Best microphone for gaming in 2024

The best microphone for gaming, streaming and podcasting is a growing necessity for the modern gamer. Whether you aspire to stream your gameplay, engage in intense Discord conversations with friends, or finally record that podcast, these top-tier microphones will make you sound your best. 

The best microphone we recommend right now is the Shure MV7, a hybrid USB/XLR microphone that gives you the best of both USB's convenience and XLR's quality—if you don't mind dropping a bit of coin. If you want to spend less, the Razer Seiren Mini is currently our best budget microphone for less than $50. It might lack some features, but it makes it up for it in sound quality and price.

Achieving studio-quality sound with your streaming gear doesn't require an advanced degree in sound engineering (though it might help). In most cases, all you need is a USB port and some engaging content to discuss when you go live. To help you make an informed decision, we've gone the extra mile by recording test audio samples of all the microphones we've reviewed so far. Head to the mic test section to listen to all the microphones listed below.

Curated by...
Jacob Ridley headshot on colour background
Curated by...
Jacob Ridley

With a history in audio and a penchant for good quality sound, our Jacob is well versed in what makes a good microphone sound great. Whether it's an expensive XLR atop a boom mic, or a cheap desktop option for Discord or the Monday meeting, he's picked options for all.

The quick list

Recent updates

This article was updated on March 6th to include our own audio testing for each of the mics we recommend so you can hear how they all sound.

The best microphone for gaming

The best microphone

Specifications

Polar patterns: Unidirectional Cardioid Polar Pattern
Connectivity: USB, XLR
Recording Sample Rate: 24-bit 48kHz
Frequency response: 20–20,000Hz
Features: Integrated Touch Panel for Mic Controls

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent vocal clarity
+
USB/XLR combo
+
Versatile
+
Easy use software

Reasons to avoid

-
No mic stand included
-
Uses Micro-USB rather than Type-C
Buy if...

✅ You're looking for exceptional sound quality: Shure is a name that comes with serious professional audio qualifications, and the MV7 is no exception. It sounds fantastic

If you want a USB connection and XLR: Yep, you can plug the MV7 straight into your PC, but the XLR connection is there if you want to go for a more powerful interface.

If you want tough build quality: Shure microphones are designed to take some heavy abuse, and the MV7 is built like a tank, as you would expect.

Don't buy if...

If you're on a tight budget: Professional gear comes with professional prices, but it's still a fair bit of cash to invest in a piece of audio gear, no matter how good it sounds

If you want a stand as part of the default package: You can buy a version with a stand for just $10 more, but make sure you get the right one if you don't have anything to mount it to.

If you're a musician or want your voice to sound the way it's meant to be heard, the MV7 is an easy recommendation and our choice for the best microphone overall. That's if you don't mind reaching deep into your pocketbook, of course. There are much more affordable mics on this list, but it is still absolutely true that if you want the best, you will have to pay for it.

You don't really need to be much of a sound person to know Shure makes killer audio gear. Chances are, you've seen some of your favorite musicians rock a Shure microphone on stage or in the studio. Shure has been providing pro-grade microphones for an age, and the MV7 Podcast microphone is its attempt to bring its high-end sound to content creators. 

The USB Type-B Micro/XLR connection will be the big draw for a lot of folks. It gives you the best of both worlds by providing the adaptability of XLR (especially if you use professional audio interfaces) and the versatility of Type-B Micro inputs for recording on the go with laptops and mobile devices.

Shure's first hybrid XLR/USB microphone manages to provide pro-grade sound with minimal set-up and expertise. While it is more expensive than your average premium mic, its versatility completely justifies the cost. It's hands-down one of the best microphones I've used for recording.

The mic itself does an excellent job of isolating my voice while ignoring the loud hums of my desktop PC, air conditioner, and any other ambient nonsense I have going on in the background. You will notice some pretty loud plosives, so it might be best to invest in a shield to block your breath from the mic, or not having the mic directly in front of you when recording. 

The MV7 takes advantage of the ShurePlus Motiv software, which lets you tweak and fine-tune your sound with relative ease. From here, you can mess with things like adding compression to your voice, adjust your EQ, and add a limiter. One of the more understated features is the Auto Level Mode. We've seen similar features in other mics, such as the Elgato Wave 3, which basically keeps you from hitting the red. That's especially useful if your content involves lots of shouting or singing or both. So now you don't have to worry about bursting your viewers' eardrums when a jump scare gets the better of you in Phasmophobia. Also, nice if you're a bit of an audio novice, and your recording area isn't acoustically sound. 

