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30 Best Microphones for Live Streaming in 2021

Live streams are a crucial place for discovery. So, when your target customers find you, what would you want to welcome them with: choppy and distorted or clear and rich sound?

The best microphone for streaming

Remember that video quality alone will not help you win viewers. Also, many live viewers listen to streams rather than watch them. Finding the best microphone for streaming, thus, enables you to create professional broadcasts that not just look good but sound well too.

Before we help you pick the best product, here’s a quick guide on choosing a live streaming mic.

Things To Look For When Choosing A Live Streaming Mic

A quality streaming mic offers a huge potential for audience engagement, a primary goal for live streamers. So, do consider the following factors to make an informed buying decision while choosing a streaming mic:

Type

Never underestimate the impact of choosing the right type of mic for your live streams. You can pick from a condenser or a dynamic mic. While the condenser mic is more sensitive and comes with a broad frequency range, the dynamic mic doesn’t pick up background noises as easily.

This means that a dynamic mic is usually an excellent pick for live streamers who stream from busy and noisy environments. A condenser mic with a super-cardioid pickup pattern is also a perfect choice in such a case. However, if you need a streaming mic with multiple polar patterns, a condenser mic is what you need.

Frequency Response

Measured in Hz and kHz, the frequency response of a mic is the range of voice frequencies the mic can pick up. Sound waves are made of frequencies with a range of amplitudes. These typically have a frequency range of 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz.

A mic’s frequency response tells about its output level across the frequency spectrum. For better-sounding live streams, look for a mic with a frequency response of 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz that produces a well-rounded sound. 

Polar Pattern

At the risk of sounding a bit too technical, let’s tell you the importance of polar patterns while choosing a streaming mic. A polar or pick-up pattern is basically a mic’s sensitivity to the direction of audio waves. In simpler words, it tells about the mic’s ability to pick voices.

Here are the common polar patterns that you must know about:

  • Cardioid: If you are looking for a mic that isolates unwanted background noises, a cardioid is what you need. As cardioid mics pick audio coming from one direction (front of the mic), they’re perfect for a single sound source. Even though they are directional, they may have a less frequency response than their other counterparts. But it shouldn’t really matter to live streamers who have a thing for soloists or monologues.
  • Omnidirectional: These mics are sensitive to the sound coming from all directions. Thus, they can easily pick up sound from various sources. Suitable to live streamers who often have guests accompanying them on the setup. Be careful, though, as this type of polar pattern is easily susceptible to picking up unwanted sound. Correct positioning here will be the key!
  • Bidirectional: Bidirectional microphones, or Figure of Eight as many call them, capture sound from two sides – the front and back of the mic. So, if you need to pick the best microphone for streaming interviews or live shows with two speakers, this is your companion.

XLR vs USB Microphones

The two most common connection methods are XLR and USB, but both come with their pros and cons.

While an XLR mic is a better option for those who want a room to grow, this mic type is much more durable than its USB sibling. It’s also highly versatile with the ability to swap and change the audio preamps, mixers, etc. On that note, an XLR mic can’t work on its own. You need a mixer or interface to plug this mic into your PC. So, while it’s a great option to have reasonable control over the audio, it’s usually more expensive than USB mics.

Conversely, a USB mic is easy to use, thanks to its plug-and-play functionality. Now, it doesn’t require extra equipment to work and may come with a cheaper price tag, but a USB mic can hardly beat the sound quality of an XLR mic.

15 Best XLR Microphones for Live Streaming

The list below gives you a bird’s-eye view of what’s possible in the world of XLR mics based on your budget:

Low-end XLR Streaming Mics

1. Shure SM58

Shure SM58

Mic Type: Dynamic | Polar Pattern: Cardioid | Frequency Response: 50 to 15,000 Hz | Price: $99.00

When it comes to finding the best microphone for streaming, you can’t go wrong with the Shure SM58, especially if you’re on a budget. With its uniform cardioid polar pattern, this dynamic mic delivers a crisp and warm sound – cutting out on all the background noise.

It also comes with a pneumatic shock mount that keeps handling noise at bay and a spherical mesh grille and built-in pop filter that wonderfully block unwanted air. All these features easily make the Shure SM58 a beacon of hope for budget mic buyers.

