The Best Microphones For Streaming in 2021

A quality microphone, along with a webcam, is the base of every streaming setup and the most important part of every podcast setup. While headset microphones are good enough for casual gaming and voice chat, you’ll need something better if you want to stream, record videos, or run a podcast. The thing is, not all standalone mics are equal. Finding the best microphone for streaming can be a pain, especially if you don’t know much about mics.

Luckily, the list below includes some of the best microphones for streaming you can get right now. We have crowd favorites, overachievers that pack lots of bang for the buck, and a couple of budget models. If your next mic isn’t among our picks scroll past the list and check out our streaming mic buying guide, it should help you find just the mic you need.

blue yeti x professional condenser usb microphone
  • Type: Condenser (Four Condenser Capsules)
  • Pattern: Multi-Pattern (Cardioid, Omnidirectional, Bidirectional, Stereo)
  • Sample/Bit Rate: 48 kHz, 24-bit
  • Interface: Micro-USB
  • Other Features: Gain Knob, Headphone Jack For Monitoring

The Blue Yeti X is the successor of the extremely popular Yeti mic that includes several upgrades the biggest of which is the gain control. The microphone is well-built and comes with a pretty basic stand that’s good enough for casual use. It offers semi-professional recording quality that sounds very crisp and while not perfect, it’s excellent for a non-studio mic.

The gain control can be pretty handy for eliminating sudden background noise on the fly and the LED light pattern encircling the gain knob shows how loud your voice is, allowing users to reduce gain in case there’s clipping. The mic also includes a 3.5mm jack for monitoring your voice and a set of four pickup patterns (stereo, omnidirectional, cardioid, and bidirectional) which can be switched around with a toggle on the back of the Yeti X.

The mic is fairly easy to set-up. Just plug-in the MicroUSB (ouch) cable into the mic (Micro-USB port is located at the bottom of the mic) and then into your PC and that’s about it. The mic comes with the excellent Yeti Voice software that offers a ton of features and is an excellent addition to the whole package. The Blue Yeti X is great for streaming, voice recording, and podcasts, no matter if you’re doing them solo or with guests. It’s a bit pricey, it uses a Micro-USB port instead of USB-C, and is a bit chunky but high recording quality, ease of use, and the excellent Yeti Voice software make it the best streaming mic for most users.

  • Excellent Recording Quality
  • Great For Both Streaming And Podcasts
  • Easy To Set-Up And Use
  • Comes With A Gain Knob
  • Four Pickup Patterns
  • Uses Micro-USB Instead Of USB-C
  • Pricey

HyperX QuadCast

Excellent Multi-Pattern Streaming Mic Selling At A Competitive Price

hyperx quadcast
  • Type: Condenser (Three Condenser Capsules)
  • Pattern: Multi-Pattern (Cardioid, Omnidirectional, Bidirectional, Stereo)
  • Sample/Bit Rate: 48 kHz, 16-bit
  • Interface: Micro-USB
  • Other Features: Gain Knob, Headphone Jack For Monitoring

The QuadCast from HyperX is a competitively priced multi-pattern USB condenser microphone that does lots of things right. It has a solid build quality, especially the quality of the mic body. The design includes soft padding behind metal gratings. The mic features a gain knob for tweaking the sensitivity. The mic also comes with a neat mute touch sensor on the top of the body, allowing users to mute their voice extremely fast and easy. The mic’s also compatible with the PS4, which might matter to console streamers.

The QuadCast comes with four pickup patterns to pick from, with a knob on the back on the mic allowing users to switch patterns on the go. Finally, the sound quality is pretty good and of similar quality compared to equally priced streaming microphones. The mic features reddish lighting inside the body that can be turned off if you find it distracting. When turned on the light’s up as long as the mic’s picking your voice. Press the mute button and the light will shut down.

While the lighting might bother some users, others will value it as a reminder when they’re recorded. As for the interface, the mic uses a Micro-USB port, which is a disappointment to see on a relatively expensive streaming mic. Another slight minus is the fact that the mic boosts sibilants ever so slightly, which can be adjusted in the software. Overall, the HyperX QuadCast is a pretty solid streaming mic that offers lots of its price.

