Updated on Apr 16, 2021
If you’re looking for the best microphone for streaming, then you’ve come to the right place. Our team of experts has been working in the audio industry for years, setting up equipment for podcasts, radio shows, recording studios, and of course, live streaming. Whether you’re streaming your own show or need a gaming microphone for Twitch, this guide will have you covered.
There’s a lot that goes into finding the best microphone for streaming, such as cost, ease of use, and quality. Unlike musicians, we don’t often encourage podcasters & streamers to go all out on a $1000+ microphone, as it’s beyond overkill, and perhaps not even effective. Instead, there are a lot of brands both old and new who have developed products for this specific purpose.
Today we’ll run you through the list of our favorite choices. We’ll dive into each option and talk about how it stands out from the others on the list, and who it’s best designed for. Whether you’re on a tight budget, or simply looking for the most high-end choice, this list will have the perfect microphone for you. Including many that are used by professionals you know & love for years.
The Blue Yeti is one of the most popular microphones on the market right now. If you watch a lot of videos, you'll notice it's arguably the most popular YouTube microphone, especially for smaller channels that can't invest in the most high end equipment.
The Blue Yeti is popping up all over the place, thanks to the affordable cost, high quality sound, and ease of use. We've chosen it as the best microphone for streaming because of the many different features that allow even a novice to take full advantage of, and stream great sound.
The first major advantage of using this streaming microphone is of course the USB connection type. Unlike XLR microphones, which may require extra equipment to connect properly to your recording device, you can plug the Blue Yeti straight into your computer and go!
This streaming mic uses three condensers, with a frequency response rate of 20Hz to 20kHz. This is the standard wide-range response we look for to capture the full depth of your audio. This means you're getting studio sound at a reasonable price.
The Blue Yeti also offers multiple polar pattern modes. This versatile feature allows you to control what part of the microphone audio is recorded from. The more sides you "open up", the more shape your audio will have. However, if you're recording in a more noisy environment, you can shift to Cardioid mode, isolating your voice from your surroundings.
Lastly, this 1.2lb microphone offers on-mic gain controls, a mute button, and zero-latency headphone monitoring. This allows you to listen to the playback as you live stream, and control the sound as needed. This is one of the most essential features any streaming microphone should have. Far and wide, at this price point, the Blue Yeti is one of the best microphones for streaming.
The Shure SM7B is my personal favorite microphone for streaming, one that I would recommend to anyone with a higher budget. The quality of audio you get is beyond any other microphone on this list and has been tried and tested by many professionals in the industry.
If you've ever watched the Breakfast Club, H3, or Joe Rogan, you might've seen this used as a podcast microphone. This is because the Shure SM7B was originally designed for broadcast purposes, and tailors to every detail of ones voice. You are guaranteed to sound exquisite when you use this microphone for streaming.
The reason for this pure & polished detail comes from the air suspension shock isolation & internal pop filter. These eliminate the mechanical noises as well as breathiness. When you remove these unwanted sounds, all that remains is your words, with strong clarity. As a supercardioid microphone, the Shure SM7B is designed to only record what's fed directly through the front of the capsule while muting the rest. The icing on the cake, however, is the electromagnetic shield that defeats humming noises from nearby devices, whether it's your modem, computer monitor, or amplifiers.
This high level of detail has been taken advantage of for every sort of vocal application. We even see it used as an ASMR microphone. However, its history is much greater. With modern music, we see the Shure SM7B used for recording hip hop vocals, but it was also used back in the day for Michael Jackson's Thriller album! Talk about versatility!
Overall, if you want the best microphone for streaming, no matter the cost, then give the Shure SM7B as serious look. One caveat is it will require some extra equipment for powering, as we discuss in this article, Why Is The Shure SM7B So Quiet?
The Audio Technica AT2020 is another highly versatile microphone that can be used for just about everything. We've found it to be a most effective microphone for streaming, but if you're into more musical applications as well, then you're in luck.
