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As any video game enthusiast will know, microphones are one of the most important peripherals you can have for multiplayer, team-based games.
Sure, if you are wandering the world of Tamriel in Skyrim, there is no one to talk to and no need for a mic. However, if you play any game that requires even the slightest bit of communication with team members then you will need a mic for sure.
While many games have their own inbuilt voice chat system, it is far too low quality to make it feasible and useful for competitive games. That’s why it is best to use Discord and find a mic that works well with it.
Discord is by far the most popular social media application specialized for gamers and video game lovers. There have been many apps similar to Discord in the past (most notably, Teamspeak) but none of them quite compare to how discord handles, works, and flourishes.
Starting with the basics, Discord allows friends to privately connect by adding each other and then message, send pictures, video calls, and voice calls.
Discord also offers the ability to create groups of up to 10 people that can all do the same as you can in a private call.
Finally, Discord’s most used feature is being able to create and join servers. Servers can hold up to ten thousand people in it. Unlike groups, servers have multiple channels in them that the owner of the server can decide the title, the description, and whether or not it is a voice or text channel.
Discord is mainly used for communicating with teammates while playing video games and has an array of features that enhance this experience, such as sharing your screen and letting other members watch. Discord is also a crucial application for anyone interested in live streaming as it allows you to create a server that you can invite viewers into. Discord also lets you mute your microphone and deafen other members with quick shortcuts so that you can talk to your audience while live streaming without your teammates hearing.
After understanding how communication-based Discord is, you can see why a good microphone is necessary. Much like all other peripherals, you are spoilt for choice so it is best to discover what microphone suits your needs best. While there is no best mic for Discord, there are still some that are proven to be more popular than others.
One of the main types of microphones is a headset mic. These are a hybrid peripheral that has both a headphone and microphone. A gaming headset is what the majority of people use thanks to its convenience, comfort, and high quality.
You can opt for a wireless gaming headset as well which allows more free movement and fewer wires getting in the way. They are incredibly easy to use as you just plug them into your headphone jack if your device supports that headphone jack being used as both a microphone and audio output.
If not, then most gaming headsets will come with a splitter that will go into your device’s separate microphone and audio jack.
Adjusting the headphone volume is also very easy as most headsets come with a few buttons that allow you to quickly mute your mic, change the volume, and turn on the wireless feature if you have it.
This mic is used on gaming consoles as well as PC due to its universal utility.
USB microphones are the most common type of gaming mics aside from the ones found on headsets.
Similar to headsets, USB microphones are simple to connect as you use the provided USB cable and plug it into any USB port that you want to. USB connectivity is strong and stable, which is why it is so popular.
USB mics can come with added features such as RGB lighting, and some of them have LED screens on them that display battery charge and volume. On the backside of a USB mic, you will usually find ease-of-access buttons that instantly mute your mic or change its input volume.
An XLR microphone is more high-end than the average gaming mic as it requires a third item; an interface. The XLR input only goes into the interface, which then connects to your computer. The need for an interface increases the cost of the whole process by a fair bit and also takes up more desk room and cable management than any other alternative.
The upside to these mics, though, is that they can be of higher quality due to being the same type of connection as the mics musical artists will use.
Some argue this is overboard but if you want to splash out some money and get one then that is totally up to you. The microphones themselves tend to be made of the same components as a USB microphone however the interface has some added options that allow for more customization and perfecting of your sound settings.
Dynamic microphones turn sound waves into a voltage that travels to a transformer which then outputs the correct noise through the microphones output cable. These mics are less used for gaming and more often used for podcasts, or anything musical. They are insanely durable and can be used for vocals, drums, and electric/acoustic guitars. While not as mainstream in gaming as the other types of mics, it is still possible to use one of these while talking in discord.
Similar to theXLR mic, these need an audio interface to connect to the pc and without it, they will not connect as a PC does not have the right input.
A condenser microphone is constructed quite similarly to the capacitor you would make in physics class. It consists of a thin membrane, called the diaphragm, in close proximity to a metal plate. When the diaphragm moves, thanks to any noise you create, the distance between the two components changes which is what converts sound into electricity.
