Increase the clarity of your broadcast and stay in touch with your fans
Every notable streamer already knows that streaming is not about hardware showoffs; it is much more than that. It is about having and sharing the fun with your audience. Those viewers want to hear your voice, and talking to them feels not only natural and relaxed, but it also brings your connection with them on a more personal level and converts them to loyal fans.
That is why a good microphone is an investment that makes a difference. But it is not easy to pick one, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution. The tons of different mics available on the market boast with a lot of features, and they have quite varying price tags too.
Why spend your hard-earned money on bells and whistles that you probably won’t need? Without any further ado, let’s dive in and help you select the best mic to suit your needs and play-style.
Table of Contents
- Antlion Modmic 5
- Audio-Technica AT2020
- Turtle Beach USB Stream Mic
- Razer Seiren Elite
- Samson G-Track Pro
- Cyber Acoustics CVL-2004
- Blue Yeti USB Microphone
- What Is The Best Set-Up For Me?
Antlion Modmic 5
Cheeky solution for small spaces with big features provided by minor and simple adjustments
This one is intended for the aspiring streamers who might be struggling with insufficient desk space. You might consider opting out from anything that threatens to eat up too much space. The Antlion ModMic 5 will solve your clutter problems. Even though it is small in size the audio quality is uncompromising. Its magnetic appendages are a breeze to attach and require a fuss-free usage.
The test I conducted established that the ModMic 5 only picked up noises from beside and in front of it. This would be handy when background noises, like your dog is begging some belly rubs or neighbors doing house repairs, are present.
Antlion also adds a pop-filter to better soften plosives, for example, P sounds in words such as “pup” “potent” and “pixel.” The included pop-filter served me well and can be easily removed without a hitch.
Connectivity: 3.5mm, USB (adapter)
Frequency response: 100Hz-10,000Hz
- ATTACHABLE MICROPHONE - Turn your headphones into a headset. The Antlion Audio ModMic 5 attaches with a magnet, making it easy to remove or attach when you don't need a microphone.
- DUAL MIC MODES - Toggle the ModMic 5 between uni-directional to filter out noise around you or omni-directional for a more responsive recording function. A button is onhand for a quick mute option.
- DAC CHIP - The FiiO E10K Amplifier features PCM5102 DAC Chip that effectively enhances the linearity of the digital filter, reduces delay and internal silence on changing tracks, and no phase shifts.
For the uncompromising techy audiophile
The Audio Technica AT2020 is a cardioid microphone that requires an XLR cable so it will take some tinkering, unlike the plug-and-play USB mic. Extra efforts will sometimes put users off. The manufacturer has responded to that scenario by providing an easy-to-use option. It is the Audio-Technica AT2020USB+m that will keep you on the right track.
If you go with the Audio Technica AT2020, consider that some additional procurement will be needed, in particular a mixing board (audio mixer) and an XLR cable. This is technically a pro setup. Maybe too sophisticated to some but we are talking advanced here. The AT2020 is big time and getting, setting and using it will earn you respect points. It’s not optimized for streaming but if being a podcaster is your dream then I definitely urge you to check it out.
This is an inexpensive mic if we are not counting the extra gear you would need to effectively use it. It offers versatility and studio-quality output. The Audio Technica AT2020 will shine in any set-up. It’s built to last will produce a balanced and clear recording. You can rely on superb performance in stream recording operation mode, while setting up a small studio is also a recommended use.
Connectivity: XLR/USB (another variant)
Frequency response: 20-20,000 Hz
- Free Pop Filter Included!
- Condenser microphone with USB output for digital recording
- High quality A/D converter with 16 bit, 44.1/48 kHz sampling rate for superb audio
Turtle Beach USB Stream Mic
The Optimal Start-up Mic
The Turtle Beach Stream Mic is kind to your wallet but produces bad-ass results. This mic has various recording patterns you can choose from. Turtle Beach has a long history of making quality gaming sound gear, so it was not much of a shock finding out the first console streaming mic came from their camp.
The Turtle Beach Streaming Mic is lightweight and snug. Compact size makes it easy to transport. I consider this unit it is user-friendly. Take note that all you need is a vacant USB slot to plug it in, and you can get on with your streaming session.
One should not expect any excessive features from this mic. Rather than being a groundbreaker it is standard in terms of configuration, bulk and characteristics. This is a high-quality mic with recommended uses involving Gaming, Podcasts, and YouTube, to name a few. This particular mic is for console streaming but its performance undoubtedly puts it the all-purpose microphone range.