  • Includes Gain Knob
  • Features Four Pickup Patterns
  • Pretty Good Recording Quality
  • Big Mute Pad On The Top Is Very Handy To Have
  • Competitive Price
  • Some Users Might Find The Mic’s Red Light Distracting
  • Uses Micro-USB Port Instead USB-C

Razer Seiren X USB Streaming Microphone

One Of The Best Budget Microphones For Streaming

razer seiren x usb streaming microphone
  • Type: Condenser (One Condenser Capsule)
  • Pattern: Single Pattern (Supercardioid)
  • Sample/Bit Rate: 48 kHz, 16-bit
  • Interface: Micro-USB
  • Other Features: Headphone Volume Knob, Headphone Jack For Monitoring

Those who need a streaming mic with a solid recording quality but also relatively affordable price should take a look at the Razer Seiren X. This is a USB condenser microphone that looks rather slick and comes at a budget-friendly price. For the money, you get an excellent design that’s quite restrained on the gamer details. The build quality is pretty decent and the recording quality trails behind costlier models, but not by much.

Overall, the mic delivers a balanced sound that’s a bit weaker on the lower side but clear enough for streaming purposes. This is one of the mics where using a pop filter is a must since using one balances the lower end and makes your voice clearer. Budget price means there are no extra features here. Stuff like the volume knob, the choice between multiple pickup patterns, or multiple condenser capsules for picking up voice and other sounds.

The single-pickup pattern used on the mic is the supercardioid. This is perfect for solo streams but not usable for podcasts with live guests. The mic uses Micro-USB for connecting to the PC and the set-up process is painless. If you find that the sound quality is below what you’ve expected, make sure to change the recording quality to something like 16-bit, 48000Hz in the Windows sound control settings. Overall, the Razer Seiren X is a pretty good budget mic but it comes with several disadvantages over pricier models. If you can live with that, feel free to get one.

  • Solid Recording Quality For The Money
  • Pretty Good Build Quality
  • Slick Design
  • Offers Only One Pickup Pattern
  • Mic Comes With Just One Condenser Capsule

Elgato Wave:3

Great But Pricey Entry-Level Streaming Microphone

elgato wave 3
  • Type: Condenser (One Condenser Capsule)
  • Pattern: Single Pattern (Cardioid)
  • Sample/Bit Rate: 96 kHz, 24-bit
  • Interface: USB-C
  • Other Features: Gain Knob, Headphone Jack For Monitoring

Elgato Wave:3 is a streaming mic from the famous brand known for its streaming peripherals. And while it offers great sound quality for an entry-level streaming mic, the steep price will turn down many potential buyers. The build quality of the mic is great, rugged yet dominated by soft angles. The Wave:3 has excellent recording quality and can record sounds up to 24-bit/96kHz. The sound profile favors higher frequencies and cuts off sub-bass frequencies. This shouldn’t affect the voice recordings and is pretty solid for streaming and doing podcasts.

The mic has only one condenser capsule and comes with only one pickup pattern: cardioid. This is the best pattern for streamers and people doing podcasts solo or without live guests. Still, we would like to see more patterns to choose from at this price. On the flipside, the mic comes with a gain knob that can also be used to control the headphone volume, which is pretty cool. Also, a large touch-sensitive pad on the top is used for a quick mute, another excellent feature for streamers. The set-up is simple and this time the mic features a USB-C port instead of Micro-USB.

The streaming-friendly list of features goes on. The Wave:3 comes with the Clipguard feature that prevents clipping in case you suddenly start screaming from the top of your lungs. Next, the WaveLink app isn’t super powerful but it’s great for controlling the audio sources. It can be used, for instance, to mute your Spotify playlists while keeping everything else on; allowing you to listen to the music without risking a copyright strike. Overall, this is a great mic for streamers but, considering its specs, it’s too expensive for what it offers.

