The 7 Best Gaming Microphones In 2021 - Musician Nerd

Updated on Apr 08, 2021



Finding the best gaming microphone is an essential step for every gamer, whether you're looking to enhance communication with teammates, or broadcasting your own streams. Microphones can be complicated, however, coming in all different shapes and sizes, some built for very specific purposes while others focus on more broad categories of audio. Fortunately, a team of musicians & nerds have kept people like you in mind, and are prepared to guide you on your journey towards a new amazing microphone.

Right off the bat, as we assume many of you don't have preamplifiers and other audio interfacing devices, we'll be limiting our list to USB microphones, which can be their own challenge with much low quality builds popping up on the market. This list features microphones that are adored by gamers, podcasters, streamers, and even recording studio professionals, and offers a wide range of price points to ensure the perfect microphone for everyone.

We'll start by going through our list below, talking in-depth about each gaming microphone, and then we'll get into the technical details later. Everyone's needs are different, but by the end, we're certain you'll have decided which is the best microphone for gaming. We'll start strong with our personal favorite. Let's dive into it!

The Best Gaming Microphones

Best Microphone For Gaming

HyperX QuadCast | Under $150


HyperX Quadcast Design Award Winner Of 2019
HyperX Quadcast Design Award Winner Of 2019

The HyperX Quadcast is one of the best gaming microphones on the market, offering a stellar (award-winning) design with amazing audio quality to back up the moderate price tag it comes with. While the stock model comes with a red LED light, they offer an even cooler edition with a customizable RGB light, allowing it to fit in with any gaming PC. While design shouldn't be the dominating factor in your microphone purchase, this major edge by HyperX is essential for any gaming enthusiast.

The design of the HyperX Quadcast is only one of the many reasons we love it so much. On top of that, this sturdy USB microphone features a well-made capsule & built-in stand that fits conveninently in almost any location. The durability is mind blowing when you consider the weight of this microphone.

Of course, the HyperX Quadcast also offers high-end audio quality, with warm lows and crisp highs that will make your friends and fans think you're sitting in a recording studio as you play. Suffice it to say, as one of the best gaming microphones, the HyperX Quadcast checks off all the boxes and then some.

One of the most admirable aspects of the HyperX Quadcast is how feature-rich it is, from both an engineering standpoint & technological. The build features an anti-vibration shock mount that protects your audio from any handling noises, such as kicking your desk. The capsule offers four polar pattern modes that allow you to limit the audio coming in.

If you're an enthusiast who wants to go all in, then look no further. This one is certainly in my opinion the best microphone for gaming, from both quality & design standpoint. We'll go more in-depth down below about the many features included, and you can also read the HyperX Quadcast Review.

Check Price On Amazon

Best Streaming

Blue Yeti X | Under $200


Blue Yeti Plug And Play on PC and Mac
Blue Yeti Plug And Play on PC and Mac

The Blue Yeti microphone series has a massive reputation in the USB space, and when you hear the quality, it's easy to see why it's one of the best gaming microphones. This microphone has been around since 2009 and has been the leading choice for streamers since, partially due to how easy it is to use (especially when compared to other USB mics at the time) and also the high-end quality that you hardly find from a condenser at this price point.

The versatility of the Blue Yeti makes it a fine choice for a range of uses, whether you're gaming one day or recording an album the next. The ability to repurpose something like the Blue Yeti is essential for some when making such an investment. The proprietary tri-capsule technology from Blue offers studio-grade quality with 4 polar pattern options allowing you to adjust the sensitivity of the microphone depending on the setting you're in.

The Blue Yeti Pro Model takes everything one step further by offering supreme quality, with a 24 bit-depth / 192kHz sample rates, transmitting your audio 4x faster than the base model. Using this edition will likely make for the best gaming microphone in terms of audio quality.