2. Marantz Pro MPM-1000

Marantz Pro MPM-1000

Mic Type: Condenser | Polar Pattern: Cardioid | Frequency Response: 20 to 20,000 Hz | Price: $49.00

Windscreen? Shock mount? Tripod stand? If there’s a low-end XLR mic that delivers studio-grade audio performance and comes packed with essentials like these, it’s the Marantz Pro MPM-1000. Whether you pick this one for its incredible price point or its high sensitivity and smooth frequency response, you’d not be disappointed.

3. RØDE PodMic

RØDE PodMic - The Best Microphone for Streaming

Mic Type: Dynamic | Polar Pattern: Cardioid | Frequency Response: 20 to 20,000 Hz | Price: $99.00

The PodMic from RØDE is the industry standard for broadcast-quality dynamic microphones. Apart from its awesome internal pop filter that impressively prevents plosives, the internal shock mounting also works great at offering vibration-free use. Choose it if you’re looking for a robust streaming mic that produces a rich and balanced sound. It couldn’t get any better at this price!

4. Samson Q2U

Samson Q2U

Mic Type: Dynamic | Polar Pattern: Cardioid | Frequency Response: 50 to 15,000 Hz | Price: $69.99

Okay, the Samson Q2U is a great pick if you want a mic that comes with both XLR and USB outputs. At an unbelievable price point, the Q2U Recording and Podcasting Pack includes a mic clip, XLR cable, USB cable, a desktop tripod stand with an extension piece, and a windscreen. Easy to set up and equally easy to use, this is a perfect pick for those looking for a complete package to begin their live streaming journey.

5. Blue Ember

Blue Ember - The Best Microphone for Streaming

Mic Type: Condenser | Polar Pattern: Cardioid | Frequency Response: 38 to 20,000 Hz | Price: $99.99

A tight cardioid pickup pattern counts when it comes to reducing room and background noise while live streaming. And that’s what the Blue Ember offers, along with its strong, clean signal. This compact streaming mic fits nicely in tight spaces without compromising on sound quality.

Mid-end XLR Streaming Mics

1. Shure SM7B

 

 

Shure SM7B

Mic Type: Dynamic | Polar Pattern: Cardioid | Frequency Response: 50 to 20,000 Hz | Price: $399.00

Building a connection with your live audience requires smooth, warm vocals that sound polished, leaving more impact on every detail. And that’s what you get from the SM7B. Bonuses are features like advanced electromagnetic shielding air suspension shock isolation and pop filter that reduce mechanical noise and breathiness.

The SM7B is perhaps the best microphone for live streaming if you require a mic with rugged construction for long-lasting, exceptional performance.

2. Electro-Voice RE-20

RE20 Streaming Mic

Mic Type: Dynamic | Polar Pattern: Cardioid | Frequency Response: 45 to 18,000 Hz | Price: $449.00

Next up is the Electro-Voice RE-20 dynamic cardioid microphone offers the best blend of price and performance. With its Variable-D design and durable internal pop filter, it delivers terrific sound that will remind you of classic FM radio voices.

As with most of the products listed here, this one too comes with an internal element shock-mount to reduce vibration-induced noise. In addition, you get humbucking coil guards against line hum and mid-bass tone-shaping switch – giving you more mileage out of a mic than you’d expect.

3. RØDE Procaster

RØDE Procaster

Mic Type: Dynamic | Polar Pattern: Cardioid | Frequency Response: 75 to 18,000 Hz | Price: $229.00

If you’re an avid live streamer, chances are you are familiar with this nifty product from the RØDE family of mics. Designed specially to offer excellent broadcast performance, this dynamic microphone comes equipped with a tight polar pattern and tailored-for-voice frequency response.

It also has an internal pop filter to significantly minimize plosives and a balanced low impedance output to make your live streams sound better every time.

4. Heil PR 40

Heil PR 40Mic Type: Dynamic | Polar Pattern: Cardioid | Frequency Response: 28 to 18,000 Hz | Price: $329.00

Another amazing dynamic mic on the list, the Heil PR 40, is a godsend for live and production studios. With dual mesh screens and an internal breath blast filter, it offers a flawless, smooth, flat response from 28 Hz to 18k Hz. Go for it if you are in search of a streaming mic that delivers superb response for the human voice across the vocal range, without background noises spoiling your live streams.

5. Electro-Voice RE320

Electro-Voice RE320

Mic Type: Dynamic | Polar Pattern: Cardioid | Frequency Response: 30 Hz – 18,000 Hz (kick curve) 45 Hz – 18,000 Hz (general curve) | Price: $299.00

One more masterpiece from Electro-Voice, the RE320 also features a Variable‑D proximity control like its other sibling, the RE-20. This means it works great at minimizing positional and off-axis tonal shifts. And there are integrated humbucking coil and pop filters to provide a noteworthy performance.

