Gaming is no longer a solo activity or done in a room with a group of friends. Like most things in life it has gone online and people are playing games in new ways, and by new means. Microphones are now a staple to talk over network connections with friends, opponents and in various forums and communities. Gamers also use microphones for live streaming, gaming commentaries and play-through videos. A lot of people have even turned gaming channels into lucrative careers and so it is important that you find the best microphone for gaming and your needs.
It’s important to note that when we review the best microphones for gaming we don’t mean top-of-the-range mics used in the best recording studios around the world; we are looking for a device that is simply better than the mic built into your PC or console or the cheap headphone ones that have awful audio.
You probably know the microphones that come built-in with PCs and or sold with game consoles are not the best quality. They are very basic and work well for casual gamers or for those people who occasionally go online for a Skype call with family, but if you are going to be making videos or be doing conference calls on a regular basis then the run-of-the-mill microphone isn’t going to cut it.
As far as we’re concerned as long as you can get your voice across during a game they’re happy, but if you are into live-streaming and video recordings for YouTube you might need to look at getting a studio quality microphone for gaming, YouTube or live-streaming. While we know sound performance is critical when playing games we also know there are other factors that need to be considered like ease of use, adaptability, design, noise cancellation, configuration options and of course pricing.
There are so many good mics available to buy today and we know that whatever your preference, needs and budget is there is a gaming microphone for you, be it for your Mac, PC, PS4 or Xbox, there is a mic to suit your needs. See our gaming microphone reviews below:
Our Top Picks
|Best Overall Gaming Microphone||Blue Yeti|
|Best Budget Microphone||Zalman Zm-Mic1|
|Best Attachment Microphone||Antlion Audio ModMic|
|Best Desktop Microphone||Shure MV5 Digital Condenser|
|Best USB Microphone||Blue Snowball|
Best Overall Microphone For Gaming
Blue Yeti USB Microphone
- It has excellent sound performance
- It is very flexible
- Good quality for the price
- Four polar pattern options to give you the best recording quality.
- Tends to pick up clicking sounds from the keyboards and the mouse
- Heavy to carry around easily
No matter where you look or who you ask, the Blue Yeti Microphone is regarded as the best overall microphone for gaming, YouTube and live-streaming alike due to its high quality build and the very reasonable price. It comes packed with awesome features and guarantees crystal clear sound.
Unlike other gaming microphones that have one or two condensers, the Yeti has three and it also includes some advanced features that you would expect to find on high-end mics, like zero-latency, gain and mute, as well as four polar patterns for recording, namely stereo, cardioid, bidirectional and omnidirectional, all of which help accommodate a gamer or streamer in any situation. With three condensers (most other mics make do with two or less), you get better audio quality than many other mics out there. It is an unassuming looking mic that won’t ruin your street cred should you be recording videos with it, it’s definitely the best condenser mic under $200 on the market. We like that it has a very sturdy design, weighing in over 2 pounds, which means it isn’t the most portable, but that is a small price to pay considering it has all the features that make a gaming microphone worth it. The Blue Yeti USB Microphone has a USB and XLR port as well as a headphone jack. It comes standard with a built-in desk stand as well as several precision controls including a mute button and a volume knob.
While it won’t work for dedicated studio quality sound, it is more than adequate for home, for gaming or streaming. You can’t go wrong with the Blue Yeti – it ticks all the boxes and offers a god balance between performance and price. This is undoubtedly one of the all-round best microphones for gaming.
Best Budget Microphone
Zalman Zm-Mic1 High Sensitivity Headphone Microphone
- Ridiculously inexpensive
- Can upgrade most headsets
- We found background noises get picked up
The Zalman Zm-Mic1 is ridiculously priced, so much so you might think a zero or two has been left off by mistake. It is portable and compact and is attached to your headphone cable. It goes without saying that it isn’t the microphone with the best quality but the fact that it is portable and very low price is what appeals to gamers.