  • Great Sound Quality For Streaming And Podcasting
  • Features USB-C Port
  • Large Mute Pad On The Top Is Super Handy
  • Excellent Design And Build Quality
  • WaveLink App Has Lots Of Useful Features Such As Clipguard
  • Too Expensive For What It Offers
  • Just One Pickup Pattern
  • The Mic Has Only One Condenser Capsule

FIFINE K678 USB Podcast Microphone

The Best Budget Microphone For Streaming

fifine k678 usb podcast microphone
  • Type: Condenser (One Condenser Capsule)
  • Pattern: Single Pattern (Cardioid)
  • Sample/Bit Rate: Undisclosed
  • Interface: Micro-USB
  • Other Features: Mic And Headphone Volume Knob, Headphone Jack For Monitoring

FIFINE K678 is a small and affordable streaming mic that’s the perfect choice for newbies to streaming and podcasting and for users who just need a relatively cheap standalone mic that can eat any boom mic for lunch. The mic features a simplistic design with pretty good build quality considering the price.

The single condenser capsule limits this mic to only one – cardioid – polar pattern, but considering that you’ll likely use a cardioid pattern for regular streams and podcasts without live guests, this limitation isn’t a major one. When it comes to sound quality, it’s surprisingly good. Crisp and clear, balanced, and very close to pricier mics. The setup process is simple; the mic is pretty much plug-and-play.

When it comes to extra features you can find a mute button on the front and a headphone and mic volume control on the back, which is great to see on such an affordable device. And as for USB-C support, don’t expect to find it here. Overall, the K678 is a great little streaming mic. It’s the best budget mic and while it lacks some advanced features they won’t matter much to most users.

  • Very Affordable
  • Great Sound Quality For The Price
  • Solid Build Quality
  • Easy To Set-Up And Use
  • Large Mute Button On The Front And The Presence Of Mic And Headphone Volume Knobs
  • Uses Single Condenser Capsule
  • Offers Only Cardioid Pickup Pattern

AKG Pro Audio Lyra Ultra-HD USB-C Condenser Microphone

The Best Condenser Microphone For Podcasts

akg pro audio lyra ultra-hd usb-c condenser microphone
  • Type: Condenser (Four Condenser Capsules)
  • Pattern: Four Pickup Patterns (front, front and back, tight stereo, wide stereo)
  • Sample/Bit Rate: 24-bit/192kHz
  • Interface: USB-C

The AKG Lyra is an excellent microphone for voice recording that sells at a pretty solid price and is one of the best choices for voice-focused media creation. This includes podcasters but also singers and artists, or voice actors. High recording quality (up to 24-bit/192kHz) combined with exceptional clarity and sound balancing is a perfect combination for any kind of semi-professional usage.

The mic includes four condenser capsules that allow switching between four patterns. You have the front, front and back, tight stereo, and wide stereo. Solo podcasters and streamers should use the first one, while podcasters who have live guests should pick the front and back. The Lyra also comes with a headphone volume knob, a large mute button, and a mic gain knob placed on the back. The placement of the gain knob is unfortunate since it can make on-the-fly tweaking a bit complicated.

As for the design, Lyra combines old-school design with modern touches but we aren’t satisfied with the build quality. For a microphone this expensive we would expect a body made of metal and not plastic along with a premium feel when holding the mic, which Lyra lacks. At least the mic uses a USB-C interface for connection, which is a definite plus. Overall, this is a great mic for podcasters and other users who need a great microphone for recording voice that won’t break the bank. It has some issues but the recording quality makes the Lyra worth its price.