The Blue Yeti X Model still offers massive amounts of quality and is definitely going to be a winning choice for a streaming microphone. With the Blue broadcast sound, you'll find a greater focus on your vocals with a rich low end to give your voice some power, while keeping the highs at a crisp for clarity.

And if that's not enough, Blue offers their own VOICE audio software with a pack of broadcast vocal effects that allow you to modify your sound with ease. Whether you're interested in keeping the crisp modern sounds this USB microphone offers out of the box, or want to use their warm vintage sounds, you'll find value in their presets. This offers a lot of flexibility for your audio, which is why many consider it to be the best microphone for YouTube. If you're interested in hearing more, check out our review of the Blue Yeti base model and see why many consider it to be the best gaming microphone.

Check Price: Blue Yeti X


Technology Choice

Elgato Wave:3 | Under $200


Elgato Wave:3 With Soundwave Background
Elgato Wave:3 With Soundwave Background

Coming in as our technology choice, the Elgato Wave:3 is a must for those primarily focused on getting the most out of their gaming microphone. The design of this mic is one of the highest quality builds we've seen in a USB microphone, featuring a steel grille & heavy-duty desktop stand for maximum capsule protection & sound diffusion. The U-Mount can attach to external stands as well, and we recommend fitting it with a desktop boom stand.

The Elgato Wave:3 is of course a feature-heavy microphone, and one of our favorites is the intuitive Wave Link software custom-build for these mics. This mixing software was developed for you to have total control over your audio while streaming, whether using it with Twitch, YouTube, or podcasting. While not the most unique feature, their software outperforms anything we've ever seen a microphone offers. This single feature makes this one of the most enticing & best gaming microphones we've ever worked with.

Another essential feature you'll get from the Elgato Wave:3 is a multilayers noise shield that acts as an internal pop filter against plosives. The internal electronics also offer superior resolution with a 24 bit / 96kHz sample rating, as we would expect in this price range.

Due to the rich features, it's easy to see why some would say this is the best gaming microphone. We'll take a deeper dive into their software below!

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Best Versatility

Audio Technica AT2020USB+ | Under $150


Audio Technica AT2020 On Desktop Stand
Audio Technica AT2020 On Desktop Stand

One of the best gaming microphones in the YouTube & Podcast communities, the Audio Technica AT2020USB+ offers competitive sound quality from within it's vintage & durable condenser capsule. The AT series of microphones has been a long-time favorite amongst the video crowd, offering superior vocal quality with warm lows and crisp highs, but also makes for an incredible streaming microphone. The zero-latency monitoring will provide a smooth seamless experience as you talk and play.

The Audio Technica AT2020USB+ features a permanent cardioid condenser which will be perfect for a single voice. While some of the other microphones on this list offer multi-directional polar patterns, the AT2020 is limited to the cardioid, however, for many people, that's all they're going to need.

The features we get from the Audio Technica AT2020USB+ allow this condenser microphone to fit in most settings. The headphone jack paired with the mix control allows you to prerecord other audio to speak over, which is going to be ideal for gaming videos & tutorials, and that was actually the original reason I purchased this microphone many years ago.

The high-quality A/D converter and the smooth, extended frequency response allow for studio-grade audio recordings, specifically optimized for vocal use. The base edition of this microphone includes a pivoting stand mount with a tripod desk stand, USB cable, and protective pouch. There's nothing more an amazing gaming microphone needs than what this USB microphone provides. To learn more, check out our full review.

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Rode NT-USB | Under $200


Rode NT-USB With Popfilter On Desktop Stand
Rode NT-USB With Popfilter On Desktop Stand

Arguably one of the leading competitors against the Blue Yeti series, the Rode NT-USB is another high-performance best gaming microphone that offers a massive amount of versatility. This side-addressed condenser microphone is probably the most studio-qualified microphone on this list, which is not surprising coming from Rode. When running it through our tests, the results were spectacular, sounding more like an XLR mic than a USB.