The only downside, if you can even call it that, is that it is a clip-on mic so you will need headphones in order to use the Zalman ZM-Mic1. The clip will fit most headphone cables, but if they are too thin or too thick it won’t. The cord is around 10 feet, which is more than enough. The ZMM is a very sensitive microphone and it needs to be quite close to your mouth. Also it is omnidirectional so you can speak into it from whichever direction but you do need to make sure you speak loud enough.
Priced under $10 it is a great option for casual players, but if you and your online friends are serious gamers then this mic might annoy you because of the inferior quality. We also don’t recommend it for streaming on twitch or youtube.
Best Attachment Microphone
Antlion Audio ModMic Attachable Boom Microphone
- Very convenient to clip on
- Relatively inexpensive
- Very rarely picks up mouse, keyboard or computer noises
- There are other microphones that perform better
- Headphones are necessary
The Antlion ModMic 4.0 is similar to the Zalman ZM-Mic1 but it attaches directly to the headphone, making it one of the best clip on gaming headsets at a very competitive price. And what we appreciate is that for the most part the sound is pretty decent and better than a regular headset mic.
The Antlion ModMic 4.0 has additional features that you will usually find on dedicated microphones, namely two different pattern options – unidirectional and omnidirectional. Both of these have their pros and cons – the omnidirectional pattern is preferred to the unidirectional because it offers better frequency response but it doesn’t offer as much noise-cancelling. If you’re in a noisy room or environment then a unidirectional mic is the better option.
A series of attachable mics aimed at gamers and recorders looking for a more compact option that doesn’t take up any space on their workspace the ModMic turns your favorite headphones into a gaming headset easily and affordably.
It comes with handy accessories and the sound it delivers is excellent. However we are the first to tell you it isn’t all sunshine and roses. The single attached microphone cable can get in the way and cause a few unnecessary irritations, but for a mic that comes in around the $50 mark and delivers pretty good sound we really can’t complain too much.
It is excellent value for money and it serves its purpose well.
Best Desktop Microphone
Shure MV5 Digital Condenser Microphone and USB & Lightning Cable
- Another mic that is good quality for the price
- Good sound quality right out of the box
- Provides real-time monitoring
- High compatibility
- Helpful user guide
- The body doesn’t feel durable
- Lacks some clarity (when compared to more expensive mics)
One look at the Shure MV5 Condenser Microphone and you get taken back to the good old days of rock ‘n roll, except this is digital and it’s for gaming. It is a solid USB microphone that packs an absolute punch – the quality is good, it’s priced right and it’s compatible with Mac, iPad, iOS, iPhone, Android and Windows.
As far as deliverables go it has good noise levels and there are no audible hisses. We especially like the 3 DSP presets, which is a feature unique to the MV5. You get a flat, acoustic and vocal option. When you press them in the light up on top, one for instrument, flat and vocal option.
It’s a good size microphone and if storage or desk space is an issue then this is the gaming mic for you. The Shure MV5 is a good choice for people who are looking for a smaller sized mic with loads of portability at a good price. Value-added features include a direct monitoring headphone jack and automatic gain control and handy travel tools, including micro-USB and MFi-certified Lighting connections. For Shure, it is a great microphone for gaming.
Best USB Microphone
Blue Snowball USB Microphone
- Very cool design
- Easy set-up with PC
- Easy to use
- There is no software included
- Recording mode is a little confusing
Blue Snowball is a name synonymous with affordable studio grade audio products. It is a popular choice for gamers who need a good microphone for YouTube and streaming.
The Blue Snowball USB Condenser mic has a small but durable tripod stand and a braided sturdy USB cable with an easy to follow user manual. As far as setting it up goes it is quick and convenient – plug it into your PC/computer and you are good to play. Part of the Blue family, the Snowball is the more affordable model but it is still feature-rich. It comes with a compact tripod set that is easy to set up and doesn’t take up a huge amount of space on your desk. For a mid-priced gaming microphone is switchable recording patterns and a huge plus for any gamer, plug and play USB support.
