Best PC Microphone: At-a-glance
- From Zoom calls and online classes to gaming with friends – there are plenty of reasons you might need a mic for your PC.
- The built-in mic on your computer will get you by in a pinch. But if you're using it regularly, you should think about upgrading.
- There's no one single “best” option. Here, we break it down into use cases.
- Jump to Best PC Microphone for Remote Working, Classroom Learning, & Zoom Calls
- Jump to Best PC Microphone for Online Gaming
- Jump to Best PC Microphone for Podcasting, YouTube, & Content Creation
- Or read on for the full guide…
There are loads of potential reasons for you wanting to get a decent-sounding mic for your PC or computer in 2021. Homeworking has never been so globally popular. Entertainment has largely been home-based, too, which means more online gaming. And that's before we even mention the steady rise of podcasting.
It's worth mentioning straight-up that most PCs and laptops come with built-in mics. But, whilst the quality of these has improved in recent years, they should be no more than emergency backup if you regularly need to use your voice.
The Best PC Microphone
Fortunately, you don't need to re-mortgage the house to get yourself a good-sounding PC microphone. There's a lot of quality kit on the market at very reasonable prices.
I mentioned some potential reasons you might want a mic for your computer. Differing needs means there's no single “best PC microphone” option. There's rarely a single “best” option when it comes to anything in audio. However, we'll break this guide down into use-cases and give you our favourite options for each one. That'll hopefully help you to make a more informed choice.
A quick heads up too, that we sometimes use affiliate links when recommending products and services we think you'll find useful. We'd earn a small commission should you choose to buy through them, though at no extra cost to yourself.
With that all said, let's dive in…
Best PC Microphone for Remote Working, Classroom Learning, & Zoom Calls
Maybe you work for a company that's obsessed with having 15 Zoom meetings a day. Perhaps you teach online classes. Or, maybe you're a student who regularly needs to contribute to debates and discussions. Whatever your situation, what's the best PC microphone for scenarios such as these?
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It's hard to see past getting a good USB headset mic in these situations. A USB headset won't take up any precious room in your already cluttered homeworking space. They can be stored away in the drawer of doom (we all have one) when not in use. Headset mics also give you more freedom of movement, and there's always a mute button on hand for when your four year old decides to treat you to a drum solo, or when your partner is on another call at the same time.
So what are your options? The Sennheiser PC 8 is a good all-rounder workhorse for these situations. However, if you already own a pair of over-ear headphones, then you can turn them into an excellent PC headset mic with the ModMic USB.
PC Microphone Reviews for Remote Working, Classroom Learning, & Zoom Calls
Best PC Microphone for Online Gaming
Playing games with your pals online has, necessarily, become mainstream this past year. No longer do we think of online gamers as the stereotypical neck bearded taurine swigging foul mouthed nocturnal creatures who traditionally dominated the space. Or maybe you do. But the point is, lots of other folks are doing it now too.
Regardless of the types of games you play, it's always handy to communicate with your teammates, and, admittedly, fun to taunt your rivals. Just don't berate an opponent through a poor-sounding mic or you're basically handing them free ammo to “pwn” you with.
The headset mics in the previous section will also be good options here. Presumably, you'll want a bit of freedom of movement, so another option is a lavalier mic, like the RODE SmartLav +.
Some gamers like to get a quality USB mic and mount it on a boom arm. Before going down this route though, there are a few considerations. Do you game in a room with a lot of background noise (pets, family, neighbours)? Are you someone who treats your keyboard, mouse, or control pad like it's a mortar & pestle? If noise is going to be an issue, then a dynamic mic like the Samson Q2U (also, see the ATR2100, depending on availability) is ideal.
The Q2U will do a great job of picking up your voice, but it'll be forgiving of the noise around you. Yes, there are better sounding condenser mics out there, but they're more inclined to pick up everything. Consider your environment before diving in, either way.
PC Microphone Reviews for Online Gaming
- Best Headset Mics Roundup
- RODESmartLav + Review
- Samson Q2U Review
- Best Streaming Microphone Setup for Gaming & Live Audio Roundup
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Best PC Microphone for Podcasting, YouTube, & Content Creation
As of December 2020, there were 990,000 active podcasts in Apple Podcasts. With each month that passes, more and more folks are jumping into the content creation game. If this is your next move, be sure to check out our full guide on how to start a podcast which walks you through every single step.
If you're looking at podcasting or YouTube-based content seriously, then it's worth stepping things up a little. You'll want to be a bit more serious about your recording environment, minimising things like background noise and reverb.
If you can really optimise your space, then this opens up the door to get a high-end USB condenser like the AKG Lyra. However, the RODE Podcaster is almost its equal in sound whilst having the benefits of being a dynamic model.
If you're looking to keep costs down, but the quality bar high, then opt for the Samson Q2U/ATR2100. Just bear in mind that the mics mentioned so far in the section are best used with a boom arm, which is going to add to the overall cost.
You also have the option of getting a USB audio interface and plugging a high-end XLR mic (or two) in. Price-wise, the MXL990 is a bargain, the RODE Procaster is an investment, and the Electro-Voice RE20 is a luxury.
PC Microphone Reviews for Podcasting, YouTube, & Content Creation
- Best Podcasting Mics Roundup
- Best USB Mics Roundup
- Best USB Audio Interfaces Roundup
- Samson Q2U Review
- AKG Lyra Review
- RODE Podcaster Review
- RODE Procaster Review
- MXL990 Review
- Electro-Voice RE20 Review
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Summary: What Makes a Good PC Microphone?
As we've covered, it's impossible to pick one single best PC microphone. There's so many different potential use cases, needs, setups, and budgets. The best option for someone wanting to sound better on their work calls is going to be different than the best option for creating a fully sound-designed podcast series.
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