The Shure MV7 is a great-sounding XLR/USB hybrid microphone that'll give veteran podcasters and streamers a serious upgrade, especially if you're looking for a microphone that'll plug into a USB audio interface at first and later can be useful in upgrading to an all XLR setup down the line, although if you're leaning in that direction it might be worth also taking a look at our best microphone for streamers, the SteelSeries Alias Pro.

Still, the Shure MV7 is for content creators who want to bring their production values to pro-grade levels but don't want to or can't spend that pro-grade money. $250/AU$369 for a hybrid USB/XLR microphone isn't that big of an ask when you consider the flexibility of the Shure MV7.

Read our full Shure MV7 Podcast Microphone review.

The best budget microphone

The best budget mic

Specifications

Polar patterns: Supercardioid
Connectivity: USB
Recording sample rate: 48kHz
Frequency response: 20–20,000Hz
Features: Tap-to-mute sensor

Reasons to buy

+
Pill-shaped design
+
Great sound

Reasons to avoid

-
No mute button
-
Proprietary micro-USB
Buy if...

✅ You don't want to spend a lot for good audio: It might be light on features, but if all you're looking for is good sound quality for cheap, well, here you are.

You like minimalist design: It's teeny, it's tiny, its almost unbearably cute. That won't do it for everyone, but its difficult not to be charmed by the aesthetic.

Don't buy if...

You'd like a dedicated mute button: It might sound a bit picky, but a dedicated mute button on a mic is one of those things that you think you won't miss, but then probably will once you don't have one.

You'd like to use your own cables: Yep, we don't like it either, but Razer insisted on using its own proprietary cable design. Boo.

The Razer Seiren Mini is our top budget microphone for streaming, and at just $50/AU$69,  it might skimp on features but still delivers top-notch sound. If you're just looking to switch from a headset mic to a better-sounding desktop mic, but don't want to have to mess around setting it up, the Seiren Mini is as plug-and-play as it gets.

The Seiren Mini's adorable pill-shaped design comes in your choice of Black, Mercury White, and Quartz (pink). Out of the budget mics out there, the Seiren Mini's design is the most eye-catching. I was sent a Mercury White microphone, and it's one of my favorite looking pieces of hardware I've gotten this year and pretty darn cute. If you're aesthetics lean a little more towards the RGB however, it may well be worth taking a look at the HyperCast Quadcast X down below.

Many features were stripped away from the Seiren Mini to keep the sound quality up and the cost down. There's no volume or gain dial, or even a mute button. It's bare-bones as they come, but for $50 it's to be expected.

The proprietary micro-USB cable Razer tends to use on many peripherals is a bit of a pain. It keeps you from using third party cables because they simply wont fit. I can't express enough how much I hate when a hardware company does this. If you lose that cable for whatever reason (which happens), the mic is useless until Razer's replacement arrives.

I would have loved to have seen a  ⅝ to ⅜  thread adapter so it could mount on most boom arms but it doesn't have one, sadly. I like the tilting stand and built-in shock mount (a feature missing from the SoloCast), which is useful if you run a pretty animated stream where accidental bumps are everyday occurrences.

The Seiren Mini sounds just as good as Razer's more expensive Seiren offerings. The Mini's super-cardioid polar pattern does a better job of tapering down background noise to focus on what's in front of it, though it does sound a bit softer than the Seiren Emote at its default gain.

The Seiren Mini is a perfect entry for Razer's already reliable line of microphones. It's ultra-portable size and pricing gives streamers another good option for a budget microphone. The lack of a mute control and some other quality-of-life features will take some getting used to for any more pro folks, but they'll be aiming their sights higher up the product stack anyways. 

The simple fact that the Mini, at just $50/AU$69, sounds as good as its more expensive brethren will attract users who just want a simple mic that looks elegant and sounds excellent. 

Read our full Razer Seiren Mini review.

The best mid-range microphone

AT2020+ Microphone on desk.

(Image credit: Future - Jorge Jimenez)
The best mid-range microphone

Specifications

Polar patterns: Cardioid
Connectivity: USB
Recording Sample Rate: 24-bit 48kHz
Frequency response: 20–20,000Hz
Features: Desk stand, volumes and mix controls

Reasons to buy

+
Crisp audio
+
Great build quality
+
Excellent price

Reasons to avoid

-
Flimsy desk mount
-
Uses a legacy Type-A USB connection
Buy if...