As a unidirectional condenser microphone, the Audio Technica AT2020 finds a great balance between capturing high quality audio without picking up all the background noise. Its side addressed, allowing you to suspend the microphone in an upright position while singing into the side of the capsule. This offers a wider surface area for picking up both vocals and music.
A friend of mine uses this microphone on all of our virtual meetings, and many streamers enjoy it for speech purposes. However, some of your streamers might be more interested in the music capabilities. The Audio Technica AT2020 is by far one of the best microphones for acoustic guitar, as well as the drums thanks to the high SPL and wide dynamic range. This lets you record loud sound sources with very complex sound waves (like the vibration of your guitar & drums) with absolute ease.
This is one of the most popular, high quality, and affordable microphones for streaming on the market. They offer two variations of this microphone, one that can connect with an XLR cable, and another via USB.
The Blue Snowball iCE is a very affordable alternative to the top choice in this list. It's also one of the more unique microphones that we see rising in popularity in the under $100 market.
Similar to it's older sibling, the Blue Snowball iCE is a very popular streaming microphone for those who are starting out and can't spare a lot on their equipment. Luckily, even with a microphone like this one, you're still going to produce great-sounding audio. It's very simple to use thanks to the plug-and-play features that USB microphones provide us.
The 40Hz to 18kHz gives us a smooth frequency response with high-quality sound. You'll also have the choice to switch between cardioid & omnidirectional polar patterns, which correlate to either recording sound through the front, or recording sound from all sides of the microphone capsule. Using Omnidirectional mode can record more audio depth, while cardioid will help you prevent background noise from coming through.
The Elgato Wave:3 is a less popular streaming microphone that I give a lot of special attention to, thanks to both the quality and rich features. This premium microphone was designed specifically for creators working with multiple sound sources, which can be very helpful for streaming.
In terms of the microphone itself, the Elgato Wave:3 uses a steel grille for exquisite sound diffusion. This also adds to the mic capsule's durability. The u-mount microphone stand suspends the mic capsule offering high-quality shock suspension. This prevents any handlings noises, even if you kick or bump into your desk. The onboard controls include a zero-latency monitoring headphone jack & gain control.
My favorite feature, and the main reason I've included it on this list, is the Wave Link software. Wave Link allows you to stream with up to 9 sound channels at a time. For gamers, this could mean your microphone, your game audio, extra sound effects, and maybe some music. And similar to what we'd get in a recording studio, you'll be able to control each channel as you see fit. Outside of streaming, this software can prevent a lot of time in production when putting together the audio for your videos.
The Audio Technica AT2005USB is the more affordable streaming microphone in the Audio-Technica 20 series line of mics. This all-purpose microphone was designed specifically for vocal applications, whether you're doing speaking work or singing.
The first feature I love would be the option to choose between XLR & USB. For many people, connecting via USB is the more optimal choice as you won't need extra equipment to process or record the audio. However, as some may argue, XLR is a little more high quality, so the choice is yours and I love that. The Audio Technica AT2005USB only picks up noise from the front of the capsule, giving you better sound isolation than its 2020 counterpart.
The 50Hz - 50kHz frequency response is not the most detailed, but this streaming microphone has a low-mass diaphragm that will do more than enough to get your voice across to your fans in a powerful manner. It comes with a desktop tripod stand, and weighs nearly half a pound!
Something we value a lot is the headphone jack so you can monitor your audio during your live stream events. This helps ensure your audience is hearing you the way you want them to. Overall it's a highly reputable microphone and for those on a budget, you'll be more than impressed.
The Electro-Voice RE20 is a favorite of mine, and highly comparable to our #2 choice, the Shure SM7B. In fact, I first spotted this microphone used on a favorite podcast series of mine, where one speaker used the Shure, while the host used this one.
The Electro-Voice RE20 is one of the most high end podcast microphones on the market right now, and has a strong history around voices. In fact, if you watch a lot of sports, you'll be pleased to hear that most radio announcers use this very same microphone in their booth. It offers incredible sound and an amazing vocal presence.