Frequency response: 20Hz – 20,000Hz
- Console Livestreaming Made Easy - The first professional quality desktop microphone designed for gamers live streaming directly from Xbox One, PlayStation4, and PC or Mac via a single USB connection
- Adaptive Mic Patterns with TruSpeak Technology - High definition voice pick-up with Table Top and Boom-mounted modes for exceptional clarity
- Professional Processing Performance - Studio-grade digital processing balances EQ, gain and compression to deliver superior voice performance
Razer Seiren Elite
Sleek and Chic
Razer has proven itself as a giant in the gaming industry. The Seiren Elite is a high-quality streaming microphone that packs features which will make it appealing to aspiring live streamers. The sleek black microphone is compact and travel-friendly.
The Elite has a High-Pass Filter toggle, which is intended to allow the mic to filter out low-frequency noises, such as the AC and mouse clicks hum. I noticed that there is a LED peaking indicator around the mic which glows in red to indicate if you are being too loud. There is also a built-in limiter minimizing distortion. Razer’s mic even comes with a pop-filter, and that is something you usually buy separately, so hooray for a freebie!
The Razer Seiren has 4 different recording patterns: cardioid for voice recording, stereo for vocals, omnidirectional for background sounds, and bidirectional for conversational purposes. Seiren’s recording quality is excellent. It does a fabulous job of catching the sound and the output is extremely nice.
Frequency response: 20Hz–20,000Hz
- Professional Grade - Single dynamic capsule ensures minimal electronic interference for a richer, warmer and true to life broadcasting experience
- Built in High-Pass Filter - Cuts out unwanted low-frequency vibrations (footsteps or the rumbles of an air conditioner) to provide only the cleanest recording signals
- Digital/Analog Vocal Limiter
Samson G-Track Pro
Robust and High-Quality Mic
G-Track Pro is an exceptional and solid piece. When I laid my hands on it for the first time, I associated it with an iron keg of some sorts. The frame material is die-cast zinc, so no shoddy plastic in sight. I find the little desktop stand absolutely fantastic. Its design is minimalistic in a very sweet and lovable way. The buttons are of good quality and leave me with the impression that this purchase will be a long-term investment. You will get your money’s worth. While recording, I noticed no lags.
The whole USB mic thing has become a steady trend, and it stayed faithful to its user-friendly promise. No driver installation needed, just plug it in and it will only take a few seconds to be recognized.
Vocals sounded well-balanced and stayed firm, no muddy noises. The G‑Track Pro provides a dependable mic for a sound price. I’d recommend a pop-filter for vocal recording, as this is an extra accessory which does not come along with the main unit. I also noticed the volume is somewhat lacking, as it did not appear that loud even with the volume maxed out.
The G‑Track Pro is an excellent recording solution and well designed to suit your streaming needs. Plus, the chic black color that Samson picked adds to this mic’s charm and therefore it gains my approval.
Frequency response: 50Hz-20,000Hz
- OFFERS 3 PICKUP PATTERN - You get three different polar patterns with the Samson G-Track Pro USB Microphone. Choose the omnidirectional setting to reproduce sounds coming from all directions including...
- PROVIDES DIRECT MONITORING - Thanks to the built-in stereo 1/8" headphone output, the Samson G-Track Pro delivers zero-latency monitoring. For traveling musicians, this is your go-to mic as you no...
- RECORDS VOCALS AND INSTRUMENTS AT THE SAME TIME - The built-in audio interface (with 1/8" headphone output) lets you connect your bass/electric guitar, drum machine, and keyboards to the G-Track Pro....
Cyber Acoustics CVL-2004
Power and Budget at Its Finest
Props to the Cyber Acoustics team for adopting a holistic design approach in building this microphone and still managing to have it look classy in the end despite its simplicity. Everything seems to have been thought of in the process – starting with appearance and going all the way to performance. Budget-wise it won’t leave you bankrupt, especially considering that this mic could be easily associated with upscale models. There is something about it that boosts my confidence and pushes any doubts that it might disappoint away.
Condenser microphones are great for podcasting, streaming and vocal recordings, to name a few. If you are looking for a condenser microphone the Cyber Acoustics CVL-2004 is a strong contender that shouldn’t be ignored.
I’m quite skeptical with the height of the mic as the stand that comes with it is pretty short. Low positioning could lead to occasional bumps and table knocks easily heard and picked up. To avoid this possible obstacle a full-size microphone mount would have been a better set-up choice.
The sound is clear thanks to the cardioid pick up pattern. The CVL-2004 is a fresh and valuable addition to the USB microphone market. Though it might not be a technological breakthrough, the features and quality it brought to the table are real.
Frequency response: 20Hz – 20,000Hz
- Aluminum die-cast construction
- USB connection
- Adjustable desk stand
Blue Yeti USB Microphone
The All-rounder Blue Blood of Streaming
The Blue Yeti is still the reigning royalty of versatility. A budget-hero equipped with cardioid, stereo, omnidirectional and bidirectional modes, this microphone will fit your set-up like a glove.
