Getting started in streaming is not an easy thing to do. Apart from building an audience, you will have to worry about getting a good webcam, a decent computer that can handle streaming, an internet connection and last but not least, a high-quality microphone.
But how should you chose which one is the best microphone for live streaming if you know nothing about microphones? What is the difference between XLR and USB microphones?
Don’t worry, you won’t have to learn anything about mics because we have selected and reviewed the top ten microphones for streaming that you can currently get, just to make starting a streaming career easier for you.
The prices of these microphones in this list vary greatly, so we are completely sure you will the one that fits your budget and your expectation as well. There are premium and budget ones as well, because we know not everyone has loads of money when they start streaming.
Best Microphones for Live Streaming and Gaming in 2018
Feel free to browse around in the article, read the reviews and listen to the recordings. If you are looking for a certain product, just click on its name and it will take you right to the review.
Let’s jump on it!
|Microphone Name||Connection Type||Polar Patterns||Price|
|Audio-Technica AT2035||XLR (With USB Interface)||Cardoid|
|Audio-Technica AT2050||XLR||Multi Pattern|
|Blue Snowball USB Microphone||USB||Multi Pattern|
|Razer Seiren - Elite Professional||USB||Multi Pattern|
|Blue Yeti USB Microphone||USB||Multi Pattern|
|Samson Meteor Mic USB||USB||Cardoid|
|Antlion Audio ModMic||3.5mm Jack||Unidirectional|
Road NT-USB – Simple Streaming Mic
I don’t want to spend a lot of time on the physical overview of the microphone because let’s be honest, they look very familiar. With the microphone comes a carrying case which is made out of leather and a lovely sticker from Rode that says ” I love RODE Microphones”.
The microphone itself stands on a rubber covered tripod stand, with a standard arm that lets you tilt the mic however you want it. There is also a removable pop filter included in the package, which is a nice addition.
It comes with a preeety long USB cable. And by pretty long, I mean really long. It’s the longest USB cable I’ve ever seen actually. It’s nice if you have a lot of space to cover, but if you don’t it can get pretty messy.
On the front of the microphone, there is a black grill that protects the condenser module. The Rode NT-USB has a cardioid pickup pattern, which means it is best for personal or close up use.
The mic connects with a full size USB-B cable, and on the right, you will find two dials one for adjusting the monitoring volume of it and one is a mixer dial that lets you control how much of the music you want to mix into your record.
The Rode NT-USB doesn’t have a gain knob, instead it uses an internal gain setting that works fairly well. Although some people love to mess with gain levels, for everyday users like streamers this is even better, because it simplifies things.
The Rode NT-USB is a great choice for beginner streamers, podcasters or gamers that want better audio quality for their teammates. Although it doesn’t have very advanced features like an XLR input or multiple pickup patterns, but it does have cool additions like the removable pop filter.
It is plug and play, just plug it in your computer and you are ready to go.
Credits to: Podcastage
Audio Technica AT2035 – If you want quality on a budget
This is an XLR condenser microphone which means it does require a phantom power to work. What does that means is that this mic will not work directly plugged in you computer and it will also not work with an XLR to USB cable.
The way you can connect it to your machine is by using a USB audio interface. You can control the gain and usually the monitoring volume on that interface as well.
With the microphone, you get a nice little shock mount, which is a great addition. The shock mount is all plastic, but it feels like relatively sturdy.
The package also includes a very nice leather padded carrying pouch.
Just like the other 20 series microphone the build quality of this thing is pretty awesome. It has an all-metal construction a nice metal grill and some really nice substantial weight to it. Unlike the 2020, this does have to switches on the back, the first one is a 10 decibel pad, which helps when recording or streaming loud sounds, like a guitar amp, and the other is a bass low off, which just cuts a little bit of the low frequencies to help with low-frequency rumbles.
The Audio-Technica AT2035 has a cardioid pickup pattern, which means it is perfect for streaming or recording anything as long as you put it in front of the microphone.
In overall, the sound is fricking awesome on this thing. If you are gaming, and you are using a mechanical keyboard which has a lot of noise, it will be a very good option, although it is a bit expensive.
Audio Technica AT2050 – If you want quality
Just like with the AT2035, in the package, you are going to find a hard plastic shock mount, which is not that great of a quality, but it’s still sturdy. The leather padded carrying bag is a default it seems because there is one in the box of the AT2050 as well.
