When it comes to live streaming, whether you’re doing it on Twitch, Mixer or anything else, one of your first goals in the streaming world should be having a good quality microphone for your viewers.
There’s nothing quite as bad as a viewer when you’ve just jumped onto a stream and there’s background noise, traffic, dogs barking, or even some kind of static noise that you just can’t put your finger on.
There are so many different types of microphone out there, it can be tough to find out which ones are the top ones, but thankfully, you don’t need to break the bank to add a quality microphone to your setup. What you will need though, is a PC that’s able to stream and while the minimum requirements for streaming aren’t much, there is still a barrier to entry. If you plan to stream on Twitch or YouTube, you’ll need a minimum spec of:
- Intel Core i5-4670 or equivalent
- 8GB of RAM
- Graphics card supporting DirectX 10 or more
What to Look for in a Microphone
It’s important, first and foremost to decide what type of stream you’re going to be running. If you’re focusing on something like a podcast with multiple interviewers, you’re going to need a higher quality mic that can pick up sound in all directions and is able to provide clarity. If you plan on streaming a game and talking to your community alongside it, you likely don’t need to dig too deep into your wallet to get something passable.
The old adage, you get what you pay for, is normally always pretty accurate. In this case, if you’re looking for a decent quality mic without breaking the bank, you’ll probably be looking at a USB microphone. These can be plugged right into your PC and you can get going immediately.
USB microphones are cheaper, yes, but their sound quality isn’t as high as XLR microphones. These are used for live shows and professional recording sessions and are fantastic to have, but they require a lot more money and effort. The quality is of a much higher level.
Having additional features on your microphone, something as simple as a mute button can go a long way. Ideally, you’ll want to have an equalizer, noise cancellation, or even different types of polar patterns to record from different angles.
Some gaming headsets can offer a really good quality microphone, so something as simple as talking into your headset stalk can be super convenient. The quality is still pretty good and started out as a streamer, this should be more than enough for you to start with.
The Market Caters to Audiophiles
The difference between picking up a streaming microphone and any other type of peripheral is that there’s a chance you might not be aware of the brand or model, and that’s okay. Usually, the best kinds of microphones will come from audio brands, so you’re not expected to know of them as a gamer.
We’ve put together a list of the best five microphones that you can expect to get as a streamer, and because streaming can be so diverse in terms of content, you’ll be able to decide which one is right for your stream.
There are many different types of Blue Yeti microphones out there, so doing some research on which one will suit you best is probably worthwhile doing. Having said that, if you pick any Blue Yeti, you’ll be in very good hands as the best one has four different polar patterns, allowing you to perfect a variety stream.
With the NT, you’re given a professional microphone at a cheaper price. It comes with a free pop filter but only offers a cardioid polar pattern. We’d also suggest going for a boom arm with one of these because it can often pick up noises you may not want it to pick up.
You’ll have seen the brand Shure on the most popular singing programs on TV and that’s for good reason. Shure is the go-to brand for the world of radio and podcasting, so you won’t find any better quality. You’ll need to pay for it though as Shure equipment is expensive.
Razer always jumps into peripherals and the Seiren X is no different. As a gaming microphone, the sound quality isn’t as good as perhaps the Blue Yeti or the Rode NT, and it only has the one polar pattern, but the microphone is really good for picking up and delivering voice.
This suggestion is definitely a little “out-there”, but AntLion has made a great name for itself in the attachable microphone business and is by far one of the best external microphones that you can get that doesn’t rest on a table. You’ll attach the ModMic to your headphones and be given the opportunity to stream with some really good quality voice.