You may want to consider investing in a gaming microphone to get the most immersive playing experience possible, especially if you frequently play multiplayer games. A mic is essential for streaming gameplay to fans and calling out strategy on the fly, which can make or break a gaming session.
Before you settle for that no-name accessory, learn what tech makes for the best gaming microphones. Then, check out the gaming mics that made our list. You’ll find an option for every style and price point.
To help you make the best buying decision, we’ve included a run down of what you should look for in a gaming mic below the product overview.
What is a gaming microphone?
A gaming microphone is a stand-alone accessory that captures your sound for in-game audio. While mics have traditionally been used as part of gaming headsets with built-in microphones, these detached microphones offer robust features and pro-level sound. They are ideal for game video streaming and hands-free professional audio recording.
The top 10 best gaming microphones reviewed
The HyperX QuadCast Gaming Microphone
takes the guesswork out of fine-tuning your audio by providing numerous visual indicators and on-mic control. Mute, adjust mic sensitivity, and choose between 4 polar patterns (stereo, omnidirectional, cardioid, and bidirectional) from the mic body so you always know when you’re “live” – and when you’re not.
Twitchers can perfect their sound without stopping or adjusting software controls. The 48 kHz / 16-bit mic also includes a built-in stabilizer and pop filter, making it a plug-and-play studio option.
The bright red lighting is a cool extra feature, but it doesn’t shut off and may be distracting for recordings in low-light environments. However, the solid build and striking design help put it on par with much more expensive microphones, but you’re getting this at a fraction of the cost and weight. HyperX QuadCast Gaming Microphone
is also a suitable solution for cross-platform play.
A popular choice for YouTubers, the Blue Yeti USB Gaming Microphone
features on-mic volume and mute controls along with gain control on a sleek silver body that matches any studio décor. Pickup pattern controls let you choose between 4 directional sound captures, which is helpful when moving between rooms and environments.
Crisp highs and a subtle bass highlight a variety of voice types without the need for an additional pop filter. Plus, the long cord gives you freedom to place it almost anywhere.
The indicator light tells you if the mic is on or muted, which may be distracting if it’s facing your camera. It’s also a bit bulkier than other mics, but for those not yet ready for XLR technology, the Blue Yeti USB Gaming Microphone
is a solid pick. It’s also recognized in the industry as a go-to tool for podcasters and gamers.
At more than twice the price of some of the other mics, the Shure SM7B Cardioid Microphone
is a serious addition to your gaming studio. It uses an XLR connection, so you’ll need a USB interface to get it to work with your PC or gaming console.
It is cardioid omnidirectional only, which makes it useful for podcasters, gamers, and others recording directly in front of the mic. The pro level audio is well-deserving of its praise, and the mic is a long-time favorite for professional recording studios and voice-over artists.
Electromagnetic shielding helps keep electronic “hum” from other devices to a minimum, and an additional included windscreen reduces breathiness. The drawback to the Shure SM7B Cardioid Microphone
is that you’ll need a sturdy stand or arm to hold its weight, and it may take some time to figure out all that this beauty has to offer. It’s not a plug-and-play product like others on our list, but its potential is unlimited.
Marketed specifically as a gaming microphone, the Elgato Wave: 3 gaming microphone
is a more feature-packed version of the original Elgato. It pairs nicely with the Elgato Stream Deck but is compatible with all major platforms and software setups used by streamers. Its 24-bit / 96 kHz analog to digital conversion creates pro-level sound, even through more compressed delivery methods like YouTube.
It is portable, lightweight, and less flashy in appearance than its similarly priced peers. Unlike some other mics on this list, the Elgato Wave: 3 Gaming Microphone
has just a single polar pattern, cardioid, but the proprietary “Clipguard” tech keeps the audio distortion under control. The simple body hosts a mute on/off button and a single control to handle audio gain, headphone volume, and crossfading.
The Elgato Wave: 3 gaming microphone
shines in its simple setup and more advanced control suite than other mics, but it’s limited in physical features, including a lack of a pop filter. Those who want a single-purpose mic, however, will be satisfied.
The Audio-Technica AT2020 USB Microphone
may not have a flashy design, but its high-quality A/D converter with 16-bit, 44.1 / 48 kHz sampling rate more than handles the task at hand. It also provides mix control for blending prerecorded audio and mic signals, if needed.
This unidirectional cardioid mic works best when users speak directly into the blue light behind the screen, which is the “sweet spot” for this mic. It’s a reasonably priced microphone with all the accessories needed to start streaming right away, and it comes with a light-weight tripod stand that may not be tall enough for all gamers to reach comfortably. For that reason, we recommend its use with a boom arm and pop filter (sold separately) to provide a comfortable, pro-recording experience.
The Audio-Technica AT2020 USB Microphone
is a highly-rated microphone that works for many applications. Gamers can use it with a variety of mixing and editing programs while still enjoying the simplicity of a USB mic audio interface. If you’re willing to spend a little extra to adapt this mic into your studio space, the rewards are promising.
The SAMSON G-Track Pro USB Condenser Microphone
offers omnidirectional, cardioid, and bidirectional audio recording with a simple plug-and-play USB connection. Almost everything you need to access is right there on the mic body, including a front-panel mixer with microphone level, headphone volume, and instrument level. You can also mute and switch polar patterns directly on the device.
