Best microphones for streaming in 2024: top picks for gaming content creators

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The best microphones for streaming guide

(Image credit: Logitech / Blue / AKG / HyperX / Future)

The list in brief
1.
Best overall
2. Best budget
3. Best premium
4. Best RGB
5. Best mid-range
6. Best compact
7. Best for creators
FAQs

If you’re a budding gaming content creator, investing in one of the best microphones for streaming can be one of the easiest ways to improve the experience of your viewers. While you might be happy with the crackly microphone on your webcam, a standalone model can deliver crystal clear audio quality that your audience will certainly appreciate. 

Some microphones even boast unique aesthetics and distinctive RGB lighting that could improve the overall look of your setup, making them perfect for those who frequently stream with a facecam. If this is you, investing in one of the best green screens could also dramatically improve the quality of your backdrop and really help you to stand out from the crowd.

As there are loads of microphones on the market, we created this handy guide to help you find the perfect microphone for your individual budget and needs. We have tried to include everything from budget-friendly options for those who want to get set up at a lower cost, to more premium options for professional streamers willing to splash out on a decent upgrade.

Although streaming is the focus here, all of these microphones are also a brilliant choice for gaming. Consider picking one up if you want to communicate more clearly with your team or love to talk with friends in voice chat while you play.

Best microphones for streaming - The quick list

Best microphones for streaming in 2024

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Best overall

Blue Yeti

(Image credit: Logitech / Blue Microphones)
The best overall microphone for streaming

Specifications

Bit and Sample Rate: 16-bit / 48KHz
Frequency range: 20Hz - 20kHz

Reasons to buy

+
Simple to set up  
+
Fantastic sound quality 
+
Great for newcomers 

Reasons to avoid

-
Branded accessories are expensive 
-
Sensitive to background sound  

The Blue Yeti is an almost legendary microphone for streaming and for gaming and there’s a very good reason why it has such an esteemed reputation. For someone who is new to content creation, it is incredibly straightforward to set up and requires no additional software once it's plugged in. Even experienced content creators can appreciate its high reliability and charming design, however, making it an equally good option for those who have been streaming for awhile and want a high-quality microphone for a great price.

Our testing shows that the Blue Yeti delivers a consistently high audio quality while providing a number of convenient features to make your life a lot easier while streaming. This includes four different audio pickup patterns and the ability to mount it to almost any mic stand in order to ensure that it’s always at the best position to pick up your voice while you stream.

There are some downsides to this model though, including the fact that the Blue Yeti can occasionally pick up any keyboard sounds or background noise if you’re in a particularly loud environment thanks to its high sensitivity. Thumps or movements around your desk are bound to be picked up without careful tweaking, but this is to be expected given the lower price of this microphone. For $129.99 / £119.99 / AU$199.95, there’s a lot to admire here and you certainly won’t be financially recovering before you begin your streaming journey.

Best budget

AKG Ara microphone

(Image credit: Future)
The best budget microphone for streamers

Specifications

Bit and Sample Rate: 24-bit / 96kHz
Frequency range: 20Hz – 20kHz

Reasons to buy

+
Sturdier build than other value mics  
+
Affordable price tag
+
Plug-and-play

Reasons to avoid

-
Sensitive to background sound
-
No gain control 

At first glance, it might be a little difficult to tell what sets the AKG Ara apart from other budget USB microphones. However, we believe that the strong plug-and-play performance firmly sets it apart from the rest of the pack. The main appeal of the AKG Ara is the quality that you’re getting compared to some similarly priced alternatives. 

The entire product has a fairly sturdy build that should ensure that it’s protected from any serious damage if it is subject to any unfortunate bumps or scrapes. As with other budget microphones, however, the AKG Ara is prone to picking up background noise. While this is easy to mitigate with software, it might not be ideal if you frequently bump your desk or move things around during a stream. 

