How to Find the Best Gaming Microphones for Your Needs

How to Find the Best Gaming Microphones for Your Needs

I bet you’ve found yourself in a situation where your amazing gaming skills were overshadowed by lousy equipment and the inability of your teammates to hear your screams for backup. Every gamer needs the right tools to make the best of his abilities and crush the enemy team or defeat the final boss. It doesn’t matter if you’re playing Fortnite or Call of Duty, League of Legends or DotA – you will always need reliable equipment to communicate with your teammates.

However, everyone seems to get all dazed and confused whenever they need to pick out a new microphone. In fact, I used to be oblivious to how important choosing the right mic is, which used to lead me to a lot of defeats caused not by lack of skill but simple miscommunication. I remember that one time when I almost got to Challenger tier in League of Legends but one of my best ranked games got seriously messed up when my buddies couldn’t hear me screaming at them to get Baron. That’s a mistake you can’t afford in a ranked game even if you’re three towers ahead just like we were.

Sometimes, everything that’s needed is a moment where your attention is focused elsewhere for the victory to slip out of your reach.  In this article, we will try to help you get heard by your teammates by looking at some of the best choices for gaming mics according to your needs, whatever they might be.

Types of gaming microphones

There are two main groups of microphones used predominately by the gaming community. The first ones are USB microphones which used to have worse quality than the other type, condenser microphones, but right now there are USB microphones that can compete with any except the best of recording equipment.

The second type are the condenser mics that usually offer better sound quality. In the past they could only be plugged in through an XLR connector but today the same type of mics can be used with a USB cord. You no longer need a bunch of studio equipment to use condenser microphones so they’ve become way more accessible to the public in both price and ease of use.

Which microphone best suits your needs?

In order to answer this question, we are going to take a look at a few determining characteristics that are usually important for gaming.

  • Sound quality.
  • Build quality.
  • Ease of use.
  • Type of connector.

Also, to make this article simpler and more helpful I’m going to give you four groups of microphones that satisfy various criteria in accordance with your needs:

  • Budget gaming mics. (when money is the main factor)
  • All-around gaming mics. (when you just need a decent microphone for gaming)
  • Mobile or attachable mics. (when you need flexibility or you’re on the move)
  • Professional microphones. (when money is no issue)

The Budget Category: Best Budget Gaming Microphones

There are a few microphones that will get you through the game while costing very little and while they have decent performance, you should be aware that they are the ‘worst of the best’ on this list.

  1. Zalman ZM-Mic1

This little mic was created by Zalman Tech which is a company trying to uphold the concept of ‘noiseless computing’. The ZM-MIC1 is a lavalier type mic that clips on to your headphones. It costs under $20 but sounds pretty okay for the price. This microphone plugs in with a standard USB cord and it has a build quality like you’d expect from equipment that cheap. For best results, try to clip is as close to your mouth as possible. It comes with a 10-foot cable so you can use it comfortably.

Pros:

  • Incredibly cheap!
  • Sound is okay.

Cons:

  • Thrifty build quality.
  • Lack of versatility.
  1. Fifine Technology K668

 Fifine technologies was set up in 2009 and aims to create the best microphones, and according to their reviews so far, it’s working with this particular one. The K668 is a nifty little mic that comes at a very cheap price but offers pretty good performance and has gathered a ton of positive reviews. This microphone costs about $20 on Amazon and is a standard Plug & Play mic compatible with both Windows and Mac. It has a decent build quality but only average sound quality. When looking for a mic, that’s how far $20 will get you!

Pros:

  • Good build quality.
  • Easy to set up.

Cons:

  • Wide cardioid pattern.
  • Large clipping percentage.

Best All Around Gaming Mics

  1. Blue Snowball iCE Condenser Mic

Blue is well known for making some of the most iconic microphones and this one is no different. The Blue Snowball iCE is a gateway mic into high-end audio according to IGN[1]. The Snowball has really good build quality and decent sound quality. It has a 3-position slider on the back which can switch between omni, cardioid or cardioid with -10db pad. Each of these options is good for a specific use:

  • Omni captures sound from all directions.
  • Cardioid is the best for podcasts, voiceovers and any other use where you speak directly into the microphone.
  • The cardioid with -10db pad is good for situations with lots of loud noises, so with this setting you can freely scream into the microphone without destroying your teammate’s eardrums.

It comes with a mount and has adjustable height. It connects through a USB Mini-B connector which is pretty rare but still preforms better than most. It’s a Plug & Play microphone so the setup is as easy as killing a bot. The snowball will set you back around $50 but you’ll get good value for your money.

