While you don’t actually need a webcam to stream, a good microphone is an absolute essential. It helps you to stand out from others by putting expressions and emotions in your stream, showing more of you and your personality.
While it’s very easy to get your voice heard nowadays, the quality of your setup will decide whether anyone sticks around to listen. It doesn’t really matter how interesting your stream is; nobody wants to sit through badly configured streams.
So choosing the right microphone makes the difference since it pushes the sound of your streams to a more professional and engaging level. With so many setups available, it can be difficult to know where to start.
This article will help you understand the different types of microphones, what features you should consider before selecting a microphone, and give you some recommendations for the best microphone for streaming in 2023.
Types of Microphones
Microphones come in all shapes, sizes, and styles. However, all microphones can be categorized into these 3 categories; Dynamic, Condenser, or Ribbon. Each one of these types of microphones has a different way of “translating” sounds into recorded audio.
This basically means that if you recorded the same sound with each of these microphones, they would all create a slightly different sound.
Without going too deep into technical details, here is a short overview of the differences:
- Ribbon microphones: known for their smooth, authentic sound, making them ideal for vocal or acoustic recording. They are often more sensitive than other microphone types and are best used in a quiet environment. These microphones are also very delicate, fragile, and expensive, so they are typically only found in a highly controlled, professional environment like a recording studio.
- Condenser microphones: This type of microphone is very accurate, catching both high and low frequencies. However, they require an external power source called phantom power, making their audio signal stronger than that of dynamic microphones.
As a result, condenser microphones offer a clear, crisp sound and can handle high volume levels, which makes them more sensitive to background noise and, thus, perfect for streaming.
- Dynamic microphones: This is the most common type of microphone used in professional applications. Vocal mics for live performances are almost exclusively dynamic mics and more affordable than condenser microphones.
Features to Consider
When searching for the best microphone for gaming live streams, there are several key factors to consider to ensure that you choose the perfect microphone for your needs and produce high-quality audio for your viewers.
First and foremost, selecting the right type of microphone is important. As we just mentioned: Dynamic microphones are more durable and great for recording loud sounds, making them a great option for gamers who need to shout out orders or yell in excitement. On the other hand, condenser microphones are more sensitive and ideal for capturing delicate and nuanced audio, making them perfect for gamers who want to communicate clearly and effectively.
Another crucial factor to consider is the microphone’s polar pattern. This refers to how the microphone captures its sound and can greatly impact the quality of your audio. Omnidirectional microphones capture sound from all directions, while directional microphones, such as cardioid microphones, focus on sound in front of the microphone, effectively reducing background noise.
When it comes to connectivity, USB microphones are an excellent choice for gamers who want an easy-to-use setup. Simply plug them into your computer, and you’re ready to go. However, if you’re looking for a more professional setup, an XLR microphone may be the better option, offering superior sound quality and versatility.
In addition to the above factors, it’s important to consider the size and portability of your microphone. If you’re looking for a microphone that you can easily take on the go, a lavalier or handheld microphone may be the way to go. However, a larger and more powerful microphone, such as a boom arm microphone, may be the better choice if you have a dedicated gaming setup.
Best microphone for streaming in 2023
When selecting a microphone for gaming live streams, consider the type of microphone, polar pattern, connectivity, and size/portability. By considering these key factors, you’ll find the perfect microphone to enhance your audio and elevate your live streams to the next level.
Bellow, we have rounded up 7 of the best microphones for streaming in 2023, each with its own unique features and capabilities.
Rode X For live streaming (XDM-100 & XCM-50)
The Rode X series, consisting of the XDM-100 and XCM-50 microphones, is a great choice for live streaming.
The Rode XDM-100 is a dynamic microphone that delivers professional-level audio for live performance and broadcasting. A cardioid pickup pattern isolates the desired sound source and reduces background noise, making it ideal for gamers who want to communicate clearly and effectively. The smooth frequency response ensures natural and accurate audio reproduction, while the internal pop shield and shock mount minimize handling noise and unwanted vibrations.
The Rode XCM-50 is a compact, portable condenser microphone perfect for mobile gaming and live streaming. With a cardioid pickup pattern and a frequency response optimized for vocals and speech, it’s ideal for communicating with your audience and capturing your gameplay audio. The headphone output allows for real-time monitoring, and the included windscreen, carry case, and tripod mount makes it easy to take on the go.
Both the XDM-100 and XCM-50 are manufactured by Rode, a reputable audio equipment company known for producing high-quality microphones. If you’re looking for a dynamic microphone for professional-level gaming and live streaming, or a compact and portable condenser microphone for mobile gaming, the Rode X series is an excellent choice.
While the Rode X series is a solid choice, other options are also available depending on your specific needs and preferences. We listed a few other top picks for streaming in 2023.
This versatile, dynamic microphone is popular among YouTubers and podcasters. It offers excellent sound quality, a switchable bass roll-off, and mid-range boost control, making it easy to get the best sound for your stream.
This high-quality condenser microphone offers a clear and natural sound. Its compact design makes it easy to set up and use, and it’s affordable for those on a budget.
This condenser microphone is a great choice for those seeking a USB option. It offers a wide frequency response and high SPL handling, making it ideal for streaming in various environments.
This USB microphone is one of the most popular choices for streaming. It offers a range of polar patterns, making it easy to customize your recording for the best sound. It also includes built-in headphone amplification and a mute button, making it a convenient choice for streamers.
Samson C01U Pro
This affordable USB microphone is a great option for those starting out with streaming. It offers a clear and natural sound and is easy to set up and use.
Our recommendations listed
This table compares the main features of seven popular microphones for live streaming, including the Shure SM7B, Rode NT1-A, Audio-Technica AT2020USB+, Blue Yeti, Samson C01U Pro, Rode XDM-100, and Rode XCM-50.
Don’t forget to consider the type of microphone, polar pattern, connectivity, size/portability, and any special features when selecting the best microphone for your needs.
|Microphone||Type||Polar Pattern||Connectivity||Special Features||Price|
|Shure SM7B||Dynamic||Cardioid||XLR||Switchable bass roll-off and mid-range boost, internal shock mount||$179,-|
|Rode NT1-A||Condenser||Cardioid||XLR||Low self-noise, high SPL handling||$199,-|
|Audio-Technica AT2020USB+||Condenser||Cardioid||USB||Direct-to-digital conversion for easy setup||$69,-|
|Blue Yeti||Condenser||Multiple (Cardioid, Omnidirectional, Bidirectional, Stereo)||USB||Multiple polar patterns, built-in headphone output, mute button||$129,87|
|Samson C01U Pro||Condenser||Cardioid||USB||Low self-noise, plug-and-play design||$49,99|
|Rode XDM-100||Dynamic||Cardioid||XLR||Internal pop shield and shock mount, smooth frequency response||$249,-|
|Rode XCM-50||Condenser||Cardioid||TRRS||Real-time monitoring, accessories included||$149,-|