Best Microphone For Streaming

Your microphone is one of the most important pieces of equipment in your entire stream setup. There’s a noticeable step-up in audio quality when making the switch from a headset mic to a dedicated streaming microphone, which your viewers will benefit from throughout every single broadcast.

In this review, you’ll find our selection of the best mics for streaming on Twitch suitable for beginners and established streamers alike, including the best overall, best on a budget and best bang-for-buck.

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Best Streaming Microphone: The Best Mics For Streaming On Twitch

Audio Technica AT2020 USB+ Microphone close-up photograph

1. Audio-Technica AT2020USB+

The best entry-level microphone for streaming that won’t need replacing until you decide to upgrade to an audio mixer and XLR microphone setup.

  • Deeply competitive price for the level of audio quality.
  • Rich, warm sounding vocals.
  • It’s great if you’re just starting out and don’t have a large budget.
  • It’s super sensitive, often picking up the sound of keyboard clacks.
  • It’s only cardioid, unlike other streaming mics which are often adaptable.

Audio-Technica is a household name in the streaming world, not just because of their top quality headphones, but for affordable microphones such as the AT2020 which offer some serious value for money.

The AT2020USB+ is a condenser microphone with a cardioid pattern. In a nutshell, this means that the microphone is sensitive towards the front, and less-so at the back.

With this in mind, you’ll have to make sure you’ve got an ample amount of space in your streaming setup to place the microphone in front of your keyboard (or mounted on a boom arm) as to limit excess noise being picked up from your keyboard.

That being said, it doesn’t pick up as much background noise as a Blue YetiOpens in a new tab., (due to the cardioid polar pattern and only one condenser capsule) but it’s nothing that can’t be fixed with some MX Brown keyboard switches and soundproof foam if it becomes a real issue.

Sound quality wise, the AT2020 will give you the silky-smooth, warm sounding vocals that you’ve been looking for. It’s been around for years and has become one of the most popular streaming mics throughout its lifetime based on its studio level audio quality alone. You’ll enjoy a huge upgrade in microphone quality if you’re looking to make the switch from a streamer headsetOpens in a new tab..

In terms of looks, it’s not as ‘gamer-fied’ as something like a HyperX QuadCastOpens in a new tab., you’ll find no fancy RGB lighting or garish coloring here. It’s a simple, no-frills streaming microphone that’ll compliment the rest of your stream setup nicely.

The AT2020 isn’t just available in USB guise, you can also pick up an XLR versionOpens in a new tab. if you have a digital audio mixer for streamingOpens in a new tab. (with phantom power) to support it. At this tier of streaming microphone, the sound quality is more-or-less the same between the USB and XLR variants, so if you’re new to streaming and stuck deciding between the two – just go for the USB version instead.

Full frontal photograph of the Blue Yeti USB streaming microphone.

2. Blue Yeti USB

One of the most recognizable microphones for streamers and podcasters around the globe. The Blue Yeti is an affordable fan favorite with plenty of versatility.

  • Four polar patterns.
  • It’s easy to place or mount.
  • It’s a no-nonsense, easy to use microphone.
  • It’s very sensitive, prone to picking up all sorts of ambient background noise.
  • It’s side-address, which has its limitations as to where you can place it.

The Blue Yeti USB is a really good microphone for streaming. Not because of brand appeal or anything like that, but because it provides you with everything you could possibly need out of an entry-level USB mic.

You aren’t limited to one polar pattern with the Blue Yeti, unlike the AT2020. In fact, you’re given much more choice than most streaming microphones, meaning you won’t have to mess around finding the sweet spot to pick up your vocals.

There’s the standard cardioid pattern, as well as omni, bi-directional and stereo. Keep in mind that the Blue Yeti is a side-address microphone, so plan in advance how you’re going to place it in order to get the most out of it and ensure it compliments your current streaming setup.