If you want your gaming microphone to work for other uses like recording your acoustic guitar, this may be the microphone for you. The wide-range frequencies in this condenser microphone are paired with some of the best transient responses out of all the microphones on this list, creating a competitive level of depth to your audio. The sensitivity, while intimidating for some, is going to paint the full picture of almost anything you try and record.

The Rode NT-USB is one of the best gaming microphones due to the built-in features, from zero-latency monitoring to the included pop shield and tripod desk stand.

The pop shield allows you to use the Rode NT-USB without worrying about your P's, N's and T's creating a sharp spike in your audio, disturbing any listeners. And like some of the others on this list, this USB microphone offers mix control for pairing your recording with premade tracks. To learn more, checkout our full review.

Check Price On Amazon


Best For Portable Use

Razer Seiren X | Under $100


Razer Seiren X On Desk With Laptop
Razer Seiren X On Desk With Laptop

While being one of the more affordable options on the list, the Razer Seiren X is considered the best gaming microphone by many in the community for it's rich features and high performance. This USB microphone is so unique in that it was designed and tested by top Twitch streamers, built for the exact intention of being used as a streaming microphone. Only one other on this list can claim the same.

The Razer Seiren X uses a super-cardioid condenser capsule, making it perfect for a single user. When we tested it, the audio results were pretty good for this price range, and the supercardioid condenser does exactly what it states: eliminates unwanted background noises and keeping all of the attention on you.

This gaming microphone also features a built-in shock mount to protect your audio from handling noises, so you don't have to worry about destroying your audio when you bump into your desk. The zero-latency monitoring allows you to listen in as you stream with perfect syncing, which is an absolute must. It's not the best performing microphone on the list, but it may very well be the best gaming microphone.

Check Price On Amazon

Budget Choice

Jlab Audio Talk Go | Under $100


Jlab Audio Talk USB With Box Contents
Jlab Audio Talk USB With Box Contents

One of the more recently released USB microphones on the market, the Jlab Audio Talk Go offers just the right amount of quality at a low price. I've been following the Jlab Audio Talk series since its initial launch, and while it has its caveats, you can tell they were modeling off of the Blue Yeti series. When it comes to finding an affordable option that qualifies as one of the best gaming microphones, this may be the right choice for you.

For the low price of $49.00, the Jlab Audio Talk Go offers a lot more features than others in this price range. The compact lightweight design makes it perfect for portable use. What's amazing, however, is the high resolution. Boasting a sample rating of 24 bit-depth/96kHz, the Jlab Audio Talk Go provides clear & detailed audio recordings.

Along with the great dynamic sound range this gaming microphone provides, it features 2 directional pattern modes, cardioid, and Omni. We'll discuss further below, but the cardioid polar pattern will be great for a single voice, and the Omni polar pattern is good for recording the entire room (such as a conference room).

There's a lot going on with this affordable USB microphone, which is why we recommend it as the best budget gaming mic. To learn more, checkout our review of the base model.

Check Price: Jlab Audio Talk Go

Analysis On The Best Gaming Microphones


Our Expertise


As much as we love talking about the best gaming microphones, we get that our readers don't know us, and might wonder just what makes us qualified to make these recommendations. While we aren't limited to gaming mics, we're especially qualified in this subject because as our name suggests, we are made up of both musicians and nerds. And what do nerdy musicians love to do in their free time? You guessed it... gaming!

As the founder, I personally have worked in many studio settings and have invested a lot in my own home setups. One of my favorite hobbies growing up was trying anything and everything, especially microphones. Because I'm such a nerd, I have to know how everything I own works, inside and out, and that includes microphones.

My unique perspective as both a major consumer and expert in this space allow me to deliver the most high-quality recommendations to my audience. Where some people pull lists off of Amazon's "best" lists, I care more about my reader's unique situations and want to make sure you understand the full picture of every microphone we recommend to you.