✅ You don't mind spending a tad more, but still want cheap: For the audio quality on offer here, the Audio-Technica is still remarkably cheap for what you get.

You want great audio from a trusted brand: Audio-Technica is a known name in the audio space, and it's proven here that it knows how to bring that professional knowledge to an affordable desktop mic

Don't buy if...

You want a tough stand: It's a bit wibbly-wobbly this, and while it'll keep the mic upright, you're going to want to avoid knocking into it or banging the surface it stands on.

The Audio-Technica AT2020USB+ makes our list as the best mid-range microphone, but honestly, it's cheap enough that it could make our best budget pick as well, if the Razer Seiren Mini above wasn't so darn affordable. Retailing for under $100/AU$179 (and often found for around $70/AU$100) the AT2020USB+ makes very few compromises where it really counts, and that's the great sound.

Inside that tough and resilient metal body lurks an excellent capsule that picks up all the crisp notes in your voice while maintaining a warmth that belies its diminutive price tag. It sounds absolutely great, and really that should come as no surprise to those familiar with their audio equipment.

Audio-Technica is a brand famous for creating some of the most accurate, well-built and studio-ready sonic equipment, so even on its more mid-range to budget offerings, it's flat out refused to compromise on the thing that really counts, and that's the audio pickup.

It's maybe a little plosive, which means "puh" sounds can become blown out, but pop-filters are cheap, and given its a condenser mic you could always adjust your distance and up the gain a bit to compensate if you're using decent background noise removal plugins.

There are of course, a couple of flies in our audio ointment, even towards the mid-range of the market. The included desk stands is wobbly and flimsy, so you'll want to avoid banging around on your desk much and making the mic wobble in turn. It's also got a USB Type-A, which if you ask me is perhaps better than legacy micro-USB for maintaining connection but a bit old-school.

Still, with this level of audio quality, and the mic itself being of sturdy construction (it even comes with a little carrying bag, so you can chuck it in your backpack for field recordings), the Audio-Technica AT2020USB+ ticks all the boxes that really count.

It's a magic little mic, with proper audio credentials and the sound quality to match, all wrapped up in a tough shell that makes it reasonably portable too. Oh, I suppose we could criticise the difficult to remember name, but at this point that's become as much of an Audio-Technica trademark as great sound. Never change, I guess. It makes our jobs so much more fun.

Read our full Audio-Technica AT2020USB+ review.

The best USB microphone and boom arm bundle

The best USB microphone and boom arm bundle

Specifications

Polar patterns: Cardioid
Connectivity: USB
Recording Sample Rate: 24-bit 48kHz
Frequency response: 20–20,000Hz
Features: Boom arm, Mute, Headphone and mix controls

Reasons to buy

+
Good build quality
+
Great value
+
Clean, crisp sound

Reasons to avoid

-
Lack of desk stand in streaming kit
-
Cardioid only
Buy if...

✅ You'd like a boom arm package: A good boom arm, in combination with a great mic close up, is a superb way to capture the sort of vocal recording you'd hear on a really good podcast or stream. You get it all here.

You want clean, crisp sound: The Sennheiser sounds simply great. Really, genuinely great. That'll do then.

Don't buy if...

You want a software helping hand: Nope, you don't get any. Bit of a shame that. While good free versions of audio streaming and sound adjustment software do exist, they can be a bit fiddly, so an included solution would have been nice.

The Sennheiser Profile Streaming Set gives you everything you need to start your podcasting or streaming journey with a great-sounding microphone and sturdy boom arm combo for less than $200/AU$300, which makes it our top recommendation for the best USB microphone and boom bundle.

The Profile has two versions; the standalone microphone for $129/AU$199 or the Streaming Set for $199/AU$300. We'll take the latter thanks, as it's a great deal for a full set that means you have everything you realistically need for great, studio-quality audio.

The Profile has a heavy-duty metal casing and a flashy design that you wouldn't necessarily associate with Sennheiser as a brand. I know, you're looking at those photos and thinking it doesn't look all that, but in person it's really quite a handsome looking mic, and would look suitably professional yet also slightly flash on your stream cam.

The volume and mix controls are well placed, and the dedicated mute button is one of those features you probably wouldn't care much about on paper, but makes all the difference in practice. Having a physical button to ensure you're muted helps avoid any awkward streaming audio related accidents. No Mum, I know dinners ready. Can't you see I'm recording games for the internet over here.

More than that, the Profile is wonderfully warm in its audio quality, with a crispy level of clarity that just makes your voice sound great. Sennheiser know what they're doing when it comes to sound, and the Profile captures your vocals beautifully, ensuring its just down to your performance rather than too much fiddling with the dials.

Speaking of dials, on the software front, well, it doesn't have any. You'll be reliant on using free or paid audio tweaking software if you want to engage in sonic trickery, but thankfully the sound is good enough that you shouldn't need a lot, if any, to still sound great. It must be said however, that setting up a good stream can be a fiddly procedure, and if you'd rather have something that came with an interface and software package that made it easy, it'd be worth taking a serious look at the SteelSeries Alias Pro below.

Other let downs? Well, it's very much a microphone just for you rather than you and your friends, as it only has the one pattern that captures the audio right in front of it, rather than the whole room. Still, chances are if you're bringing your buddies in for a group session you'd want to use more than one mic, although it is worth pointing out that mics like the HyperX Quadcast S do have facility for multiple polar patterns if you'd like some more flexibility.

Also, if you pick the boom arm version, you don't also recieve the desk stand. Bit of an omission that, but again, this is designed to get right in your face and capture great audio, so a desk stand would maybe doing it a slight disservice.

The boom arm itself is excellent, thankfully, and is as flexible and resilient as you like, so what you're getting here is something that you can use again, and again, and probably again too. Good boom arms are often not particularly cheap, but here its all part of the package.

Yep, its a great stream companion this, or a massive boost to meeting audio, in-game voice chat or a podcast, and a very well thought out package that hits all the right notes.

Read our full Sennheiser Profile Streaming Set review.

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The best looking microphone

The best microphone with RGB lighting

Specifications

Polar patterns: Cardioid, Bidirectional, Omnidirectional, Stereo
Connectivity: USB
Recording sample rate: 16-bit 48kHz
Frequency response: 20–20,000Hz
Features: Built-in Shockmount

Reasons to buy

+
Easy to set use
+
Touch-sensitive mute button
+
Built-in Shockmount
+
Cool RGB lighting

Reasons to avoid

-
RGB is not for everyone...
-
... and costly
Buy if...

✅ If you want RGB, and an entertaining aesthetic: The HyperX looks fantastic on camera, and luckily doesn't sacrifice audio quality to do it.

You want loud and clear audio: It might be an older spec capsule, but to be honest, there wasn't a whole lot wrong with the original. There are nicer sounding mics, sure, but there's nothing wrong with the audio quality here.

Don't buy if...

The software package is light: It's got software, sure, but it's mainly about adjusting the RGB (did you see what I did there?). Some more audio-wrangling settings would be nice, but what's there is functional at least.

The gamer-centric HyperX Quadcast S is an excellent microphone for the gamer or streamer looking for an easy-to-use, clear-sounding mic, and takes our top spot for the best looking mic. Might seem a bit strange to think about looks when buying a microphone, but if you've got your audio gear in shot, it'd be nice if it looked great as well as sounding it, dontcha' think?

The biggest draw of the Quadcast S beyond its good looks is that it's loaded with built-in features that usually end up being pricey add-ons for other streaming microphones. The built-in shock mount prevents the mic from picking up any accidental bumps that happen during a contentious Warzone match or overly active Discord chat. The built-in pop filter is also a nice touch considering I always have issues trying to find the optimal position and distance for my rink-a-dink $7 pop-shield, and it never quite stays where it's supposed to when mounted.

The touch-sensitive mute button at the top of the microphone is excellent, too. Often mute buttons and switches make a loud click when recording. This doesn't. The Quadcast S hits the sweet spot of price, sound, and features if you're looking to add something to your live stream.

Specs-wise, the S is more or less identical to the Quadcast, offering the same frequency response of 20Hz-20kHz, bit-rate of 16-bit, and three 14mm condensers, and lets you choose between four polar patterns. Though my plosives tended to sound a little more blown out than I'd like, the quality of my voice sounded good. During conference calls, I can be heard clearly by numerous colleagues commenting on how much louder I was than anyone else, which is an easy fix by bringing down the gain.

On the software side of things, the HyperX Quadcast S uses its proprietary Ngenuity software to handle all things RGB, and that's pretty much it. I mean, you can adjust things such as the mic level and get a description of each polar pattern. But other than that, it's pretty light in options when compared to the Elgato Wave: 3, which comes with a digital audio mixer or the SteelSeries Alias mics, which make use of the Sonar software with all sorts of audio-adjusting goodies.

