Gone are the days when gaming was more of a ‘solo’ activity, or something you did as a group of friends in the same room. Gaming has totally changed and the need for the best microphone for gaming has come from the fact that people are playing games in new ways and talking over network connections both with friends, opponents and even people you’ve met on the various communities games tend to create. Youtube and streaming are another reason people need good quality audio, for gaming commentaries and playthrough videos people like to make of their favorite games. Many people have even made careers out of gaming channels, so there is plenty of reason to take your gaming gear seriously.
Many of the microphones that come with our consoles or which are inbuilt with cheap headsets are not the best quality. They’re designed to be very basically functional and for a very casual gamer or someone who rarely ventures online they may be fine, but if you’re looking to make videos or even talk regularly online then the features and clarity may not suit, and you will likely want to look for a better quality gaming microphone. Whether you’re looking for a microphone for PC gaming or are a console based gamer looking for a mic to suit your PS4 or Xbox One gaming, we’ve got options to suit your needs and your budget.
If you’re new to the world of microphones it can be a little confusing, but we’ve put together the guide on the best gaming mics to try and help you to navigate your way through. A vital thing to know is about the types of microphone. There are two most common types:
Dynamic – dynamic mics can be pretty good quality but are designed to be hard wearing and sturdy and may well be enough for your gaming setup. If you want something basic with decent clarity and that won’t break easily then they’re a good choice.
Condenser – the technology in condenser microphones is designed to be a bit clearer at the expense of not being quite as sturdy, but that doesn’t mean they’re likely to break. Remember that this technology was built with bands in mind, so as long as you’re not thrashing it around a stage you should be fine. The clarity is great on many condenser mics but they require ‘phantom power’, a voltage sent to the microphone in order to make it work (some USB models have this built in).
USB – USB microphones can be either dynamic or condenser, but it is worth talking about whether you are going to get a USB microphone for gaming. Most people will, as it makes live a lot easier. A USB mic or one that will plug straight into your setup and make life easier is the best way to go about it.
If you want to read more about condenser vs dynamic microphones, this article will give you a huge amount of info.
The Best Gaming Microphones
Blue microphones are some of the best USB mics you’re likely to find. The brand have built a reputation around their ability to make USB mics which rival a recording studio setup. Of course, you don’t need studio quality for your videos, streaming or just chatting on games, but the fact that you can get amazing quality at such a low price means that lots of people have opted for the Blue Yeti for their gaming.
A quick look at the reviews on online retailers or looking through the internet show that a lot of people have ended up very happy with their purchase. The microphone has been used for many different reasons, people have used it for recording vocals, tracking guitar or other instruments at home or of course gaming. The fact that this is now sold as part of a gaming bundle along with capture cards shows how much the gaming community has taken to the microphone.
- Three different recording patterns for all sorts of different uses and to optimize your sound.
- Three different capsules for recording.
- Gain control for setting the volume at which it is recording and adjusting to the volume of your own voice.
- Plug in and go. Plug’n’play functionality for both mac and windows, no need to install any software or drivers.
- Comes on its own stand with a lot of flexibility and ease of recording.
- Zero latency output for your headphones, listen to what you’re recording while you record it.
This mic really has a lot to offer, as well as being easy to use, offering a great deal of clarity and having a huge amount of compatibility due to its USB functionality, this mic truly deserves its place on the list of the best. In terms of price, this isn’t the cheapest microphone you can buy, but for the great features on offer, the price point certainly isn’t bad. If you can afford this mic then the chances are you won’t live to regret the investment. The fact that it is sold in gaming bundles and recommended to be bought with capture cards show that it is very popular, and you will see a huge amount of youtubers and other gamers with this in their arsenal.
Antlion Audio ModMic 4.0
We wanted to include an attachable mic. This is one that can be perfect if you don’t have a lot of room on your desk or for instance if you want to make your gaming videos or play your games on the sofa instead of having to sit at a microphone. It is the sort of mic you might see a news reporter wearing as it can clip onto your body with ease.
If you are gaming with a headset, this can be used with many models by plugging it into a mic input slot, meaning that it can upgrade the audio quality recorded via your headphones whether you’re using Turtle Beach or another brand. The main advantages of the modmic 4.0 are its size and ease of use and setup, once you’ve got it hooked up to your headset and/or capture card you may even totally forget you’re recording while this is strapped to your shirt.
The audio features are pretty cool:
- Sensitive omnidirectional capsule and pickup pattern to record your voice clearly.
