Last Updated on September 24, 2020 by Scott Krager
Whether you want to communicate with your partners in an MMO game or to make a video game walk-through and share it on YouTube, a gaming mic is an important factor in modern-day gaming.
It can certainly help you boost your overall gaming rig.
But now the question arises what sort of microphone is good enough for gaming?
Let me tell you this thing.
You don’t need a studio-grade microphone for this stuff.
But you definitely need a mic better than those built into your PCs.
Best Gaming Microphones For 2020
- Blue Yeti – Best Gaming Microphone Overall
- Audio-Technica AT2020
- Zalman Zm-Mic1 – Best Cheap Gaming Microphone
- Antlion Audio ModMic 5
- pencilSamson Meteor Mic – Best Mic for YouTube
- pencilFocusrite Scarlett
- Razer Seiren X
Things To Look in a Gaming Microphone
Recording quality is the most important thing to look for in a microphone whether you want it for gaming or not.
After all who wants to yell at their teammates in an MMO and still not sounding clear?
However, you shouldn’t get yourself obsessed with this “best sound quality” thing and buy a studio-grade mic. There are many high-quality microphones in the sub-$100 price range
Without any doubt, a good microphone must have a plug-n-play nature.
So that you don’t need any special hardware/software required to make it work. Many microphones come with proprietary software that you can be used for further customization.
Another aspect of this plug-n-play nature is the cross-platform compatibility.
Although most of the hardcore gamers are on PC, you should pick a mic that can also be used with other platforms like PlayStation and Xbox etc.
Sound Pick-up and Filtration
Sound Pick-up and Filtration are two technical factors in a mic.
Sound pick-up means how much, and what sort of voice your mic picks up. Ideally, your mic should pick your natural voice (not too loud and not too low) from a distance of six to eight inches.
Filtration, in simple words, is the opposite of sound pick-up. Before buying any microphone, just make sure to know about its noise filtration.
It’s because you don’t want it to pick-up your keystrokes (especially if you have a mechanical keyboard), mouse clicks, and your CPU fan’ noise.
Most gamers don’t buy their mics based on the form factors of those mics but they should. There are different form factors like a standing-mic or a clip-on mic etc.
Each of these mics has their own pros and cons, and it’s you who need to decide what’s best for you and your needs.
Condenser vs Dynamic Mic
When we usually see a mic in a local store, or even in an online store, it’s usually labeled as either a condenser or a dynamic mic.
Condenser mics are usually used for studio recording. These mics have a greater frequency response, louder output, and are more sensitive too.
That’s why these mics are more expensive than the dynamic mics and require an external power source.
Unlike condenser mics, dynamic mics are sturdier and don’t require any external battery source for operating.
Their sound is not very accurate, though, and frequency response is very limited in these mics. These mics are generally used for non-studio purposes like podcast-recording etc.
In simple terms, directionality means from which way(s) the sound is going into a microphone.
Unidirectional microphones can only pick sound from one direction and are really good for the noisy environment. On the other hand, if you want pick sound from all the directions, then an omnidirectional mic is your best bet.
Stereo and cardioid are two other types of directionality.
If the source is behind the mic, then the cardioid mode is helpful. On the other hand, if you want to collect sound from two opposite directions, then a bi-directional/stereo mode will do the job for you.
Believe it or not, in the end, it’s your budget that decides whether you want any gadget or not. When deciding what your budget would be for a gaming microphone, you need to look around.
Yep, look around your gaming setup and ask yourself about the price of your other gaming accessories like speakers, mouse, and monitor etc.
If you’ve previously bought only high-end components, then you should opt for a top-notch gaming microphone.
If your gaming rig has been built under a tight budget, however, don’t hesitate to go for a cheaper option.
Blue Yeti: Check Price On Amazon
Best Gaming Microphone 2020 Overall
Blue is a pretty big brand in USB mics market, and Yeti is its most popular USB microphone till now.
From outside, this one looks like a premium device with almost an entire metal body. In order to hold itself steady while recording, this mic comes with a steady metal base.
For further stability, some foam pads have been used at its bottom.
On the front side, there are just two buttons. One is for mute while the other is for volume control. On the backside too, there are two options: gain and pattern switch.
First, talk about the gain. As said earlier, a microphone can pick your surrounding noise and this won’t feel too good to your listeners.
To stop your mic from collecting this noise, you need to keep this gain as low as possible. Bear in mind, though, that you shouldn’t have zero gain. Then you’ll hear nothing.
The other control on the back side is the 4-level pattern switch. Remember we earlier discussed directionality? This pattern does exactly this. It tells this mic which way it needs to gather sound.
The four different options you have here are: cardioid, bidirectional, omnidirectional & stereo.
Yeti does all this by having three condenser capsules in it, which is pretty exceptional considering that most mics have only single one of them. All of these capsules collect sound in a different way.
Blue Yeti has two ports. The USB port is one of them (hence, the best USB microphone).
This port is used to power the device and send its captured signals to a computer. You don’t need any extra software/hardware setup for this to work.
