Best PC Microphones – Top Recorders for Streaming, Gaming and Media Reviewed

If you want to take content creation serious you will need the best microphone for your needs. On this list, we take a look at the best of all kinds.

I think we can all agree that communication and proper audio is a crucial part of modern gaming.

With the gaming scene shifting from single player and couch co-op to online gaming, a good microphone has never been more important.

Streaming, Youtubing and content creation, in general, has also seen a huge spike in popularity and is now an actual career path. Which is also an industry where you cannot afford using a 5$ headset as your microphone if you want to create top level content.

So with all that in mind, we have taken a look at the best computer microphones on the market today and fully reviewed them.

So whether you want a microphone for gaming, streaming or content creation, this list has got you covered.

Why the Neumann and Telefunken are not on this list: This list is designed for regular people with an interest in streaming, music, gaming and vocals. However, it is not directed at professionals. The Neumann and Telefunken are simply too high end, and we feel it would be misleading to recommend them, and we also expect that people in need of such incredibly powerful microphones will not need a list such as this.

If you simply want a good microphone for skyping or gaming, you might want to consider a gaming headset instead. 


Best USB Computer Microphone

Blue Yeti
9 Editors Score
The Good
+ Incredible quality
+ Top-tier recording quality
+ Great for streaming
+ High Value for Money
+ Amazing noise cancellation
The Bad
- Few will use it's
full potential
- Will pick up
keyboard/mouse
clicks
Editors Rating9

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There is no way around it, the Blue Yeti is without a doubt our favorite USB microphone for all purposes. Whether it’s streaming, content creation, music or just gaming, this is the best one out there. While it is a little more expensive than the other microphones on this list, rest assured that it is money well spent.

Expand for Full Review

Not only is it a phenomenal microphone in its own price class, it also outperforms a lot of vastly more expensive products on the market.

There is really nothing that the Blue Yeti does not do well, which is likely why it is so incredibly popular. People looking for a new microphone are often either gamers, streamers/content creators or musicians and no matter which of the above fit you the best, the Blue Yeti is likely the perfect fit for you.

The only reason you should consider any other microphones is due to the price tag. While it is by no means expensive, there are a lot of great, more affordable options out there. Such as Blue’s second most popular mic, the Snowball. Which is a fantastic option for those looking for something a little more affordable.

As Powerful as The Name Implies

It is quite astounding how much value you actually get for your money with the Yeti. It offers actual studio quality audio recording and unless you are Pewdiepie or a successful musician, this microphone has all the power you could ever wish for.

This bad boy turns your run of the mil recording into a professional audio clip, and you will instantly notice the increased quality if you are used to ordinary mics or the mic on your headset. Even if you are used to a decent quality mic, such as the Floureon, the difference is staggering.

As someone who has had the pleasure of trying some of the most high-end microphones in the world, like the Neumann and even Sennheiser, I can honestly say that the Blue Yeti holds it own. Even though the Neumann costs 6 times more. While the Neumann is admittedly a little better overall, it is by no means 6 times better as the price would imply. Personally, I would only recommend the Neumann over the Yeti if you have a Youtube channel with over 2 million subscribers or something of the sort. If not, it is simply not worth the huge cost, and to most people, the Yeti will actually sound just as good.

So even though it is not cheap, per say. It definitely has some of the highest value for money on the market.

Let’s Get Technical!

What separates the Yeti from lesser mics are the tri-capsule technology, which delivers true studio quality recording. Furthermore, it also gives you a lot of options and adjustability to fit your needs.

What the tri-capsule tech does:

It allows you to choose between four distinct recording patterns to choose from.

  • Cardioid: This is the standard mode and the one that most people will likely end up using. It offers a frontal sound source reception, which is ideal for game streaming, Skyping, voice-over, vocal recording and even solo musical recording. This mode has incredible noise cancellation and you can practically amp up your speakers behind the mic, and your friends will still only hear your voice.
  • Stereo: This mode relies on using the left and right channels on the microphone in order to capture a wide and realistic audio. While this is not ideal for communication, as it has next to no noise cancellation, it is incredible for acoustic music recording.
  • Omnidirectional: This uses the full 360 degrees of the microphone to deliver a great ambiance feel of the room. Which is great for podcasts, conference calls or maybe to record a band live performance.
  • Bidirectional: Records from the front and rear of the mic, and is generally used for duets. This is great if you want to do a quality interview or a 2 person podcast.

