best microphone for streaming

Live streaming has become a staple source of income these days, especially during this pandemic. Content creators, especially gamers, are flocking to Twitch to be seen. The 2.7 million-strong daily viewers are a definite pull to these people.

If you want to start your own Twitch channel, then you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we will teach you how to get viewers on Twitch by simply choosing the best streaming microphone.

What Do You Need to Start Streaming?

The basic streaming setup consists of a strong PC, high-definition camera, good quality microphone, and proper lighting. You will also need a quiet recording space to keep unwanted noise from interfering with your stream.

These things can get quite pricey, and you might want to scrimp in some areas. However, this is not a good idea. Every piece of equipment is essential and would contribute to the quality of stream you can produce.

The best way to go about this is to hunt for the best bang for your buck. Fortunately, we’re here to make it easier for you to choose the best mic for streaming.

Microphone for Live Streaming: Does It Really Matter?

We put stress on acquiring an excellent microphone because your sound quality can make or break your budding channel. Here’s why… 

When people watch a live stream, they are there to watch what you are doing and listen to what you have to say. A lot of content creators stream the same game, but people still choose certain streamers because of their reactions and insights. What you have to say is an integral piece to your success. It is, therefore, highly important to have a good microphone 

Your microphone plays a prominent part in how you connect with your viewers during a stream. If you cannot be heard clearly or your mic picks up all the background noise, your interaction with your viewers is compromised. Sad to say, but poor audio quality can be a deal-breaker for your followers. They may simply choose to watch a different streamer that offers a better viewing experience. 

Since one cannot discount the significance of a quality microphone, let’s talk about how you can choose the best mic for your needs. You might think it’s simple, however, there are a lot of aspects that you would need to consider.

Fear not, for we will guide you in choosing the best microphone for streaming.

Things to Look for When Choosing a Microphone for Live Streaming 

There are so many specs to consider when shopping for a mic that it can get confusing. We’ve narrowed them down for you to make it easier.

Dynamic Microphones vs Condense Microphones

Dynamic microphones are the mics you see most of the time when you watch your favorite band. They are good at capturing loud sounds like a live band at a concert. These are cheaper and more durable and do not require a power source. 

Condenser microphones, on the other hand, are best at capturing more delicate sounds. You see them used for vocal tracks at recording studios. Condenser mics are more sensitive and can catch soft and quieter sounds like a human’s voice. Though they are more expensive and require a power source like a battery, this is the best microphone type that you should choose if you want to stream on Twitch at home.

Polar Patterns (a.k.a. Pickup Patterns)

Refers to how sound is picked up by the microphone. There are 4 types:

  1. Cardioid or Unidirectional – receives directly from the front. Best for game streaming, podcasts, vlogs, video calls.
  2. Bidirectional – receives sound from the front and the back. Best for a two-person podcast.
  3. Stereo – receives sound from the front, left, and right. Best for podcasts with 3 people.
  4. Omnidirectional – receives sound from all directions. Best for conference calls or to capture the surrounding sounds to make the listener feel like they are there with you.

Connection Method

The traditional XLR microphones attach to a PC via the XLR cable (X Connector, Locking Connector, Rubber Boot). This is used to get high-quality audio input from your microphone. These are pricier and would need other paraphernalia like an external sound card and power supply to connect it to your PC.

The more popular type these days are the USB microphones. All computers, gaming consoles, and even mobile devices can mount a USB microphone. These mics are usually cheaper and easier to use. Most of them come in a plug-and-play design.

Pop-Filter

A pop-filter is a screen, usually made of stretched fabric, that is used to reduce noise entering the microphone. The popping sound made by fast-moving air when you speak is effectively filtered by this simple device. It also doubles as a shield to protect your delicate mic from saliva.

Sensitivity Rating

High-sensitivity mics can pick up sounds clearly from the source. Good active or condenser microphone sensitivity ratings are between 8 and 32 mV/Pa (-42 to -30 dBV/Pa). Go for mics within this range.

