There are many things to consider when setting up your live stream for the first time. Heck, even if you’re a veteran streamer and you’re looking to improve the overall quality, there are many things to look at. Most people tend to flock towards video quality. They want to make sure their viewers can see them, as well as the game they are streaming, at a higher quality than their competitor.

The main thing many content creators overlook, whether they are creating live video or pre-produced video, is the overall audio quality.

Have you ever watched a live stream and the audio quality was ear piercing? If you have, what was the first thing you did? Let me guess…you clicked off the stream and found someone that sounded better, even if the video quality wasn’t as good. You’d much rather watch a stream that sounds great instead of watching a stream with great video quality over audio quality. Correct us if we are wrong.

We decided to put together a list of microphones that we feel are top quality for those who live stream, but also don’t entirely break the bank. Our list is in no particular order. As an added bonus, we have included a small list of budget microphones at the end of our article for those who have no interest in creating content but want something a bit better than their built-in microphone.

10 Microphones for Twitch Streaming

Before we get started on the microphone list, there are a few things we need to go over so you don’t get confused. All microphones on our list are either USB microphones or XLR microphones. XLR means you will need to have some sort of audio interface in order for the microphone to be connected to your computer. USB means you can plug directly into a USB port on your computer and your computer, in theory, will recognize the microphone.

When purchasing a new microphone, you not only want to consider USB or XLR, but you also want to consider whether you’re purchasing a Dynamic microphone or Condenser microphone. Here’s a very quick explanation for beginners:

  • Dynamic: Picks up less background noise. Mouth needs to be closer to the microphone.
  • Condenser: Picks up more background noise. Mouth does NOT need to be close to the microphone.

One last thing to consider when purchasing a new microphone is the polar patterns.

  • Omnidirectional: Sounds will be picked up from every direction.
  • Cardioid: Sounds will be picked up from the front.
  • Hypercardioid: Sounds will be picked up from the front, with a bit on the rear.
  • Bidirectional: Sounds will be picked up from the front and rear, equally. Microphone Polar Patterns

Blue Microphones Yeti (USB/Condenser)

One of the most popular microphones over the last few years, especially in the affordable content creation world, has been Blue Microphones Yeti. It is packed full of features and guarantees beautiful sounds at a reasonable price.

blue yetiPros:

  • Includes all four polar patterns
  • Gain control
  • Mute control
  • Zero-latency headphone port
  • Very versatile

Cons:

  • Picks up a lot of background noise
  • Bulky on desk

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Audio Technica AT2020 (USB/Condenser)

At one point in time, this was the leading industry microphone, especially for live video. Originally designed for studio use, but quickly found its place in home studios and gaming setups. With its extreme affordability, it’s hard to pass this one up, even though it is lacking a few selling features the Yeti has. It does, however, make up for the lack of features in the superb sound quality.

audio technica at2020Pros:

  • Wide dynamic range for all voices
  • High-quality voice
  • Looks professional on camera
  • Extended frequency response

Cons:

  • Picks up a good amount of background noise
  • Not versatile
  • No onboard controls

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Audio Technica AT2035 (XLR/Condenser)

While the AT2020 and AT2035 look identical, they are certainly way different where it matters most, sound quality. As the big brother to the AT2020, the AT2035 features a larger range of sound, which will not only capture low frequencies better but will also sound crisper. The AT2035 is far more superior and a lot more accurate with sound reproduction.

Despite the similarities between the AT2035 has a much larger diaphragm of 24mm, while the AT2020 as a diaphragm of 16mm. That stat alone is a selling feature. On the rear of the AT2035, there is a low-cut switch (meaning it will reduce the low frequencies being picked up) and a 10bB pad switch, which will cut the incoming levels by 10 decibels.

at2035Pros:

  • Large diaphragm
  • Crisp audio quality
  • More accurate sound reproduction
  • Low-cut switch
  • 10bB pad switch
  • Covers more range in the entire audible spectrum
  • Comes with a shock mount

Cons:

  • Picks up some background noise, noticeably less than the AT2020
  • Not versatile
  • You will need an audio interface in order to use

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Razer Seiren Pro Elite (USB/XLR/Condenser)

If you’re in the gaming industry, then I’m sure you’ve heard of Razer. They are widely known for their gaming peripherals (mouse, keyboards, headsets). Recently, they have branched out and took a stab in the audio market with microphones.

The Razer Seiren Pro Elite is almost a direct competitor to the Blue Yeti. With many of the same features, as well as audio quality, it’s easy to NOT think about this microphone. Especially if you are a gamer/streamer, since this microphone was designed with gamers in mind. With four dedicated polar patterns, a high-pass filter, and the ability to use XLR, it seems like a no-brainer – if only the price was more affordable!

rzer seiren pro elitePros:

  • XLR and USB compatible
  • Includes all four polar patterns
  • High-pass filter
  • Has that gaming aesthetic
  • Zero-latency headphone port

Cons:

  • Very expensive
  • Bulky on desk
  • Will need an audio interface to use XLR
  • Subpar audio quality in comparison to the rest of our list

buy-button-amazonAudio Technica ATR2100 (USB/XLR/Dynamic)

It’s time we talk about the first dynamic microphone on this list, the Audio Technica ATR2100. If you haven’t noticed, Audio Technica is a massive brand in the audio world. As for this microphone, it’s an extremely affordable entry into the dynamic world. In most scenarios, dynamic will always be better for voice, especially if you are streaming or recording. Essentially, dynamic microphones are more focused on their sound, so the background noise will be minimal, possibly even silent if set up properly.