These mics are much more fragile than dynamic mics and also require a power source before they can work. Despite this, they have diaphragms much smaller than that of a dynamic mic so they can more accurately convey the pitch and noise that they hear, making the final sound much more accurate to what someone would hear if they were in the room with you.
These mics can be either USB or XLR, but they are mics specialized to be in a stand. The mic stand, itself, can be quite overwhelming as you hear words such as “shock resistant desk stand” but all stands will work fine, you just need to find one compatible with your mic and that suits your needs.
The point of a stand is so that it can be close to your mouth without getting in your way. Mic stands have a lot of customization options as they can bend and move in so many different ways to suit your needs and be as perfectly placed as possible.
Once properly set up and in the right position, stand mics can provide outstanding sound quality as they are right next to your mouth, which negates background noise.
Standalone mics can be either a USB mic or an XLR mic but do not have a stand. They will either have legs or a base that lets them stay upright on your desk. They still provide very good quality however they are prone to picking up the noise from your keyboard and mouse unless you optimize them.
Most gaming-related brands will have products for multiple different types of microphones. Most gaming brands will sell multiple headsets and standalone/stand mics, so it can be difficult to choose what to buy. To help with that, here are some brands that are reputable and offer high-quality, brilliant products.
Infamous for their work in the gaming industry, it should come as no surprise that Razer is featured here. They sell just about every gaming peripheral and accessory you could imagine. They boast an impressive stock of microphones and headsets that make it insanely easy to find the perfect match for you.
Another popular brand amongst gamers, HyperX have had their fair share of the limelight due to being an impressive company. They sell everything gaming-related as well as computers ready to play on immediately. Their stock of microphones and
Most notably known for their mice and keyboards, Logitech is a brand even non-gamers will know. However, Logitech mainly sells headsets instead of standalone microphones. They are still amazing quality, but if you are looking for a desk mic then this is not the brand for you.
RODE is our first microphone exclusive company on this list. They specialize in microphones and microphone accessories and do an incredible job of doing so. They have both dynamic and condenser microphones and even offer kits that make sure you are ready to go without having to buy multiple items from different places.
Neumann is a german company founded in berlin and are known for their professional, high-quality microphones and sound recording equipment. They are currently paving the way for sound monitoring systems as well, which all-in-all will give you one insanely high-quality setup ensuring your sound is as perfect as possible.
Now that we know all the main brands that sell good products, it is time to learn more about those products so you can decide which is best suited to you. So that you aren’t overwhelmed, we will discuss Razer exclusively out of the three gaming brands, and will only mention RODE and not Neumann as the prices of the latter ar staggeringly high and would require an incredibly extensive discussion about them.
For microphones, Razer has an impressive stock of headsets that have retractable microphones that you can pull out when you need them, minimizing the chance of them getting in your way.
The most famous line of headsets from them will be the Razer Kraken line. The Razer Kraken has multiple models such as the Pro V2, wireless Pro V2, Tournament Edition, and the Razer Kraken X. They come in different colors and some even have RGB mechanics that allow you to look flashy while wearing them. The microphones on all of these offer high sound quality and will be great for callouts while using discord with friends.
For external Microphones, Razer has a line called Seiren. They have models such as the Mini, Elite, X, and Emote.
The Seiren Mini, as well as all other Seiren microphones, can be either mounted on a stand or on the baseplate it comes with. The mini is a condenser microphone with a super-cardioid polar pattern that reduces background noise and focuses more on the sound coming from the front. Despite being the smallest model of the Seiren line, the mini is “ultra-precise” and does not take up much space at all.
It connects to your PC VIA USB and instantly starts working. Due to its small size, it does not have any volume dials on it as the other models do but still has the inbuilt shock mount.
Like the entire Seiren product line, the sample rate has a minimum of 44.1 kHz and a maximum of 48 kHz, and a 16 bit, bit-rate.