However, its USP is the unique dual-voicing switch that lets you select from two response curves: the kick drum curve for bass drums and certain voices and the general curve for voice and instrument production. At this price, it’s a great feature to have!

So, if you need a tonal and transient response from a professional-grade dynamic mic, this is the one to try.

High-end XLR Streaming Mics

1. Neumann U 87 Ai Studio Set

Neumann U 87 Ai Studio Set

Mic Type: Condenser | Polar Patterns: Omni, Cardioid, Figure-8 | Frequency Response: 20 to 20,000 Hz | Price: $3,449.99

Looking for the best microphone for streaming that gives a solid performance and has a stunning exterior design? The Neumann U 87 Ai, with three polar patterns as well as pad and low-cut options, is what you need. It’s a versatile mic that represents studio quality. So, get your hands on it if budget is no constraint and you need a premium mic with multiple polar patterns.

2. Neumann TLM 102 MT Condenser Microphone

Neumann TLM 102 MT

Mic Type: Condenser | Polar Pattern: Cardioid | Frequency Response: 20 to 20,000 Hz | Price: $699.00

Another one from Neumann, the TLM 102 is an elegant, compact mic that boasts technical excellence and killer looks, thanks to its gleaming chrome ring nestled amidst the classic tapered headgrille and the eminent Neumann diamond.

Choose it for its brilliantly linear response across the midrange and a transformerless output stage. With its powerful bass and direct sound without transmission losses, this one is a gem for premium mic buyers.

3. Antelope Audio Edge Quadro 

Antelope Audio Edge Quadro Streaming Mic

Mic Type: Condenser | Polar Patterns: Cardioid, Figure-8, and Omnidirectional | Frequency Response: 20 to 20,000 Hz | Price: $2,645.00

The Antelope Audio Edge Quadro is a revolutionary mic with two large dual-membrane capsules and a rotating head. Besides being your best companion for immaculate-sounding broadcasts, this one also allows for stereo techniques like M/S, X/Y, Blumlein, and 3D sound.

This unique Quadrosonic modeling microphone offers audio signal split into four independent XLR output channels, providing optimum control and re-micing. It also comes with a custom luxury shock mount and two special oxygen-free copper Y-cables and a custom handmade wooden case that keeps it protected from damage for years to come.

4. Sennheiser MKH 8090

Sennheiser MKH 8090

Mic Type: Condenser | Polar Pattern: Wide Cardioid | Frequency Response: 30 to 50,000 Hz | Price: $1,299.00

Want a natural-sounding mic? This RF condenser microphone with a wide cardioid polar pattern is a good choice. In addition to its low inherent self-noise, it has topped the popularity charts for handling high sound pressure levels without distortion. And as for the construction, its rugged metal housing with non-reflective Nextel® coating ensures that it’s a solid pick for the price.

5. Neumann TLM 103 Studio Set

Neumann TLM 103 Studio Set

Mic Type: Condenser | Polar Pattern: Cardioid | Frequency Response: 20 to 20,000 Hz | Price: $1,095.00

Neumann continues to impress us with its superbly crafted microphones. The TLM 103 by the brand is renowned for its crystal-clear sound with spectacular definition and ultra-low noise. In fact, its low self-noise of only 7 dB-A makes it one of the quietest mics out there.

But don’t get mistaken here. This beast can easily handle sound pressure levels of up to 138 dB without needing pre-attenuation. All in all, it’s an easy-to-use studio mic with a powerful bass response that most live streamers will love.

15 Best USB Microphones for Live Streaming

Below, we share a comprehensive list of the best USB mics at any budget:

Low-end USB Streaming Mics

1. RØDE NT-USB Mini

RØDE NT-USB Mini

Mic Type: Condenser | Polar Pattern: Cardioid | Frequency Response: 20 to 20,000 Hz | Price: $99.00

The NT-USB Mini by RØDE is a compact USB microphone that delivers professional-quality audio straight to your computer or tablet, which makes it perfect for live streamers on the go. In addition to its directional cardioid polar pattern that reduces background sound and focuses on the subject, it’s also equipped with a pop filter that wonderfully reduces plosives.

Another upside is its integrated 360-degree swing mount that provides quick and easy positioning and a detachable magnetic desk stand that delivers superior isolation from bumps and knocks.