About Gaming Microphones


In this day and age, microphones hold so many purposes, and as we've said before, every use case will require a different mic. If you've read our article on gaming microphones, you'd know we're usually looking at condenser microphones. In recent years there has a been a rise in USB condenser mics built for the affordable market.

USB Condenser Microphone Suspended In Front Of Computer
USB Condenser Microphone Suspended In Front Of Computer

Condenser microphones have their pros and cons. They're highly sensitive, as we've mentioned before, which boosts the accuracy and depth of your recorded audio. Without the high sensitivity, your results will be dull & flat, and you'd as well get a cheap $10 clip-on mic. However, the sensitivity can be brutal for those in noisy environments. Dynamic alternatives, such as the Audio Technica AT2005USB can bring you strong quality without the background noise.

Another issue you'll run into with cheaper microphones is high latency, causing a lag in your audio. The zero-latency that many of the best gaming microphones offer is essential for streaming.

Of course, streaming is only one use case. The other is when you're chatting with your friends on a platform like Discord (or one of the many discord alternatives). If you've ever been to a party where everyone is using cheap mics (such as the ones included in consoles), you'll know how disruptive that can get. The advantages of sounding good may seem minor, but the overall communication of your team will feel the results.


Polar Patterns


A microphone's polar pattern, as as described here by Shure, is the sensitivity to sound relative to the direction or angle from which the sound arrives. In simpler terms, it's which sides of your microphone can pick up noise.

For example, many microphones are built to pick up noise from the very front, whereas others can record your input no matter what side you're standing on. There are advantages and disadvantages to the different types of polarization.

Not every gaming microphone offers the ability to change these, but those that do deserve special attention. As you're going to see on the polar pattern chart, 4 common types allow you to expand the capabilities of your microphone. Cardioid works great for a single person while Omni-directional opens up the whole capsule, perfect for recording the whole room. Bi-directional and studio are less common but have their own advantages as well.

Jlab Audio Talk Directional Pattern Modes
Jlab Audio Talk Directional Pattern Modes

Most gaming microphones come in either Omni or Cardioid, and a few on our list are permanently cardioid. For many, including myself most of the time, that will work just fine, but it's up to you to reflect on the work you'll be doing to decide what functionaliities you'll need.


How They Sound


Woman Playing Guitar Into USB Computer Microphone
Woman Playing Guitar Into USB Computer Microphone

While the best gaming microphones can be pretty niche, our group is still run by musicians, and as such, we care about more than just the beautiful aesthetics of the microphone, or the many features and accessories they come with.

When compiling this list, we tested the microphones in a range of settings. We ended up trying each microphone on the desk while playing games to see if there were any "cut-outs" or monitoring issues, but before that, we tested each one in a more normal setting to get a sense of the quality. Of course, we have worked with many of the microphones on this list on several occasions.

Latency was one of our biggest concerns, especially with the rise of video game streaming platforms, like Amazon Luna, The Netflix Of Gaming? and seeing how those platforms could affect your audio quality. We've considered the many platforms on the market today and tried to develop the most authentic, bulletproof test cases to ensure you're getting only the best options.

We also tested the gaming microphones on this list for other things such as playing guitar and singing to see how they hold up. Most of them would pass for a home studio microphone, which goes to show you the level of quality these companies put into their microphones.


What Type Of Microphone Should I Be Looking For?

The type of microphone you'll be looking for depends heavily on a few factors, such as budget, equipment, and knowledge. A lot of people get hung up on the "Dynamic vs Condenser" in the streaming world, but we're often talking about microphones between $50 and $400, and at this range, you're going to find both types have their advantages. However, a few brands have been building condenser microphones specifically for streaming purposes, while staying within a reasonable price range, and even adding in revolutionary features to prevent a need for more equipment, such as preamplifiers.

One of the biggest differences between the condenser and dynamic mics that people will talk about is that condensers often require what's called Phantom Power. Phantom Power is a universal method of powering the inner electronics in these microphones that affect the recording of capacitance, which we discuss further in our article What Is A Condenser Microphone? However, around 2005, there began rising popularity in USB microphones which was further fueled by the quality and innovation brought by companies like Audio Technica, Blue, and more recently, JLab.

