The best live microphones should have reliable sound quality and work well with your computer and studio. Most microphones need to be plugged into a USB port, and some may require additional drivers and software, although this isn’t the case for everyone. Our top pick for streaming and networking is the Blue Yeti Microphone on Amazon. It is a well-known brand that works with Linux, Windows and Apple laptops and desktops and does not require any additional software.
If you’re looking for music or karaoke mics, check out our list of the best karaoke mics.
Most Popular: Blue Microphones Yeti Ultimate USB Microphone
The Blue Yeti microphone is the undisputed king of online content creation. This microphone is compatible with Linux, Windows and Apple laptops and desktops and requires no additional driver software. Three condenser capsules allow for different shooting modes for recording in almost any situation. The microphone housing features a mute button and a gain control knob for excellent audio streaming and recording control. It also has a headphone jack for zero-latency monitoring of vocal and instrumental recordings.
The USB power cable works with both USB 2.0 and 3.0 ports and provides everything you need to use Blue Yeti. The microphone has its own swivel stand for desktop use and the stand can be removed to place the microphone on an arm or a custom stand to adjust the recording space. The Blue Yeti microphone strikes a great balance between professional recording capabilities and a price range that fits almost any budget.
Best XLR: MXL 770X
For streamers and content producers seeking professional-quality recordings at home, the XLR microphone on the interface panel provides excellent control over audio and music recordings. The MXL 770X features a gold-sprayed film capsule that captures every detail with astonishing clarity. It also enhances the clear sound of the higher notes and adds warmth to the lower notes for a rich, rounded sound. This microphone can provide cardioid, octave and omnidirectional recording patterns for use in almost any situation, from streaming video games to recording podcasts and interviews, or to full-band recording sessions.
It comes with a shock mount, integrated pop filter and a 20″ XLR power cord for use with 48V phantom power supplies. This microphone is ideal for mounting on an arm or on a fixed stand for recording. The microphone itself weighs just over 1 kg, allowing it is ideal for traveling to places or transporting from home to the studio.
Best Splurge: Shure SM7B Dynamic Vocal Microphone
The Shure SM7B Microphone is the perfect choice if you’re a streamer or content producer with a lot of recording experience and looking for the right audio equipment. Designed from the ground up to provide the best recording and streaming experience, this microphone has a smooth, wide frequency response that creates realistic reproduction of audio and music recordings. The SM7B features air suspension to eliminate mechanical noise transmission and enhanced electromagnetic hum suppression blocks noise from computer monitors, recording equipment and even neon lights.
It has a sturdy construction that will give you years of reliable use in all conditions and has a classic cardioid pickup pattern, making it ideal for single person streaming. It features a pop filter and windscreen to block out loud vocal sounds. This microphone features a fork mount with a locknut for easy installation and removal of the mounts for precise position control. It does not require phantom power to operate, but it does require a preamp to produce more volume.
Better Dynamics: Razer Seiren Elite USB
The Razer Seiren Elite Microphone is a professional dynamic microphone specially designed for live streaming. It features a single dynamic capsule that produces a warmer, fuller sound that is more realistic than what condenser microphones produce. It has a built-in high-pass filter that eliminates unwanted low frequencies such as footsteps or voices from another room for a clean recording without installing complex noise gates. The Razer Seiren Elite features a digital/analog volume limiter that prevents audio distortion and clipping for ultra-clean playback and streaming.
Best Condenser: Audio Technical AT2020USB Cardioid Condenser USB Microphone
Condenser microphones are great for people who want to record louder sounds. So if you’re a streamer who gets excited and shows it off, the Audio Technical AT2020USB is perfect for you. It uses a USB cable as a power source, so you don’t need expensive special equipment to operate. It uses a cardioid pickup pattern that cancels out any noise not generated directly in front of the diaphragm, resulting in exceptionally crisp audio streaming and recording. It has built-in mixing controls to complement your vocals with pre-recorded sounds for live mixing to create truly unique broadcasts.
The analog-to-digital converter provides excellent sound reproduction with highs, mids and basses and offers a versatile sound. The included swivel stand attaches to the included table stand or boom arm for custom positioning. This microphone has an internal high-powered headphone amplifier that provides exceptional clarity when using the built-in zero-latency interface for real-time monitoring. It also comes with a carrying case to protect it when not in use.
Best Shotgun: Rode Videodisc Shotgun Microphone
Shotgun style microphones are ideal for field recording and those who want to integrate video and audio in the best possible way. The Rode Videodisc easily attaches to almost any DSLR camera and connects with a 3.5mm cable for seamless audio integration. The half-inch condenser microphone is designed with a super cardioid pickup pattern for ultra-directional recording. This means that anything you don’t want the microphone to pick up won’t show up in your recording. It has a native high-pass filter that prevents sounds such as traffic and conversations from being picked up in the room.
The shock-resistant mounting system is made of durable ABS plastic and isolates the microphone from noise caused by movement or accidental impact. For those who prefer a traditional microphone mount, it has ⅜ inch threads for stem attachment. It runs on a 9-volt battery, so you don’t have to lug around heavy equipment, and it comes with a windshield to reduce unwanted noise. Rode offers a 10-year warranty for the microphone upon registration.
Best Budget: JLab Audio Talk Go USB Microphone
JLab Audio is not the most well-known brand in the audio industry, but it has been building a growing reputation for providing quality audio equipment at reasonable prices. The JLab Audio Talk Go is a great example of a plug-and-play microphone with sound quality that works with streamers without breaking the bank. For $50, you get a compact microphone with an attached stand that doesn’t take up too much desk space.
According to JLab, it supports 96 kHz / 24-bit recording for clear sound and dynamic sound. It supports cardioid and omnidirectional modes, so you can use it for calls, narration, podcasts, music recording, and ASMR. The volume controls are integrated, a mute button and an additional 3.5 mm input. The included cable is a 1.5-meter USB/USB-C input, so you’ll have enough room to place it anywhere on your desk.
The best microphone for streaming is the Blue Yeti (check it out on Amazon). It comes from a highly respected brand, supports plug-and-play connectivity and has three condenser capsules for different audio recording modes. We also like the MXL 770X (check it out on Amazon) for those looking for professional-quality audio recordings. It also comes with some accessories so you can use it out of the box.