Pros:

  • Good build quality.
  • Decent sound quality.
  • Cardioid and omnidirectional patterns.

Cons:

  • The stand is a bit unstable.
  • Monophonic microphone.
  1. CAD U37 USB Studio Condenser

 CAD Audio offers some really interesting products and this mic is definitely one of them. It’s a little bit more expensive than the Snowball but it also has better quality and more flexibility, giving it the best bang for your buck. This is a condenser mic but it plugs in through a USB cord. It needs no drivers and it functions as a Plug & Play device.

It’s especially suited for vocals and speech, making it a pretty good gaming mic. It has very average sound quality and even more average build quality. However, it has a few features that put it in front of the Snowball, such as a bass reduction switch, a great frequency response and also comes with a 10-foot USB cable and a tripod stand. This microphone will set you back about $70 but many would say that it’s worth more, so you’re getting great value.

Pros:

  • Average sound quality.
  • Bass reduction.
  • Easy to use.
  • A multitude of settings for different uses.

Cons:

  • Not suited for loud places.
  • Extremely sensitive.
  1. Samson G-Track

 Samson Tech has offered a number of products that caught our attention over the years and the G-Track delivers on the promise of good quality. This microphone is an improvement from the previous ones because it boasts a diaphragm of 19mm and a super cardioid build that greatly improves noise cancellation. It supports 16-bit with 48kHz resolution.

The G-Track is a USB microphone but has a great condenser quality. Also, it has a stereo input jack so that you can hook up anything you want (after warning your teammates, of course). It has excellent sound quality, doesn’t need drivers and works as a Plug & Play mic. It has three positions: mono, stereo and computer monitoring. This mic costs $120 but its quality is enough to justify the expense.

Pros:

  • Great build quality.
  • Excellent sound quality.
  • Audio interface and mixer.

Cons:

  • No pop filter or shock mount.
  1. Blue Yeti

Perhaps the most recognizable mic on this list is Blue’s smash hit: the classic Blue Yeti. If you’re into gaming microphones chances are you already have one. While the full set will set you back over $130 it has much better quality than most mics out there. It plugs in via USB and is compatible with both Windows and Mac, and is a Plug & Play microphone. This piece of equipment has a few different modes:

  • Cardioid
  • Stereo
  • Omnidirectional
  • Bidirectional

The Yeti has great build and sound quality and has rounded up all the positive reviews on Amazon. You can get it with a pop filter or a Yeticaster and it has a few nifty features such as gain control, a mute button and a zero-latency headphone output. This makes it perfect for speech of all types, especially gaming.

Pros:

  • Great build quality.
  • Great sound quality.
  • Four patterns to choose from, easy to use.

Cons:

  • Larger than most mics.
  • Slow customer service.
  1. Audio-Technica ATR2500

Audio-Technica is famous for producing pro-level equipment and while this mic is one of its cheaper products that doesn’t make it any less awesome. It plugs in through USB but is a condenser cardioid mic through and through, but it has a built-in headphone jack that helps monitor your output and adjust the volume too!

Also, this mic has excellent build quality as well as fantastic sound quality. While it will set you back around under $100 it comes with a high-quality AD convertor with 16bit, 44.1/48kHz sampling rate. It doesn’t come with a stand so you’ll have to buy one extra but for those who buy it, it will be well worth the money.

Pros:

  • Rich, clean and overall great sound quality.
  • Excellent build quality.
  • Easy to use.
  • Zero-latency monitoring.

Cons:

  • The mount needs a little improvement.
  • Doesn’t come with a pop filter, a shock mount or a good stand.

Best Mobile or Attachable Gaming Mics

While we already mentioned the Zalman ZM-MIC1 it’s not alone in this category. Here we have the microphones that you need when you’re on the move or you don’t have the space for a mic with a stand.

  1. Antlion Audio ModMic Attachable Boom Microphone

This little piece of equipment will cost you about $50 but it’s so versatile that you’ll never regret the purchase. It’s a boom microphone that excels at eliminating background noise and attaches to your headphones via magnet. You can bend or adjust the capsule until it’s comfortable and you can connect it not only to your PC or Mac but to your Xbox One, PS4, Wii-U or your smartphone.

The ModMic offers a uni-directional microphone which eliminates sound from all but the desired direction, which makes it a very effective noise eliminator. It has decent build quality and great sound quality for its price.

Pros:

  • Great sound quality for the price.
  • Good background noise reduction.