With USB microphones came the ability to pretty much "plug and go", which has been a long aspiration by condenser microphone innovators. Instead of requiring preamps to supply the Phantom Power, the computer's USB Port supplies the voltage required by the microphone. This saves us on the extra cost of equipment.

One of the reasons condenser microphones can be better for a gaming microphone is because the high sensitivity will allow you to move around with more flexibility while properly recording your voice. Dynamic mics on the other hand are made to cancel out noise from most directions (using what's called a "Cardioid Pattern"), as they're popularly used for stage use, and without that feature, you'd fall victim to horrible feedback and other unwanted sounds. On top of that, dynamic microphones can have a lower gain, making it difficult to pick up your voice. Therefore, most affordable dynamic microphones will require very direct input through the front. Now, can you imagine playing games while having to stress about where you are about your microphone? I know I personally fidget a lot in my seat, and really don't want to worry about where my microphone is.

The optimal gaming microphone will be able to sit below you on your desk while you play and pick up your voice no matter how much you move around. This is definitely a functionality you'll be able to get out of a condenser mic. On top of that, their wide-frequency response allows for more crystal clear sound wave readings, offering better accuracy, and therefore better quality.

How Do The Internal Components Affect The Quality?

The internal components of our microphone will always play a major role in quality. A condenser microphone with a large-diaphragm within the capsule vs a small or medium-sized diaphragm is going to have stronger readings and therefore superior accuracy. Microphones are also built for a variety of purposes, such as video calling, voice-overs, podcasting, music recording, performing, ASMR, etc. and the components are going to have a massive effect on which of these the microphone can handle, and in some cases, the versatility to do all of these.

Many dynamic microphones, and some condensers, use what is called a cardioid pattern. What this does is mute any audio input from the sides and rear, only recording what it hears directly through the front. As we discussed earlier, this can be great for when you have other noise in the room, and only need to record your voice. A cardioid condenser will have the positives we need from the highly sensitive condenser microphone while eliminating the extra noise that we don't want to record.

Now, USB microphones are definitely built a little different than a condenser you'll see hanging in the studio. The electronics & their power source is built to prioritize ease-of-use over anything else, which is going to be great for any gamer or streamer. However, it's important to look at a few other features when considering a good microphone for you, such as the recording sample rate and the bit depth.

In this day and age, most recording devices, including your computer, can record a minimum of 96kHz sample rate, and some go much higher. In our case, we're really only concerned about the 48kHz - 96kHz range, as this is what you're most likely to find. The question is, what difference does it make?

There's a lot of debate around this subject, but we find microphones on both ends record pretty much the same. Older audio interfaces were improved by the 96kHz sample rates due to their own internal sampling filters, but technology is changing rapidly every day, and the need for these sample rates is becoming less of an issue. In fact, the sample rates will be more taxing on your computer, and so for live streams, and 48kHz may even be the optimal choice. You can read more about high sample rates on Sweet Water.

What about bit depth? This is an important factor in our decision making, as it affects the resolution & quality of our audio. The low standard is 16-bit, which is the bit depth of CDs. However, the professional standard is 24-bit, and we are definitely able to find good gaming microphones with this level of bit depth.

Best Overall - HyperX Quadcast


HyperX Quadcast With Headphone Jack And Internal Popfilter
HyperX Quadcast With Headphone Jack And Internal Popfilter

Choosing the HyperX Quadcast as the best gaming microphone was easy in some ways and difficult in others. The Elgato Wave:3 has so much going for it, with their incredible technologies, but we like the sound of the HyperX better, and the designs & cutomizations make it such a commodity for gamers.

We've talked in great detail about the stellar design the HyperX Quadcast brings to the table, even offering an RGB option, but what else do we love about this best gaming microphone?