2. HyperX SoloCast

HyperX SoloCast

Mic Type: Condenser | Polar Pattern: Cardioid | Frequency Response: 20 to 20,000 Hz | Price: $59.99

The HyperX SoloCast is a remarkable mic that comes with Plug N Play functionality. It remains one of the most sought-after USB streaming mics due to its tap-to-mute sensor and LED mute indicator. Plus, there’s a flexible, adjustable stand which makes it easy to position without hampering the mic’s performance.

3. Blue Snowball iCE

Blue Snowball iCE

Mic Type: Condenser | Polar Pattern: Cardioid | Frequency Response: 40 to 18,000 Hz | Price: $49.99

The Snowball iCE is the gold standard of USB mics. It’s a preferred choice of live streaming beginners for its crystal-clear audio quality and an unbelievably reasonable price tag. Moreover, it’s Skype and Discord certified too, which means you can expect a smashing performance even if you use it for conference calls, virtual interviews, and more.

4. Audio-Technica ATR2100x-USB

ATR2100x-USB Streaming Mic

Mic Type: Dynamic | Polar Pattern: Cardioid | Frequency Response: 50 – 15,000 Hz | Price: $99.00

What started as a product to offer both XLR and USB outputs in a mic turned into a hot-seller for its unmatched versatility and brilliant performance. The ATR2100x-USB is an outstanding streaming mic that provides a high-quality analog-to-digital converter (24-bit, up to 192 kHz) and a cardioid polar pattern to avoid picking up unwanted sounds. There’s also a headphone jack with level control, an on/off switch, and a tripod desk stand.

Go for it if you are looking for a complete package to level up your broadcasts with phenomenal sound and a smooth, extended frequency range.

5. Shure MV5

Shure MV5 - The Best Microphone for Streaming

Mic Type: Condenser | Polar Pattern: Cardioid | Frequency Response: 20 to 20,000 Hz | Price: $79.00

When it comes to finding the best microphone for streaming, you need more than pristine sound recording. Enters the MV5 with its studio-quality audio and changes the game.

This portable mic comes with intuitive app controls, real-time monitoring, and plug-and-play functionality with iOS, Mac, and PC. All this makes it a great choice if you love to live stream from wherever you want.

Mid-end USB Streaming Mics

 1. Blue Yeti

Blue Yeti - The Best Microphone for Streaming

Mic Type: Condenser | Polar Patterns: Cardioid, Bidirectional, Omnidirectional, Stereo | Frequency Response: 20 to 20,000 Hz | Price: $129.99

Balanced sounding live streams demand that manufacturers offer pristine, studio-quality audio with delightful ease. Well, that’s what Blue’s best-selling Yeti USB microphone delivers. Boasting the brand’s proprietary tri-capsule technology and four different pattern settings, it provides you fabulous flexibility to sound better on camera. And it’s loaded with features like gain control, zero-latency headphone output, and a mute button.

2. Blue Yeti X

Blue Yeti X

Mic Type: Condenser | Polar Patterns: Cardioid, Omnidirectional, Bidirectional, Stereo | Frequency Response: 20 to 20,000 Hz | Price: $169.99

The Blue Yeti X is a flagship device that turns regular live streams into professional-level broadcasts. Featuring a four-capsule condenser array, it delivers clearer patterns. You can easily switch between cardioid, omni, bidirectional and stereo as per your live requirements.

And, there’s also an illuminated multi-function smart knob to help you adjust your voice in real-time for those perfectly sounding audio. On top of that, the Blue VO!CE software gives you seven broadcast vocal effects to choose the way you want to be sound. Pick this one up if you’re in search of a streaming mic that nurtures your live audio journey.

3. Elgato Wave:3

Elgato Wave 3

Mic Type: Condenser | Polar Pattern: Cardioid | Frequency Response: 70 to 20,000 Hz | Price: $157.99

A broadcast-grade microphone and a mixer, the Elgato Wave:3 is the ideal solution for live streamers. It’s packed with features like a multi-layered noise shield, zero-latency monitoring, along with adjustable input gain and headphone volume. And you can also leverage the ability to crossfade between mic and PC mix. Overall, it’s a smart choice for anyone looking for a high-power mic with splendid add-ons.

4. HyperX QuadCast

HyperX QuadCast

Mic Type: Condenser | Polar Patterns: Stereo, Omnidirectional, Cardioid, Bidirectional | Frequency Response: 20 to 20,000 Hz | Price: $139.99

Few mics will ever really get your sounding requirements like the HyperX QuadCast. This stunning condenser mic will amaze you with its high-quality sound, and the credit does go to its anti-vibration shock mount and a built-in pop filter. There’s also an LED indicator that helps you know your mic status during your live streams. And you can just tap-to-mute the HyperX QuadCast to prevent broadcast blunders.

