Written by StreamYard
15 Best XLR Mics For Live Streaming In 2022
When setting or upgrading your live streaming kit, microphones are one of the first things that streamers need to consider. It’s no secret that a good mic can considerably level up stream quality. With many viewers listening to streams instead of watching, you can’t overlook the importance of quality audio.
That’s why investing in one of the top mics available out there is essential for every streamer. If you’re on the lookout for the best XLR mics, this post will help you.
Before we dive deeper, let’s cover the basics.
What is an XLR mic?
The abbreviation XLR stands for X Connector, Locking Connector, and Rubber Boot.
An XLR mic captures analog signals using the three prongs in its connection. By sending a balanced signal, it isolates noise well.
Why use an XLR mic?
Even though it requires an audio interface to work, such as a mixer, an XLR microphone produces better sound quality than its other counterpart, the USB microphone. An XLR mic is also more durable, and the interface routing means it’s more easily customizable too. In short, it is the go-to standard for high-quality live streams.
XLR Mic vs. USB Mic
XLR mics are more durable than USB mics. You can also replace their components without any hassles. They offer excellent versatility as you can swap and change the audio interfaces, preamps, mixers, etc., to get the sound you need.
On the other hand, USB mics offer absolute ease of use with their plug-and-play functionality. As they don’t need any extra gear, they make a great choice if you don’t want to be overwhelmed with your microphone setup. While the sound quality of USB mics may not be at par with that of the XLR mics, they are more affordable than the latter.
Here’s a video from RØDE that can help you know more about XLR vs. USB mics:
Some of the mics offer both XLR and USB outputs. They work great if you think you’ll soon grow out of the USB functionality and would need something more for added adjustability. These also make a great option if you want a more professional setup.
XLR and Cloudlifter
When using an XLR microphone, you will need a tool to transfer the audio on your computer. More often than not, a DAC (digital audio converter) becomes useful in this case.
Often ribbon mics and other low-output dynamic mics need a preamp to amplify the signal for clean audio. This is where Cloudlifter can help. Using phantom power, it can give the much-needed boost of transparent gain to the microphone signal.
The legendary Cloudlifter CL-1 delivers up to +25dB of ultra-clean gain and comes at a price point of $154.99.
Another fantastic option is the TritonAudio FetHead. This inline microphone preamp can add 27dB of clean gain and is available for $89.95.
The sE Electronics DM1 DYNAMITE is another excellent active inline preamp. It provides an enormous +28dB of clean, transparent gain and retails for $99.
15 Best XLR Mics For Live Streaming In 2022
With a slew of microphone options available on the market, picking the one for your needs could get a bit tricky. To make things easier, we have listed the 15 best XLR mics for live streaming, based on the amount of money you may want to spend.
From XLR mics to buy when you’re on a budget to the high-end options, here’s a look at some of the top choices:
The Best XLR Mics when you’re on a budget
1. Shure SM58
A popular choice of live streamers, the Shure SM58 easily makes for No. 1 on this list. Many live streamers know this piece of kit for the legendary performance it has been giving for years. Its cardioid pickup design detaches surrounding sound – delivering splendid customized voice reaction for a warm, crisp sound.
The pneumatic shock mount also wonderfully absorbs the handling noise, keeping the vibration away. And the spherical mesh grille and built-in pop filter keep the wind and plosives out of the mix. For the solid performance that it offers, the SM58 is available just for $99.
2. Marantz Pro MPM-1000
The Marantz Pro MPM-1000 is a high-quality condenser mic with a cardioid polar pattern. Thanks to its high sensitivity and smooth frequency response, this mic offers a richer sound that you may not experience even with some of the most expensive buys out there.
It’s pretty durable and comes with a windscreen, a shock mount, and a tripod stand. For those searching for the best XLR mic under $100, this one comes as a pleasant surprise for just $59.
3. Audio-Technica ATR2100x-USB
Don’t go by its name. The ATR2100x-USB offers both USB digital and XLR analog outputs. So, if you’re looking for a microphone that can connect to your computer for digital recording and with your sound system’s conventional microphone input while live streaming, then this is the one to go for.
Amongst its many cool features is its built-in headphone jack, which allows easy monitoring. There’s also the popular cardioid polar pattern for reduced pickup of unwanted noises from the sides and rear. Retailing at around $99, the ATR2100x-USB also comes with a tripod desk stand with folding legs. Quality and portability, guaranteed.
4. Samson Q2U
Okay, so if you’re a live streaming enthusiast, the chances are high that you came across the Samson Q2U at least once in your life. Another excellent dynamic mic that offers digital and analog audio capture convenience, the Q2U also features a cardioid pickup pattern. And is a great purchase for those looking for less background noise and quality output while choosing one of the best XLR mics.