This particular microphone is special, just like the Razer Seiren Pro Elite. It features both XLR and USB, so you don’t necessarily need an audio interface, but if you want the most potential out of this microphone, you’ll want an audio interface and you’ll want to use XLR.

atr2100Pros:

  • XLR and USB compatible
  • High-quality audio
  • Minimal background noise
  • On/Off switch
  • VERY affordable

Cons:

  • Not very attractive
  • Will need and audio interface to use XLR
  • Not versatile

buy-button-amazonShure SM58 (XLR/Dynamic)

A staple in the live performance world, specifically live stage performances, is the Shure SM58. Its amazing build quality and superior sound quality, both in the studio and live, set this microphone apart from many others. If you’re looking for a microphone made specifically for live vocals, this will be your go-to. It’s an industry standard. It’s raw, simple, solid…it’s simply amazing!

sm58Pros:

  • High-quality
  • Solid build construction
  • Built with vocalists in mind, so very focused on vocal quality
  • Very affordable for a high-quality, professional, industry standard microphone
  • Minimal background noise if set up properly with your audio interface

Cons:

  • Very basic in functionality
  • You will need an audio interface

buy-button-amazonShure SM7B (XLR/Dynamic)

If you’ve done any kind of research on microphones, you’ve probably run across the Shure SM7B. In the audio world, specifically in the studio recording world, the Shure SM7B is the holy grail of microphones. Even though it’s decades old, it’s way beyond its time. With popular artists like Michael Jackson and Led Zeppelin using this microphone on recordings, you can rest assured that this microphone provides exceptional audio quality, in both recordings and live streaming.

This microphone does come with a few issues. For one, it’s relatively expensive, especially if you are just getting started in this world. At roughly $400 USD, it’s certainly a stretch. On top of the higher price, you’ll also need a higher end audio interface. If you have a more affordable interface, you’ll have to spend an extra $150 for a Cloudlifter. So be ready to break the bank if you decide to purchase this microphone. While it is expensive, the performance you receive from this microphone is probably the best on this list. You won’t have buyers remorse!

shure sm7bPros:

  • Extremely high-quality audio
  • No background noise if set up properly
  • Looks amazing
  • Solid build construction
  • Built specifically for vocals
  • Bragging rights
  • Internal shock mount

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Need higher end audio interface or Cloudlifter

buy-button-amazonSennheiser e835 (XLR/Dynamic)

Sennheiser, just like Audio Technica and Shure, is a very popular brand of microphones. However, unlike the other brands, Sennheiser seems to focus on lavalier and shotgun microphones, not the traditional microphones seen on this list. With that said, they do make an exceptionally well-built microphone, the Sennheiser e835. This microphone is typically compared to the Shure SM58. With its affordability, high-quality audio, and well-built construction, it’s a no-brainer if you’re looking for a microphone in this style.

sennheiser-e835Pros:

  • High-quality
  • Solid build construction
  • Built with vocalists in mind, so very focused on vocal quality
  • Very affordable for a high-quality, professional, industry standard microphone
  • Minimal background noise if set up properly with your audio interface

Cons:

  • Very basic in functionality
  • You will need an audio interface

buy-button-amazonRODE Procaster (XLR/Dynamic)

RODE is an underrated company in the audio world. While they seem to be most known for their RODE Microphone Pro for DSLR/hotshoe mounts, they do produce other high-quality audio products. Most notable is the RODE Procaster, which is widely used for podcasters.

rode procasterPros:

  • Little to no background noise
  • Internal shock mount
  • Internal pop filter
  • Great audio quality

Cons:

  • Needs an audio interface
  • Expensive

buy-button-amazonHeil PR40 (XLR/Dynamic)

Remember when we said the holy grail of microphones is the Shure SM7B? While that is definitely true in the audio world, the Heil PR40 is the holy grail of microphones in the podcasting world. It’s an extremely popular microphone for podcasters for its high-quality audio, as well as it’s podcasty look. While it is the holy grail in the podcasting world, we don’t think it’s worth the high price tag. When it comes to the ratio between performance and price, it’s really hard to justify this microphone. If we had to compare it’s quality to any other microphone on this list, we would have to say the RODE Procaster or Shure SM58. However, if you’re willing to pay the extra price for a marginal difference, this is awesome!

heil pr40Pros:

  • Great audio quality
  • Sleek design
  • Sturdy build quality
  • Built with podcasters in mind, so great for those who do a lot of speaking

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Needs an audio interface
  • Price to performance isn’t quite there

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Every microphone on this list is definitely something we would recommend if you plan on doing a live stream, or any kind of voice recording. While they are all fairly affordable, there are certainly better microphones on the market if you are willing to spend the money. With that said, a lot of these microphones are industry standards and once you’ve purchased them, you may never need to buy another microphone again (specifically looking at you, Shure SM7B and Heil PR40).

As with every product on the market, we would recommend you to do some research on the microphone you want to purchase, especially comparisons between models on this list. Some of these microphones may actually surprise you!

We hope this list has been able to help you make your microphone purchase, or at the very least, solidified your decision! Which microphone do you use? We would love to hear in the comment section!

*AFFILIATE DISCLAIMER: All links to Amazon are our affiliate links. If purchased through these links, you are directly supporting Live Overlays as we will receive a small commission.

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