If you spend an inordinate amount of time on the computer, chances are good that you play at least one multiplayer game. Whether it’s a MOBA, first-person shooter, or indie game, you’ll definitely want a decent mic to be able to coordinate with your teammates—but you don’t need professional equipment to do that. Here’s the best budget gaming mics on the market to use, on Discord or VOIP, in-game chat or even Hangouts.
You may notice that this entire list contains some pretty cheap mics, and that’s no accident: unless you’re recording professionally, there’s no need to overspend here. You just need a mic that’ll work relatively okay, right? Why not save some cash for the Steam sale that’s always around the corner?
If you’re looking for quality at a low price, including the ability to dampen signals to avoid broadcasting your bad music tastes over teamchat, the Blue Snowball is the best bang for buck standalone mic on the market for gaming. Sure, it’s not the greatest quality mic out there, and sure: it’s not built for professional VO work. But it’s capable, and even Discord certified.
The Snowball is about as basic a microphone as you can buy, and those looking for more features may look to Blue’s famous Yeti mic. However, on the inside it’s virtually identical to the Snowball—why pay double for the same stuff? I’ve used the Snowball for a couple years now, at least: when I’m not using the Telefunken M80 for VO and video work. I recommend the Snowball quite often, and I’ve never heard a complaint outside of the microphone picking up ambient noise when the switch is taken off the 10dB dampening mode.
A mainstay of the PC gamer, AntLion Audio’s ModMic has been around for ages… and for good reason! This boom mic is a very solid partner to any set of high-end headphones, originally working with the Audio-Technica ATH-AD700s as the best budget audiophile gaming headset in 2011.
While the rest of the gaming world has caught up a bit, the ModMic remains one of the best ways to turn any set of headphones into a gaming headset. However, it uses adhesive to attach to the back—be sure to figure out whether or not your cans are going to be living by the computer or not before buying. Additionally, the ModMic is a little spendy, clocking in at just under $20 cheaper than the most expensive mics on this list. It’s all form and convenience with this one.
V-Moda BoomPro Mic
Another boom mic, V-Moda’s ModMic competitor uses your headphones’ 3.5mm port to make your regular-ol’ headphones a gaming headset for $30. Not bad, all things considered, and there’s no messy adhesives. If you want to convert your headphones back, all you have to do is simply yank out the BoomPro and put in the old cable. Easy peasy.
However, if you don’t have a set of headphones with a removable cable, you’re outta luck. You’d have to grab something else off this list!
The top of the heap in terms of quality is easily the Audio-Technica ATR2500. With the best sound quality also comes the heftiest pricetag—a tough pill to swallow at a shade under $80. If you’re a streamer looking to make it big on Twitch, this may be what you want to get started, though you can never go wrong with a good podcasting microphone and interface. The ATR2500 is a USB mic, so there’s only so much you can expect of it. Still, this cardioid is well-specced and good to go out of the box, meaning a relatively frustration-free experience.
Rounding out this list is the cheapest possible mic you can get that isn’t total… you get the idea. Zalman’s clip mic has long been the go-to for the budget-minded gamer for longer than it probably should have. Still, it’s tough to argue with $8.
If you pick this up, prepare for some static (depending on your computer’s internal preamp). As it’s not a USB model, the Zalman plugs into your mic port, while the mic itself clips onto your headphones’ cable. Sure, it’s a hacky solution, but it’s a solution nonetheless! I’ve seen people use velcro ties, zip ties, and gaffer’s tape to keep the wires from getting out of control, but personally I’d just get a standalone mic.
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