Just plug it in your PC/laptop and you’re good to go.
The 6 ft long USB cable (which is pretty big) comes out-of-the-box with this mic. The other one is the standard 3.5 mm jack through which you can listen the sound which is being captured by this mic.
The overall design and build quality are pretty good, except a little bit shaky buttons.
The sound quality of Blue Yeti is simply exceptional especially when you compare its price to other studio-grade microphones.
Since it’s a sensitive mic, you’re surely going to pick a lot of surrounding noise, but you can eliminate most of it by switching to a right pattern and a right gain level.
Another competitive edge this mic has over its competitors is its THX certification. THX basically means that an audio system is producing sound just like it was intended to do in the first place.
This means that unlike other mics that may alter your voice, this one makes your sound natural.
On a technical note, this mic records with a 16-bit, 48 KHz recording sample rate. It means while it won’t be good for studio-level recording, it’s more than good enough for podcasts, YouTube, and in-game chat etc.
Our only problem with this mic is its shock mount which doesn’t come along with Blue Yeti and needs to be purchased separately.
This is important because, since it’s a condenser mic, it may keep even the tiniest vibrations in some scenarios and shock mount become very important in those situations. But this is purely subjective.
All in all, this is the best microphone for gaming (from our experience) as well as for streaming.
Audio-Technica AT2020: Check Price On Amazon
Photo Credits: thegaragebandguide.com
Audio Technica is a big Brand in headphones market and, to be honest, I didn’t know they also make cool mics.
Looks wise, AT2020 is a black-colored, big sized mic.
The first thing you’ll notice in this mic is the lack of out-of-the-box accessories.
This one comes just with a mic stand adapter and a carrying case. There’s no mic stand and since it’s not a USB microphone – it requires an XLR cable which isn’t provided either.
Speaking of XLR cable, this mic requires a 48V phantom power supply too.
This mic has a USB version too, AT2020 USB – but that variant will connect to your desktop/laptop and is much more expensive.
Being a non-USB mic, this one has a warmer, full and more precise sound. It has an extended frequency response range from 20 Hz-20 KHz.
Since it uses a cardioid pattern for sound gathering, it will reject the sound coming from the rear and sideways which is pretty good especially if you’re using it for recording purposes.
Overall, this is a good microphone but the one with many shortcomings like Extra Setup and Lack of Accessories etc.
If you don’t like any tinkering with your mic, then this one isn’t for you. However, this is a good starting point for anybody who’s looking for a studio-level mic on a budget.
Zalman Zm-Mic1: Check Price On Amazon
Best Budget Gaming Mic 2020
Zalman Zm-Mic1 is a cheap microphone solution for gamers who want to remain in their budget.
This mic is a lot more different than the other ones in this list.
The first difference you’ll notice in this mic is this size.
It’s a really small mic.
Actually, this is a different type of mic and this type is called headphone mic, which means that you have to put it on your headphones cable.
You can actually try to put it on your shirt (and may succeed too) but it’s designed to be used just with your headphones cable, nothing else.
As far as build quality goes, this one has a rubberized cable which is good but not exceptional. The clip attached to the cable feels more sturdy but it’s fixed and can’t be adjusted.
Performance wise, this is an omnidirectional mic, which means that it gathers sound from all the directions.
Since this is a very basic mic, it has no controls and no sound settings whatsoever.
Furthermore, I noticed that in order to make it record best, you need to keep it as close to the source as possible.
Some good things I found about this mic are its plug-and-play nature and the fact that it’s very sensitive in terms of picking sound (this can be both a good and a bad thing).
In order to make it work properly, make sure to attach this mic to a 4.5V USB audio adapter. Powering it with your laptop can have some performance related issues.
Overall, I was pretty impressed with it considering its price (less than 10 bucks at the time of review).
Antlion Audio ModMic 5: Check Price On Amazon
ModMic 5 by Antlion is a headphones mic, just like Zalman’s Zm-mic1, but with more options and versatility.
Being a headphones mic means that this mic can help you turn your headphones into a full-fledged gaming headset.
ModMic 5 is an upgraded version of earlier ModMic 4.
ModMic was praised for many things but was also criticized in a few areas and design was one of them. Unlike its previous iteration, ModMic 5 has a detachable boom which is surprisingly more rigid.
This mic has an 8-inch cable which you can connect to either of two out-of-the-box cables. A detachable in-line mute switch is also in the accessories and you can plug it between the mic-cable and the extended cable.
Apart from these things, ModMic is also tougher, sturdier, and more flexible than its predecessor.
Another area which has improved under this new microphone is the number of “microphones” used in it. This mic is essentially a 2-mic setup.
There’s a sliding switch which lets you choose whether you want a single mic or both of them.
If you select a single mic, then it will act as a unidirectional mic. On the other hand, if you select both mics then both of them will combine to act as a single omnidirectional mic.
The good thing is that you can switch between these two modes on-the-go.