The simple black body pattern looks good in any studio setting, and the integrated desktop base ensures it stays put. If you want a boom arm, however, you may run into difficulty. The SAMSON G-Track Pro USB Condenser Microphone
doesn’t include a mounting bracket and the manufacturer doesn’t make it clear what fits and what doesn’t.
Expect some trial and error for a truly professional, off-desk setup, as the included cable has been hit or miss for some users. That hiccup aside, this is a good budget microphone with potential.
The Shure MV7 USB Gaming Microphone
is an all-metal body mic that works with either USB or XLR connections so you can choose that pro sound quality option without commitment.
A touch panel lets you easily mute, mix, or turn up volume and gain, but you can do even more with the ShurePlus desktop app, which adds extra settings and a studio-ready equalizer. The Shure MV7 USB Gaming Microphone
is priced a bit higher than other USB mics, but the Shure reputation and access to both digital and analog recording create incredible value.
The Shure SM7B USB Gaming Microphone
delivers in a lot of ways, which is why this pro-inspired product ranks high as one of the best streaming microphone options.
Could the Blue 1967 Yeti Pro USB condenser microphone
be the best microphone for streaming games? Many gamers think it is, because it features several upgrades to the aforementioned Blue Yeti model. Among them is a cutting-edge A-D converter chip and separate analog circuit path that makes it ideal for use with pro mixing setups.
The Blue 1967 Yeti Pro USB condenser microphone
is also a dual input mic that lets you choose between USB or the higher-quality XLR. Just be sure to pick one input only, because plugging in both may cause the mic to crash during use.
Like other products listed here, the on-mic controls include mute, selection between 4 polar patterns, and mic gain. It’s more expensive than some other USB condenser mics, but with a 192 kHz / 24-bit sample rate and XLR option, you get the best of both worlds at a price that reflects its quality.
Somewhere between the convenience of the plug-and-play gaming mics and the heavy-duty sound of the pro-level mics is the Rode Podcaster USB Dynamic Microphone
. This USB mic is compatible with PCs and Macs from the get-go, no adapters required. It delivers rich sound while rejecting “off axis” background noise.
The on-body gain control and green indicator light are all you’ll find on this simplified mic design, requiring you to do the bulk of your adjusting through your choice of soundboard or editing software.
It’s important to know that the Rode Podcaster USB Dynamic Microphone
is a heavy microphone that only fits well onto specific Rode mounts and boom arms. Shock mounts and pop filters are probably required and sold separately, so expect to invest a bit before you get the right setup. Once you’re ready to record, however, you’ll achieve pro sound from a microphone that’s built well to give you years of amazing audio quality.
The Razer Seiren Elite USB Digital Microphone
has received some good press as a desktop USB gaming microphone that offers 16-bit / 48 kHz resolution. It has a vocal limiter and built-in high pass filter to minimize unwanted bass sounds, like your room A/C unit or even a laptop fan.
It’s also made by Razer, a company that puts gamers first when creating products like this. For that reason, the Razer Seiren Elite USB Digital Microphone
skips some of the audiophile add-ons of other mics, but it also avoids showy RGB lighting.
The metal body is a nice upgrade from cheaper plastic mics, but the mic fails to include level indicators as part of the on-body audio gain or headphone volume knobs, leaving you to “guess” levels from use to use.
The Razer Seiren Elite USB Digital Microphone
is installed with drivers but there’s no additional software, so you’ll have to find a mixing option on your own. For the price, however, you’ll get just what you need to game with quality sound.
What to look for in a good gaming microphone
There are dozens of microphones marketed as gaming mics, so how can you tell which is ideal for your setup? Consider these features before you buy what you think is the best mic for streaming games.
Plan ahead for what consoles or devices you’ll use to game, because these will change over time. PCs and PS4 consoles connect easily with USB inputs and 3.5 mm inputs, while the Nintendo Switch only uses USB while docked. If you plan on cross-platform play, look for a mic with versatility.
How far will you be sitting from your console or PC? Most streaming microphones are corded, so you’ll need to sit close enough for your microphone to reach. Look for longer cords or adapters, then measure your space to be sure it fits. If you’re wiring up to play across the room, consider cord management options that keep you from stumbling over the wires.
When you need to mute the mic quickly, a kill switch is a must. The best microphone for gaming will have on/off and mute buttons to save you seconds when you need to cut audio. This is more convenient than relying on your software solution or in-game controls.
4. Stands and supports
Microphones come in all sizes, with some of the larger mics offering better sound. Remember, however, that larger microphones are much heavier and need a sturdy base or mounting arm to secure them while in use. Some of the better microphones come with built-in stands or optional accessories, but not all will work in your space.
What is the best gaming microphone for you?
There are so many mics to choose from, with cost, features, quality, and compatibility important issues to consider. With a good balance of features and an easy setup experience for even first-time game streamers, the HyperX QuadCast Gaming Microphone
outshines the competition and may just be the best mic for gaming.
It’s USB and plug-and-play in minutes, plus the included pop filter is a pro-level feature that’s thoughtfully included. It’s also a true gaming microphone, with a cool red hue and many buttons for controlling audio while in the heat of the game. This truly multi-directional microphone makes it useful for other purposes, too, and the price is just right.
About the Author: Linsey Knerl is a contributing writer for HP Tech Takes. Linsey is a Midwest-based author, public speaker, and member of the ASJA. She has a passion for helping consumers and small business owners do more with their resources via the latest tech solutions.