Best answer: If you want to take streaming seriously and grow an audience, yes. USB microphones offer a much higher quality than those attached to a headset.
- Basic option: Blue Snowball USB Microphone ($70 at Amazon)
- An upgrade: Blue Yeti USB Microphone ($99 at Amazon)
- Clearer audio: Microphone Pop Filter($10 at Amazon)
Why should I use a microphone at all while streaming?
It's entirely up to you if you want to provide commentary over your gameplay, but doing so is a great way to build an audience. A lot of streamers are followed for their personalities, not just because they play popular games. If you want to interact with your viewers and grow a streaming channel, you'll want to invest in a good microphone.
Can't I just use the microphone on a headset?
You can use the microphone on your headset if that's your only option or you're not looking to become a frequent streamer, but it's not something that you should rely on in the long term if that's the case. Eventually, getting a separate USB microphone is the best way to go.
What are the benefits of using a separate microphone?
The quality of a microphone on a headset connected through a 3.5mm jack is inferior to that of a USB microphone. Your headset is likely more prone to pick up outside noise or muffle your own voice. A USB microphone will capture clearer audio. It may not be important to you if you aren't listening to your own voice through it, but it is something that your viewers will immediately notice. Bad microphone quality is a quick way for someone to click on another stream.
Should I also purchase a pop filter with it?
Yes, it's a good idea to also purchase a pop filter with your new microphone. As good as your microphone may be, there's still a chance it will pick up harsh popping sounds if you blow on it too hard or are speaking too close to it, especially when pronouncing words with a "p" or "b" in them. Pop filters reduce these noises so that they are less noticeable and nearly non-existent.
Perfect for new streamers
It may seem a tad expensive for those starting out, but the investment is well worth it. The Blue Snowball USB Microphone offers excellent audio quality, three pattern modes for recording, and comes with an adjustable tripod so you can position it where it needs to be with little hassle.
Great for experienced streamers
Like the Snowball, the Blue Yeti offers crystal clear audio, and it packs a few upgraded features to boot. With four pickup patterns you can record from any direction you need to, making it much more versatile for other uses besides game streaming.
Providing enhanced audio quality
Grab a pop filter so that you aren't dealing with annoying popping sounds from blowing into the microphone too hard. No one wants to hear that, and this is a cheap and easy way to mitigate that problem.
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Jennifer Locke has been playing video games nearly her entire life. You can find her posting pictures of her dog and obsessing over PlayStation and Xbox, Star Wars, and other geeky things.