How to choose a streaming microphone

1. Frequency response

Frequency response is the range of voice frequencies your microphone can pick up. It’s measured in hertz (Hz) and kilohertz (kHz), from the lowest frequencies to the highest. Typically, the golden standard for frequency response is from 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz. Anything lower or higher than these spectrum extremes is pretty much useless, as the human voice simply cannot produce such frequencies.

NOTE:- Test your microphone with Mic Test to check how good is your mic.

2. Polar pattern

A polar pattern, also known as directional property, is the inherent sensitivity to the direction of audio waves. Simply put, a polar pattern is the ability of a microphone to pick up your voice from different angles. The three polar patterns you need to know are cardioid, omnidirectional and bidirectional.

  • Cardioid polar pattern. A classic cardioid microphone picks up the sound from the front. Cardioid microphones isolate unwanted ambient sound, as well as any other unwanted sounds, from the back of the microphone. They are the most common choice for live streaming, as they block sounds such as a loud fan or the clatter of your mechanical keyboard.

Cardioid subtypes, known as super-cardioid and hyper-cardioid, have narrower sound sensibility angles and a greater ability to reject ambient sound. However, it is harder to place and aim these microphones accurately.

  • Omnidirectional polar pattern. Omnidirectional microphones are equally sensitive to sound from every direction. This means they evenly pick up sound from 360 degrees. The bright side is that you don’t need to aim an omnidirectional microphone at the source of the sound. However, it will pick up all undesired background noises along with your speech.

  • Bidirectional polar pattern. Bidirectional microphones have a so-called figure eight type of sound capture. This means a bidirectional microphone will pick up any sound from two sides: the front of the microphone and the back. A bidirectional microphone is especially useful for live streaming interviews, as it can pick up both your speech and your guest’s.

3. Connection method

The two most common mic connection methods for streaming are XLR and USB, and they have some substantial differences. First, you cannot connect an XLR mic directly to your PC. You need to buy a mixer or audio interface to plug in an XLR microphone. With this additional investment, you’ll get more control over the sound — thus better overall sound quality.

Second, XLR cables are more robust and durable than USB connections, so they last longer. This long life is reflected in the price, however, making XLR microphones the most expensive on the market.

Last, don’t forget about TS/TRS/TRRS-based microphones. This connection method is used to plug your microphone into mobile phones, tablets and laptops. The sound quality of these microphones is usually worse than that of XLR mics. TS/TRS/TRRS microphones are, therefore, best suited for mobile streamers.

4. Pop filter

A pop filter, also called a pop screen or pop shield, is a noise protection filter for microphones. It’s most often used in recording studios to eliminate any popping sounds that occur when the airflow bumps into the microphone. Applying a pop filter to your microphone results in the clearer sound of your voice on the viewer’s end.

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