It is safe to say that whatever needs you have, the Yeti has got you covered.

Zero-delay monitoring

This feature is awesome and rarely seen on microphones for less than 300 dollars. It allows you to plug in a headset and listen to your recording, as you are recording, with absolutely no delay. Which is awesome for all kinds of content or musical recording.

Specifications:

  • USB plug-and-use
  • Tri-capsule technology
  • Zero-delay monitoring
  • Mute button
  • Bitrate: 16-bit
  • Sample rate: 48kHz
  • Frequency response: 20Hz – 20kHz
  • Weight: 1.2lbs(0.55 kg)

Strong and Sturdy as a Yeti

Image of microphone for streamingIt is not only the performance that is powerful, but the build quality is equally impressive. It is clear that the engineers behind the beautiful piece of gear put a lot of love into it.

The materials used to craft it are top-grade and put most other gaming accessories to shame. Which can be felt the instant you hold it in your hands, due to its considerable weight and smooth feel.

It is worth mentioning that the weight might be an issue for some people. Especially if you already have a mount at home of questionable quality, as lesser mounts will have issues holding the Yeti straight. Luckily, Blue has already made a shock mount specifically for the Yeti which works great.

Pro and Studio Versions

Despite the fact that the Yeti is already immensely powerful, it also has two upgraded versions, the Studio, and Pro Yeti. Like it is with many other pieces of computer equipment, these upgraded versions are not always worth the extra money.

While both the Pro and Studio versions have some nice additional features and specifications, very few people will need them.

In fact, the Studio version was a little disappointing and only offered one real change. It has received some PreSonus Studio One Artist iZotope Nectar Elements, which can add some nice additional clearance to the audio, but for regular streaming, skyping, gaming, and regular recording, it will not make a difference. We can only recommend the studio version if you are a musician and you are really serious about your craft.

The pro version has a little more to offer for regular use and amps up the sample rate from 16bit/48kHz to 24bit/192kHz. This is a noticeable difference in overall quality, but not something most people need, and some may not even notice it. However, it is definitely worth the extra money if you are a content creator/Youtuber and really wants to make top-notch quality content.

Conclusion

If you are serious about improving the quality of your audio recording, this is the pick for you. It is extremely versatile and fit any sort of recording needs. The only reason to consider any other mic is if you are on a budget or if you want to spend a LOT more on some of the most expensive and powerful microphones in the world.

It is the best USB microphone we have ever had the pleasure of testing and is by easily our ‘editors choice’ for this list.

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Related: Want to start streaming? Then you will need a great webcam as well, here are our top picks of 2017.


Best Middle-tier & Runner-up

Blue Snowball
8.5 Editors Score
The Good
+ Very affordable
+ High quality
+ Great recording quality
+ Plug'n'play
The Bad
- lackluster for
professionals
Editors Rating8.5

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A superb microphone with some serious value for money. While not quite as powerful as the Yeti, it is much more affordable and will likely be more than sufficient for most people and still a huge step up from regular headphone microphones.

 Expand for Full Review

The little brother to the Yeti is very affordable, but this does not mean it is not powerful, and certainly, the best mic of its price class. It does not have as many high-tech features either, but that’s okay. Since this is clearly aimed at beginners and novice’s, who won’t need all that. However, it does still offer rich studio-quality recording with its duo condenser mic capsules. Which is what is often seen in studio and radio microphones, and quite astounding to see in a budget mic.

Image of budget microphone

Perfect Mic for Beginners

Regardless if you are a streamer, musician or want to start your own podcast. The Snowball is ideal for people who are just starting out, for 2 reasons. First, it won’t break your budget and actually still offer high and durable quality. Second, the differences from high-end recording devices and the snowball are not something a beginner will notice or need.

Trust me when I say that you don’t have to worry about the sound quality with this one, despite the price. You can confidently purchase this for your recording needs, without worrying about upgrading for a long time.

Worth noting is also how easy it is to use compared to more expensive picks. It is a simple plug N play USB microphone that will work to its full potential the second you plug it in.

Sweet Spot Between Budget & Quality

The Snowball is really the best of both worlds. It offers a high amount of quality, both in build and performance, while also being very affordable.

