The 8 Best Gaming Microphones | Musician Nerd

Updated on May 11, 2022

Finding the best gaming microphone is an essential step for every gamer, whether you're looking to enhance communication with teammates or broadcast your streams. However, microphones can be complicated, coming in different shapes and sizes; some are built for particular purposes while others focus on more broad audio categories. 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 fantastic microphone.

For simplicity & reducing the need for extra hardware, we'll be limiting our list to USB microphones, which can be a challenge with many low-quality builds popping up on the market. This list features microphones 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 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 8 Best Gaming Microphones

Best Overall

1. Blue Yeti

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 the high-end quality that you hardly find from a condenser at this price point.

Blue Yeti Plug And Play Gaming Microphone
Blue Yeti Plug And Play Gaming Microphone

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 four polar pattern options allowing you to adjust the microphone's sensitivity depending on the setting you're recording in.

The Blue Yeti Pro 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 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 its VOICE audio software with a pack of broadcast vocal effects that allow you to modify your sound efficiently. 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. If you're interested in hearing more, check out our review and see why many consider it the best gaming microphone.

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Read Our Review: Blue Yeti

Best Looking Gaming Microphone

2. HyperX QuadCast

The HyperX Quadcast is one of the best gaming microphones on the market, offering a stellar (award-winning) design with exceptional 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 with any gaming PC. While design shouldn't dominate your microphone purchase, this significant edge by HyperX is essential for any gaming enthusiast.

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

The design of the HyperX Quadcast is only one of the many reasons we love it so much. On top of that, this sturdy mic features a well-made capsule & built-in stand that fits conveniently 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, HyperX Quadcast checks off all the boxes, making it one of the best gaming microphones.

One of the most admirable aspects of the HyperX Quadcast is how feature-rich it is, from both an engineering standpoint & technological one. The build features an anti-vibration shock mount that protects your audio from 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 our review.

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Read Our Review: HyperX Quadcast

Budget Choice

3. Audio-Technica AT2005USB

The Audio-Technica AT2005USB is one of the most well-known USB mics on the market, coming in at a very affordable price compared to others on this list while offering a fair amount of quality. One of the highlights I want to point out is that the AT2005USB is a cardioid dynamic microphone, offering better directionality. You're only recording your voice without a ton of background noise.

Audio-Technica AT2005USB On Desktop Stand
Audio-Technica AT2005USB On Desktop Stand

So this isn't the most unique feature, but for me, it's worth mentioning. With the AT2005USB, you not only have the option to connect via the USB port on your device, but they have an XLR option as well. If you're not sure what the key differences are, the team here at Musician Nerd wrote a piece about the differences between XLR microphones and USB. While both have advantages, XLR connections offer a slight quality boost but require more setup. Oh, and let's not forget that they include both types of cables for you in the box!

Audio-Technica built this microphone with a smooth, extended frequency response specifically tailored for voice applications. It utilizes a low-mass diaphragm for higher sensitivity, which offers a higher level of detail for your audio. This makes it perfect for not just gaming but also podcasts, Youtube, and even as a Zoom microphone for those of you working from home.

The phsycial quality of the microphone will bring you confidence as well. They include a thread adapter and tripod stand for your desk in the box, as well as the aforementioned cables. At this price point I can honestly say it's a worthwhile investment.

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Read Our Review: Audio-Technica AT2005USB

4. Elgato Wave:3

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 also attach to external stands, and we recommend fitting it with a desktop boom stand.

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

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. Elgato developed this mixing software for you to have total control over your audio while streaming, whether using it with Twitch, YouTube, or podcasting. While not a unique feature, their software outperforms anything we've seen before. 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 multilayer noise shield that acts as an internal pop filter against plosives. As expected in this price range, the internal electronics also offer superior resolution with a 24-bit / 96kHz sample rating.

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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Read Our Review: Elgato Wave:3

5. Audio Technica AT2020USB+

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 and making for a great streaming microphone. The zero-latency monitoring will provide a smooth, seamless experience as you talk and play.

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

The Audio Technica AT2020USB+ features a permanent cardioid condenser that 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, that's all they're going to need for many people.

