Some may say that microphones are microphones. We don’t. When you’re recording a song, you need to make sure you find a specific type of microphone which will record vocals accurately. With DJ’ing, you need a louder microphone that sounds better over speakers. The same can be said with gaming, as most of us who are serious about communicating with either people you’re beating (my favorite) or the team you’re on — a cheap headset doesn’t always cut it.
A lot of people settle with just the headphones that come with their headsets. If you’ve been in gaming for a while like me, you’re most likely familiar with 90% of the headsets out there, but also know that the microphones aren’t necessarily the focal points of the device. There are ways to better your audio experience with gaming even more optimally, specifically if you want to use headphones that are studio monitor or even better quality than headsets that do not come with a microphone. If you are however interested in what most people use for gaming, you can read our top 10 best gaming headsets to check out what’s out there as well.
There are numerous options you can go if you’re looking for a good quality microphone for gaming. Here are a few aspects to take into consideration:
- Your budget
- Using different hardware for connectivity
- The type of microphone
Your budget for microphones for gaming
You can spend up to $400 on a good headset or microphone if you’d like, or keep it cheaper and stay under $100. We found the best microphones for gaming within the entire range in order to give you some options. If you’re serious about your gaming microphone, we wouldn’t settle for a cheaper little USB microphone you can buy at your local store. Here are the top 10 best for you to look around:
- Zalman ZM-Mic1 Headphone Microphone
- Samson Go Mic Compact USB Microphone
- Blue Microphones Snowball USB
- CAD U37 USB Studio Condenser Recording Microphone
- Audio-Technica ATR2500-USB Cardioid Condenser
- Blue Microphones Yeti USB – Silver Edition
- Samson G Track USB Microphone
- Blue Microphones Yeti Pro USB
- Shure PG42-USB Vocal Microphone
- Rode NTG2 Condenser Shotgun Microphone
Using different hardware for connectivity to your computer
I’ve heard of some gamers going as far as using an audio interface to link their external microphone to their computer for gaming. Some would say this should strictly be left for recording audio, such as for YouTube videos or music production. However, this is always an option for you to take your microphone setup to the highest level. If you were to do this, you could start hooking up microphones that support XLR connectors, which are basically studio-quality microphones. How high you go is really up to you, although we don’t recommend going absolutely crazy on it for just gaming.
If you want an even different route and would like to plug your XLR microphone in to your computer without an interface, you can start by using a Shure X2U XLR-to-USB Signal Adapter. This allows you to go even bigger (which we’ve only listed a few of), grabbing studio condenser quality microphones and plugging them straight into your computer via USB. You’ll most likely need a microphone stand for these.
You may also want to get even more detailed and buy a popper stopper if it’s compatible with the microphone you end up going. This way, you may be able to even have the microphone on at all times and merely speak when you want, eliminating the use of hot keys. It depends on the level of noise cancellation the microphone you end up buying is capable of.
Be sure to check out our best headphones for gaming if you’d like to pair up a new set of cans with your gaming microphone.
1. Zalman ZM-Mic1 Headphone Microphone
Here’s the cheapest we’ll go, and the reason we’ve included this is to provide a $10 option to see if you’d like to take it into consideration. What this does is turn any headphone into a headset, allowing you to get really specific with the headphones you’ll be wearing for gaming. Just plug it in your 3.5mm jack of your computer, clip it onto the headphone cable and viola — a customized headset (but with a pretty cheap mic that it comes with).
2. Samson Go Mic Compact USB
This microphone begins the high-quality USB external option. At around ~$40 it remains an affordable microphone, I love the portability of this thing and it’s pretty compact to fit among your keyboard, mouse and screen. It has the capability of either clipping to a laptop or sitting on a desk (or a table if you’re console gaming). It is a lot better quality than those stick mics you can find at a local Bestbuy or Wal-Mart. Go with this if you want a cheaper solution to a microphone for gaming but one that is better than those cheap plastic ones.
3. Blue Microphones Snowball USB
We love the sleek size and look of this thing. There’s a reason why we have three Blue microphone models in our list for microphones for gaming. This particular model is their cheapest — it stands on a little tripod right next to you and comes in a bunch of colors of your choice (silver, orange, blue, black, pink, green, purple). It is connected via USB and has a ‘dual capsule design’ for a better-than-average microphone quality. I’ve used this before and loved it until I decided to upgrade to their Yeti Pro. For only $60, the cool look of this gadget and overall audio quality is a great buy.