In order to make this mic work, you need to connect its second cable with your PC/laptop.
However, if you want to use it with a gaming console or any other mobile device, you will need a 3.5 mm Y-adapter. Although it’s not included as an accessory, you can it separately for a really cheap price.
The sound quality of this mic is really good.
Of course, it can’t compete with the likes of Blue Yeti, but it’s more than enough for average users.
In single mic mode, the frequency range is limited between 100 Hz to 10 KHz. If you choose 2 mics, then the frequency will be upgraded 30 Hz to 17.5 KHz and will greatly improve sound quality.
Samson Meteor Mic: Check Price On Amazon
Best Microphone 2020 For YouTube
Photo Credits: LifeInTheFastLane.com
Meteor is a mid-range USB microphone from Samson.
Weighing almost 10-ounces, it’s very light as well as compact.
It has a steel build which makes it look pretty neat and expensive. It has 3 legs to keep itself standing.
To prevent any jolt/bump, each of these legs has a black rubber at its end. Apart from these iffy rubbers which are just stuck there with a glue, the rest of the mic is pretty rigid and tough.
There are very limited controls in this mic. On the front side, there is on/mute button embedded inside a volume control.
On the back side, there’s a mini-USB port and a headphones jack. There’s no gain control or a pattern adjustment, which is a shame considering its price is similar to that of Blue Yeti.
Since this is a portable mic, having only cardioid functionality really confuses us. It’s because cardioid mics aren’t usually made portable.
In case you read its name, this mic has been dubbed as a studio mic.
But don’t go by this name, it’s not good for studio recording neither its low-quality 48 KHz frequency response permits it to do so.
The area where it can be useful, however, is recording podcasts (but not in a group) or YouTube videos etc.
Focusrite Scarlett: Check Price On Amazon
For the longest time, Focusrite has been a company known for delivering some of the finest audio products that cater to professional audio engineers, and aspiring musicians.
Their Scarlett happens to be one of the best audio interfaces available in the Scarlett series, but this entire series caters to a wide range of consumer base, as you are not just limited to the interface itself.
You can actually buy the entire bundle in which you get a pair of headphones, their condenser microphone, and on top of that, their audio interface.
However, I am keeping things simple, and just looking at the Focusrite Scarlett microphone for this review.
I love the red and black color combination on this microphone and while it might not be everyone’s cup of tea, it brings a good amount of character.
But that is not the only reason I am reviewing this microphone, the overall set of features is great too.
The good thing is that you can easily connect your microphone without any issue, as it comes with all the required cables and extensions.
The sound quality is phenomenal too, and while I used it mainly for streaming, my musician friends lauded my decision to buy this microphone as they found it great for recording music too.
There is a small issue that I faced, and that was mainly the background noise, that can become a problem especially if you happen to have a mechanical keyboard, and the fan in your room is on most of the times.
In a situation like that, you are going to need a good pop filter and a boom arm in order to rectify the situation.
Even if you are just a casual gamer who is looking to use a good microphone to communicate over Discord, then the Focusrite Scarlett is more than enough and should suffice you.
My only suggestion here is that you should definitely invest in a good microphone arm, along with a pop filter.
This is necessary if you own mechanical keyboard, and want to eliminate the noise coming from the switches.
Razer Seiren X: Check Price On Amazon
Considering how streaming is becoming more and more popular in the modern day and age, one thing that people are looking to buy now is a good microphone so they can stream.
Not only that, thanks to games like PUBG, and Fortnite that focus largely on cooperation and playing together, microphones are in huge demand.
And with Twitch taking the prime time, it is safe to say that people are interested in spending money on a good microphone.
This is where the Razer Seiren X comes in.
At first, I thought that a company who largely focuses on making gaming peripherals might not be able to pull off a successful implementation of a gaming microphone but I was wrong.
Razer Seiren X is actually a professional grade microphone that aims to solve your streaming woes.
First things first, the microphone itself is constructed out of solid materials, and the matte black texture is to die for, and in addition to that, setting up this microphone is super easy.
There is no additional driver required either; simply plug the microphone in, and choose the default settings and you would be good to go.
The good thing is that if you are looking to stream on Twitch, the microphone is absolutely perfect, and should not give you any trouble whatsoever.
It comes with a pretty good base unit, but if you want, you can attach it with a proper arm and a pop filter to reduce the noise even further.
The one thing I really love about this microphone is that it comes with a built-in shock mount. So if you are worried about all the unnecessary vibrations, do not worry as the microphone will easily disperse them.
The microphone surprised me a lot in terms of performance because I wasn’t expecting this level of fidelity and input from this microphone.
I have used so many microphones in the past, but this has become my favorite microphone and a daily driver from now on.
The only gripe I have is that in order to use a boom arm, you might have to invest in an extension for the microphone to be able to be mounted.
But that is something that varies from arm to arm.
Overall, the Razer Seiren X is a near perfect gaming microphone that comes with an attractive price, and in addition to that, you also have a lot of features that will keep you coming back to it.