Cons:

  • Relatively fragile.
  • Y-adapter not included.
  1. Samson Go Portable Travel USB Condenser Mic

This portable microphone can clip to your laptop or can sit on your desk, providing condenser-level sound quality for only about $40. It has excellent build quality and a nice compact design. It doesn’t need any drivers, plugs in via USB and is compatible with both Mac and PC. Its condenser technology makes it ideal for voice chat and therefore, gaming.

This mic has a frequency response of 20Hz to 18kHz and a resolution of 16-bit/44.1kHz making it a perfect high quality little piece of equipment. You can switch between cardioid or omnidirectional pickup patterns and it also has a stereo 1/8‘’ headphone output that ensures no latency monitoring.

Pros:

  • Great build quality.
  • Crisp sound.
  • Cardioid and omnidirectional patterns.
  • -10db pad.

Cons:

  • Fragile plastic hinge.
  • Bad customer support.
  • The hinge is too small to attach to a desktop computer.
  1. Sony EM-CS10 Omnidirectional Stereo Lavalier Microphone

This lavalier microphone by Sony is usually used as a business microphone but it has all the necessary specifications to be used for gaming as well. It connects via a 3.5mm jack and only functions on stereo, however it only goes for about $30 and it can provide sufficient sound quality for the money.

Because it is a lavalier microphone you can clip it to your clothing or laptop but a major drawback is its exclusively omnidirectional patter. Nevertheless, it’s small, inconspicuous and suitable for casual gaming. It has decent build quality and won’t disappoint you.

Pros:

  • Sleek design.

Cons:

  • Really sensitive.
  • All around cheap construction and sound delivery.

Best Professional Gaming Microphones

  1. Audio-Technica AT2020USB Professional Recording Mic

Audio-Technica has discontinued this little mic so we won’t give it as much attention as the others but if you’re looking for a solid gaming mic that dips into the higher class this may well be your choice. This piece of equipment will set you back about $150, making it the cheapest in this category. It’s a condenser microphone but it plugs in via USB and it has a high quality AD converter with 16-bit, 44.1/48kHz sampling rate which provides top-notch audio.

Also, it comes with a headphone jack fitted out with zero-delay volume control. Another feature is the mix control which lets you mix your pre-recorded audio with your mic signal. It comes with a 10 foot USB cable, a tripod desk stand, a soft protective pouch, a pivoting stand mount and a threaded adapter.

Pros:

  • Great sound quality.
  • Great noise reduction.
  • Comes with a tripod stand.

Cons:

  • Dials may be a bit flimsy.
  1. Razer Seirēn Pro

 This microphone is the only one on this list specifically designed for gaming, but it also incorporates elements that professional artists and musicians will find useful. It doesn’t need a stand and comes with four polar recording patterns:

  • Omnidirectional
  • Cardioid
  • Stereo
  • Birectional

Also, this beast has an impressive recording resolution of 192kHz/24-bit supported by three 14mm custom tuned condenser capsules. When you listen to the sound coming out of this mic, it’s practically like listening to a CD. It comes with a headphone amplifier that can fit any monitoring headphone with a 3.5mm jack. It has gain control, master volume control, a mute button and OLED display.

This microphone has excellent noise reduction and close proximity to it gives you a high bass response. It comes with a shock mount, a pop filter and a signature Razer carrying case. It’ll cost you $250 straight from Razer or possibly a different amount on Amazon.

Pros:

  • Four recording patterns.
  • XLR capability.
  • Great build quality.
  • High-pass filter.

Cons:

  • Large and heavy.
  • No accessories.
  1. Blue Yeti Pro

Blue seems to produce excellent microphones in every price range and it has a classic in this one too – the Blue Yeti Pro. While it costs around $250, the money is well worth it since it’s used by so many top artists around the world. It connects via USB, but has a premium AD converter which lets you stream and record in high quality 24-bit/192kHz. Just like the Razer Seirēn it comes with a capsule array of 3 condensers which results in four pattern settings.

In case you need to connect it to some equipment it also has a dual XLR breakout cable. It records with zero latency and since it’s a side address mic, you can just put it on your desk and enjoy hassle-free communication. It’s not a Plug & Play system, but it only needs one driver that you can download for free from the official Blue website, and it even comes in multiple colors to choose from!

Its built-in stand is part of the sleek and recognizable design that’s more than good enough for any gamer. People sing and record music with this type of microphone. Trust me, you’ll love it for gaming.

Pros:

  • Great versatility.
  • Great build quality.
  • Near perfect sound quality.
  • Sleek design.
  • Four patterns to choose from.

