The Best Microphones for Gaming in 2021
As a casual gamer and a PC enthusiast, I value the utility of a well-built peripheral, as we all do. I don’t know about you, but when I kick back with my boys (and girls) and want to play some games or join a watch party, the last thing I want is to be that annoying dude who always has background noise or an echo that manages to ruin the mood. If you want the best microphone for gaming, then you should find a product that has good audio output, a reasonable price, a USB connector (ideally), and something that can easily fit on your desk.
Sound quality does tend to drop depending on your voice app of choice. If you’re using Skype (really, in 2020?), even the best microphone for gaming will struggle to produce crystal-clear quality. First off, if you want good quality for gaming, the Discord app doesn’t pick away at your resources and has amazing sound quality (especially if you’re using Discord Nitro). Secondly, for the best sound quality, you should make sure you have a stable internet connection (via wifi or ethernet).
If you have an unstable internet connection, whether it’s a bad router or the fault of your ISP, you’re gonna experience choppy incoming and outgoing audio. Because the audio is being streamed, there’s no buffering, so the moment your internet starts cutting out, the audio will tear and cause problems for you and your crew. Before you upgrade from your gaming headset, make sure to do everything you can to fix your internet connection for a hassle-free experience. Oh, and make sure to have a good pair of speakers or a good headset to notice the difference in quality.
Best Microphones for Gaming
The Best Microphone for Gaming and Streaming
- 4 polar patterns
- Included shock mount
- Embedded pop filter
- Touch-sensitive mute button
- Gain dial
HyperX, Kingston’s gaming division, is a prominent name in the gaming industry. They manufacture stellar-quality gaming peripherals, RAM sticks, SSDs, all made using a gaming-designated design and high-quality materials.
The HyperX QuadCast is one of THE best microphones for streaming, podcasting, gaming, and chatting. It has amazing features, all the trappings that come with a gaming branded peripheral, and a lot of utility packed into it.
Starting from top to bottom, the microphone’s top features a touch-sensitive area for muting and unmuting the device. The area has a different texture than the body of the device and is big enough that you can reach it without having to look at your microphone – great to have when someone pops in unexpectedly and you need to cut off your audio for immediate privacy.
The red LED stays on when unmuted and turns off when you mute the device. It also helps blend in with your gaming aesthetic and with all other HyperX products, if you want to make a setup that’s using items from the same gaming ecosystem. In the middle, the device features a dial that lets you select your sound pickup mode. You have four polar patterns, including stereo (left and right), cardioid, omnidirectional, and bidirectional.
The stereo polar pattern helps you record sounds on the left and right of your device. This is great to have if you’re going more of an ASMR stream or something along those lines since you’ll be giving your audience a more immersive sound experience.
The cardioid pattern picks up things in front, left, and right of the device, but most sounds that are going through the microphone are coming from the front. The left and right sounds are a bit cut off. This is probably the best setting for chatting.
The bidirectional pattern records sound from the front and the back of the device. This helps give the sound a bit more depth from the reverb. If you have a monitor or wall, it will capture your voice bouncing off from the wall, giving your voice a more natural sound. That being said, if you don’t have a professional setup, this can also lessen your sound quality, so only use it if you know what you’re doing.
Lastly, the omnidirectional pattern records sound at a 360 angle, capturing everything that’s going on around you. Pretty self-explanatory.
The microphone also features a micro USB and an audio jack, for monitoring your voice and for streaming sound from your PC directly into your headphones. The bottom dial from the microphone also features a gain dial, that helps you boost your signal through the integrated amp.
Lastly, you’re getting a shock mount and a small desk mount. The shock mount will help eliminate any vibrations from your desk (HDD, case fans, typing), and it’s super nice to have if you don’t want to spend a lot of time eliminating your background noise with software. The included mount is perfect for your desk. The mic can also be mounted on a boom arm, so you can either use the default stand or find a new mount that fits your setup.
Of course, for the money, you’re also getting a solid warranty and an embedded pop filter. Overall, great value, feature-packed, stellar quality. We highly, highly recommend it!
- Red LED indicator for mute/unmute
- Great sound quality
- Condenser-based mic
Great for Streaming
- Cardioid polar pattern
- USB condenser mic
- 24-bit 96k digital output
- Comes with desk stand
The Wave 3 is, for all intents and purposes, a great microphone. It’s a USB condenser microphone, so you’re getting amazing audio quality without having to use an external soundboard or mixer.
The Elgato Wave:3 is sold at around the same price as HyperX QuadCast, so it makes sense to stack them up against each other. The first thing I’m going to say is that the Wave:3 is smaller and easier to fit on a desk, in a tighter setup. It has a cardioid polar pattern which makes it perfect for chatting on Discord, streaming, podcasting, voice-overs, and so on.
In terms of features, it has a touch-sensitive mute button, a gain dial, and that’s about it. The sound quality is great, turning analog sound into a 24-bit 96k digital signal. Even with a lot of added gain, the signal remains clear as day, although it’s not that surprising. Elgato specializes in making streaming-related peripherals and equipment, so it makes sense that their microphone would be perfect for gamers.
