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

Updated February 14, 2024 to add in two new recommendations, the SteelSeries Alias Pro and the Audio Technica AT2020USB+, and to celebrate Valentines Day. Nah, just kidding, we spent the day checking over our current recs to make sure they were up to date, romance be damned.

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 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,  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, 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 (and often found for around $70) 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