Cons:

  • More difficult to set up than a Plug & Play-type mic.
  • Large and bulky.
  1. Rode NTG-2 Condenser Shotgun Microphone

This is the most expensive microphone on our list, and for a good reason. It goes for around $270 and is usually used for professional recording, mostly in TV and production. It had a 20Hz-20kHz frequency response, as well as a selectable high-pass filter at 80Hz. This makes for excellent noise reduction from anything that might be going on in the background.

In case you can’t connect to a power source, it also comes with a battery. This microphone comes with a zip case and a WSVM windshield which completely removes wind noise and plosives, although the windshield has been criticized for not being efficient enough. It also has an outdoor mode.

One thing that some people might find weird is that this mic connects exclusively through an XLR connector and only has a supercardioid pattern. However, this microphone has a really rugged and durable metal body as well as a clip so that you can attach it to your clothes. Even better, it comes with a 10 year warranty when you register it online. It’s incredibly light, weighing in only about 5oz.

You might want to get a stand or some other accessories because you’ll definitely want to show off this fancy little mic. Screaming in your teammate’s ear has never sounded so good!

Pros:

  • Best sound quality around.
  • Lightweight but sturdy construction.
  • XLR connection.

Cons:

  • No USB connector.
  • No on/off switch.

So, to summarize all of this, here is a table outlining the most important features of each microphone.

Microphone Connector Cost Sound quality Build quality Accessories Recommended for:
ZM-MIC 1 USB < $20 3/10 4/10 No Budget
Fifine K668 USB < $20 2/10 3/10 No No
Snowball USB $50 5/10 4.5/10 Tripod Social gaming
CAD U37 USB $70 6/10 6/10 Tripod No
Samson G Tr USB $120 6.5/10 8/10 No No
Blue Yeti USB $130 6.5/10 7/10 Available For overall gaming
ATR2500 USB $100 6.5/10 7/10 Available For overall gaming
ModMic USB $50 5/10 6/10 No For budget
Samson Go USB $40 6/10 8/10 No For mobility
ECM-CS10 3.5mm $30 3/10 3/10 No No
AT2020 USB $150 8/10 10/10 Multiple For pros on a budget
Blue Yeti Pro USB $250 9/10 10/10 Available For professionals
Razer Seiren USB $250 9.5/10 9/10 No For professionals
Rode NTG2 XLR $270 9.5/10 10/10 Available For professionals

 

Where to Buy Gaming Microphones

No paragraph here – just to the website of the manufacturer of the microphone you intend to buy and order your favorite one! Also, you can buy certain mics on this list from Amazon. There is no ‘best store’ to buy these from, if it isn’t an online store.

So, what microphone should I get?

Well, in order to answer that question we’ll have to ask you one: what type of gamer are you? Are you a casual, social, hardcore or pro gamer?

  • If you’re a casual gamer, you probably don’t want to spend a fortune on a gaming microphone so that class is probably out of the question. Instead, you’ll probably like the mobile and attachable equipment more anyway. For this reason, we recommend the Antlion Audio ModMic or the Samson Go. Both will satisfy all your needs. If you really don’t want to spend money, just get the Zalman ZM-Mic1 – you’ll be fine.
  • For social gamers, you might want to look into the mobile and attachable mics, but also, depending on the type of games you play you might want to get one from the medium price category. If you want a small, attachable mic get the Antlion ModMic but if you want a microphone that you can put on your desk the Blue Snowball iCE or the Audio-Technica ATR2500 will satisfy all your needs.
  • Hardcore gamers probably need a little extra in specs, so you’ll want to look into some of the more expensive options. We recommend either the Blue Yeti or the upgraded Blue Yeti Pro. These two mics are more than enough for any gaming purposes providing the ultimate gaming communication experience.
  • For the professionals, there are only two choices on our entire list. The Rode NTG-2 Shotgun Mic or the Razer Seirēn Pro. There is literally nothing that you can’t use these microphones for and that includes gaming. A real pro knows that communication is key and that when in the middle of a game with really high stakes it’s reasonable to go overboard with the quality of your equipment.

Final Summary

Whether you’re a casual gamer, someone who just plays with your friends or a professional that makes their living from gaming there is a microphone for you. Most people don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on things they don’t absolutely need but sometimes the sense of pride and fulfillment is enough to buy one of the higher cost pieces of equipment on this list. We wish you happy gaming and many, many victories to come!

Source:

[1] https://www.ign.com/articles/2017/10/09/blue-snowball-microphone-review

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *