple-to-use mic that doesn’t take up a lot of space.

Who it’s for: Streamers who want solid sound without a giant mic in their face.

Why we picked the Razer Seiren X:

If you want to start streaming but don’t like the idea of a giant mic sticking in your face, the Razer Seiren X may be a good option for you. It’s pretty tiny compared to the competition, but it doesn’t sacrifice sound quality in the process. It’s a great plug-and-play option, and its compact size makes it portable for streamers on the go.

The Razer Seiren X is notably subdued compared to other Razer products. It has a single LED button to mute the mic and a gain wheel, and that’s about it. The mic is also super cardioid, which essentially means it has a smaller pickup range. That means the Seiren X will only pick up what you want it to (your voice), without capturing background noise.

If you’re on the go and might have some background noise, the Razer Seiren X is hands down the streaming mic for you.

Best premium option: Shure SM7B

Why you should buy this: You get what you pay for with Shure’s premium SM7B, which offers some of the best vocal capture around.

Who it’s for: Streamers with significant budgets or experienced streamers looking to upgrade their sets.

Why we picked Shure SM7B:

If you are starting to gain traction on your stream and need to bring your streaming setup to the next level, the Shure SM7B is one mic you should consider. This is an XLR mic, so you will also need to pick up an audio interface if you don’t already have one. It gives you a greatly improved sound profile over USB mics.

You may be spending a lot, but you get a lot with the Shure SM7B. It has a built-in pop filter to eliminate plosives, so you can talk freely no matter how close you are to the mic, and it has high-quality internal components. The Shure SM7B is durable and built to last.

If you’re ready to take your stream to the professional level, there’s no better way to do it than with the Shure SM7B.

Best cheap option: Blue Snowball Ice

Why you should buy this: The Blue Snowball Ice is a straightforward and affordable option for anyone wanting to get started.

Who it’s for: Anyone who wants to start streaming on a limited budget.

Why we picked the Blue Snowball Ice:

If you want to start your own stream but don’t have the budget for other mics, you can get started for as little as $50 with the Blue Snowball Ice. This mic has a unique shape, simple plug-and-play functionality, and no DSP to avoid compression. It also has an impressive pickup range, so you don’t have to worry about being lost if you lean away from it a little bit.

The Snowball Ice only has cardioid pickup, but that’s about all you need to get started. It also has a limited angling range, so you should consider desk height and positioning if and when you purchase it.

However, the Snowball Ice delivers decent quality sound right out of the box. It’s great for beginners, and it is relatively compact and easy to store.

All in all, it’s a good enough experience to get you started and keep you going until you’re ready to upgrade.

Editors' Recommendations

Caleb Clark
Caleb Clark is a full-time writer that primarily covers consumer tech and gaming. He also writes frequently on Medium about…
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