The exterior, however, is not amazing. In terms of build quality, it feels rather cheap. That shouldn’t be a problem if you plan on mounting it on a boom arm, but if you’re just going to plop it on your table, the plastic casing will probably take a few hits during its lifetime.
Overall, it’s an interesting choice. The features are great for a simple stream. The Wave:3 even has integration with the Stream Deck to help you bump up the production value. Other than that, great voice quality on Discord and in-game, but kind of cheap build quality, especially considering the hefty price tag.
- Superb sound quality
- Lightweight and compact
- Ergonomic design
- Integration with other Elgato products
- Mediocre build quality
Razer Seiren Mini
The Best Cheap Gaming Microphone
- Super cardioid polar pattern
- 16-bit 48k signal
You didn’t actually think we’d get through this list without seeing at least one Razer product, did you? While Razer usually brings in the big guns, this time around it’s kind of a budget choice. The Seiren Mini is an affordable, entry-level dedicated microphone.
In terms of build quality, it’s lightweight and brittle. Now, I don’t think it’s frail per se, but it’s definitely not as durable as more expensive microphones. The mic comes with a shock mount that will help with vibrations from your keyboards and PC case, but not much else.
You’re not getting a mute button, a headphone jack, or a gain dial. The audio quality is GOOD, but not GREAT. In terms of bang-per-buck, you’re getting a fair deal, but in terms of quality, it can definitely be better.
While the sound comes out clear, you’ll have to boost the volume via software. The stand that it comes with is also raising a few more issues since it enables you to place the mic in a bad spot. The mic does sound good when it’s on a boom arm, but if it’s just standing on the desk, at about a foot from your mouth, you’re going to have a flat-sounding voice.
Overall, good for the price, but lacking features and build quality. The only redeeming quality is the sound, which is actually good considering the affordable nature of the product.
- Good sound
- Compact, easy to fit into any setup
- Not the best build quality
- Lack of features
Blue Yeti X
Second in Line for the Throne
- Addressable RGB
- 4 polar patterns
- 4 condensers
- 24-bit 48k signal
In terms of utility, the Blue Yeti X brings a lot to the table. It features all 4 polar patterns, meaning that it’s a beast in terms of versatility. With 4 condensers, a 24-bit 48k digital signal, and a multifunctional dial, it makes for an amazing sound. For aspiring streamers, it’s perfect for featuring you on either COD: Warzone or Just Chatting on TTV.
Many people are talking about how the Blue Yeti X is the go-to premium microphone for gamers, and it’s easy to see why. It has a multifunctional dial for blending, gain, and headphone volume, addressable RGB lighting, so it’s going to fit in both a professional setting and next to a battle station.
With an all-metal body, there’s nothing you could realistically do to this microphone to damage it. The metal mesh has just enough spring to protect the mic while holding its shape. In terms of design, the Blue Yeti X has a versatile aesthetic, so it won’t feel out of place no matter where you place it.
The base is wide and with two anchor points, the mic is very steady. It can also swivel, so you can find the perfect angle to capture your beautiful voice. Overall, the Blue Yeti X brings a complete set of features, premium build quality, and amazing utility. The price tag is high, but in terms of value, this thing is a steal.
- Very versatile across the board, from gaming to variety streaming
- Solid metallic body
- Great build quality
- Swivel base stand great for positioning without investing in a boom arm
Budget-Friendly, High-end Features
- Condenser-type USB microphone
- 40-20kHz frequency
- Cardioid polar pattern
- Metallic swivel base
Gamers are known for being big spenders when it comes to their hardware. When it comes to keyboards, mice, gaming chairs, you’re getting value out of each and every penny you’re spending. On the other hand, when you’re shopping for gaming microphones, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to grab the most expensive, feature-packed product just because you want that sweet, sweet gamer clout.
Picking up a great Discord microphone should be all about the utility. You won’t be using noise gates, your signal will be compressed, the audio quality will be significantly reduced, all valid reasons to opt for a mid-ranged microphone. The FIFINE K678 pulls no punches when it comes to bang per buck.
The K678 is a king in terms of value. It has a cardioid polar pattern, great for chatting with your friends, as well as setting up a budget-oriented streaming/podcasting setup. The audio quality is pretty great, considering the price, and the features are pretty surprising.
The quality and integrity of this microphone are pretty amazing. The plastic body is sturdy and beautifully complemented by the metallic stand. The included stand has a swivel joint that works great with the cardioid polar pattern.
While it might not be as ergonomic as the premium-grade microphones, this little guy is designed with a headphone jack for monitoring/streaming audio. It’s also a condenser microphone with a USB output, perfect for bringing high-quality speech without having to invest in an XLR input for your PC.
You’re also getting a gain control, a mute button, and a live-monitoring LED, which is not common for this price. Overall, this microphone is a SOLID choice for any application, be it gaming with your buddies in HQ audio, Zoom meetings for school, or catching up with friends and family.