The build quality of this thing is really nice, the all-metal body gives it a modern yet minimalistic look. The metal mesh grill on it is very strong.
This microphone for streaming comes with multiple polar patterns. On the front, you can find a switch that lets you move between cardioid, omnidirectional, and bi-directional. On the back of the AT2050, you will also find a low cut switch, which again helps you cut out the lower frequencies of your recording. It has a pad switch as well.
The cardioid polar pattern is perfect for streaming or gaming.
The omnidirectional setting is great if you want to record a lot of ambient noise, or entire meetings or people around the microphone in a circle.
The bi-directional is great for podcasts, interviews as it records in front and on the back of the device.
This little thing is a very modern sounding microphone, it is relatively bright. If you are not going to use all of the polar patterns, I recommend looking into other cardioid mics, but if you, then it is a perfect choice.
Audio-Technica AT2020USB+ – The most popular streaming microphone
The AT2020 comes with a nice looking box, in it, you will find the mic itself, a long USB cable and a mount for the device. The desktop stand is pretty cheap quality, it often brakes. Usually, one or two legs just simply brake off. You get a carrying sleeve as well.
This Audio-Technica wonder is built well, just like the others. They all have a similar design and a nice metal construction.
On the front of the microphone, you can find the grill, with a blue LED inside, that let’s you know if the mic is getting power or not. You find it annoying? Well unfortunately, you can’t turn it down.
There is a monitor volume dial, which helps you set the amount of mic/computer noise you want to hear. The other dial is just simply your headphone volume.
This is a USB only microphone, and it is fully compatible with Windows and Mac. Because it is USB powered, you can just simply plug it in your computer/laptop and there you go.
It has a cardioid polar pattern only, but it is not a problem because it was made for this purpose. I have to mention that the pattern of it is a little wide, so if you have a huge room, it might pick up other noises, but with a noise gate, this can be easily fixed.
The frequency response is a little bit higher than the simple AT2020 USB version. Keep in mind that this is the USB+ version we are talking about here.
All around, this is a pretty nice sounding microphone, especially if you are planning on streaming.
Blue Snowball USB Microphone – The low end
Blue designs is a pretty popular name when it comes to microphones. The Blue Snowball is a compact and small microphone for people that have smaller budgets. Keep in mind that this is NOT the Snowball Ice version, it is the original Snowball.
The Snowball is a USB Condenser microphone that has two microphone capsules inside of it. This allows the Snowball to switch polar patterns to Cardioid which only picks up noise in front of it, to an omnidirectional that picks up noise all around it.
In the box, you get the Blue Snowball itself, around six foot of USB cable, a 3 leg stand.
The build quality feels cheap because it is all out of plastic, and doesn’t feel durable. The stand does actually feel sturdy and nice although!
There is a ball joint on the mic, that allows you to slightly tilt it back and forth.
In the back, you will find the USB connector and a three-way switch. This switch lets you switch between Cardioid, Cardioid with 10-decibel Pad which lowers the volume about 10 decibels, and the Omnidirectional setting.
Unfortunately, the two microphone capsules in the Snowball have to different tones and sounds. The cardioid sound more natural and full, the omnidirectional setting sounds more tiny, hollow and unnatural.
For this price tag, the Snowball is a pretty decent mic, but I wouldn’t use the omni setting at all, only the cardioid but for this price I wouldn’t expect any more.
Razer Seiren – Elite Professional – The High end
Just like the Blue Yeti, this has multiple microphone capsules inside, which allows you to change the polar patterns.
The knob on the back allows you two change between four different polar patterns.
The very first is bi-directional, which picks up audio directly in front and behind it, this is good for interviews, and that kind of stuff. The second is cardioid, the most popular setting, which only picks up sound in front of it.
Next is omnidirectional, and the fourth is stereo which picks up audio on the sides of the mic.
What you get in the box is the Razer Seiren itself, it comes with a microphone stand attached very similar to the blue yeti’s. It has a very nice looking braided USB cable, and an XLR cable that splits into two XLR’s so you will need to have at least two XLR inputs if you are going to use the XLR capabilities of the Seiren.
The design and quality of this thing is awesome. It has an all-metal body, and a nice metal stand that lets it stand firmly on your desk. Everything on the mic feels very well designed and built, just as we expected from Razer. Good job Razer!