  • Exceptional Voice Recording Quality
  • Easy To Setup And Use
  • Attractive Design
  • USB-C Port
  • Switch Between Four Pickup Patterns
  • Disappointing Build Quality

Rode NT-USB Cardioid Condenser Microphone

Excellent Streaming Mic With Exceptional Sound Clarity

rode nt-usb cardioid condenser microphone
  • Type: Condenser (One Condenser Capsule)
  • Pattern: One Pickup Pattern (cardioid)
  • Sample/Bit Rate: 16-bit/48kHz
  • Interface: Micro-USB
  • Other Features: Headphone And Mic Volume Knob, Headphone Jack For Monitoring

The NT-USB mic from Rode boasts about offering studio sound quality for a fraction of the price of an average studio microphone. And it mostly delivers, making the NT-USB an excellent choice for users who need crispy clear audio but don’t want to spend a fortune on a mic. The mic is great for voice recordings but also for recording acoustic instruments.

When it comes to the design and build quality, the mic features a subtle design without any extravagant detail. The included pop filter fits seamlessly with the rest of the mic and overall, the NT-USB has pretty good build quality. You get two volume knobs on the right side of the mic but there’s no mute button as well as no gain knob. Another issue is that the mic uses a dated USB-B interface for connection, forcing you to carry around an additional cable.

Also, the mic comes with only one polar pattern – cardioid. While this pattern is great for streamers, voice actors, solo podcasters, and solo artists, the lack of other patterns can be a serious disadvantage for some users. Another potential issue is the exceptional sensitivity of the microphone. It can pick very low sounds from a great distance, so we don’t recommend getting it unless you plan on using the mic in a sound-controlled environment or use something like the RTX Voice. Overall, this is a great mic with exceptional audio quality but it’s a bit pricey for what it offers.

  • Crispy Clear And Excellently Balanced Audio Quality
  • Solid Build Quality
  • Pop Filter Included With The Mic
  • Long, 6-Meter USB Cable Included
  • Uses USB-B Interface For Audio Output
  • Extremely Sensitive
  • Lacks Gain Knob And A Mute Button
  • Offers Only One Pickup Pattern

Samson G-Track Pro Professional USB Microphone

Mid-Range Mic Useful For Recording Vocals And Instruments

samson g-track pro professional usb condenser microphone
  • Type: Condenser (Two Condenser Capsules)
  • Pattern: Thee Pickup Patterns (cardioid, figure 8, omnidirectional)
  • Sample/Bit Rate: 24-bit/96kHz
  • Interface: USB-B

The Samson G-Track Pro is an interesting condenser USB microphone that treads the line between being a streaming and podcasting and amateur studio recording mic. It comes with an additional audio jack for instruments, it delivers crispy clear audio, and it supports up to 24-bit/96kHz recording. The mic also includes additional audio in (1/4’’) for an instrument, allowing you to record vocals and one instrument at the same time while monitoring it all via headphones.

You can switch between mono and 2-track recording (two mono tracks, there’s no stereo option here) in order to get one (voice + instrument) or two audio tracks (voice and instrument). The G-Track Pro includes a master mute button on the front accompanied by three-volume knobs (mic, instrument, and master volume). Do note that you need a pop filter because the mic is pretty sensitive and can easily distort when recording loud vocals.

When it comes to pickup patterns, we have three here. The first is a cardioid, perfect for solo recordings and streaming. The figure 8 pattern is perfect for interviews and podcasts with live guests and the omnidirectional pattern is used for picking up sounds around the room. When it comes to build quality and design, they are solid. The mic is a bit large but looks nice and doesn’t include any unnecessary details. Overall, this is an excellent mic for voice recording and amateur song recording but it’s also pretty good for streaming purposes.

  • Excellent Audio Quality
  • Allows Voice and Instrument Recording At The Same Time
  • Thee Pickup Patterns
  • Great For Streamers, Podcasters, And Artists
  • Uses USB-B Interface For Connecting To PC

How To Choose A Mic For Streaming

If you’re a newbie to streaming it’s best to just pick a solid budget mic and be done with it. Later, when you get some experience and learn what exactly you need you can do your research and pick just the right streaming mic. Just make sure you have a quality router and a fast internet connection in case you want to stream.

