Livestreaming on platforms like Twitch, YouTube, and Facebook is gaining massive popularity and can be a fun and creative way to get your content out into the world.
When it comes to streaming, one of the most important pieces of equipment you can invest in is a microphone. When choosing a microphone, it can be tough to navigate the sea of options, so this guide will help you find the best microphone for your setup.
Price: $28.99 Frequency Response: 20Hz – 16KHz Dimensions: 6x19x9 in. Weight: 2.66 lbs
A good microphone can make or break a live stream, so high quality audio is imperative. A condenser microphone is one that requires an external power source, called a phantom power source. This is usually found in an audio interface (as opposed to a normal microphone which you plug directly into your computer via USB).
One of the highest quality condenser microphones on the market is the Neewer NW-700. When speaking into the microphone, the low-end bass sounds are deep, and the high-end sounds are crisp but don’t pierce the ears like tiny swords (like most microphones at this price).
It’s definitely worth looking into if you’re on a budget. Blue Yeti
Price: $116.98 Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20kHz Dimensions: 4.9×4.7×11.6 in. Weight: 4.75 lbs.
The Yeti has become a household name of streaming microphones, because of ease of use, clear sound quality, and sturdy build.
The Yeti microphone is basically comprised of three small condenser microphones pointed in opposite directions, which allow for crystal clear sound The microphone has a single gain control knob for adjusting the microphone sensitivity level, which is great for changing your audio levels, but it comes with disadvantages.
Depending on your setup, if you’re planning to stream PC games, the sound of the keyboard will drown out your voice, since it’s a desk microphone. This is easily fixed by getting a desk clamp and arm mount from their website.
Although it’s a bit on the expensive side, the sleek metal design and amazing sound quality make up for it. Audio-Technica AT2020
Price: $99.00 Frequency Response: 20-20,000 Hz Dimensions: 9.6 x 9.6 x 2.6 in. Weight: 1.8 lbs.
The Audio-Technica AT2020 is another fantastic front-facing condenser microphone, perfect for a louder setup because background noise isn’t detected.
Since the microphone only picks up sound in one direction, background noise is virtually silent. The sound quality is so clear that it seems the recorded audio is coming from a professional studio.
The biggest disadvantage of this microphone is the fact that it has a very similar Frequency Response time as the Neewer NW-700. That microphone can do most of the same things as this one for a fraction of the cost. However, when listening to audio recorded on the AT2020, it sounds crisp and clear compared to the NW-700 which sounds like there is a slight, static noise in the background. HyperX QuadCast
Price: $139.99 Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20kHz Dimensions: 5 x 4 x 9.8 in. Weight: 9 oz.
Although the HyperX is one of the most expensive microphones on the list, it’s definitely worth it if you have the spare change lying around. The ease of setup, use, and creative features like “tap-to-mute”, are only a few reasons why the QuadCast is one of the best streaming microphones on the market.
Along with fantastic sound quality, this microphone has various chat features that were designed for gaming and streaming. With all of these innovative features, there are however also disadvantages.
The only significant disadvantage of this microphone is the amount of power that it will be drawing from your machine. It claims to be a USB condenser microphone, so the power that’s needed for the microphone to work properly will have to come from the USB port instead of an external power source.
If your machine has an older power supply, this microphone will not work properly. For newer machines, this microphone is definitely worth checking out. Shure SM7B
Price: $399.00 Frequency Response: 50Hz – 20,000Hz Dimensions: 7.5 x 3.8 x 5.8 in. Weight: 2.03 lbs.
The Shure SM7B is the best streaming and recording microphone on the market. Period. One fantastic feature that makes this shine above the rest is the fact that it has “Internal Shock Isolation” which basically means if you accidently hit your microphone, or you constantly need to adjust it, virtually no noise is created on the receiving end.
This can be really important for streaming because adjusting the microphone and audio is an integral part of the perpetual soundcheck that takes place over the span of a livestream.
The Shure SM7B is the quintessential part of a professional setup. The biggest disadvantage of this microphone is the price. This is the most professional microphone on the market so if you’re streaming video games to to a small audience (for example), this microphone probably isn’t the best first choice for you.
It really just comes down to your setup, budget, and style. If you’re looking for something flashy and easy to use, go with the HyperX. If you’re looking for something sleek and professional go with the Shure. Regardless, all of these microphones have the potential to take your live stream to the next level. One decibel at a time.