7 Best Gaming Microphones in 2022

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USB or XLR microphone – You have multiple options when choosing a gaming microphone; it could be freestanding or built into a webcam or headset. If you want a standalone microphone, the biggest question is USB or XLR. XLR microphones are seen as the professional option, although for platforms like YouTube or Twitch, the quality difference won’t instantly show. However, going with XLR into a mixer gives you far more options to shape your tone.

James Nugent

James Nugent FOR MUSIC CRITIC

Gaming Microphones Buyers Guide

To ensure that you purchase the best mic for your needs, then you want to choose a microphone that includes all the important features that you will require. In this buying guide, we’ll look at all those top features, as well as explain what they are exactly. At the end of the guide, you should be able to choose a great gaming microphone that ticks all your boxes.

Polar Pattern

Streaming microphoneThe first feature of a gaming mic to look out for is the polar pattern. Some of the best mics will include several polar patterns. Cardioid, bidirectional, omnidirectional, and stereo are the four most common polar patterns that you’ll find on a gaming mic.

The polar pattern is the direction in which the microphone is sensitive to picking up sound. Of course, this is important for gamers as you will want to choose a microphone that will pick up your voice in the direction you intend to speak into it.

Some polar patterns are more sensitive from a distance, but they may pick up external noises because of the increased sensitivity to picking up noises from more than one direction. Each polar pattern type is better suited to different types of vocals too. Let’s have a look at those four most common polar patterns, cardioid, bidirectional, omnidirectional, and stereo.

A cardioid polar pattern is most sensitive at the microphone’s top, rather than at the back or sides. This means that it is an omnidirectional microphone, picking up sound in just one direction. It is an extremely sensitive form of a microphone, but it is only sensitive in that one direction, which means that when you use it, you need to ensure that your mouth is always placed in the optimum position or it won’t pick up good sound.

A bidirectional polar pattern is as the name suggests, it is sensitive in two different directions. This type of microphone pattern is sometimes referred to as a Figure 8 polar pattern. These mics don’t pick up any sound coming from either side of the microphone, just the front and the rear. It achieves a stereo sound.

An omnidirectional polar pattern is sensitive to sounds coming in all directions. This has a big benefit in terms of low frequencies, giving a very bassy quality to your voice, but the downside is that it is prone to picking up lots of external noises, and this type of mic is only good for gaming in a very quiet environment.

Stereo is just as the name suggests. It’s similar to the bidirectional polar pattern, just with some minor differences.

Diaphragm

The diaphragm is an essential component of a condenser microphone. It’s key to look out for mics with larger diaphragms that will increase the frequency response they offer. It’s always important to check that the frequency range that the diaphragm offers is wide and flat. You don’t want it to be so wide that it will pick up sounds that aren’t vocals, though.

Connectivity

Podcast stationWhen it comes to modern gaming mics, you’ll find that USB is the most common way of connecting them to laptops or computers. In the past, low-quality microphones would plug into the 3 5mm headphone jack at your computer’s front. But this doesn’t allow for good enough data transfer and would mean that the chipset in the microphone would have to be of lower quality.

You don’t want to use a microphone that plugs into the 3 5mm headphone jack. Your best option is a USB mic. Gaming enthusiasts tend to use this type of mic above all else. That doesn’t mean that some won’t offer you the option to plug it into the headphone jack. But always go for a microphone that can be connected via USB.

It’s also important to check that your computer’s audio interface is compatible with the microphone. These days, if you have a modern laptop or computer, then the audio interface should be up to scratch. Still, if you’re using an older laptop or computer, you may be best just checking that your desired microphone is compatible with your computer before investing your money.

Accessories

The best microphones for gaming tend to come with lots of accessories to get the very best quality out of them.

Some of the best accessories to look out for are:

A pop filter will ensure that those harsh consonant sounds or plosives won’t sound too poppy when you’re speaking into the mic.

A shock-resistant stand can ensure that vibrations or knocking of the table that the stand is mounted on won’t harm the quality of audio that the microphone is capturing.

A windshield is also handy. Although, in most cases, you’ll be gaming in a room that shouldn’t be windy, so it isn’t necessary, but it can also help if you tend to exhale loudly, especially if you’re prone to doing this when you’re disappointed with how something has gone in the game.