The first feature that separates the Electro-Voice RE20 from others on this list is the Variable D. This helps the microphone avoid proximity effect, allowing you to move around in your seat without the audio gain shifting. It's also a true cardioid (unidirectional) microphone with absolutely no coloration at 180-degrees off-axis! The powerful sound is protected by both an internal pop filter and an element shock mount.
Again, if you're looking for something powerful and willing to go all out, the Electro-Voice RE20 is right for you. From the amazing quality, strong vocal presence, and high-end features, this is one of the best microphones for streaming on the market.
The HyperX QuadCast is one of the most popular gaming microphones on the market right now, purely due to the aesthetic design. Everyone knows gamers love RGB, and thats far and wide one of the highlight features behind this streaming mic.
Of course, cool colors and designs don't make a streaming microphone more effective. Fortunately, the HyperX QuadCast has enough amazing features to be worth your time and money. It's not too expensive that it'll break the bank, and the sound it can produce is comparable to others in its price range. Similar to others on this list, there are switchable polar patterns so that you can decide where in the microphone audio can come in from.
It comes with a desktop stand and an anti-vibration shock mount. This helps reduce handling noises from banging into your desk or moving the microphone around during your streams. It also comes with a mount adapter, so if you wish to use a microphone boom arm stand, so it's suspended in front of your face, you can do that too! In fact, I recommend you do, because it will look awesome.
There's also an internal pop filter for minimizing plosives. And if you like sensors, you'll be pleased to hear there's a tap to mute function that allows you to simply touch the top of your microphone to mute it. So if you're into live streaming your gameplay, then this is by far the best streaming microphone for you.
I could go on and on about the options I’ve listed for you. I love microphones, I’ve been using them for as long as I can remember, and quite honestly, I know a lot about them. But who am I to you, and why should you trust me?
Unlike others in the space, my team doesn’t just buy & test microphones. Of course, we do that as a preliminary, but we also specialize in the engineering that goes on inside the microphone. We factor in the most important qualities such as frequency response, which plays a massive role in controlling the overall shape of your sound.
We also consider that many streamers are not sitting behind soundproof walls like studio musicians would be. For this reason, we look for microphones that have shiftable polar patterns, so that we can cancel out noise from the sides and rear of our mic. We also value features such as internal pop filters & shock mounts so that we can avoid handling noises no matter where we keep the microphone.
Microphones come in all different shapes and sizes, and the cost can vary a lot. Someone who doesn’t know what to look for may not know what makes the Blue Yeti more valuable than another $150 desktop microphone. And that’s where we can help.
We’ve covered a lot of this above already but let us cover some more important factors that we consider. The first is definitely cost. Microphone costs vary so much, and I recently saw a friend of mine using a $1000+ Neumann for their YouTube microphone. This is so unnecessary and so unwise!
As a streamer, you want clear & concise audio. That's not reserved just for ASMR microphones! We know and value this. You also want high response times, which is why we recommend microphones with zero latency with their controls. And assuming you’ll be working live, having fewer common features such as a mute button, gain control, and even a mic monitoring headphone jack is going to be super helpful for you.
Other features, like Elgato’s streaming software, really do it for us. It’s not my favorite microphone, of course, but their included software blows me away. I’ve worked with it a lot, and help other streamers use it to this day.
The last thing we like to consider is the connection types. The most popular & high quality mics would be XLR microphones, which use the standard microphone connection cables. However, many people don’t want to bother with using a microphone preamp, and so our list includes a lot of USB microphones as well. These let you plug & play right into your computer.
By now you should have an idea of the best microphone for streaming. As you’ve read, we take a lot of factors into consideration to help make sure you’re getting the very best option for your money. Not everyone needs a beastly microphone like the Shure or Electro-Voice, so if they live outside of your budget, don’t fret! Many such as the Blue options work for most people.
Let us know in the comments which streaming microphone you went with, and how it’s working out for you! If you have a link to your channels, we’d love to come to take a look & see how you put it to use! We value your feedback as it helps us refine our lists for the next viewer.
Posted on Sep 24, 2020
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