- Great frequency response which can record all sounds both high and low in frequency.
- 3.5mm jack which plugs into a lot of audio and gaming equipment quickly and easily without any adaptors or extra leads.
If you’re looking to hook something up to an existing headset, or record something without having to worry about a mic stand or being sat at a desk, this is a good option. Reviews of the product are generally very favorable, and it has clearly been designed with gamers and youtubers in mind, with loads of them reporting how well they’ve got on with the product when building their Twitch or Youtube following.
I have already mentioned that Blue Mics are a real powerhouse brand when it comes to USB mics, and while their Blue Yeti is exceptional, I wanted to include models of gaming mic under $100 or under $50 for those on a budget.
You can buy this on its own as a standalone mic, or you can get it in a set with pop filter (great for getting rid of the weird distortion that comes from harsh sounds) and headphones for monitoring. So what is missing from this more affordable option? Is it a good enough option for most of us?
The answer is that although this is a little less ‘professional’ than the Yeti, it does have a lot of good functionality and remains a popular choice among gamers.
- Two different pickup patterns (cardioid and omni)
- Condenser mic but powered via the USB connection.
- Comes complete with stand and cable.
- Compatible with other stands such as ‘arm’ style stands, meaning extra flexibility for gamers.
- Doesn’t need drivers or additional installations, just plug it in and go.
I consider this something of a younger sibling to the Blue Yeti. There are so many reasons to admire the company, Blue, and their mic range, they’ve created a lot of different microphones and accessories and while some audiophiles have their reservations about the audio quality of using a USB mic, Blue have smashed that conception for a lot of people and are renowned for their audio quality.
It does have a downside. Most of the best mics for gaming have gain control to let you control the input levels, but this does not, however it does have a switch from -12db to normal, which can be some help here.
For the price, the Snowball has a case to say it is the best value microphone on the market, the fact that it can be offered for a pretty affordable price but offer some very good features, and give a much more professional feel to your Youtube Videos. Some recording artists are even using these mics to record guitar, vocals and more, which is testament to the quality they offer. A quick look through the reviews on Amazon or other online retailers show a huge amount of five star reviews for the blue snowball, which is why it makes our list of the best microphones for gaming.
This is the only microphone from a brand who have been making mics for decades, and Rode are well known for making some of the best studio equipment there is. Their ‘NT’ brand has now stretched into the world of USB, so this is just as easy to use as the other USB microphones already on this list. As a warning, this is not a cheap microphone, and if you’re looking for budget then this is not necessarily going to be for you, but if you’re simply looking for the best features then look no further.
Along with the Blue Yeti, this mic is the only which can really claim to be studio quality, and rival the recordings that you can get from going into a recording studio (dependent on your surroundings). The audio clarity is amazing with virtually no noise. You can record on mac or windows with ease and it takes very little to get the product up and running, you can even record directly onto iPhones and iPads. The versatility and professional quality of the NT-USB have made it a top seller with a lot of five star reviews.
Features of the Rode NT-USB include:
- Comes with a pop shield and stand as well as a long USB lead and storage pouch.
- Amazing frequency response and ultra low noise.
- Compatibility with a huge amount of devices.
- Zero latency monitoring with a headphone jack built into the mic.
Audio quality is by far and away the most important thing, and this has it in abundance. The recordings it creates have made it popular with podcasters, pro musicians and of course YouTubers and gamers.
Best Budget Gaming Microphone
KLIM Desktop USB Microphone
Some people want a cheap microphone for gaming which can provide some good features without being expensive. Although the cheaper options will be a sacrifice in terms of quality and sometimes a lot less features, but that’s not to say there aren’t some decent options out there, one of which being the KLIM desktop USB microphone. This is built with gaming in mind and is great for PS4, Xbox One and older generation consoles such as the Xbox 360 and PS3.
It has plug and play functionality and decent audio quality. I wouldn’t recommend it for recording a studio album, but it is a decent option in terms of budget microphones for youtubers and gamers everywhere.
The prices of USB microphones vary greatly, there are some of the best USB microphones under $100, whereas others will cost a lot more. You can even venture under $50 and get a decent solution for recording audio for your videos.
Whatever you’re looking to spend, there are certain needs which need to be fulfilled, and buying products from brands such as Blue and Rode. We live in an age of consumer reviews. Looking for gaming microphone reviews can be a big help when looking to make that final choice on which to buy. A little bit of research up front can save a lot of time and hassle in the long run.