Gaming used to be a pastime, but that's not the case anymore. In fact, the gaming industry has grown massively in recent years, reaching a whopping $162.32 billion in 2020. As if that weren't impressive enough, industry leaders project increased growth, landing the gaming industry at a worth of $295.63 billion in 2026. Take a moment to let that sink in.
With all that money pouring into gaming, it's hardly a surprise that many gamers (perhaps even yourself) want to get in on the fun. Plus, the good news is that gamers who want to become streamers have plenty of great streaming platforms to choose from. Twitch, YouTube Gaming, and similar platforms allow gamers to live stream their gameplay from anywhere. What's to stop you from making your first million by live streaming yourself playing League of Legends?
It's not that simple, though. Really great streamers also have the setup to support their endeavors. That means a great gaming armchair, a webcam for HD-quality visuals, and a superb audio setup. You can't just use your internal microphone if you're serious about being a streamer, since the sound quality on that mic is abysmal. An internal microphone naturally cuts certain frequencies and doesn't eliminate background noise. Your viewers will look away pretty quickly if they can't bear the sound quality of your live stream.
So, what makes the best mic for streaming out there the best? There are a few specs to look for. Read on to learn what those specs are before you head to Twitch for the first time.
Choose between a USB microphone and an XLR mic.
The first thing you need to think about is whether the best mic for you is one that you'll connect via a USB port or with an XLR cable via an external audio interface. An XLR mic may sound overly complicated and is certainly not necessary for every streamer, but it may be a great option for providing the best audio quality. If you opt to go the XLR route, you'll need some kind of software that works with the audio interface as well. Something as simple as Garageband will do, although there are plenty of high-quality options out there. If you're just starting out, there are plenty of USB mics out there that do a great job as well, such as the Yeti X or the Blue Yeti X.
Do you need a mute button?
The answer to this crucial question is maybe. What you definitely need though is some sort of dial that allows you to manage the level of your vocals as you stream. Consider your living situation when you think about if you need a mute button. Are you likely to be interrupted by outside construction noise or loud roommates? If so, you may want a mute button on the body of the mic itself—that ease of use will make your life as a live streaming pro a whole lot easier.
Get yourself a pop filter and a shock mount.
Are you wondering if you actually need these two items, even if you're a beginner? Well, the answer is a definite yes. A shock mount will eliminate any annoying vibrations (if you move at all during gameplay, this is important), and a pop filter will get rid of distortions or pops and hisses that are caused by consonant sounds. If you tend to get excited and speak loudly (or even yell) as you're playing video games, you need to care for your listeners. These accessories are exactly how you'll make the audio quality smoother, and they usually come at a pretty inexpensive price point. These accessories can really take your streaming to the next level.