When thinking of Blue as a brand, quality is definitely one of the first things that come to mind. Pretty much with all their products, you can be sure you are getting your money worth and more. Despite the price tag, you will not worry about the Snowball in terms of durability. It is sturdy, strong and you won’t get rid of it unless you really try.

The adjacent shock stand which is custom made for the Snowball works flawlessly and fits the plug-n-play style nicely.

Specifications

Image of recording device for streamingLet us break the Snowball down for you.

It offers 3 different pickup settings, cardioid, Omni, and cardioid -10db pad.

Cardioid: The classic frontal recording mode, which is great for everyday use. Such as streaming, solo vocals and podcasts and offer outstanding noise cancellation.

Omni: This switches the recording to a 360 degree ”in-the-room” kind of deal. Great for group conversations, band recording etc.

Cardioid -10db: Same basic function as the standard mode, but eliminates high noises. So if you do a little too much raging during your streams or simply want to eliminate some of the clicking noise from your mechanical keyboard, this is ideal.

Features:

  • 3 pickup options
  • USB
  • Plug’n’play for both Mac and Windows
  • Transducer type: Duo Condenser capsule mic
  • Polar patterns: Cardioid and omnidirectional
  • Frequency response: Position 1-3: 40 –18 kHz
  • Sample & Word rate: 44.1 kHz/16 bit

Final Verdict

The Snowball fill the same needs as the Yeti pretty much, but to a lesser extent. We highly recommend this for people just starting out or novices in their field, or obviously those who seek quality recording on a budget.

Likely the best ”value for money” microphone on the market and it offer a lot of versatility. So no matter your field, this mic will likely fit your needs.

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Best Mic on a Budget

Floureon BM-800
7.5 Editors Score
The Good
+ Value for money
+ Great quality
+ Great cardioid
recording
The Bad
- Impractical sometimes
- High power consumption
Editors Rating7.5

Buy From Amazon

Now we move on to this budget studio mic from Floureon, which has the honor of being our favorite budget mic. It offers a truly impressive performance for its price and only has a few real hiccups.

 Expand for Full Review

Looking for a budget microphone for your computer is risky, to say the least. We were shocked with how many truly horrible budget mics that are out there and the Floureon BM-800 ended up being a very pleasant surprise.

We would not recommend this for those we are really serious about their craft, but it is perfect for those to seek to dip their toes in untested waters. If you dream of a career as Youtuber, Streamer or even musician but you haven’t really tested it out yet, this is for you. For next to no money you can get a decent recording device that will let you test out your dreams and see if they are really for you.

Image of budget jackstick microphone

Get a Feel for your Dreams Without Breaking Your Budget

Everyone have dreams and some have more unrealistic or hard to achieve dreams than others. A career in content creation such as Youtubing and streaming are by no means a safe and sure fired path to take, but it is always worth testing out. At least when you can do it for this amount of money.

With this mic, you can try streaming or creating your first video with a very decent quality and without committing a lot of your budget too soon. For smaller channels on Youtube, this is definitely good enough and it offers much better quality than most high-end headsets on the market.

Power for Money & Features

The Floureon BM-800 is by no means as powerful as the Yeti or even Snowball, but when on a budget, one must make small sacrifices. This is the best you will get for this kind of money and is still good enough to make decent quality recordings that your viewers/listeners will not complain about.

Unlike the Yeti and Snowball, this focuses only on a cardioid recording. While it is always nice with more features, it is what is to be expected for a budget PC microphone.

Luckily, the cardioid is the recording setup that most people would end up using anyway, so unless you have extraordinary needs you will be fine. Cardioid records in a frontal position and it is what any streamer and Youtuber generally use and it is also by far the best mode for gaming.

Specifications:

  • 1-year warranty
  • 48v power(high power consumption)
  • Cardioid recording(frontal)
  • Jack plug
  • Neodymium magnet recording

Issues with the Floureon BM-800

This mic has surprisingly few issues compared to other budget mic’s but still have a few noteworthy problems.

Power consumption

It uses 48v power and while this is just fine for a desktop or even a plugged laptop, it is not suited for mobile, tablet and other smaller devices. So if you want to use it for Garage band on your tablet, this is a huge problem and you shouldn’t buy it. However, if you mainly look to use it on your desktop, you will be just fine.