The Blue Yeti is a great choice for all of you who have their priorities topped by fuss-free usage without consuming hours tweaking audio frameworks. Quality-wise, it sounded clear and rounded throughout my test. In my opinion it will be in your best interest to buy a pop-filter for optimum results.
The sound quality of the Yeti is lovely for a USB microphone. It is also noteworthy that this mic accurately captures voice. I have noticed soft hum noise from my AC is being picked up as well. Thankfully the cardioid polar pattern setting did the trick in eliminating the noise
For podcasts and streaming purposes, the Blue Yeti is perfect and you can use it anywhere. Sound quality is also crystal clear, crisp and no noticeable jitters. I believe it’s an excellent purchase decision for someone looking for a simple set-up without compromising a certain level of sound quality.
Frequency response: 20Hz – 20,000Hz
- Tri-capsule array - 3 condenser capsules can record almost any situation.
- Multiple pattern selection - cardioid, bidirectional, omnidirectional & stereo.Frequency Response- 20Hz - 20kHz
- Gain control, mute button, zero-latency headphone output. Power output (RMS): 130mW
Acoustic panels are soundproofing foam pieces. These will help shield your mic from external noises while recording. Consider investing in installing them.
Another unquestionably crucial accessory is a pop or wind filter. These are the circular mesh pads you have seen in front of a microphone. They are used to block loud peaks in audio or most commonly known as pops that can occur during fast-moving air hitting the microphone.
This is more of a Pro-gear thing. If you are a true-blue audiophile who won’t settle for less, then investing in one of these would be a wise choice. You can have the ultimate control over your sounds and will be certain to deliver great results.
A shock mount is used as mic cradle and will deter it from picking unwanted sounds caused by vibrations. These sounds are the results of you bumping your desk or even from tapping your keyboard louder than you should.
This will provide more space to move your mic. Additionally, you will have more flexibility in terms of mic positioning. It will also prevent you from leaning into your microphone when speaking.
What Is The Best Set-Up For Me?
You will love it if:
- You don’t want to spend too much and intended use does not involve anything extra fancy
- No elaborate set-up needed, and you can’t afford anything that would eat up too much space
Not for you if:
- You want superior quality
- You want some kind of configuration
Best recommended for the casual streamer who is doing it as a hobby mostly with no long-term objectives.
Desktop Microphone Set-up
You will love it if:
- You want high quality experience but affordability is a factor
- You want free configuration options
Not for you if:
- You are super budget-conscious and unwilling to make considerable investments
- You are prone to pushing and knocking down stuff on and off your desk, as this set-up will pick up everything
- You hate clutter, as this will take up desk space
Best recommended for the start-up streamer who is looking for a long-term solution and commitment.
You will love it if:
- Personalization is your thing and you are willing to make maximum use of configuration options
- You want a flexible unit which can be easily moved when idle.
Not for you if:
- You hate expensive stuff, as this the costliest set-up of them all
- You don’t have extra room available, your game station is small, and this mount is likely to disturb your zen environment
Best recommended for the aspiring professional streamer. You are ready to commit full-time and you will let nothing hold you back.
Factors to Consider in the Mic Selection Process
The most important factor when purchasing a microphone. Choose a mic that makes you sound like a champ. No throaty sound and muddy tones. Be aware if the mic picks up background noise or keyboard taps, these are very important.
Everyone’s battle station or gaming desk is unique. That makes setup requirements vary considerably, and therefore it is crucial for a microphone to fit and perform up to standard under the circumstances that you have established in your world. You will definitely need a great sounding mic providing flexibility to allow you stress- and trouble-free streaming and maintain a seasoned DJ image.
As a streamer your audience is your number one asset. They will be able to see your stuff and they will feel better if they see a good mic. Appearance matters. Any good-looking piece of equipment is certain to lead to high credibility meter readings. You will be spending a lot of time with your equipment so you might as well make looking at it worthwhile.
How much are you willing to spend? Find out how deep your wallet is and then find out how deep the rabbit hole goes.
Polar Patterns (Microphone Directionality)
- Unidirectional – Most commonly known as “cardioid” microphones. Unidirectional microphones only pick up sound from the front.
- Bidirectional – Bidirectional mics pick up sound from the front and the back part. If you plan to do podcasts or interviews then this would be a smart choice.
- Omnidirectional – These microphones will perform well regardless of which direction the sound is coming from. However, it will also pick up all the uncontrollable ambient noises such as dogs doing their thing, AC hum and the like.
Picking your mic is hard and all the additional and optional gear that comes with it will not make the selection process any easier. Take your time to determine your playing style and streaming system as precisely as possible. This will be the hard ground to step on when justifying your future purchase. When everything is set and done you should be having no regrets and be able to enjoy an easy and comfortable ride in the world of streaming.