Unlike the Mini, the Elite is a dynamic microphone that has a cardioid polar pattern. The other main differences include a volume dial, a mute toggle button, and the ability to adjust your gain.
Another super-cardioid polar pattern condenser microphone, the X model is the Mini’s big brother. It features a bigger condenser capsule which allows for better pickup and also has both a volume dial and a mute button.
By far the most amazingly outlandish microphone out there (in my opinion) is the Seiren Emote. The Emote comes with the same condenser capsules as the X but uses a hyper-cardioid polar pattern for insanely accurate pickup. There is a volume dial and a mute toggle button on one side of this microphone…but an LED display on the other.
The LED display is an 8-bit emoticon display that you can customize yourself with static and animated emoticons. This side is most visible by a webcam you may have as it is designed for streamers.
As mentioned, RODE has an insanely varied stock of microphones that allow you to find a mic for any instrument or occasion. The best mics for discord, however, will be their cardioid condenser microphones.
Unlike the Razer products, the NT1 is stand exclusive and works best when it is directly in front of your mouth. As said, they are cardioid and condenser mics so they have a very accurate pickup. The connective type is XLR so an audio interface will be required to use these. The sample rate, unlike the Razer products, depends on your audio interface instead of the microphone itself.
While discussing the above microphones, some terms were used that you might not understand, and while browsing on your own you might yet again read some terms you do not understand. To help with that, here are the key terms and what they mean.
Frequency response is the measure of the range of frequencies a component can reproduce. It shows how well a microphone can reproduce the specific noise that it is trying to mimic. For example, your voice has a defined frequency, as does all sound. If this frequency is not in the range of the frequency response of the microphone, then it will not be able to accurately record it and reproduce it. The larger range, the more accurate the microphone will be.
To get it out of the way, gain control is not a volume control. They are very separate. Gain itself is used when a microphone records something and needs the sound to be amplified. So when talking into a mic, if your voice is appearing quiet on the other end despite you talking loudly, you can turn up the gain to amplify your voice more. The same goes for the opposite. If you are talking normally, but the mic is making you sound far too loud, then dial down the gain.
Polar patterns refer to the sensitivity of a microphone and how it reacts to sounds arriving from different angles. The polar pattern is how accurate this is, for instance, a cardioid pattern will pick up noise from the front and sides whereas a super-cardioid will be more accurate to only receiving input from the front.
This is how often samples are taken. It is comparable to the gaming term FPS, frames per second, as if it is too low your voice will appear to cut in and out. A higher sample rate means that every single bit of what you are saying will be heard.
If you are looking for a microphone for discord, then you are probably wanting one that you can use while playing games. A lot of features found on microphones will enhance this ability and make it so your voice is perfectly clear all the time.
The first thing to look for is price, you need to find something you can afford otherwise everything else on it is pointless.
After looking at the price, you want to find the perfect one for you. If it is doing on a stand and sitting right in front of you then a dynamic microphone will be fine, but if you will place it on the desk then a well-angled condenser microphone will be better as it will not hear any of the typing or mouse clicking.
As well as this, looking at the polar pattern is important. If, as I said, the mic is going to be on the desk then you want a tight pattern such as super-cardioid so that it only takes audio from one direction, which will be facing your mouth.
After this is all taken care of, you can look at the more fun features of a mic. If you want one with RGB, emoticon display, a cool color, or anything like this. Also, keep an eye out for buttons and volume dials.
If you know you are going to be playing a loud intense game while talking on discord, then you will want a mic that includes a gain control dial so that when you start shouting, you can lower this so your voice doesn’t distort.
Volume control is also very nice to have on a mic, as is a mute button so that you can immediately mute if you need to.
Any mic from companies such as Razer, HyperX, or Logitech will be fine for discord. If you want a good headset then I recommend the Razer Kraken V2 Pros.
Mic sensitivity is important, however don’t worry too much about it. Discord has built-in features that show you your current sensitivity and let you adjust it until your normal speaking voice is being picked up perfectly. If you are worried about background noise, Discord also has a noise suppression feature which negates all background noise.