No Phantom power supply

For lesser devices(as mentioned above) this will need a phantom power supply to work properly, and this has to be bought separately. Which is always sad to see.

Impractical for some mounts

If you go for the shock mount made specifically for the Floureon BM-800, you will be just fine. However, it does have issues with some other standard mic mounts, even though the product description claims it don’t.

Summary

Just fine if you are just starting out and want to test yourself as a content creator, but lacking for those who are very serious about their craft. So if you already have a semi-large Youtube channel or a lot of followers on Soundcloud and are looking for a new microphone, this is not for you.

But if you look to test out some recording for the first time, this is perfect and definitely our favorite budget mic on the market.

 Buy From Amazon


How we tested them

We made sure to test each microphone for all kinds of different uses, to make sure they had a versatile performance.

Vocals

Sadly, we do not have a remotely talented singer on the Progamer testing team, so we had to improvise. What we did was find our best stereo and tested out how clean the mic’s recording music from it.

Gaming Session

First, we did a lot of gaming with these mic’s, this was mostly to test out how well they dealt with background noise and how sensitive they were. So we made sure to all have music on the stereo behind the mic and mechanical keyboards.

Having proper noise cancellation is definitely a top selling point for any recording device and the microphones that ended up on the list all did really well in this test.

We used mechanical keyboards to test out how sensitive the mic was at picking up small noises. Sensitivity can be both a good and a bad thing, but for gaming, you want something in between. Generally, the better mic’s had better sensitivity, which does mean that you will pick up on more keyboard and mouse clicks with a better mic, which can be annoying but some people actually like that.

Omnidirectional

For those microphones with 360 degrees recording mode, we decided to test it out at the office. We sat all the microphones to record side by side for an entire day at the office, which gave us excellent insight into the quality of the recording.

Other Microphones we tested

When doing a ”best of” review test, there will obviously be a lot of products that don’t make the cut. These are the most noteworthy:

Neewer NW-700

Probably our second favorite budget microphone, but sadly ran a little short compared to the Floureon. Despite the extra cost. Although we really loved how you get the full package with this one. Including filters, mounts etc. However, all that extra stuff is in the price and they skimmed down on the mic itself.

TONOR 3.5mm

This is a great middle-tier recorder, but when you compare it to the Snowball it falls short in a lot of ways. The Snowball is simply better in almost all aspects and they have almost identical price tags. So unless you really hate the look of the Snowball or if the Tonor is on sale, we would always recommend the Snowball over it.

Turtle Beach – Universal digital USB Stream Mic

A little disappointed by this one. It is more expensive than the Snowball and was actually outperformed by even the Tonor. However, it is worth mentioning that it is made mainly for console streaming, and we tested it out on a PC. So it might be worth getting if you mainly game on your Playstation or XBox One.

Samson Meteor Mic

This one was our runner-up for best middle-tier mic and did incredibly well in tests. It was slightly worse or on par with the Snowball in most regards but did a little better with tablet and phone use, but it was not enough to justify the considerably larger price tag.

Razer Seiren Elite

This microphone is pretty outstanding and one of the more qualitative products from Razer. It was close to winning some of the tests, but Blue simply offer too much value for money with the Yeti to be competed with. We can really recommend it if you are a huge fan of Razer products, but if not, we would stick with the Yeti.

Audio-Technica ATR2500

Awesome recorder and slick design, but the 30 extra bucks compared to the Snowball cannot be justified.

CAD U37

This one landed in an awkward spot. It was slightly better than our budget pick in most tests but also close to our middle-tier pick in terms of pricing. So even though we absolutely loved this one, it was unable to knock the Floureon and Snowball of the list. However, it is definitely a fantastic middle-tier pick if you want something other than the Blue Snowball.


Sources

Bluemic – Blue Snowball Product Page – Technical feature and product description.

Bluemic – Blue Yeti Product Page – Technical and product description page.

Gearslutz – What makes a good microphone – an Informative forum about condenser microphones.

Mediacollege – How to choose the right microphone – an in-depth article about microphones and how to pick one.

Soundonsound – What make different mic models sounds different – an article that explains the differences between different types of microphones.

Reddit – Good microphones for streaming and gaming – Reddit post with a discussion about the best mics for streaming.

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