Live streaming on platforms such as YouTube has boomed in recent years and the key bit of kit you need to get started (other than a reliable internet connection!) is a good microphone. If the quality of audio is poor then you’ll find it very hard to attract viewers, build up a strong following and keep them coming back.
You need a microphone that transmits your voice loudly and clearly, and a freestanding microphone is the best option when streaming online. We’ve looked at some of the products on offer and compiled a guide to the best microphones for streaming.
Blue 101213 Microphones Yeti Whiteout
+ Convenient mute button
+ Easy to plug in and play
– A bit heavy
This microphone is ideal for all types of streaming, so it meets the needs of those streaming games live as well as people updating their YouTube channels with fresh content. With tri-capsule technology and four pattern settings, you can select which direction the microphone picks up sound from to ensure your stream is always crisp and clear. This also means you don’t need to switch between several microphones for different kinds of streaming, as this one can cover them all.
The Blue 101213 Yeti Whiteout microphone has a zero-latency headphone output, so you can listen to your recording as you go and immediately know if there’s a problem with the audio. There are simple controls for pattern selection, headphone volume, instant mute and gain, meaning no fiddling with settings on your PC or Mac. The microphone is adjustable as it’s built on a hinge, meaning you’re in control when you want sound picked up from a specific direction.
Blue Microphone Snowball USB Microphone – White
+ Great overall sound quality
+ Affordable option
– Quite large
Easy to plug in and connect directly to a Mac or PC without the hassle of needing additional software, the Blue Snowball is a great entry-level USB microphone for streaming. Despite having fewer patterns than other similar models, the ones it does have (cardioid, cardioid with -10dB pad and omni) offer good performance when speaking directly into it and for picking up sound from all directions. This makes it a great choice for game streamers, podcasters and groups performing live-music sessions alike.
The slider on the back of the microphone makes it easy to switch between the different patterns and it’s just as easy to adjust the stand so that the microphone sits at exactly the right height. For its very affordable price, this microphone offers plenty for those streamers who have a little experience and are looking to upgrade their starter model.
Blue Microphones Spark Digital Lightning
+ Clear and sharp sound
+ Great design
– Not the best for streaming games
The Blue Spark Digital Lightning microphone is one of the most expensive on the market, but since it looks so good and performs to such a high standard, we think it’s well justified. It’s described by the manufacturer as ‘the world’s first studio-grade condenser microphone to offer both USB and iPad connectivity’, meaning you don’t need to install drivers to use it. It’s ideally designed for live-music sessions and podcasts as it works with GarageBand and other recording apps. That’s not to say it’s not great at game streaming, as it has a zero-latency headphone output for monitoring your voice as you go, meaning any problems with the audio can be picked up immediately. There’s also quick and easy to use onboard control for volume, gain and instant mute.
The Focus Control switch offers two modes for picking up and enhancing different frequencies. The Normal mode is great for boosting low frequency sounds and adding depth, and the Focus mode increases clarity and detail for higher registers. So, if you’re streaming a live performance involving multiple instruments and vocals, this microphone is an absolute dream.
Blue Snowball iCE USB Cardioid Microphone
+ Good value for money
+ Crisp sound quality
– A little bulky compared to other models
Another great entry-level option, the Blue Snowball iCE microphone is a budget-friendly model that doesn’t scrimp on style. It’s a good option for people who stream games as it features cardioid pattern for picking up sound clearly when speaking directly into it. This also makes it ideal for podcasting. The microphone is easy to set up, with it directly connecting to PC or Mac via USB and requiring no installation of drivers.
The design of the microphone is sturdy enough, and the stand can be adjusted to suit the height that’s best for you when speaking. There is some limitation when it comes to breadth and flexibility of adjustment but it’s generally adaptable enough for most needs.
Blue Snowball Omnidirectional/Cardioid USB Microphone – Black
+ Easy to set up and use
+ Sound is clear with no static
– Red power light can be distracting
Customers have praised the Blue Snowball Omnidirectional/Cardioid microphone, with customers saying that it ‘works perfectly with all popular voice apps/programs’. Connect straightaway to a PC or Mac and you’ll quickly find out how good this microphone is at handling the softest tones, right up to the loudest sounds.
This microphone has both cardioid and omnidirectional patterns to suit many types of streamers. Cardioid pattern is ideal for podcasters and game streamers, as the voice can be picked up clearly without including any background noise. Omnidirectional pattern picks up sound from all directions equally, so bands will find this perfect for picking up several instruments when live streaming performances.
Once you’ve decided to jump into the world of online streaming you need to make sure you have the best equipment to compete with other streamers. Do justice to all your fantastic ideas and creativity by buying a microphone that won’t let you or your viewers down. Whether you’re a casual or avid streamer, investing in a quality product that suits your budget and needs is sure to set you up for streaming success every time.