4. CAD U37 USB Studio Condenser
Now you’re starting to get into the condenser microphones (what are condenser microphones?), for a more warm, rich sound of your voice for communication with gaming. The pattern of the mic is ‘cardioid’, which helps isolate your voice from background noises. If you’re in a quiet room, you can most likely set this up to be on at all times and can just speak without having to use a hotkey. Although if you’re using Ventrilo or a similar program, it may get a bit difficult. This is definitely a great quality mic that also comes with a little stand to sit next to you while you game. Plug-in is via USB.
5. Audio-Technica ATR2500-USB Cardioid Condenser
Here is another condenser microphone that connects via USB made by Audio Techinca. The reason this is the same price as the previous cardioid microphone is because it does not come with a stand. You’ll have to buy one separately, we recommend the Hamilton Nu-Era Tabletop Mic Stand (around ~$10). If you’re looking for the condenser route, this is awesome because it has a built-in headphone jack to monitor your mic output, adjust headphone volume with the built-in controls, and has exceptional quality as compared to previously spoken microphones. Look into this one for sure.
6. Blue Microphones Yeti USB – Silver Edition
Here’s one of our favorites that has been recommended by many websites around the net as well as receiving numerous positive reviews on Amazon. The Yeti by Blue features three condenser capuslues for a lot better quality than most microphones out there. You have some control on it as well – gain, mute, zero-latency, etc. Compatible with both Mac and PC, it plugs in via USB. It also has different modes, such as stereo, cardioid, omni or bidirectional (records the front and back, best for gaming). It’s gotten a 4.5/5 on Amazon and has received over a thousand reviews. If you have a few more bucks however, continue reading for their Pro version that has even better quality.
7. Samson G Track USB Microphone
Here’s a slight step up from the others. It’s a larger microphone with a diaphragm of 19mm and a supercartioid build for great noise cancellation, supporting 16-bit with 48kHz resolution. Connects via USB like most microphones we list, the reason it’s in here is because of the condenser quality being higher than the others. You get gain control and a stereo input jack if you decide to hook up something else besides your voice (careful to your teammates!). It also comes with it’s own stand that’s perfect for a desk. Look into it if you want better quality and can afford it.
8. Blue Microphones Yeti Pro USB
Here’s the big sister to the previous Blue Yeti microphone for gaming we spoke about. If you can afford it, buy this one instead of the other seven. The ~$230 range may be a bit steep, but this is one strong gadget. Like the Yeti regular, it has four polar pattern settings: cardioid, stereo, bidrectional (best for gaming) or omni, just in case you end up recording a video or something later. It’s also got a built-in headpone amp for zero-latency monitoring and gives you control right on the microphone (headphone volume, pattern select, mute, and gain). The frequency response is 15Hz-22kHz (very high). Also comes with a stand that’s super convenient and looks great next to your screen (see picture).
9. Shure PG42-USB Vocal Microphone
Some say this one comes close to the Yeti Pro, but the price is higher so it’s listed here. Connected via USB, it has an integrated pre-amp with mic gain control for input signal strength (real convenient). Zero latency monitoring, monitor mix control and also has a headphone jack on the panel to test monitoring. Some say you really should buy a pop filter and foam windscreen combined to help with popping since it’s such a sensitive microphone. We recommend shopping for popper stopper or foam windscreens on Amazon. If you don’t want to invest in the money for those, stick with the Yeti Pro.
10. Rode NTG2 Condenser Shotgun Microphone
Last but not least is a different type of microphone you might want to take into consideration. It’s up there in terms of price and it’s the highest we’ll go in terms of microphones for gaming. This thing is pretty crazy, and it gives you broadcasting sound quality. If you’re looking into some other uses for your gaming microphone this may be worth the price. If you want to go the full-nine and think perhaps you will be using your microphone for other uses, take a look at it. It’s a shotgun microphone, so a bit different in terms of style and conventional microphones. Shotgun mics are typically used for recording what’s immediately in front of it, cancelling out the rear and side noise sources. It’s got a two step high-pass filter with a rugged metal construction. A lot of positive reviews on this, but i’d still stick with the Yeti Pro if you’re going this high.