This microphone was built with gamers in mind, and offers compatibility with most devices, from PC & Mac to the PS4, allowing you to chat with friends on those devices. It offers a built-in headphone jack with convenient gain control so no matter how soft-spoken (or loud) you may be, you can adjust accordingly. That feature alone is a must, in my opinion.

We find the capsule to be really well-made, and the built-in shock mount not only looks cool but does a pretty good job of absorbing vibrations. This gaming microphone gives you the essentials you need to communicate and stream while looking really good with your setup. In the market for a new computer? Check out this list of the best gaming PC under 1000.


Technology Choice - Elgato Wave:3


We chose the Elgato Wave:3 as our technology choice for the best gaming microphone because holy cow what a mic! Elgato went full force when making this, and it really speaks for itself why we love it so much. The audio is great, but the features this comes packed with are even better. The software alone gets me excited, and it's really useful for any streamer or gamer.

The mixer allows for up to nine channels, which can include your in-game audio, voice chat, music, sound effects, and more! The zero-latency monitoring pairs nicely with this as you can create your own output separate from the output on your stream. This is especially useful if you use a lot of sounds because it allows you to lower those sound effects for yourself while keeping them at their normal level for your viewers.

Elgato Wave:3 With Digital Mixer And Playstation
Elgato Wave:3 With Digital Mixer And Playstation

They also boast a proprietary zero-clipping technology that instantaneously reroutes the excess audio (the "clipping" portion) to a second signal at a lower volume to provide a normalized output for your audience. That's right, this means when that camper is ticking you off, you can let it all out in your Elgato Wave:3 without ruining your sound quality.

At the end of the day, there's a handful of great gaming microphones out there, and it's brands like Elgato creating intuitive technological features that seperate from the rest, making a perfect buy for someone who wants it all.


Budget Choice - Jlab Audio Talk Go


Jlab Audio Talk Sitting On Wood Table
Jlab Audio Talk Sitting On Wood Table

We've recommended the Jlab Audio Talk Go as our best gaming microphones budget option for a number of reasons. When it comes to choosing the right "budget" microphone in a list like this, it can take a lot of time and thought, as there's a heck of a lot more budget options to choose from than high end.

The Jlab Audio Talk series is close in comparison with the Blue Yeti, as we mentioned before, and if you follow the microphone space closely, you'd know Blue holds a lot of weight for USB microphones. A while back when we did a piece on Which Is Better, Blue Yeti or Jlab Audio Talk?, and one of the only major caveats from Jlab was their low sensitivity.

While low sensitivity can reduce the overall depth of your gaming microphone's audio quality, it has its upsides for those who can't find a dead silent space to record in. Condenser microphones are known to capture the full essence and ambiance of the room for total accuracy, which means if posted up in your bedroom, you may hear people in the next room, AC's, footsteps, etc. very clearly through the microphone. Hence why we care so much about polar patterns!

Beyond that one major difference, we have a lot of interest in Jlab Audio's Talk series, and we're even more excited to see how they evolve over the years. At the time of writing, it's only been out for 6 months!

Conclusion - Best Gaming Microphone

Finding the best gaming microphone is essential for anyone who cares about getting the best multiplayer experience, but even more important for streamers on Twitch & YouTube. Because of the wide range of uses microphones can have, we hope this list helped simplify things, and perhaps you learned a thing or two.

If you're interested in finding more USB options, you should checkout our list of the best USB microphones. For other great gamer gear, check out Gaming Notion.

What did you think of the options on this list? Think we're missing an essential choice? Or maybe you disagree with one of our points? Regardless, we're an open-minded group and are always open to suggestions! If you made a purchase, let us know which choice you went with, whether you're going all-in on the Elgato Wave:3, or pairing the HyperX Quadcast with your gaming rig, we'd love to hear about it.


Posted on Sep 27, 2020

Gaming

Have questions for us? Email us at info@musiciannerd.com


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