Whether you’re holiday shopping for a gamer looking to make the jump to livestreaming or someone who’s been on Twitch since day one, a little audio gear upgrade can go a long way.
Muddy audio is the bane of every gamers successful livestream, so a quality microphone that cuts through in-game noise and a solid headset for real-time audio playback are both ideal gifts for anyone looking to court an avid audience.
Below are some of the best, high-quality tools for helping the future Twitch stars in your life run a perfect livestream.
Audio quality can make or break a stream. You need crisp vocals without all the distracting background noise. Most gamers have experience using headsets to communicate with other players, but streaming is a whole new world of chat alerts, in-game audio cues and communication, and color commentary happening all at the same time.
A designated gaming microphone is great for new streamers and seasoned streamers will welcome an upgrade.
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The Shure SM7B Vocal Microphone is a professional microphone best suited for established streamers looking to take the audio quality of their stream to the highest level. It captures crystal clear audio, minimizes extra noise like humming from electronics, and is built with vocals in mind.
This is an XLR microphone, so you’ll need an audio interface to connect it to a streaming setup. The higher price tag accurately reflects the quality of this microphone — this is a top-of-the-line pick and you likely won’t be replacing it anytime soon.
The HyperX QuadCast S is a plug-and-play USB microphone with great sound quality and a wild RGB light show that’ll fit in perfectly at a battle station. It comes attached to a shock mount to reduce interference from external noise and vibrations. It’s also certified to work flawlessly with Teamspeak and Discord, and comes with Ngenuity software to customize the lights and add audio effects to a stream.
The Elgato Wave:3 is a simple audio solution for streamers. This is a great mic for beginners — it’s easy to set up, delivers audio far beyond what a headset microphone can record, and has a hefty, minimalist design that looks high-end but can take a beating.
This mic comes with a software companion called WaveLink, a lean virtual audio mixer. This is perfect for managing all the audio inputs involved with streaming without the hassle of setting up an external mixer or dealing with more complex audio monitors.
While having a great microphone will enhance audio quality for viewers, a solid pair of headphones will make everything easier for the host. Top-notch gaming headphones will have serious sound quality to pinpoint the most subtle in-game audio cues and advanced controls to bounce back and forth between chatting with viewers and being hyper-focused on gameplay at a moment’s notice.
For streamers without a designated microphone, top headsets also have pretty solid mics and can be used as an audio input tool temporarily while you’re building out your streaming setup.
The SteelSeries Arctis Pro is hands-down the most well-reviewed gaming headset out there. It delivers industry-leading high fidelity gaming audio, uses DTS Headphone:X v2.0 spatial audio technology, and has a ClearCast microphone that rivals some standalone gaming microphones. Quality aside, this headset is downright comfy and looks cool as hell.
The Astro A40 TR Headset is designed to keep professional gamers focused on the game, even in a wild tournament setting. The open-back headset is tuned for complex gaming audio, is comfortable to wear during long streams, and has a precision mic that can be swapped to either side or removed.
Even the best audio tools can deliver better results with a little help. These accessories will enhance just about any streaming setup by complementing the audio equipment above.
If you decide to use an XLR microphone like the Shure SM7B, you’ll need an audio interface to set it up properly. Audio interfaces can get complex quickly and picking one out can be intimidating if you’re just getting started and don’t know exactly what you need. The GoXLR Mini is a great little interface to kick off a new streaming hobby — you’ve got a couple of audio options to control and customize, but it's not terribly complicated or expensive.
Even the best microphones can deliver less than stellar sound if they aren’t set up properly. A studio arm gets your new microphone up off your desk to cut out interference from any vibrations. A suspended mic will deliver clearer audio and advance control over where your mic is positioned during a livestream. Plus, it just looks super professional.
Most good mics have solid filters built-in, but a pop filter can eliminate lingering popping sounds being picked up when you’re recording. This Stedman model has a 6-inch screen that will surely cover your streaming mic, and a 13-inch adjustable gooseneck so you can set it up just right.