Regarding sound quality, throughout each polar pattern the audio is consistent, thanks to the three separate condensers housed within the Blue Yeti in order to cater to each different setting.

From my personal experience, I recommend sticking to cardioid mode to get the most out of this mic, I found the other three modes to have a slightly flatter sound. You’d also benefit from having a pop filterOpens in a new tab., but the same can be said for every microphone for streaming.

In terms of setup, the Blue Yeti is no-nonsense. Once the USB is plugged in, everything you need to tweak your audio quality is housed directly on the microphone, you won’t need accompanying software to manage it to compensate for the lack of an audio mixer. Simply adjust the polar pattern and microphone gain on-the-fly until you find what suits you best.

Overall, the Blue Yeti is a great investment which won’t need upgrading for quite some time, especially if you don’t want to shell out for an expensive audio mixer and XLR setup. It’s one of the best microphones for streaming and offers great value for money as far as USB microphones go.

Close up of the HyperX Quadcast streaming microphone

3. HyperX QuadCast

One of the best streaming microphones for new and established broadcasters alike. The HyperX QuadCast offers streamers a welcome upgrade in audio quality over entry-level microphones and gaming headsets.

  • Pop-filter included.
  • Lightweight build.
  • Multiple polar patterns.
  • Red LED can’t be turned off, which can result in eye strain from prolonged use.
  • No XLR variant available.

The HyperX QuadCast will fit right in with any Darth Maul inspired, red/black gaming setup. It’s the ‘gamer-fied’ competitor to the Blue Yeti.

The QuadCast is a USB microphone, so you won’t need an audio mixer to get the most out of it. You’re able to tweak the gain on-the-fly by twisting the base of the mic to the sensitivity of your choosing. On the rear, you’ll find the control knob to change polar patterns.

It’s a good microphone for streaming if you just want something that’s a great all-rounder without stretching your budget too far. You’ll benefit from up to four different polar patterns (stereo, omni, cardioid and bi-directional), a built-in pop filter as well as an overall lighter build which won’t strain your boom arm as much, should you wish to mount it.

Twitch chat also won’t get to trick you into thinking your mic is muted thanks to the red LED indicator housed inside of the mic, which you can tap the top of to instantly mute. If the light is on, you’re on air and good to go, if it’s off, it’s muted.

One of the underrated perks of the HyperX QuadCast is the anti-vibration shock mount. Condenser microphones are notorious for picking up background noise, however as the QuadCast is suspended by elastic ropes, noise emitted from your desk is subdued.

The design of the Quadcast won’t appeal to everybody, but if you can look past the overt gamer styling, there’s no reason it shouldn’t belong in your streaming setup. The sound quality is top notch as far as USB streaming mics go and everything you need to adjust the audio quality is housed right on the microphone body.

All-in-all, the HyperX Quadcast will appeal to you if you’re looking for something different than an AT2020 or Blue Yeti. They’re all in a very similar bracket, but with the Quadcast being the most uncommon out of the three, you’ll benefit from sounding different to most of the other hobbyist streamers out there.

Close up of the Shure SM7B streaming mic.

4. Shure SM7B

The SM7B is hands down the best microphone for streaming. It’s an endgame tier mic with a hefty price tag, but offers some serious sound quality and depth.

  • Silky smooth audio quality
  • There’s no other streaming mic you’ll ever realistically need.
  • Fantastic for subduing ambient background noise.
  • Hefty price tag, you’ll also have to factor in the cost of a good mixer.
  • It has to be mounted.
  • No mute button on the hardware.

The Shure SM7B is in a completely different league to the other streaming microphones in this list. It’s an XLR mic, which means you’ll need a decent mixer to support it, but the Shure SM7B has been the microphone of choice for some of the most popular streamers on Twitch, including xQc, Nickmercs and Asmongold.

