2,401 word post, approx. 7-8 min. read
- 10/27/20. Article posted.
Keep checking back as I gain more experience with various gaming mics!
The Best Mics For Gaming. There are quite a lot of mics in general, but not all of them need to be taken into consideration. Which ones are the most convenient? Which has the best sound? What is a good microphone for gaming? Today we’ll take a look at some fantastic solutions to get you going!
Keep in mind these are my own personal experiences. It stems from a lot of experience with various types of products: Headphones, Amps & DACS, Microphones, etc. The law of diminishing returns runs rampant in audio, and microphones are no exception. In fact, they’re probably the worst as far as paying exponentially more and not receiving a proportionate increase in quality, right behind the current Amp/DAC fiasco.
With that, let’s take a look.
V-Moda Boom Pro
- Related: Philips SHP9500 vs. 9600
With those, you simply detach the stock cable and attach the Boom Pro. It’s the quickest and easiest way to attach a mic to your headphones, and sounds phenomenal.
The reason I placed this #1 is because of the convenience combined with its incredible sound. It’s also dirt cheap and blocks out nearly 100% of noise. For the price, you’d be hard-pressed to find something that sounds better. I love using it with my PS4, but it also works with your PC if you want to game or just chat with people that way.
Ant Lion Audio Mod Mic
I placed this second because while it doesn’t quite sound as good as the Boom Pro, it’s extremely valuable due to the fact that you can use it with any headphones. The package comes with a few button adhesives – one side sticks to your headphone, and the mic itself is attached via magnet.
With the Boom Pro, the cable coming out of the headphones terminates in a 3.5mm female to dual male. One plugs into the headphone portion of whatever DAC you’re using, and the other goes into the mic jack.
With the Mod Mic, the same thing happens only there are 2 separate chords the entire time. One chord is for the Mod Mic and goes into the mic jack, and the other chord is your headphones cord that plugs into the headphone jack on whichever DAC you’re using. I recommend the Creative SoundBlasterX G6 because reasons. Check out the article!
With the Mod Mics, you have 3 options:
- Mod Mic Uni (pictured above). This is perhaps the most versatile of the bunch, being compatible with Windows/Linux PC and no adapters, or Mac/PS4/XB1 requiring an adapter. It’s important to note that Ant Lion does provide a USB adapter in the package. You simply plug it into one of the PS4’s USB slots and then plug your headphones and mic into each jack.
- Mod Mic USB. This one is Windows, Mac, Linux, and PS4 only, and has studio-quality Omni-directional while the Uni does not.
- Mod Mic Wireless. This is completely wireless and PS4 only, but with all the features of the Mod Mic USB.
Blue Microphones Yeti
The Blue Yeti has been a staple in my own studio and home theater for over 3 years now. I use it on my YouTube channel, and it works really well for gaming! Just plug it right into your PS4, use the 3.5mm no latency jack on the Yeti for your headphones, and you’re ready to go. You can also use it with a DAC like the Creative SoundBlasterX G6 mentioned above. You’d either use a micro USB to 3.5mm, or a 3.5mm to 3.5mm.
I couldn’t really find any good reviews for micro to 3.5mm, but you could get these adapters (which I have), plug them into this USB-C to 3.5mm, and use the Yeti with the G6 that way. Just get creative. Haha! No pun intended.
The Yeti is a fantastic mic for console or desktop gaming with your PC. It sounds ultra-clear and detailed and is highly recommended for a reason. It’s one of the most versatile pieces of equipment I’ve ever used.
Blue also came out with an updated Blue Yeti X, which adds some extra onboard features:
- Four-capsule array – capture legendary Blue broadcast sound with greater focus and clarity than ever for professional-level gaming, Twitch streaming, podcasting, and YouTube Productions.
- High-res LED metering – visualize your voice level with the Yeti X Microphone 11-segment LED meter. At a glance, you can check if your voice level is too high or too low and adjust accordingly.
- Multi-function smart knob – easily adjust mic gain, mute, and headphone volume, as well as the blend of microphone signal and computer sound in your headphones.
- Blue Voice broadcast vocal effects – download Logitech G HUB or Blue Sherpa (for PC and Mac) and gain instant access to a suite of Blue Voice broadcast effects for achieving Professional on-stream sound quality.
- Customizable LED lighting – personalize the color of Yeti X’s LED lights to match your on-stream aesthetic.
Check out this video I did on the Best Gaming Setup For Beginners. It goes into some of the setups and how they work in practice, as well as an A/B sound demo of the Boom Pro vs. Mod Mic.
