Audio quality is a necessity for streamers looking to deliver a quality broadcast and retain an audience. Your microphone is one of the most important tools in your streaming arsenal. While more expensive microphones will deliver superior results, many budget microphones deliver acceptable audio to your audience.
Here are some great budget microphones that deliver solid audio at a bargain price.
The Blue Snowball is perhaps the most popular entry-level microphone in all of streaming. This small but powerful omnidirectional microphone is capable of delivering clear audio at a very affordable price.
Blue’s Snowball features an instantly recognizable spherical design. The microphone features a USB connection, so you won’t need an external digital audio convertor (DAC) or any software to run this microphone. It also comes with a small stand, so you won’t have to invest in one to get this mic up and running.
Since the Snowball is omnidirectional, it picks up audio from any direction. This type of microphone has its pros and cons for streaming. On the one hand, you won’t have to worry about the direction you point your microphone. On the other hand, the mic will pick up more background noise from your keyboard or computer fans.
Speaking of background noise, be warned that the Snowball, like all Blue microphones, is pretty sensitive. So if you are gaming in a noisy environment, this microphone will probably pick up that background noise.
The Blue Snowball is a fantastic entry-level streaming microphone for users who are broadcasting from a noise-controlled environment.
The Neat Widget microphone series features an A, B, and C model. The microphones have the same internal capsule design, but they each feature a different external capsule design and color combination. They were formerly sold for over $100 but have since seen a drastic price reduction to less than half their original price.
Like the Snowball, the Widget series of microphones feature USB connectivity. The plug-and-play functionality makes the Widget microphones easy to set up, and they won’t require any external hardware or software to run.
Neat’s Widget mics come with an integrated pop filter, which is a nice feature for a microphone at this price point. These microphones come with a stand featuring a shock mount. This included stand can help minimize the impact of typing or mouse clicks on your stream audio.
The most unique feature of the Widget Microphones is their bright, poppy designs. The Widget A has a bright green and yellow look, the Widget B is orange and yellow, and the Widget C is bright blue and yellow. Each one has its own unique capsule design, which can help you stand out from the pack.
These microphones have a cardioid pickup pattern, meaning they pick up audio in front of them in a heart-shaped pattern. The Widget series can record some nice quality audio, especially if you make sure to get close to the receiver when using it.
However, like the Blue Snowball, the Widget series mics are very sensitive. If you are recording in a room with a refrigerator near or have a loud mechanical keyboard, your microphone will pick up those noises. So keep that in mind as you make your purchase decision.
The Widget series microphones are reliable budget microphones that pack a serious punch for the price.
For those on the slimmest of budgets, the Fifine Condenser USB microphone is the most affordable option on this list. This microphone has no bells or whistles, but it will record acceptable quality audio at a very low price point.
Like the other mics on this list, this microphone works via USB plug-and-play technology.
It features a cardioid pickup pattern, so it will function similarly to the Neat Widget microphones, picking up only audio in front of the receiver. This microphone is sensitive to background noise, but it will handle background noise better than the Snowball and the Widget series microphones.
Quality-wise, this microphone is good for voice-over and streaming work, though it has a higher noise floor than the Blue or Neat microphones. It doesn’t have quite the dynamic range you would hope for in a studio microphone, but it should work pretty well for streaming purposes.
The biggest drawback to the Fifine Condenser microphone is that it’s pretty easy to pop it or distort the audio if you get too loud. Users can mitigate this problem with a pop-filter, but this microphone requires more management to sound good than the other microphones on this list. If you are a louder streamer or aren’t skilled at managing microphone placement, consider another microphone on this list.
On the upper end of budget products, there is the Neat Bumblebee Desktop USB microphone. This microphone is designed specifically for streamers on a budget. Despite coming in under $100, the Neat Bumblebee delivers a feature set akin to more expensive microphones.
Audio-wise, the Bumblebee offers the most options of any microphone on this list. You can switch between three sonic signatures: music, voice, and neutral. The different sonic signatures provide different audio profiles, which are good for different purposes. It has a cardioid pickup pattern like the Fifine Condenser and the Neat Widget. The Bumblebee does a much better job of eliminating background noise than the other options listed here due to its lower base sensitivity level.
The microphone mounts to an articulated boom arm, which lets you position the microphone exactly to your liking. Aesthetically, this microphone’s bright yellow and black design will help you stand out on stream.
The Bumblebee also comes with a built-in zero-latency headphone amplifier, which will help upgrade your listening experience if you don’t already own a headphone amplifier.
The biggest downside to the Neat Bumblebee is that it takes up a decent amount of desk space. So if you don’t have a lot of desk space available, you should consider one of the other microphones that take up a little less real estate.
The Bumblebee Desktop USB microphone is a stylish, well-featured USB microphone. It is the best option on this list by a long shot, but it is also the most expensive one.
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