Condenser Vs. Dynamic Mics

First of all, we have to explain the difference between condenser and dynamic mics. First have increased sensitivity and their output is slightly on the warm side. They are great for vocal recordings, the main reason why condenser mics are so popular with streamers, YouTubers, and podcasters. The thing is, their sensitivity can turn against them.

They can pick up even the quietest noises and any sudden sound increase (like hitting a hand against the table during a stream) can sound like an explosion. So, no matter whether your next mic has a gain setting, no matter whether it’s super sensitive or not, just get a pop filter and don’t look back. A pop filter is the cheapest and simplest way to reduce sensitivity and filter certain frequencies.

Dynamic mics, on the other hand, are less sensitive on average and thus are great for streaming since they won’t pick up keyboard strokes, or your cat’s meows in another room. On the flipside, dynamic mics won’t pick up all the details and intricacies of your voice, which shouldn’t bother you if you’re streaming or produce gaming-related content. But if you want a mic not only for streaming but also for voiceover recordings, or for recording yourself while singing, get a dynamic microphone.

RTX Voice Is Amazing For Eliminating Noise

Now, we’ve said and condenser mics are very sensitive and that they can pick up virtually any sound around them, making them less ideal for people without a sound-proof streaming environment. Also, some mics are sensitive enough to even pick sounds from far away. For instance, a mic can pick up the hum of a room fan from another room, even if you made sure there’s no noise in your room and even if you closed the doors.

This is where the RTX Voice arrives and fixes the day. RTX Voice is an app that uses AI and hardware found in Nvidia’s graphics cards to isolate and remove ambient noise in real-time. Yes, this means you can stream from a room filled with people and RTX Voice can pretty much remove noise emanating from your friends.

The app has its limits though. Some noise won’t be removed, only silenced. Also, the louder the background noise, the more robotic your voice will sound. The AI algorithms picking out background noise can be overwhelmed with too much noise, trying to overcompensate and turning your voice into Robocop’s.

RTX Voice is extremely easy to set up and in case you have newest RTX graphics card, feel free to download and use it. This free app can make even the most sensitive mics out there behave great when streaming. This is not a magic wand but it’s amazingly efficient in removing background noise. If you have a too sensitive mic and a required graphics card, check out RTX Voice before deciding to get a new one.

Mic Sensitivity Vs. Mic Volume

The microphone gain means how loud the input of the mic audio channel will be and the gain isn’t the same as the volume. The volume presents how loud the output of the mic (or any other audio channel) channel is. So, if you see a mic volume knob on a mic you’re eyeing know that a volume knob isn’t the same as the gain knob.

Having the gain setting is great because you can decide how sensitive the mic will be. This is handy to have on a condenser mic since these can be pretty sensitive and pick noise that can ruin any livestream. That doesn’t mean the volume knob can do the same. Changing the volume won’t change the fact that the mic is picking all kinds of background noise. It will only make the whole output quieter. You’ll still hear the noise; you’ll just have to turn on the speaker volume higher up to hear it.

Choose A Microphone With A Polar Pattern That Suits Your Needs

Last but not least we have the polar, or pickup patterns. These present the area of the mic that’s picking sounds. For instance, the omnidirectional pattern means a microphone will pick up sounds all around it, at a 360-degree angle. A cardioid pattern, on the other hand, means the mic is only picking sounds that are right in front of it.

This is important when picking your next streaming mic. If you do streams but also like to host guests on your streams or if you’re doing both solo and podcasts with live guests, a mic with only cardioid pattern won’t do. You’ll have to get a mic with a bidirectional pattern because this pattern means the mic is capable of picking sounds from both its sides, which happens when you interview a guest in a podcast for instance.

It’s like when streaming PC games via software and then trying to do the same with console games. It’s not possible, you just have to get a streaming card. So, before you pull the trigger, make sure to know whether you’ll stream or podcast on your own or with other people.

About The Author

Goran Damnjanovic

Goran studied psychology but video games and PC hardware were much more interesting. On top of that he likes writing so he decided to become a writer. And it was the right choice. Other than games and hardware, Goran is interested in basketball, Sci-Fi literature, and music.

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