- Good build quality
- Great sound quality, especially considering the price
- Amazing value
- Not very versatile
Best Value (by a longshot)
- Specifically designed for use with a headset
- Compatible with all devices that support 3.5mm jack input
- SteelFlex boom arm
By this point, you should know that I am a BIG, BIG fan of value. In terms of value, the V-MODA BoomPro microphone is pretty hard to beat. When you think of a gaming microphone, you’re likely thinking about a gaming headset microphone. Up until this point, you’ve been presented with condenser-type microphones because they set the standard in terms of quality. That being said, what if you could get a microphone that has comparable quality while also coming in a more compact form factor and at a very affordable price?
Well, that’s exactly what the V-MODA BoomPro achieves. If you own a headset with a detachable cable, the BoomPro has a gold-plated 3.5mm jack that can upgrade your sound quality for a very attractive price. While the sound quality isn’t that close to a high-end condenser-type microphone, I think that it’s actually better than the Razer Seiren Mini and on par with the FIFINE K678.
The microphone has a mic mute switch and a volume knob for the headphones of your choosing, so you get at least a few features. The boom arm is flexible enough to get a good angle, and the built-in background noise reduction does a good job without sacrificing a lot in terms of audio quality.
- Super affordable
- Great value
- Amazing sound quality considering the small form factor
- You need a compatible headset to use it
- No amplification
Antlion Audio ModMic
Contender for Best Value
- Mute switch
- 3.5mm connection
- Compatible with Windows, Mac, PlayStation, and Xbox
If you own a pair of audiophile-grade headphones but don’t want to invest in a fancy, condenser microphone, then the Antlion Audio ModMic is your best bet to reach high-quality voice outputs without sacrificing a lot of space. The price is also pretty low, compared to other products, and the design is extremely ergonomic.
The Antlion Audio ModMic comes with powerful magnets that are stuck to the headphone, allowing you to equip your microphone on almost any over-ear headphones without resorting to janky, ugly solutions. The microphone just clips on to the magnet and locks in place. The boom arm is flexible and can be positioned to capture more of your voice.
The only drawback is the sound quality. Compared to other microphones, this one doesn’t benefit from any sort of amplification and can sound pretty flat. The quality is definitely better than that of a headset microphone, but even the V-MODA Boom Pro has superior fidelity.
Overall, it’s a perfect choice if you want something small, on a budget, to use with your headset. If you’re just planning to use it with Discord, then I’d go out of my way to say that this is the best value you’re going to find on this list.
- Easy to set up
- Doesn’t take up space
- Can be used with almost any over-ear headphones
- Lesser fidelity
- No amplification
How to Choose the Best Microphone for Gaming
As a gamer, I know that the right gear makes a lot of difference. Before, I used a HyperX Cloud Alpha headset and it was fine for hanging out with my internet friends, but in time, I noticed that investing in a quality, condenser-based USB microphone resulted in a better experience, less troubleshooting, and getting more compliments for my beautiful voice.
While you have to deal with some extra cables and, depending on your setup, the possible addition of a boom arm, a USB condenser microphone or a budget-friendly (but professional) dedicated headset microphone will result in less background and system audio leaking into your calls, good quality sound for your Nvidia Shadowplay and OBS captures, and amazing call and streaming voice quality.
First off, we’re going to talk about the polar patterns. Depending on how many condensers are crammed into your microphone, you can have as many as 4 polar patterns. The cardioid pattern is aptly named for the heart-shaped pickup shape. Basically, you’re getting maximum fidelity when the sounds hit the front of the mic perpendicularly, and they start fading as the sound moves to the back of the microphone.
Omnidirectional polar patterns capture audio signals from all around the microphone with the same intensity. They’re pretty great if you’re trying to record something more intricate, like ASMR, maybe a gaming night where you have multiple people over and don’t want to invest in multiple microphones.
The bidirectional microphones (or polar patterns, if you have a multi-pattern mic) best captures sound at a 0 and 180-degree angle. This is great if you’re singing with another person, narrated ASMR content, and anything else that you can think of. There are more pickup patterns, but they’re just variants of these three basic ones.
The microphone frequency response is a pretty complicated topic, so I’m just going to lay down the basics. In layman’s terms, microphones can have a flat or a shaped response. Flat frequency response microphones can pick up any sounds with the same intensity. They’re great for picking up background noise, acoustic instruments, anything that emits lower-frequency sounds. Based on what you plan on doing with said microphone, this could be a great choice for you.
A shaped frequency response typically favors voices, so it’s perfect for podcasting and streaming. You can read more about microphone frequencies and how they affect the recording results here.
In my opinion, value is the most important point to tick off when you’re shopping for anything. As you spend more money, you tend to get less value and diminishing quality, so once you reach a certain threshold of features and quality, it doesn’t really make sense for the average consumer to spend more money on a product.
For microphones, I think that once you have one with good fidelity and a nice blend of features (mute button, monitoring, built-in gain controls), it doesn’t make a lot of sense to pay for RGB, multiple polar patterns, and other things that can be considered premium. If you plan on using your microphone for gaming over Discord or over the built-in voice chat, then try to pick up something more value-oriented. Even the best budget headset will give you loads of value. For streaming and content creation, the premium features will definitely help to significantly improve the quality of your content.
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