Audio is something a lot of gamers can be oblivious to. For a lot of people, when they are putting together a gaming setup, audio might be disregarded and often forgotten about. It is rarely placed on the top priorities of putting together an enjoyable gaming experience. This is especially true with microphones. Sure, people will buy headsets with a good mic and be over with it. Dedicated mics are not very popular among the mainstream gaming community unless they are streamers or audiophiles who take their sound quality very seriously. A good mic is an important aspect of a gaming experience believe it or not. Obviously, your first concerns should be putting together the PC itself and the more important peripherals such as a keyboard, a decent mouse and good headphones.
Once you’ve gone through all of that consider adding a dedicated microphone into the mix. A dedicated mic is especially important if you spend tonnes of hours playing games online with your friends. You want your voice to be loud and clear to your friends for better communication. What you don’t want is crappy audio set up so you can’t even hear your teammates’ voices properly. If you have ever spent a large amount of time playing online multiplayer games, especially online shooters, you know how frustrating that can be.
This shouldn’t be much of a surprise. First up on our list is the much renowned Blue Snowball. This is a microphone that is recommended by pretty much by everyone all over the internet. It has earned its place as the best affordable microphone for almost any normal use case. But why is this so popular among YouTubers and streamers alike? Let’s go over the main features and find out.
The snowball name is on point because at first glance, especially in the white colour, it really does resemble a snowball. It is paired with a stand so it just sits on your desk for easy access. It can also be attached to a shock mount or a boom arm. A pop filter is also recommended. It plugs in simply via USB and no software is required to start using it.
As for audio recording. It can pick up audio in either omnidirectional or cardioid patterns. Overall the sound quality is pretty good although it does pick up background noise quite a bit even in cardioid mode. Audio sounds crystal clear without any distortion. No complaints in that department. This mic also has a -10db mode which tries to completely eliminate background noise. This is useful for particularly noisy environments although the audio quality might take a slight dip.
Overall, we can see why this is the most recommended microphone by the gaming community. It performs well and can be used in different scenarios. A slight gripe we have with this is the lack of onboard controls such as no on/off switch or mute button. The mic is also a bit bulky. Still, this mic is great for recording voice-overs, doing podcasts and is a great cheap option for streamers.
The Antlion ModMic is another popular option. The unique thing about this microphone is that it uses an adhesive mount for attaching it to your existing pair of headphones. This is an interesting way of turning your great pair of headphones into a gaming headset. Definitely an interesting idea.
The ModMic connects to your PC using the standard 3.5mm jack. Since it uses the standard audio jack it can be plugged into any game console, desktop PC or laptop. It is very easy to use and is basically plug and play as there is no software involved. The mic, once attached to your headphones via the adhesive mount, can be flipped up and down or adjusted according to your needs. Admittedly, there are some concerns about durability. The mounting itself is also a bit finicky.
Overall the audio quality is plenty good for voice chat and conference calls. It does tend to pick up background noise a lot. For what it is, the mic performs well for voice chat purposes. Just don’t expect to be using this for voice-overs.
The ModMic is a great option if you have an existing pair of headphones and would like to couple them with a microphone. It is a bit expensive for what it is, as it is only really viable for online voice chat or Skype calls. The audio quality is decent but nothing impressive. We would still recommend this to people looking for a simple yet clear microphone.
The Samson Go Mic is a ridiculously small and portable condenser microphone. It has a pretty compact design. The mic itself is attached to a clip which you can use to attach it to your laptop. This is pretty useful for people who require a compact mic on the go.
The audio quality this microphone delivers is actually quite impressive. For such a great price you can easily record podcasts or commentaries for Youtube videos. The audio is crystal clear with no distortion. The mic does tend to pick up background noise a lot more than others though. That is a minor complaint considering the cost and portability of this great microphone. It has both omnidirectional and cardioid polar patterns and you can flip a switch to move between those modes.
Overall this is a decent option for people on the go. For desktop users, this might not be the best option as it is pretty easy to knock over when it is on your desk and you have to right up close to the microphone to properly record audio. If you are someone who travels a lot, this might be perfect for you.
The Fifine K669 is a condenser microphone that plugs into a USB port on your computer. It is a great starter mic for people looking to do voice-overs, podcasts or for people doing live streams. The build quality is sturdy and solid. It is equipped with a tripod stand in the box so you can place it on your desk. It also has a volume control knob on the front which is quite handy. This is, unfortunately, a feature missing on some of our mics in this list.
The Fifine K669 uses the cardioid polar pattern. Audio quality is crisp and clear. It is perfect for recording audio for youtube videos, podcasts, and in-game voice chat. Overall, this is a great mic for beginners. A few gripes we have is that the tripod is a bit flimsy and you have to be pretty close to the mic for it to pick up audio clearly.
The K669 is another great choice as it is a pretty versatile choice. The price is also competitive compared to other USB condenser microphones
Last up on our list is the dirt-cheap Zalman ZM Mic1. This mic feels like the watered-down version of the ModMic listed above. It doesn’t really stick to the side of your headphone, rather it uses clips to attach the wire of the mic with the wire of the headphones. The mic dangles along the wire of your headphones.
The build quality is really cheap and to be perfectly honest, the cable probably won’t last long. The audio quality is fine for in-game voice chats and voice calls but nothing more. It does not have any controls like a mute switch or on/off switches. Really the main reason you would be buying this is if your headset mic completely stopped working and you require a replacement temporarily.
It would be useful if you could attach the mic to your clothes using clips so it wouldn’t dangle around as you move. All in all the sound quality is good enough for in-game audio and voice chatting but nothing else. However, this is the cheapest one on our list and for what its worth, it does get the job done.