If you’re looking for the best microphone for streaming, podcasting, and gaming, you’re going to want a quality one that can handle all three easily. Regardless of what you do, the best microphone for streaming, gaming, and podcasting will most likely run on USB. XLR mics offer the best studio-quality sound, but are very pricey. USB mics, on the other hand, are easier to set-up, are a lot cheaper, and play well with most audio software. Also, note the microphone’s polar patterns, this is the easiest way to figure out what the best use is.
Cardioid: Records in front of the microphone. Perfect for voice-over, vocals, and streaming
Bidirectional: Captures audio in front of and behind the mic.
Omnidirectional: Picks up sound from every direction. Perfect for multi-guest podcasts.
Stereo: Perfect for ASMR recordings. YouTube ‘ASMR’ if you want the best example because I simply couldn’t do it just justice.
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1. Samson G-Track Pro
The best microphone for streaming and gaming.
Specs: Voltage: 100 | 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
Although the USB microphone market is crowded, Samson’s G-Track Pro outpaces its competition. A side-address condenser mic with multiple polar patterns, a very low noise floor, sturdy build, and exceptional sound quality, this is a superb choice for anyone wanting to get into streaming, podcasting, or music. In fact, we’d say it’s our favorite USB microphone to date; it outperforms almost everything else on this list. As observed by our review, this is a “strong new competitor for desktop mics and could even replace higher-priced studio microphones for home audio recording. At around $100, it’s impossible to find a better value”.
- Excellent sound quality
- Rock-solid build
- Doubles as an audio interface
- Minor issues during setup
2. Blue Yeti Nano
The best microphone for beginners.
Specs: Power: 5V | Polar patterns: Cardioid, Omnidirectional | Connectivity: USB | Frequency response: 20Hz-20kHz | Features: 48kHz sample rate, zero-latency monitoring, mute & headphone volume controls
This miniature version of the classic Blue Yeti is perfect for those just starting out with streaming, recording, or podcasting; it has great sound-quality for a product under $100, while its diminutive size and lightweight metal build make it easy to transport (this is at least 40 percent smaller than its cousin).
The difference its 24bit / 48khz recording sample rates make is noticeable, too; putting audio from the Nano and original Yeti side by side reveals that the former is superior by quite a margin. It’s only got two polar patterns, sure (cardioid and omnidirectional), but the Yeti Nano more than makes up for it with everything else.
- Very small and light
- Easy to use
- Great sound-quality
- Not as many polar patterns as old Yeti
3. Rode NT USB
The best premium microphone.
Specs: Power: 5V | Polar patterns: Cardioid | Connectivity: USB | Frequency response: 20Hz-20kHz | Features: Side-address, on-mic mix control, pop shield, tripod, zero-latency stereo headphone monitoring
Rode’s NT USB screams ‘professional’. Mimicking the look of studio microphones while maintaining a reasonable cost, this is a good choice for users who want to take their hobby further. Its sound quality goes above and beyond the competition and the inclusion of a free pop shield is greatly appreciated. It may only have one polar pattern—cardioid—and a few odd design choices like smooth knobs, but this remains a brilliant option for those who want to specialise in voiceover and streaming. As mentioned in our review, “NT-USB claims to offer “studio-quality sound” without studio-quality prices… and the developers might just have managed it.”
- Fantastic audio
- Free pop filter
- Only one polar pattern
- Unsteady tripod
4. Razer Seiren X
The best compact and portable microphone.
Specs: Power: 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
50 percent smaller than the original Seiren mic design and packing just as much audio quality, the Seiren X is designed with portability in mind. It stands on your desk like a can of Red Bull, such are its unassuming dimensions. The built-in shock mount works well to absorb unwanted spikes from desk kicks and the like, while a single volume control and mute button make up the only controls so that the Seiren X can retain its slick aesthetic.
There are a couple of minor downsides, inevitably. Like the Blue Yeti we found that this mic picks up a noticeable amount of ambient noise like the dreaded mechanical keyboard clatter. It’s not so much as to prevent it from being a feasible streaming mic, but we’d hoped for better noise-canceling from Razer given their trumpeted super-cardioid polar pattern. Still, the fundamental recording quality is there, as is the quality of finish.
If you want to add a little pizzaz to your stream. The Sieren Emote allows for emoticons to be displayed on the microphone via an 8-bit LEDs on the face of the mic. It’s essentially a Seiren X with an exception for LED display and the interchangeable gooseneck stand.
- Great clarity
- Just one polar pattern
- Picks up some background noise
5. Focusrite Scarlett CM25 MkII
The best microphone for studio-quality sound.
Specs: Power: 5V | Polar patterns: Cardioid | Connectivity: XLR, audio jack | Frequency response: 20Hz-20,000Hz | Features: mic stand adapter, cable included
A bit of a curveball, but one well worth checking out if gaming, streaming and music production overlap on the Venn diagram of your interests. The Scarlett CM25 Mk II’s large diaphragm cardioid design make it great at picking up both soft and loud speech. When you’re instinctively whispering from your PUBG hidey-hole and then shrieking in terror when an enemy closes in, it’s got your back. In general, sound quality’s up there with the best in this list.
However, this isn’t a bespoke ‘gaming’ mic and thus doesn’t feature an easy USB or 3.5mm connection. You’ll need to run this through a preamp via XLR to get it working, and while that might be a bridge too far for some, Focusrite does sell a Scarlett Studio bundle including the mic, headphones, and audio interface for under $200. That’s tempting for any budding music producer or podcaster who’s also serious about gaming and streaming broadcast quality.
- Crystal clear
- No mount provided
- Requires an audio interface/preamp