The Snowball is available in the classic colors – aluminum, black and white, as well as some really cool colors like electric blue, neon green and bright orange. It seems the color you choose does affect the price but you’re looking at paying between $45 and $65.
While it isn’t the best studio mic around it still offers a smoother and noise free audio compared to other microphones in a similar price bracket.
A Buying Guide to the Best Gaming Microphones
Not all microphones are created equal, in fact not even close. If you need a microphone for gaming purposes you need to consider a few factors when looking around; this will make sure you get the best mic for your buck, and your needs.
Gamers have different needs when it comes to a microphone: the sound is going to be compressed and pumped through the internet anyway, so while fidelity is important there’s more to good gaming and livestreaming microphone.
Audio quality isn’t everything, unless you’re in a professional studio laying down a few tracks, but it’s still important when you’re testing a microphone. If you are using your mic for gaming commentary you want one that makes you sound good. There are several patterns to choose from and you can decide which is the best one for you. Also consider how much a mic picks up any background noise or keyboard and mice clicks.
Ease of Use
It goes without saying that in the world of gaming you need as few distractions as possible. While destroying an alien planet the last thing you need is to be wrestling with cables, lapel mics that won’t’ stay in position or big and bulky ones that you need two hands to move. The microphones we have selected are either standing or lavalier (lapel) mics and we think they are easy to use, easy to move around and while some are discreet looking others are very cool and worth showing off.
What works well on your best friend’s desk might not be the case for you. Find a mic that will work well in a number of different situations. If a microphone sounds good when it is on a suspended stand with a shock mount exactly 8 inches from your mouth then it isn’t a good option. You need a mic that can adapt to the environment and sound good under any circumstances.
The last thing most gamers concern themselves with is what a microphone looks like, but let’s be honest, it’s going to take pride of place on your desk, in amongst your most prized possessions. A standing microphone is going to be seen all the time and an attachable mic shouldn’t be distracting. The form factor will also play a part in how adaptable the microphone is. If you are a streamer your mic is going to be seen by your audience, and you do not want an ugly looking microphone.
A lot of the microphones offer some degree of noise cancellation, even the budget ones. If you are in a noisy environment or if your PC is loud then this is an important feature for you. If however you have a designated room that’s jacked out especially for gaming you probably won’t have to factor this in.
We’ve mentioned this before, directionality refers to how the mic picks up the sound. There is unidirectional, which is one direction, or all directions, which is omnidirectional. If you are in a noisy room a unidirectional mic is good but if, for example, you are on a conference call and there are a few people participating an omnidirectional microphone is ideal.
Price is always a factor and most of the time gamers will try and get as much as possible for the least amount of money. It is easy to get caught up in the excitement with all the choices available but it’s also important not to be dragged into thinking the more expensive the mic the better the quality.
If money isn’t an issue then go for gold but if you, like so many of us, have a budget to stick to we suggest you don’t keep up with the Joneses and rather find a good microphone at a good price. Believe us they are out there. You just need to identify one or two options and decide from there. Remember the most expensive gaming equipment isn’t going to give you game.
As always we recommend our favorites and why we like them. The one you decide on is ultimately up to you and how you intend to use it. If you are going to be using it for the sole purpose of gaming then you certainly don’t need to be looking at top of the range makes and types. A lapel mic or an attachable one will do the job perfectly. If however, you intend using it for recording ‘let’s play’ videos then a standalone mic with USB plug and play is the one to go with. Our personal favorite is the dedicated microphone and that’s why the Blue Yeti is rated as our top choice across all types.
The mics listed here work well whether you’re playing in teams online or for livestreaming play, recording and a whole lot more. We consider these to be the best options available at the moment and you can rest assured you won’t go wrong choosing from our list.
To learn more about microphones, check out Wikipedia.