Best Microphones for Streaming
In today’s post I’ll be sharing with you my top ten best microphones for streaming audio.
Whether you’re hosting a podcast, a youtube video, or some other form of online video or streaming service, capturing high quality audio is the hidden secret to translating a more effective message to your audience.
It doesn’t matter what you’re saying, how important it is, or how well-spoken you are, if the audio quality stinks, it won’t be nearly as impactful to your listening audience.
The reason I say it’s the hidden secret is because your audience will not always notice how good the audio sounds, but they will definitely notice when it sounds bad. We want to avoid that impression at all costs. For that reason, have a high quality mic is crucial.
I’ve included factors like price, quality, and functionality to help you distinguish among them so that you can decide which microphone will be best for you.
For all you audio gear junkies, you may also be interested my favorite mics for weddings or the top 4 best lav mics for filmmaking.
This post does contain Amazon product recommendations. As an Amazon associate, I receive compensation for qualifying purchases, however any commission that I earn comes at no cost to you.
HIGHEST QUALITY PRO MICROPHONES FOR STREAMING: $400-800
Firstly, there is such a broad range when it comes to price and quality of microphones for streaming. This list will begin with the highest quality microphones, but I thought it was important to also include some great options for those of you who are beginners.
Secondly, you may be looking for a more budget friendly microphone as well and can therefore find those options toward the bottom of this post.
1 | Shure KSM32 Mic
Above all, this is an absolute powerhouse for any and all types of audio streaming. It’s perfect for dialogue and spoken word, as well as vocals. Furthermore, it has a smooth and airy top end with absolutely no sibilance (hissing sound). This makes it easy and satisfying to listen to for long periods of time. For that reason, it’s also often characterized by its clean, warm, full bodied sound.
This microphone is top of the line when it comes to quality, but how does it fare budget-wise?
I think the price is fair for the quality you’ll receive. Currently it is about $500 (but be sure to check amazon for the most up to date price). In my opinion, it’s a very reasonable price for serious hobbyists/professionals and you will therefore get what you pay for here.
- Large-diaphragm condenser microphone with crystal-clear sound
- Super-thin, gold-layered Mylar diaphragm exhibits superior transient response
- Transformerless preamplifier circuitry eliminates crossover distortion for improved linearity across the entire frequency range
- Embossed, high-compliance diaphragm exhibits extended low-frequency response and consistent off-axis rejection
- Internal shockmount minimizes handling and stand noise
- Integrated 3-stage protection grill reduces plosives and other breath noises
- -15dB pad tackles high-SPL sources well
- Variable highpass filter counteracts proximity effect and mechanical rumble
- Rock-solid build construction can easily withstand daily use onstage and in the studio
- Includes a ShureLock stand mount, ShureLock shockmount, zippered carrying case, and protective velveteen pouch
2 | Shure SM7B Cardioid Dynamic Microphone
This is an incredibly natural sounding microphone, perfect for podcasts and spoken word recordings. It has the ability to adjust the tone of the microphone with the switches on the back of it. Furthermore, it’s very forgiving if you speak to an angle of the microphone. This is beneficial for broadcasting and podcasting situations. Secondly, it handles external ambient noise quite well. For those reasons, it’s an all around wonderful workhorse of a microphone and perfect for streaming audio.
I’ve seen this mic selling anywhere from $400-500 on amazon, however be sure to check the current pricing.
- Flat, wide-range frequency response for exceptionally clean and natural reproduction of both music and speech
- Bass rolloff and mid-range emphasis (presence boost) controls with graphic display of response setting
- Improved rejection of electromagnetic hum, optimized for shielding against broadband interference emitted by computer monitors
- Internal ‘air suspension’ shock isolation virtually eliminates mechanical noise transmission
- Highly effective pop filter eliminates need for any add-on protection against explosive breath sounds, even for close-up vocals or narration
- Now shipping with the A7WS detachable windscreen, designed to reduce plosive sounds and gives a warmer tone for close-talk vocals
- Yoke mounting with captive stand nut for easy mounting and dismounting provides precise control of microphone position
- Classic cardioid polar pattern, uniform with frequency and symmetrical about axis, to provide maximum rejection and minimum coloration of off-axis sound
3 | AKG Pro Audio C214
This microphone has an amazing build quality and comes with a great carrying case and shock mount. However, it does have a few flaws. While it has a nice full body on the lower end sounds, it can be a ‘brighter’ sounding microphone and has some issues with sibilance (hissing sound) on the upper end.
In conclusion, if you prefer a brighter sound, this is a great option and coming in under $500 it’s a very affordable choice.
Currently the price is between $350-400 on amazon, but be sure to check the current price online for the most accurate number.
- AKG’s Legendary 1″ Edge-Terminated Large Diaphragm Sound
- Outstanding Dynamic Range (up to 156 dB SPL, Ultra-Low Noise)
- Integrated Suspension to reduce mechanical Noise
- Switchable 20 dB Attenuation Pad and Low Cut Switch
- Rugged double mesh Grill for high RF immunity but unaffected Acoustics
- Spider-type Shock Mount & Metal Carrying Case included
4| Rode Broadcaster Mic
Next, this mic is great for podcasting purposes. Full body in the low end and plenty of clarity in the top end which makes for a very nice broadcast tone, just as the name implies.