Unlike most of the other microphones in this list, the Shure SM7B is a dynamic mic, so it’s not as sensitive to ambient background noise compared to a condenser mic. However, being an XLR mic, you’ll get the most out of the audio quality with the help of an accompanying mixer.

Editor’s Note: The Shure SM7B doesn’t come with an XLR cable in the box. You’ll have to buy one separately.

As far as design goes, the SM7B is very plain Jane, it’s simple, sleek and heavy duty. It doesn’t allure your inner gamer with flashy RGB’s like the HyperX Quadcast.

Vocals from the SM7B are silky smooth and it isn’t as prone to picking up background noise as it’s a dynamic microphone. Any tweaks you’d like to make to the vocals have to be done on your mixer, the same goes for muting the microphone.

Pick up a Shure SM7B if you’re looking to put together a high-end streaming setup. It’s the best mic for streaming without going into an unrealistic price range.

Microphone Buyer’s Guide For Live Streamers

What Is A Streaming Microphone?

A streaming mic is any microphone that is catered to live broadcasting, whether that be on Twitch, YouTube or performing live in a studio.

What Makes A Microphone Good For Streaming?

All of the best microphones for streaming have a few things in common, including:

  • A cardioid polar pattern.
  • An adjustable gain.
  • Rich sounding vocals.
  • The ability to mount it on a boom arm.

Features aside, the most important factor of a good streaming mic is the audio quality. You should ultimately make your purchase decision based on how you want your vocals to sound, which is highly subjective.

What Are The Benefits Of A Good Mic For Streaming?

Your microphone has the power to improve your first impression to new viewers by making your vocals sound professional. The audio quality is worlds apart compared to a standard gaming headset and your viewers’ ears will thank you for it.

When you’re not streaming, you can use your microphone to provide voice-over on your YouTube videos to up the production quality of your content.

What Type Of Microphone Do Streamers Use?

Most streamers use a microphone with a cardioid polar pattern, it’s the most effective pattern to capture your audio in order to limit excess background noise from your keyboard. Cardioid polar patterns can be found on most mics for streaming, regardless of whether they’re a USB or XLR input.

Generally speaking, newer streamers tend to use USB based microphones as they’re both plug-and-play and cost-effective. Now, XLR microphones are superior to USB mics, but not everyone wants to spend the extra cash on a mixer, especially if they’re just starting out and have a tight budget. Once you’re making a steady income from streaming, then it’s time to upgrade to a professional XLR based setup.

Lastly, streamers use either a dynamic or condenser microphone. The difference between the two is that a condenser mic is more sensitive and better at picking up higher pitched noises, so they’re great at picking up vocals.

Polar Patterns

A good streaming microphone will allow you to alternate between each of the three main polar patterns: Cardioid, Omnidirectional and Bi-directional.

The polar pattern dictates how the microphone will pick up your vocals and any other sound emitted around it. Shure (whose SM7B microphone features in this round-up) has an in-depth guide to each polar patternOpens in a new tab. which you can read if you want to learn more.

Whilst the cardioid setting is the most effective for streaming purposes, if you’ve got a guest visiting for a podcast or need to mount your mic in an nontraditional way, it’s nice to have the extra settings available.

What To Consider When Looking At Streaming Mics

The first thing you’ll need to consider is whether you want to stick with an entry level USB mic or invest early into an XLR and mixer streaming mic setup so that you’re able to upgrade in the future. As previously mentioned, XLR microphones are better than USB mics, so it’s inevitable that one day you’ll have to make the switch to take your audio to the next level.

Secondly, you’ll need to consider how much background noise your streaming mic will pick up. The most common sources of background noise Twitch streamers will experience are:

  • Keyboard clacks
  • Open windows
  • Closing doors
  • Echoing walls
  • Footsteps on laminate flooring

This means you’ll have to think about how you can soften the noise emitted from these sources around you. This can be in the form of foam panels, rugs, using a non-mechanical keyboard (or quieter switches) or a microphone pop-filter.

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