Best Gaming Setup For Beginners
So what makes a mic good for gaming?
The mics above have great sound quality, but the Boom Pro and Yeti definitely sound better than the Mod mic. You’ll want to ensure your voice is heard with clarity and sounds clean, and the mics above fit that criterion.
Convenience & Versatility
The Mod Mic may not sound as good as the others, but it’s incredibly versatile given that it works with literally any headphone. This to me makes it valuable. The convenience of being able to plug the Yeti into any USB port and go is also very handy. I don’t have to worry about XLR cables or audio interfaces.
A Word On XLR Condensers and the Audio Interface
If you do want the best sound, you can use an Audio Interface with an XLR condenser mic, but I’d limit this to PC only. Trying to set it up with a PS4 is not really all that practical. If you weren’t aware, the reason you’d need an interface with an XLR condenser is that it requires 48V phantom power to operate. What is XLR? This basically takes the low-level signal from the mic and boosts it to line level. Related: What does an Audio Interface Do?
For your PC, something like a Focusrite Scarlett Solo USB Interface + Audio Technica AT2020 with an XLR Cable would be a good start. Add in a Scissor Arm, Shock Mount, and Pop Filter as well and you’re pretty much set. A microphone like the Samson C01 is also a personal favorite of mine and one that I relied on for many years.
XLR vs. USB
For most folks just starting out in podcasting/YouTube/streaming etc., a USB microphone is perfectly fine. Yes, an XLR condenser typically does sound more professional, but not everyone is going to want to mess around with an audio interface right away. Add to that the extra cost. A basic XLR setup will run you around $200-250 or so, while something like a Yeti or Yeti X is cheaper and easier to get started with right away.
Even though I’ve had plenty of experience with XLR condenser mics, I still use a Yeti when I make videos for YouTube because of how convenient and versatile it is.
From Adventures In Audio:
Some microphones are naturally more prone to this kind of noise than others, and need a shock mount to guard against even a small amount of vibration. Other mics are less sensitive and rarely need any special treatment.David Mellor
Keep in mind that a Shock Mount isn’t mandatory. Determine if you’re having issues with the recording, and then act accordingly.
Pop filters are rarely talked about, but anyone who records vocals knows how imperative it is to have one. Not only do they tame the S’s and P’s of your voice, but a filter also ensures that you’re nasty spit and miscellaneous particles don’t get inside the diaphragm and damage it.
I’ve used both a regular mic stand and a desktop stand, and I really don’t like either of them. My next purchase will most certainly be a scissor arm because of how versatile they are. A good one will be mostly out of your way and leave room on your desk for your other gear. It will also be adjustable enough to also ensure that the mic is at the correct height and distance away from your mouth.
Desktop Stands/Boom Arms
Desktop stands, while very sturdy, are a pain in the a**. I had one for a few years and not only was it extremely heavy, but it always seemed to be in the way (The AT2020 pictured earlier is attached to a desktop stand.
Boom arms (regular mic stands) are a bit better, but they usually aren’t heavy enough to hold your mic properly and prevent it from drifting. One of the most annoying things on the planet is a mic that won’t stay in place. If the mic is too heavy for the stand, it will float from one side to another and make you want to pull your hair out.
Even if you get a stand that’s decent, you still may have these same issues. In addition to that, they take up quite a bit of space. If you’re going to record acoustic guitar, I think they work a lot better because it’s easier to get the right placement. Just make sure the mic in question is light enough, and also make sure the stand is fairly heavy-duty.
For vocals, a scissor arm is definitely your best bet. I had a Boom Arm for a long time before selling it and I really didn’t like it at all.
So what’s my final word?
I would say decide if you’d prefer an attachable headphone mic like the Boom Pro/Mod Mic, or prefer something like a Yeti/Yeti X with a scissor arm. I also think that what you go with largely depends on if you’re PC gaming or console gaming.
If your console is at your desk, or you’re PC gaming, the Yeti makes a lot of sense. If you’re like me and game on a console from your couch, an attachable headphone mic works best.
That said, here are links to my favorite options:
For console couch potatoes:
For keyboard warriors:
Well that’s about it for today my friend! I hope you’ve enjoyed this discussion on the best mics for gaming, and are better equipped to make a purchasing decision!
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Which of these options sounds best to YOU? What’s your favorite video game? I would love to hear your thoughts. Until next time..
All the best and God bless,