However, this mic is not the best when handling plosives. For that reason, it’s not recommended for recording musical instruments. However, it’s excellent for spoken word and one of the microphones for streaming. For that reason be sure to include a pop screen to help with those plosives.
This mic comes in at $400. Be sure to check amazon for the most current pricing.
- Red LED Light Indicator Light
- High Pass Switch
- True Large Diaphragm Condenser Capsule
- On-Air Indicator
- Ultra Low Noise
- Cardioid Polar Pattern with high 180 rejection
- Voice Tailored Low Cut Filter
- Internal Pop Filter
- Internally Shock-Mounted Capsule
- Rugged Stainless Steel Body
- Requires +48V phantom power
5 | Warm Audio WA-47
At the top end of our professional microphones for streaming comes the Warm Audio WA-47. It’s known for its rich, warm, vintage sound. The classic ’47 became extremely popular in the 1960’s and is now considered one of the greatest microphones ever made.
Furthermore, the classic ’47 is still widely used today in professional recording studios but has become extremely rare and expensive to acquire. For that reason, this microphone will not only serve you well for audio streaming of spoken word and dialogue but can also be used beautifully for vocals and instrumental recordings.
This mic comes in at the top end of $800-900, but will give you that timeless, rich and warm vintage sound that’s been sought after for decades. For that reason, some might argue that price isn’t so bad.
- Custom reproduction ’47-style k47 capsule
- TAB-Funkenwerk (AMI) USA output transformer
- JJ Slovak 5751 vacuum tube
- Wima and Solen French polystyrene capacitors
- Polar patterns: 9 patterns — Cardioid, Omni, figure-of-eight + 6 mixed patterns
- Self-noise: 11dBA
- Dynamic range: 130dBA
- Maximum SPL: 140dB (<0.5% THD)
- Frequency range: 20Hz–20kHz
- Output impedance: 200 ohms
- Rated load impedance: ≥2k ohms
- Equivalent noise: 10dBA (IEC651)
- External IEC grounded PSU
- Gotham 5-meter GAC-7, 7-pin tube microphone cable
- Includes wood presentation box, shockmount, and IEC power cable
BEST MID RANGE OPTIONS: $150-300 MICROPHONES FOR STREAMING
6 | Stellar X2 Condenser Microphone
Overall, this microphone is surprisingly smooth, especially for its price point. It controls sibilance (hissing) very well and comes with a great case. Similarly, it has a good amount of detail and clarity to it, which makes it a great option for spoken word audio recordings.
This mic comes in around $200, however be sure to check amazon for the most current pricing.
- The body and frame of the Stellar X2 are made from high-grade steel.
- Custom transformerless JFET circuit provides excellent performance with low noise (< 13dBa) and low distortion.
- High-frequency attenuation is added to remove any harshness commonly associated with the K67 style capsule.
- Capsules are made using pure brass and Japanese imported Mylar. They are manufactured with highly accurate machinery to achieve tighter tolerances.
7 | CAD Audio Equitek M179
The build quality on this mic is impressive. It’s a selectable pattern microphone, which adds some nice flexibility. Furthermore, this mic is known for its extended low-frequency response and generally flat response curve, and is somewhat remarkable for offering continuously-variable pattern selection at this price point.
Most importantly, this is not a “color” mic. It aspires to a reproducing a neutral tone, which is a great option for podcasts and spoken word recordings. For that reason, it is definitely a top runner on this list and one of the best microphones for streaming.
This mic comes in around $185, but be sure to check amazon for the most current pricing.
- Analog or digital: Analog
- Frequency response: 10 Hz to 20 kHz
- Max SPL: 123 dB (143 with pad)
- Connectivity: XLR
- Polar pattern: Variable
- Type: Mounted
- Applications: Studio, stage
- Diaphragm size: 1 in.
- Switches: HPF, -20 dB
- Phantom power required: Yes
8 | Warm Audio WA-47JR
Similarly to the WA-47 mentioned at the top of this master list, this JR version is made to be alike in build quality and sound, but at a more accessible price point.
To explain, it has 3 polar patterns and is designed for pro studio, home studio, live, and broadcast applications. Moreover, the WA-47jr sounds great on vocals, acoustic/electric guitars, acoustic/electric bass, drums, piano, strings, brass/woodwind instruments, and an array of other sources. It’s definitely one of the best microphones for streaming audio.
This mic comes in around $300, but be sure to check amazon for the most current pricing.
- FET Transformerless ’47 Style Condenser Microphone.
- Custom True ’47 Capsule Reproduction (K47 Style)
- Capsule Makeup: Gold Sputtered, Dual Large Diaphragm, Single Backplate, 6 Microns NOS Mylar (PET Film).
- Polar Patterns: Cardioid, Figure-Of-Eight, And Omnidirectional.