This fact is especially worth considering if you stream in a tight space where you're most likely to be making extra noise. In spite of this, for just $99 / £69 / AU$120 you’re buying a remarkably solid microphone with clear audio that is going to be ready to use out of the box the moment it arrives. 

Best premium

SteelSeries Alias microphone

(Image credit: Future)
The best premium microphone for streaming

Specifications

Bit and Sample Rate: 24-bit / 48KHz
Frequency range: 50Hz - 20kHz

Reasons to buy

+
Extremely easy to use
+
Useful LED display
+
Excellent audio quality

Reasons to avoid

-
Cheaper options can be better value
-
Software is limited

No other models on this list offer the same level of flair as the SteelSeries Alias, a seriously premium gaming microphone from the well-regarded peripheral manufacturer SteelSeries. Its attractive design is extremely appealing and sure to enhance the look of your streaming setup. 

The microphone features an incredibly useful LED display that indicates your current gain level. It flashes red when it exceeds your desired level, making it easy to stay within range and deliver the best possible audio experience to your viewers. It also provides a useful visual indicator to show when the microphone is muted, controlled via a convenient touch sensitive button on the front of the capsule, offering additional peace of mind. Elsewhere, you’re getting a small ring of RGB lighting and an easily accessible gain dial.

All of this comes in materials that feel extremely high-end and the audio quality offers good performance to match. While the clear and clean sound of the Alias is comparable to some of the cheaper models on this list (like the Blue Yeti after some software tweaking) it is able to deliver it out of the box with such fantastic presentation that we think more than justifies the additional cost. If you have the cash to invest in a premium option, this is one of the best around.

Best RGB

HyperX DuoCast

(Image credit: Future)
The best RGB microphone for streaming

Specifications

Bit and Sample Rate: 24-bit / 96kHz
Frequency range: 20Hz - 20kHz

Reasons to buy

+
RGB integrates with HyperX products 
+
Fantastic audio quality 
+
Tap to mute button works well 

Reasons to avoid

-
High price tag

The HyperX DuoCast is one of the most eye-catching microphones on the market, thanks in no small part to the highly customizable RGB ring around the base of the microphone. In addition to looking the part thanks to the colorful lighting ring, it sounds great and delivers clear high-quality audio alongside a host of convenient features like a speedy tap-to-mute button - which can be a real life saver in the middle of a stream. There is also a useful gain control dial to help you tweak your settings while streaming.

Packed in alongside a tabletop shock mount (to help prevent unwanted noise) and boom arm attachment, you’re buying an entire setup rather than just a microphone, which should substantially cut down your need to spend on other accessories. Whether all of this justifies the $99.99 / £99.98 / AU$179 price is going to depend on your budget and preferences but, if you're shopping solely for a microphone with good RGB lighting, this is one of your best options right now.

Best mid-range

Blue Snowball

(Image credit: Logitech / Blue Microphones)
The best mid-range microphone for streaming

Specifications

Bit and Sample Rate: 16-bit / 44kHz
Frequency range: 20Hz - 18kHz

Reasons to buy

+
Crisp and clear audio 
+
Multiple pickup patterns 
+
Affordable price 

Reasons to avoid

-
Stand sits low on a desk 

The Blue Snowball is the perfect fit for a new streamer or someone looking to upgrade their current setup without breaking the bank. It is incredibly easy to set up as far as microphones go thanks to its plug-and-play design, which means that it is good to go straight out of the box without having to worry about any additional software. The Snowball mic costs £74.99 / $69.99 / AU$195.25, which isn’t a lot when you consider the unique design and the level of quality on offer. 

The Blue Snowball also comes equipped with three distinct audio pickup patterns, which provide a good degree of flexibility and should ensure that you stay heard in a range of different positions The Cardioid mode focuses on capturing a single voice from the front, making it perfect for a solo stream. The Omnidirectional mode, on the other hand, picks up noise in a roughly spherical pattern making it also ideal for group streams or podcasts. Few other microphones at this price point offer a similar level of versatility.