A boom arm is another handy feature. This will allow you to move the microphone close to your mouth and move it away, and just to adjust the location of the mic with great ease.

Adjustability

When it comes to the microphone itself, then some microphones offer better adjustability than others. For example, you’ll find gain control on many mics. This will allow you to control the volume of your voice. It works like the headphone volume control on your headset.

And just like the headphone volume, all you do is simply use a slider or press up and down so that you can alter the gain on the microphone and get the best level for your voice while gaming.

Another handy feature that a lot of gamers and streamers like is a mute button. You may want to mute your voice when you’re midway through gaming, and being able to tap a button is much easier than needing to pause the recording or do something on your actual computer.

There are many times when this can come in handy like when you receive a phone call, or someone knocks on your door, and you want to have a quick conversation without your fellow gamers or the people watching your stream hearing what you’re saying.

What’s the best mic for gaming?

Man playing gamesGamers are always a hard-to-please bunch of people. Each has his or her own setup and will always argue that their microphone is simply the best. Objectively, though, you can’t go wrong with any of the seven microphones on our list. Each offers exceptional sound quality. And they also come with lots of great accessories.

However, when it comes to the very best, we think that either the FIFINE USB mic or the HyperX QuadCast Gaming microphone is hard to beat. Some gamers will tell you that the Razer Seiren or the Zalman ZM-Mic1 are the best. They’re much more expensive than our top choices, though, and we think that the HyperX QuadCast Gaming Microphone offers better sound quality than the Razer Seiren.

What mics do pro streamers use?

Each streamer is different. Some of the most popular gaming microphones that streamers use include the Razer Seiren microphone, the Blue Yeti, and the HyperX QuadCast Gaming Mic. These gaming mics offer great sound quality, a good construction, and will provide you with easy connectivity.

What microphones do YouTubers use?

YouTubers always want the best quality sound, but that doesn’t mean that they all use the same microphones. Some like to have a lavalier mic attached to their lapel, while other YouTubers prefer to have a cardioid condenser microphone sat in front of them. Some of the most popular microphones with YouTubers include the Blue Yeti microphone, the Audio-Technica AT2035, and the Rode NT-USB.

But everyone is different. The common theme amongst all serious YouTubers is that their microphones are fit for a professional broadcast. Don’t be distracted by who uses what when you’re picking your next microphone. You want your mic to suit your voice and your needs. So, choose a microphone designed for your voice, how you like to talk into the microphone, and your price range.

There’s no need to spend hundreds of dollars on a mic just because your favorite YouTuber uses it. Often, YouTubers will be sponsored by a company, so they will receive that microphone for free. You’re better off looking for a microphone that offers the same sound quality for a much more reasonable price, and the microphones on our list certainly do that.

Expert Tip

It can be easy to be overwhelmed when looking at the lists of specs for dozens of microphones. But there’s no need to spend so much time looking at the minor differences between each different mic.

If you’re a gamer, you just need to focus on finding a microphone in your price range, which offers the best sound in that price range. You also want one that includes very useful features, such as anti-noise technology that can block out unwanted external sounds while speaking into the mic.

Did you know?

In 2019, the League of Legends tournament received a whopping 3.9m viewers for its semi-final round. That made it one of the most-watched E-Sports events of all time. No other event received such a large audience in the whole of 2019.

Conclusion

It always comes to small margins when you’re gaming. You always want to have the edge over your competitors, and having the highest quality gear can provide you with that edge. Of course, a microphone might not make you a better gamer, but it can improve your communication, which is essential for team games.

A gaming mic isn’t just good for communicating with your teammates or competitors, though. It can also be used when you stream your gaming exploits with other gamers or gaming enthusiasts via Twitch or YouTube or another streaming service. If that’s what you’re seeking a microphone for, then sound quality is certainly you’re number one priority.

Ensure that you choose a microphone that features one of the major polar patterns that suit your speaking style and environment. You also want the microphone to come with lots of handy accessories, including a high-quality stand, a boom arm, and a pop filter, as these can also enhance the quality of sound.

Adjustability is always handy too. Being able to control the level of gain on the mic or mute it with a button press are both useful features. Remember, there are some excellent microphones available that can be bought for an affordable price, so don’t spend extra if you don’t need to.

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