Talking about the quality of a mic is indeed tricky and complex. There are a number of factors that we need to consider to determine whether a mic is good or not good – design, construction, audio characteristics, noise, connectivity are just some, and these factors may affect each other as well. But, nevertheless, we can agree that gamers and streamers actually don’t need such a premium, high-end studio-grade microphone. We just need something that is better than a cheap plastic arm, something that can actually capture and reproduce what we say instead of capture and muddle.
Therefore, a microphone for gaming and streaming doesn’t necessarily have to be worth a thousand bucks. Even so, still, it should be decent enough to properly deliver an accurate voice reproduction. And, ideally, it should be compact enough to allow easy usage, whether it can be clipped on your clothing or headgear, or placed on the desk without taking too much space. Because, well, we don’t want a mic bordering our reach for the keyboard and mouse, do we?
Now, if you are looking for the best cheap microphone for gaming, you have come to the right place. Below, you can take a good look on each of the top five best microphones that have made it into our list!
1. Blue Microphones Yeti
The perfect placement for a mic is about six to eight inches away from our mouth. Yet, you can hardly play a game while a mic is blocking your sight to the screen. Blue Microphones Yeti absolutely outshines any other competitor in this regard because of its ultimate adaptability. Coming with four selectable polar patterns to suit to the ever-changing needs and requirements (cardioid, bidirectional, omnidirectional, stereo), you can place the mic almost anywhere without much issue. It has a decent sensitivity level that it is able to capture your voice very well from an arm’s length away, without sounding metallic or echoing.
The audio quality is excellent. It records sound signals in 16-bit/48kHz quality. Every word you say can be captured bright, crisp, clean, and articulate. Well, if you are quite an expressive person, you may sometimes scream into the game, because of either a spectacular play or desperation. Thanks to the high maximum SPL handling of 120dB, Blue Microphones Yeti can handle those louder sounds without distortion, which is a pain for the listeners. (See also: Razer Seiren Vs Blue Yeti Comparison)
On the mic itself, you can also find a gain control, mute button, and headphone output jack for zero-latency direct monitoring. Blue Microphones Yeti connects to a computer device via USB, and is plug-and-play on both Windows and Mac.
2. Samson Meteor Mic
Quite similar to the model above, Samson Meteor Mic is also a USB microphone that is plug-and-play with both Windows and Mac platforms. However, it comes slightly cheaper, while still featuring similarly top-notch audio quality. Armed with a large 25mm diaphragm condenser, Samson Meteor Mic reproduces bright and eloquent sounds. The smooth and flat frequency response range delivers accurate lows, mids, and highs. Hence, the mic seems to add a hint of bass to the user’s voice – but who doesn’t like the effect? Samson Meteor Mic records in 16-bit, with a selectable sampling rate of 44.1kHz or 48kHz. (Read also: Samson Meteor Vs Blue Yeti Comparison)
However, Samson Meteor Mic has a cardioid polar pattern, so keep in mind to face the mic to you as you play or stream. It comes with a fold-back leg stand for easy placement on your desk, and it’s got quite a compact body.
3. Blue Microphones Snowball iCE
Featured in out list of best microphone under 50 as well, Blue Microphones Snowball iCE has successfully made its way as one of the best cheap microphones for gaming, too. Available at a very affordable and budget-friendly price, it offers a decent functionality. It is great for significantly enhancing the clarity of your voice. The audio output is crisp and clear, making it perfect for gaming as well as video-chatting and podcasting. Blue Microphones Snowball iCE is also ultra-compact. It is roughly the size of a snowball, hence the name; and the desktop stand is foldable and detachable. Most people have no problem putting it on the computer desk.
However, it has a cardioid polar pattern, which means that it captures sounds only from the front while rejecting the rear. So, make sure that you put it facing you. Much like its sibling above, Blue Microphones Snowball iCE is also a USB mic, plug-and-play with Windows and Mac platforms.
4. Antlion Audio ModMic
So, you really lack any space on your computer desk? Well, Antlion Audio ModMic is a great alternative! Antlion Audio ModMic is a boom microphone, which means that it is designed to be equipped on a pair of headphone. Installing it on your headgear allows you to capture your voice easily.
Again, the mic is unidirectional alias cardioid, so you should wear it facing your mouth for the optimum result. Even though it is made to be put on a headgear, its quality far surpasses most built-in headphone mics. It delivers more pronounced and accurate sounds.
5. Zalman ZM-Mic1
If you are very, very tight on budget, stop thinking – just go with Zalman ZM-Mic1! You can’t go wrong with this mic. It is gosh-darn cheap, and can be brought along with an audio splitter and an extension cable. Despite the ultra-low price, it delivers a considerable improvement from a regular headphone mic. It truly captures and generates clear and articulate voice.
Zalman ZM-Mic1 has a high sensitivity level for capturing all the subtle details, but it doesn’t let those static breathing and ‘S’ noises be heard. Well, it is indeed not to be compared to those models above, but still a great choice for gaming and streaming. It is also made to be mounted on your headgear or clipped on your clothing.