Additionally, it’s Discord, and TeamSpeak™ certified and compatible with PC, PS5™, PS4™, and Mac® along with major streaming platforms like OBS Studio, Streamlabs OBS, and XSplit.

5. RØDE NT-USB

RØDE NT-USB Mini

Mic Type: Condenser | Polar Pattern: Cardioid | Frequency Response: 20 to 20,000Hz | Price: $169.00

If you’re looking for the best microphone for streaming, the RØDE NT-USB is worth a shot. It features a zero-latency stereo headphone monitoring (3.5mm) jack, to let you monitor the microphone input in real-time. Amongst its other fantastic add-ons, it comes with a premium pop-filter to minimize plosives and a high-quality stand mount, a desktop tripod stand, and a storage pouch.

High-end USB Streaming Mics

1. Apogee HypeMiC

Apogee HypeMiC

Mic Type: Condenser | Polar Pattern: Cardioid | Frequency Response: 20 to 20,000 Hz | Price: $349.00

The HypeMiC’s claim to fame is the only USB mic with built-in analog compression. This tech marvel comes with the PureDIGITAL connection to deliver excellent sound quality up to 24-bit/96kHz. There’s also a headphone output with the Blend feature for zero-latency recording. And as with most high-end USB mics, this one also comes with an accessories kit that includes a premium-quality tripod, pop filter, and carrying case.

2. RØDE Podcaster

RØDE Podcaster Streaming MicMic Type: Dynamic | Polar Pattern: Cardioid | Frequency Response: 40 to 14,000 Hz | Price: $229.00

The RØDE Podcaster is a dynamic USB mic that must be a part of a professional live streamer’s tech stack. Not does the Podcaster boasts a brilliant headphone output that delivers zero-latency monitoring, it also features an internal pop filter to cut off all that background noises. With a status LED to monitor and adjust your audio, it’s a flagship mic to beat in 2021.

3. Shure MV7

Shure MV7

Mic Type: Dynamic | Polar Pattern: Cardioid | Frequency Response: 20 to 20,000 Hz | Price: $249.00

The MV7 from Shure is a knockout dynamic microphone that has both USB and XLR outputs. As a USB mic, it allows you to explore additional setup features and Auto Level Mode through the ShurePlus™ MOTIV app.

So, if you’re looking for a high-end USB mic that helps you control your vocal tone and distance from the mic and adjusts your level in real-time, delivering consistent output, then the MV7 with its Auto Level Mode should be high up on your list of the best streaming mics.

4. Apogee MiC Plus

Apogee MiC Plus

Mic Type: Condenser | Polar Pattern: Cardioid | Frequency Response: 20 to 20,000 Hz | Price: $259.00

There’s no doubt in our mind that the Apogee MiC Plus is the best microphone for streaming for professionals. It has a headphone output with the Blend feature to provide zero-latency recording and the PureDIGITAL connection for unspoiled sound quality up to 24-bit/96kHz.

When it comes to set up, all it takes is a matter of seconds. It doesn’t require any configuration; just plug in and play! While this one indeed succeeds in delivering stellar performance, its compatibility with iOS, macOS, and Windows 10 makes it even a better pick.

5. Sennheiser MK 4 digital

Sennheiser MK 4 digital Streaming Mic

Mic Type: Condenser | Polar Pattern: Cardioid | Frequency Response: 20 to 20,000 Hz | Price: $399.00

The Sennheiser MK 4 digital is the mic we’d recommend to next-gen-ready live streamers. Reason? It delivers the high-res sound of a condenser mic along with the ease of a digital mic. Thinking of getting the best of both worlds? This is the mic you need.

Backed by the state-of-the-art Apogee PureDigital ADC and preamp, the MK 4 digital delivers top-notch signal processing. Aesthetics-wise, too, it’s a winner with its gold-plated 1-inch large true condenser capsule. This could be a good shout for those with a generous budget or those who want to upgrade their live streaming rig with the best microphone for streaming.

That’s it…

Whatever the streaming mic of your choice is, each of the products listed above is worthy of consideration if you seek excellent capabilities to elevate your live streams. So, go on and explore what’s possible when it comes to finding the best microphone for streaming!

And, if you want to know about the right tools for successful live streaming, do check this guide!

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