Frequency Response

The frequency response is the range of frequencies that your microphone can pick up. This range determines the sound signature of your mic. The frequency response range that is best for vocals is 80 Hz to 15 kHz.

List of the top 8 microphones for streaming

We have compiled a list of the best microphones for streaming. This is based on genuine ratings by customers on Amazon. Weigh the pros and cons of each to choose the best streaming microphone for you.

1.  Blue Yeti USB Microphone

#1 in Computer Microphones

Customer Rating: 4.7 stars out of 5 (33,379 ratings)

Price: $118.18

Specifications

Model number: 988-000100

Type: Condenser

Polar pattern: Multipattern (Cardioid, omnidirectional, bidirectional, and stereo pickup)

Color: Blackout

Connector Type: USB

Power Source: Corded Electric, 1 Lithium-ion battery

Max. SPL: 120 dB

Sensitivity: 4.5 mV/Pa

Item Weight: 3.68 pounds

Material:  Metal

Hardware Platform: PC, Mac

Pros

  • Plug and play, no need to install any programs to run it
  • Aesthetic retro design
  • Multiple pickup patterns let you do the work of different microphones
  • High fidelity microphone
  • No-latency monitoring means you can hear yourself in real-time
  • Has instant mute on the mic

Cons

  • No pop-filter
  • Doesn’t come with a boom arm

2.  ZINGYOU Condenser Microphone Bundle

#6 in Vocal Condenser Microphones

Customer Rating: 4 stars out of 5 (14,118 ratings)

Price: $36.99

Specifications

Model number: BM-800

Type: Condenser

Polar pattern: Unidirectional

Color: Black

Connectivity: 3-pin XLR to IEC

Power Source: Corded Electric

Sensitivity: -34 dB±2 dB

Max. SPL: 132 dB

Signal/noise ratio: 78 dB

Item Weight: 3.3 pounds

Material:  Aluminum, Metal

Hardware Platform: PC/Mac

Pros

  • Sounds great
  • Really cheap for a beginner setup that already has everything you need for your audio

Cons

  • Needs a dedicated microphone jack on your PC because the mic gets more noise the more connections you use
  • Materials are cheap and flimsy
  • The USB adapter that comes with the bundle cannot power the microphone properly. Might need to purchase a Phantom power supply

3.  Audio-Technica AT2020 Cardioid Condenser Studio XLR Microphone

#4 in Vocal Condenser Microphones

Customer Rating: 4.7 stars out of 5 (10,163 ratings)

Price: $99.00

Specifications

Model number: AT2020

Type: Condenser

Polar pattern: Unidirectional

Colors: Black

Connector Type: XLR Connector

Power Source:

Max SPL: 144 dB

Sensitivity: -37 dB

Item Weight: 1.32 pounds

Material:  Metal

Hardware Platform: PC, Mac

Pros

  • The sound quality is clear
  • Build feels heavy and sturdy

Cons

  • Doesn’t come with an XLR cable
  • Picks up background noises easily
  • The sound is as good as other cheaper microphones

4.  ZealSound Studio Recording Microphone

Customer Rating: 4 stars out of 5 (7,255 ratings)

Price: $32.98

Specifications

Model number: k08

Type: Condenser

Pickup pattern: Omnidirectional

Colors: Gold, Rose Gold, Silver

Connectivity: 3.5 mm Auxiliary, Y Splitter for PC that has 2 separate microphone and earphone ports

Power Source: Battery Powered

Sensitivity: -38dB/Pa

Max SPL: 112 dB

Item Weight: 7.15 Ounces

Material: Aluminum

Hardware Platform: PC, Mac, all smartphones, tablet, PS4, PS5

Pros

  • Clear and crisp sound
  • Echo function
  • Background noise is filtered well
  • Small size takes up little space and doesn’t cover the face
  • Plug and play for all PC, Mac, mobile devices, tablets, PS4 and PS5
  • Built-in sound card with volume and echo buttons
  • Rechargeable Built-in Lithium Battery lasts 4-6 hours

Cons

  • Needs a sound card adapter if you’re using a MacBook
  • Doesn’t feel sturdy when held