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 will be ideal for gaming videos & tutorials, and that was 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 optimized explicitly 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 a great gaming microphone needs than what this choice provides.

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Read Our Review: Audio-Technica AT2020+

6. Rode NT-USB

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 from Rode. The results were spectacular when running it through our tests, 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 your microphone. 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. While intimidating for some, the sensitivity will paint the complete 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 mic offers mix control for pairing your recording with premade tracks.

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Read Our Review: Rode NT-USB

7. Razer Seiren X

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 its rich features and high performance. This 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. The super-cardioid condenser does exactly what it states: eliminates unwanted background noises and keeps 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 be the best gaming microphone.

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8. Jlab Audio Talk Go

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

One of the more recently released gaming microphones on the market, the Jlab Audio Talk Go, offers just the right quality at a low price. Since its initial launch, I've been following the Jlab Audio Talk series, 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 the low price of $49.00, the Jlab Audio Talk Go offers many more features than others in this price range. The compact, lightweight design makes it perfect for portable use. What's impressive, however, is the high resolution. Boasting a sample rating of 24 bit-depth/96kHz, the Jlab Audio Talk Go provides clear & detailed audio recordings.

This gaming microphone's tremendous dynamic sound range provides two polar-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 suitable for recording the entire room (such as a conference room).

There's a lot going on with this affordable gaming 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

Read Our Review: Jlab Audio Talk

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 exceptionally qualified in this subject because, as our name suggests, we are made up of both musicians and nerds. We also spend a lot of time gaming.

As the founder, I have worked in many studio settings and have invested a lot in my home setups. Growing up, one of my favorite hobbies 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, including 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. As we've mentioned before, they're highly sensitive, which boosts the accuracy and depth of your recorded audio. Without the high sensitivity, your results will be dull & flat, and you'd also 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 uses 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, 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, four common types allow you to expand the capabilities of your microphone. Cardioid works excellent for a single person, while Omni-directional opens up the whole capsule, perfect for recording the entire room. Bi-directional and studio are less common but have their 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 Gaming Microphone

While the best gaming microphones can be pretty niche, MusicianNerd is still run by musicians. 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 various settings. We tried 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: budget, equipment, and knowledge. Many 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 revolutionary features to prevent a need for more equipment, such as preamplifiers.

One of the most significant differences between the condenser and dynamic mics that people will talk about is that condensers often require Phantom Power. Phantom Power is a universal method of powering the inner electronics in these microphones that affect capacitance recording. However, around 2005, there began rising popularity of USB microphones which was further fueled by the quality and innovation brought by companies like Audio Technica, Blue, and, more recently, JLab.

With these microphones came the ability to "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 provides the voltage needed for the microphone, and 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. On the other hand, dynamic mics are made to cancel out noise from most directions (using what's called a "Cardioid Pattern"), as they're popularly used for stage use. 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 direct input through the front. Now, can you imagine playing games while stressing about where you are about your microphone? I know I fidget a lot in my seat and 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 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 with a large-diaphragm within the capsule vs. a small or medium-sized diaphragm is going to have stronger readings and, therefore, superior accuracy. Every microphone is built differently, regardless of the type. While we can make some generalizations, the versatility and performance of a microphone will be on a case-by-case basis.

Many dynamic microphones and condensers use a cardioid pattern, which helps 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 microphones while eliminating the extra noise that we don't want to record.

Now, USB microphones are built differently from a traditional condenser you'll see hanging in the studio. The electronics & their power source is made to prioritize ease of use over anything else, which will be great for any gamer or streamer. However, it's essential 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 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. The 96kHz sample rates improved older audio interfaces due to their internal sampling filters. Still, technology is changing rapidly every day, and the need for these sample rates is becoming less of an issue. The sample rates will be more taxing on your computer, so 48kHz may even be the optimal choice for live streams.

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.

Conclusion - Best Gaming Microphone

Finding the best gaming microphone is essential for anyone who cares about getting the best multiplayer experience but even more critical 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 something or two.

What did you think of the options on this list? Think we're missing an important 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


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