It still retains its sports-talk radio broadcast mic look, which isn't for everyone, but I think it has a certain charm. I love the dynamic RGB lighting, anyways. It looks like you're speaking into a lava lamp. 

While the RGB is impressive and fun, it doesn't merit an upgrade for existing Quadcast owners since the microphone is the same as last year except for the light show. But if you choose between the Quadcast and Quadcast S, the dynamic RGB is neat and loud, which could always deter anyone after something more low-key. If that's the case, the Quadcast is probably more your style (and you'll save around $20).

Read our full HyperX Quadcast S review

The best microphone for streaming

The best microphone for streaming

Specifications

Polar patterns: Cardioid
Connectivity: XLR to USB
Recording sample rate: 44.1/48/88.2/96 kHz (USB), 16-/24-bit (USB)
Frequency response: 50–20,000Hz
Features: Included XLR Stream Mixer and preamp, +48V phantom power, programmable dials and buttons

Reasons to buy

+
Capable of studio-like sound capture
+
Stream mixer is discreet and powerful
+
Sonar software makes audio setup simple
+
Superb build quality

Reasons to avoid

-
You really need a boom arm to get the most out of it
-
The SteelSeries Boom Arm (sold separately) is expensive
-
Expensive all-round
Buy if...

✅ You're looking for something more than a desktop microphone: The Alias Pro performs fine on a desk, but that included Stream Mixer is so powerful, pairing it with an arm means you're getting into studio-quality territory.

If you want to start streaming without the fuss: Streaming audio can be a pain, but the Sonar software in combination with the flexibility of the Stream Mixer takes as much of the hassle out as it can. Looks nice on your desk, too.

Don't buy if...

If you're not looking to spend a lot: That extra interface comes at a cost, and that cost is, err, money. Plus an arm. Cheap, this isn't.

If you're not going to use it with an arm: The Alias Pro sounds about the same as the regular Alias on a desk, which is to say, pretty good. Still, it'd be a waste not to take advantage of the potentially great audio here by getting it close up.

Setting up a stream with great audio is traditionally not easy, which is the reason we're sticking the SteelSeries Alias Pro in as our best microphone for streaming. It might be pricey, but what you're paying for here is really the Stream Mixer that comes with it, and all the streamer friendly features that make it a fantastic buy, even if it is pricey at a $330/£330/AU$549 MSRP.

That little two-dial, two-button unit contains a powerful preamp that can connect out to an XLR microphone with 48V phantom power, which means you can use this with just about any other good XLR mic on the market. However, SteelSeries has provided you with one of its Alias units here, and thankfully, it's a bit of a peach. It sounds lovely, particularly close up with a bit of an adjustment, although we'll get to that later.

Once you've booted up the Sonar software you'll discover that it takes away most of the strain of setting up a load of complicated inputs, outputs and audio gear. Drop down menus and great hardware/software discovery means that this package does its best to make all those confusing settings as straightforward as possible, and the RGB lit buttons and dials on the front of the interface can be programmed in a variety of ways to make streaming control easy, straightforward, and right beneath your fingertips.

More than that, the included audio-adjustment settings are simply brilliant. There's a compressor, ClearCast AI-noise reduction and an easy to use EQ with plenty of useful presets, which means getting a great sound out of this setup is about as easy as it could be. However, there is a bit of a catch.

The SteelSeries Alias Pro, and that fantastic preamp that comes with, really, really appreciates being close up, and that means using a boom arm to get the microphone right up to your face. That'd all be well and good, except SteelSeries doesn't provide one with the package, limiting you to a desk stand instead.

It'll sell you its own version, the SteelSeries Alias Boom Arm, for another $100, but in all honesty it's a bit overpriced for what it is. Thankfully, the socket at the back of the SteelSeries Alias mic provided here is a standard size, so many cheaper and just as good third-party boom arms should fit. 

And you're going to want one. Up close, the SteelSeries Alias Pro really shines, and studio-quality audio becomes simple to achieve thanks to that software package and the quality of the 1-inch capsule provided. It's also small and compact, which means its not in your face in the same way something like the Shure MV7 might be, although if you're looking for ultimate audio chops the Shure still just about takes it on raw sound.

Streaming is difficult, and audio interfaces can be complicated beasts to wrangle. The SteelSeries Alias Pro takes as much hassle out of the process as it can, looks good doing it, and providing you get it up close, sounds fantastic to boot. It's a streamers best friend, but make sure you price in an arm, (or given the cost, even a leg), to get the most out of it.

Read our full SteelSeries Alias Pro review.

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