- Pad: -10db
- High-Pass Filter: 70Hz
- Self-Noise: 9dBA
- Dynamic Range: 138dBA
- Fully Discrete Signal Path, Toshiba FET’s, Wima Film Capacitors, Panasonic Electrolytic Capacitors
- Maximum SPL: 147/157dB (@1kHz 1kOhms 0.5% THD, 0/-10dB)
- Frequency Range: 20 Hz~20 KHz
- Sensitivity: 10mV/Pa Or -40dB
- Output Impedance: 100 Ohms
- Rated Load Impedance: ≥1kOhms
- Equivalent Noise: 10dBA (IEC651)
- Total Weight: 1.1 Lbs
- Mic Diameter: 52mm
- Mic Length: 210mm
- Includes: Shockmount, Hard Mount, Zipper Storage Pouch
MOST BUDGET FRIENDLY:
UNDER $100 MICROPHONES FOR STREAMING
9 | Samson C01U Pro
In addition, I wanted to include a few options for those of you that are looking for great mics at a lower price point. Unlike the mic previously mentioned, this microphone can connect directly into your computer via USB, making it extremely user-friendly for beginners. Furthermore, you don’t need to buy any excess gear to get this microphone up and running.
Coming in under $100, this is an excellent microphone for anyone that is looking for a budget-friendly, but still high-quality option. Remember, this is a starter microphone option. For more professional sounding audio, you’ll need to consider some of the first few options on our list.
- Large, 19mm diaphragm studio condenser microphone
- Plug-and-play operation, no drivers required
- Compatible with most computer-based digital audio workstations
- Headphone output for zero-latency monitoring
- Peak LED indicator
- Hypercardiod pickup pattern
- Shock-mounted mic element
- 16-bit, 44.1/48kHzresolution
- Smooth, flat frequency response of 20Hz – 18KHz
- iPad and USB bus powered
- Solid, die-cast construction with heavy gauge mesh grill
10 | Audio Technica AT2020
As the most affordable microphone on our list, this is also one of the most popular microphones out there for the serious hobbyist. Above all, it’s low-mass diaphragm is custom-engineered for extended frequency response and superior transient response.
With rugged construction for durable performance, the microphone offers a wide dynamic range and handles high SPLs with ease. To conclude, the AT2020: a new standard for affordable side-address studio condensers.
Coming in around $70, this is an excellent microphone for anyone that is looking for a budget-friendly, but overall still high-quality option.
- The price/performance standard in side-address studio condenser microphone technology
- Ideal for project/home-studio applications
- High SPL handling and wide dynamic range provide unmatched versatility
- Custom-engineered low-mass diaphragm provides extended frequency response and superior transient response
- Cardioid polar pattern reduces pickup of sounds from the sides and rear, improving isolation of desired sound source
- Pivoting, threaded stand mount attaches securely for easy and precise placement of the microphone
- POLAR PATTERN: Cardioid
- FREQUENCY RESPONSE: 20-20,000 Hz
- OPEN CIRCUIT SENSITIVITY: –37 dB (14.1 mV) re 1V at 1 Pa
- IMPEDANCE: 100 ohms
- MAXIMUM INPUT SOUND LEVEL: 144 dB SPL, 1 kHz at 1% T.H.D.
- NOISE: 20 dB SPL
- DYNAMIC RANGE (typical): 124 dB, 1 kHz at Max SPL
- SIGNAL-TO-NOISE RATIO: 74 dB, 1 kHz at 1 Pa
- PHANTOM POWER REQUIREMENTS: 48V DC, 2 mA typical
- WEIGHT: 12.1 oz (345 g)
- DIMENSIONS: 6.38″ (162.0 mm) long, 2.05″ (52.0 mm) maximum body diameter
- OUTPUT CONNECTOR: Integral 3-pin XLRM-type
- ACCESSORIES FURNISHED: Stand mount for 5/8″-27 threaded stands; 5/8″-27 to 3/8″-16 threaded adapter; soft protective pouch
SOME ACCESSORIES YOU MAY NEED FOR YOUR MICROPHONE
In addition, please note that many of these microphones do not plug directly into your computer for simple recording. It’s not complicated, but you will need a few extra accessories to set these up for optimal recording quality. Unless you see that the mic has a direct USB plug (only the Samson C01U Pro on this list) here’s exactly what you’ll need to set up most of the mics via XLR:
1 | Audio Interface Preamp:
This device is where you’ll plug your microphone in one end and you’ll plug this device directly into your computer via USB. Like I said, it’s not complicated, but you’ll need this to connect your microphone to the computer.
Overall, this will also allow you to increase your gain on the microphone enough to get a good sound on your recording.
2 | XLR Cable:
This cable will allow you to plug your microphone into the audio interface. Here’s one that I’d recommend.
3 | Pop Screen:
Some microphones come with their own pop screen, but if they don’t you’ll want to invest in one of these universal pop screens to place in front of your microphone to avoid any plosives on your audio recording. If you decide on a condenser mic, you will absolutely need a pop screen.
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