5.  SUDOTACK Professional Cardioid Condenser Mic Kit

Customer Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5 (6,794 ratings)

Price: $48.99

Specifications

Model number: ST-800

Type: Condenser

Polar pattern: Unidirectional

Color: Black

Connector Type: USB

Power Source: Corded Electric

Audio Sensitivity: -38dB+/-3dB

Resolution & Sample Rate: 24bit/192khz

Item Weight: 2.83 pounds

Material:  Metal

Hardware Platform: PC

Pros

  • Best sound quality at this cheap price
  • Sounds even better than pricier mics
  • Comes as a complete set which is very convenient
  • Mic feels heavy and durable

Cons

  • Picks up background noise easily
  • Mic stand has a cheap build and cannot properly support the microphone’s weight

6.  MAONO Condenser Mic Kit

#1 in Instrument Condenser Microphones

Customer Rating: 4.6 stars out of 5 (5,906 ratings)

Price: $49.99

Specifications

Model number: AU-A04

Type: Condenser

Polar pattern: Unidirectional

Color: Black

Connector Type: USB

Power Source: Corded Electric

Sampling Rate: 192kHz/24bit

Item Weight: 2.94 pounds

Material:  Metal

Hardware Platform: Laptop, PC

Pros

  • Plug and play to any PC
  • Only takes 1 minute to set up the arm clamp, attach the mic, and plug it into the PC. Then you can use it immediately
  • All metal build feels sturdy
  • No need for a separate power supply

Cons

  • Needs an OTG adapter if you want to use it on your mobile device
  • Not compatible with Xbox

7.  Bonke USB Condenser Microphone for Computer

#5 in Computer Microphones

Customer Rating: 4.4 stars out of 5 (5,497 ratings)

Price: $33.98

Specifications

Model number: M900

Type: Condenser

Color: Black

Connector Type: USB

Power Source: Corded Electric

Item Weight: 2.9 pounds

Material:  Cotton

Hardware Platform: Gaming Console, PC, Mac 

Pros

  • Plug and play
  • Volume and Echo dial
  • Crisp and clean sound
  • Easy to assemble
  • Doesn’t take up too much space on your desk

Cons

  • Made of cheap material
  • Mic arm doesn’t hold well
  • Screws that hold the mic are not that good
  • USB cable is short
  • Cannot be used on a mobile device 

8.  IK Multimedia iRig Mic Studio

Recommended by a lot of sites

Customer Rating: 4.1 stars out of 5 (201 ratings)

Price: $149.99 on Amazon

Specifications

Model: IP-IRIG-MICSTDBLA-IN

Type: Condenser

Polar pattern: Cardioid or Unidirectional

Colors: Black, Silver

Connector Type: USB

Power Source: Corded Electric via USB

Freq. response: 20Hz – 20kHz ±3dB

Sensitivity: -42±3dB

Max SPL: 133 dB

Resolution & Sample Rate: 24 bit, 44.1kHz / 48kHz

Item Weight: 7.7 Ounces

Hardware Platform: Mac/PC, Android, iPhone, iPad 

Pros

  • Sounds great
  • Comes with a portable tripod tabletop stand. Convenient for traveling.
  • Has multicolor LED status that lets you see input signal levels
  • Integrated headphone output lets you monitor your audio input in real-time
  • Has physical headphone volume knob and gain knob
  • Comes with a suite of IK apps that will enhance performance on Windows PC
  • Comes with three cables to connect to any device (USB, Micro-USB, iOS Lightning cable)

Cons

  • Not that good for recording instruments
  • Not compatible with other apps
  • A lot of users had trouble with the cable connectivity
  • Doesn’t connect to a lot of Android devices

A good mic is a good investment

We’ve presented you with a selection of highly-rated microphones, some with crazy affordable prices. Choose any one of these to complete your streaming setup. You might have to part with some cash, but trust us, it’s money well-invested. A good stream production is sure to garner a lot of viewers, followers, and subscribers on Twitch.

Maddie Schultz

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