2022 has been an interesting year for gaming and streaming microphones. This year saw mic makers start to push heavily into the prosumer market with high-quality products aimed at content creators looking to step up their sound game.
XLR microphones sound amazing but require an investment in the form of an audio interface, whereas a USB mic is always the way to go if you want an affordable, easy plug-and-play solution. Though this year seemed like slim pickings as XLR mics started to become more and more popular among even streamers just starting out.
Either way, we narrowed it down to three of the best gaming microphones of 2022. Of our nominees, HyperX's debut XLR mic, the Procast, might be the best microphone we've spoken into all year; Elgato's maiden XLR, the Wave DX, is the best value; and the 512 Audio Tempest is one of the better-sounding premium USB mics we've seen.
But which of those below will be crowned the best microphone of 2022?
Best microphone 2022: the nominees
The Procast was the last missing piece from HyperX's stellar microphone lineup. This large condenser XLR microphone lacks the usual HyperX flair but makes up for it plenty in the sound department. Yeah, the $250 price point will likely give you pause, but you get what you pay for. Your voice will sound clean, clear, and crisp in ways you simply can not emulate with a typical USB mic. Another thing I love about the Procast is that it's built like a sturdy piece of studio equipment, so it'll last you a long while, no matter how much you beat it up.
Read our HyperX Procast review.
Elgato Wave DX
A $99 XLR microphone that sounds good is practically unheard of. The sleek-looking Elgato Wave DX brings all the versatility of the lovely Wave 3, which debuted two years ago. The dynamic microphone does a great job of giving your voice a nice full-bodied sound. What's most attractive about the DX Wave is the cost. If you already own an external audio interface, you can pick up the XLR for only $99. If you need a full kit, you can buy one bundled with the Elgato XLR interface for less than $300. On the software side, it comes with some really impressive easy-to-use mixing software that makes managing your audio sources during a stream less of a headache.
Read our Elgato Wave DX review.
512 Audio Tempest
2022 was a disappointing year for premium USB mics. That doesn't mean there wasn't a mic that stood out from the rest that deserves some recognition. The Tempest gives your voice a warm sound as if you were a radio broadcaster. It also handles plosives well despite not having a built-in pop filter right out of the box and requires a little tweaking. It sounds as good as some more expensive USB mics we've used over the years. I still absolutely hate its flimsy desktop stand, but that's why they invented boom arms
Read our 512 Audio Tempest review.
The winner of the PC Gamer Hardware Award for the best gaming microphone of 2022 will be announced on New Year's Eve. May the best noise maker win.