Best compact

Rode X XCM-50

(Image credit: Future)
The best compact microphone for streaming

Specifications

Bit and Sample Rate: 24-bit / 48KHz
Frequency range: 20 Hz - 20 kHz

Reasons to buy

+
Compact size
+
Full sound 
+
Zero latency headphone monitoring

Reasons to avoid

-
Large tripod 
-
High price tag

The Rode X XCM-50 is part of Rode's gaming range and therefore specifically tailored mic for streamers and gamers. It delivers clear, detailed audio to both your audience and your teammates and, when paired with the accompanying Unify software, grants an additional degree of control over your overall audio levels. Its compact design is also seriously small, letting you save space on your desk and helping create a cleaner looking setup than most.

The microphone's sensitivity also means you don’t need to get super close in order to guarantee rich and clear audio. The desktop tripod the microphone ships with is incredibly easy to set up and will likely suit any streamer if you don’t have access to a boom arm. Despite the small size of the microphone itself, however, the tripod is quite large so it is worth factoring in if you are only considering the Rode X XCM-50 because of its low profile design. The Rode X XCM-50 is also more expensive than many alternative USB microphones and, with a £170 / $249 / AU$239 asking price, this is one that we recommend to professional content creators rather than those just starting out.

Best for creators

AT2020USB-X

(Image credit: Future)
The best microphone for content creators

Specifications

Bit and Sample Rate: 24-Bit / 96 kHz
Frequency Range: 20-20,000Hz

Reasons to buy

+
Fantastic audio quality
+
High-quality touch controls 
+
Solid build quality 

Reasons to avoid

-
No in-built noise reduction 
-
No dials for gain

The Audio-Technica AT2020USB-X is a fantastic microphone that delivers consistently high-quality audio for anyone looking for a microphone perfect for content creation. While it may not offer all of the premium features found in other high-end models, for example noise reduction features or a gain dial, it does offer a sturdy build with effective touch controls. 

Visually, the Audio-Technica AT2020USB-X is an impressive and sleek bit of kit that should help elevate the look of your streaming space. With a handy blue LED to denote that the microphone is active and a red LED to signify that it is muted, it is an incredibly approachable and intuitive microphone despite the seriously professional performance. 

Although the price tag of $149 / £116 / AU$209 may sound like quite a lot, it's not massive compared to other premium microphone models.  The Audio-Technica AT2020USB-X gets the job done without breaking the bank and, if you want a powerful tool for content creation that is both easy to understand and as easy to use, then it’s the perfect accessory to consider adding to your setup. 

FAQs

Are USB microphones good for streaming?

Generally speaking, a good quality USB microphone will be more than enough for streaming on a range of popular platforms like Twitch or YouTube. While an XLR setup with a dedicated DAC may sound better for recording videos or podcasts, much of the difference is lost while streaming when you consider the limitations of audio encoding on most streaming services. 

Is it best to have a condenser mic for streaming?

Selecting the best microphone for you depends a lot on your setup and surroundings. If you’re streaming in an environment where there is little to no background noise, a condenser microphone will likely provide the best audio in comparison to other options. If there is a lot of background noise where you stream, however, consider a dynamic microphone instead.

Are there any disadvantages to a condenser mic?

The main disadvantage of a condenser microphone is the fact that it is more susceptible to background noise in comparison to a dynamic microphone. A cheaper condenser microphone may also become susceptible to picking up internal electronic noise over time, eventually producing a slight hiss or buzz in the background of your audio while it is being used. 

We've got a guide for all the best monitors for PS5 if you're looking for another way to bolster your setup. 

Dashiell Wood
Hardware Writer

Dash is a technology journalist who covers gaming hardware at TechRadar. Before joining the TechRadar team, he was a print journalist writing articles for some of the UK's biggest gaming magazines such as PLAY, Edge, PC Gamer, and SFX. Now, when he's not getting his greasy little mitts on the newest hardware or gaming gadget, he can be found feverishly devouring the latest Nintendo Switch otome.

With contributions from