On the front, you have an LED display, which lets you know what polar pattern you are using and the microphone gain. Below that is your headphone volume knob and a microphone mute button.
On the back we have two knobs, one changes between the four polar patterns the other is to control the gain of the microphone.
On the bottom, there is an XLR, USB output, and a regular headphone jack. It has a high pass filter as well.
The Razer Seiren Elite Pro sounds awesome in every polar setting. For this pricetag, we wouldn’t expect any less than it is providing, although some people think it is too expensive. I personally think it is completely worth the price.
Blue Yeti USB Microphone – The High end
In the box, you will find the Yeti, a USB mic cable and the stand which your mic will stand on.
The build quality of Blue Yeti USB is very good, it has a full metal body as well, and the stand the microphone is on has a decent weight to it, which avoids you knocking it over.
On the front we have the mute button, which lets you mute it instantly, and a volume knob which adjusts the monitor headphone volume.
On the back, we have a gain knob which increases or decreases your Yetis volume and below that is the pattern knob, which lets you choose between the four polar patterns, which is damn hard to turn actually.
On the bottom, you have the stand mount, a USB plug, and a 3.5 mm jack.
Everything on the Yeti feels sturdy and substantial except the volume knob and the gain knob.
The first pattern setting is the stereo setting. The second is the cardioid settings, which is the same setting you are going find on the microphones out there. The third, omnidirectional setting is great for conference calls, for orchestras.
The last setting is the bi-directional, it’s a good setting for interviews.
I highly recommend this microphone, it sounds awesome and the knobs allow you to fine-tune it to do exactly what you want with it. It basically has a setting for every scenario.
The only downsides are the two kinda cheap knobs, and that it is USB only. If you want an XLR version, you should get the Blue Yeti Pro.
Samson Meteor Mic USB – The High end
In the box, you will find the Samson Meteor with the built-in stand and a USB cable.
The construction on the Meteor is great. At first, from seeing it on pictures, I thought it was made out of plastic with a shiny coating, but I was fooled. It has a full metal body and a nice weight to it.
It is pretty sturdy and it has to be sturdy because it is the kind of mic that you can carry around, toss it in your bag quickly and you expect it not to get damaged.
On the back of the Meteor, you will find two ports, a jack for your monitoring headphones and a USB port that lets you connect it to your pc or mac.
On the front, there is a volume knob for the headphones with a button in it. That button is for muting the microphone. It has no gain knob.
The Samson Meteor is a cardioid microphone, so it doesn’t have multipattern settings.
If you are looking for a mic that you can carry around and you travel a lot, or simply don’t have that big of a budget currently, this one is pretty decent, but it is not capable of recording high-quality audio like instruments or so.
Audio-Technica ATR2500 – The High end
With the microphone, comes the mount and a 5ft USB cable. You also get a cheap plastic microphone stand. The ATR2500 can only connect with USB and doesn’t have an XLR port. It also doesn’t have a gain control knob, which is a bummer.
The build quality is not the best, although it is a metal body, it has metal grills, but the plastic components on the front feel kinda cheap.
On the front, you will find a headphone port, which provides live monitoring with zero latency. There are two buttons for the headphone volume, an up and a down button and a LED light that lets you know that the ATR2500 is on.
The frequency response of this mic is pretty good and it has a cardioid polar pattern. The recording quality is decent, it sounds full and natural.
For recording instrument, it is decent and for streaming or gaming, it is completely awesome. Since it is a cardioid microphone, it is totally made for that. Although it has metal grills, those don’t prevent popping noises, so I highly recommend getting a pop filter for it once you are at it.
Antlion Audio ModMic 5.0 – The High end
The ModMic is probably the best sounding, most affordable detachable microphone what you can put on any pair of headphones.
With the product itself, you get a carrying case, which is nice if you want to carry it over to your friend’s house or with you on a travel. There is a mute module, which you can connect to the cables, which helps you to instantly mute your mic.
We have a 1M and 2M cable, and some additional clips and stick ons.
The ModMic itself is very thin and lightweight, you can just simply put it on your headset. The mic is flexible, but still sturdy enough that it will keep the posture that you’ve bent it to.
On the mic, there is a switch that lets you switch between omnidirectional and unidirectional patterns.
The reason why this microphone is so great is that you can literally attach it to any headphones you have, even to open back headphones.
If you need something portable and don’t like having microphones on your desk, maybe you already have a premium headphone, this will be a great choice for streaming.