While the On/Off switch controls for both USB and XLR audio output ensure functionality, the die-cast construction ensures rugged performance. For $69.99, it comes with a mic clip, a desktop tripod stand with extension, a foam windscreen, an XLR cable, and a USB cable. Now, that’s undoubtedly one fantastic package for the price.
5. Audio-Technica AT2020
With its custom-engineered low-mass diaphragm, the Audio-Technica AT2020 is our next favorite. If you’re looking for an XLR mic that offers extended frequency and excellent transient response, this is your best bet.
This one, too, comes with a cardioid polar pattern, which means reduced background noise pickup and improved isolation of your desired sound source. The high SPL handling and wide dynamic range add to the performance of this microphone. With a retail price that starts from $99, it’s definitely a great buy for when you’re on a budget.
6. AKG P220
The AKG P220 boasts of a large-diaphragm, a switchable bass-cut filter, and an attenuation pad. With all of this and a stunning design, it’s one of the best picks for a budget XLR mic. The overall sound is warm and perfect for use on loud sound sources. In fact, this cool mic can handle sound pressure levels up to 155dB SPL.
The P220 comes with a spider-type shock mount and an aluminum carrying case as well. Packed with these goodies, this one comes at $119. Now, that’s a steal deal.
The Best XLR Mics when you’re looking for high-end options
1. RØDE PodMic
The RØDE PodMic is another outstanding microphone from the iconic brand. This one provides a rich, balanced sound, thanks to its internal pop filter that minimizes plosives. The internal shock mounting also works perfectly to reduce vibration. While it delivers excellent results when used with the RØDECaster™ Pro Podcast Production Studio, you can use it with any high-quality mic interface and achieve a great performance.
Aesthetic-wise, its robust, all-metal construction makes it an impressive professional mic. And for $99, it’s the ideal combination of performance and looks when you’re looking for an XLR mic on a budget.
2. Shure SM7B
A remarkable mic from Shure, the SM7B is a budget-friendly dynamic vocal microphone. It uses a cardioid polar pattern cutting on the surrounding noise. What you get as a result is crystal-clear sound in your streams without that annoying background noise. It’s no wonder why many top live streamers, including Tfue uses this mic.
Here’s a look at his gaming setup if you want to know what else makes to his rig, apart from the Shure SM7B:
Coming back to this awesome mic, its wide-range frequency response makes the SM7B a good choice for live broadcasts. With air suspension shock isolation, advanced electromagnetic shielding, and a pop filter, it eliminates mechanical noise, breathiness, and the sound coming from computer devices and other equipment.
Available at a listing price of $399, the Shure SM7B is a pick for pro streamers.
3. Electro-Voice RE-20
If you’re a lover of that classic sound of FM radio voices, then the Electro-Voice RE20 dynamic cardioid microphone is what you need. Besides its characteristic smooth and controlled sonic character, its voice tailored frequency response also makes it a cult in the live streaming industry.
Whether you pick it for its Variable-D design that offers minimal proximity effect or its internal pop filter, you’re sure to get a powerful vocal mouthpiece. For the superior quality it delivers, the mic is premium priced at $449.
4. RØDE Procaster
Well-known for its broadcast quality sound, the RØDE Procaster Broadcast-Quality Dynamic Microphone is an ideal pick for live streamers looking for a low-priced substitute for the Shure SM7B. Apart from an internal shock mounting, it also features an internal pop-filter to improve the audio output quality.
This versatile mic comes with a tight polar pattern and balanced low impedance output, making it the go-to mic for live streams demanding superior ambient noise rejection. It retails at $229.
5. Heil PR 40
With a wide frequency range, the Heil PR 40 is next on the list. This quality mic features an all-metal body, a metal grill, and a built-in pop filter amongst its other incredible components. And thanks to its cardioid polar pattern, this directional mic brilliantly rejects the off-axis sound – giving you clear audio output.
The PR 40 also comes with a low mass diaphragm and custom magnet metals, which makes it one of the best XLR mics. Plus, it is also available in various colors, including black, black with a gold grill, champagne, gold plate, or chrome plate. Get your pick at $329. It could be all you have been looking for.
6. Electro-Voice RE320
You looked at how incredible the Electro-Voice RE20 is, now make way for its younger sibling, the RE320. Quite similar to the RE20, this one too features a Variable‑D design. There’s an integrated humbucking coil to keep the hum at the lowest possible level and integral pop filters that ensure a genuinely noiseless performance. Buy it for its tonal and transient response, and of course, its natural tone.
At a price point of $249 and with such pleasing aesthetics, it’s a great pick for any live streamer.
7. Stellar X2
Want a condenser microphone that gives a smooth sound without breaking the bank? The Stellar X2 could be a great fit. From high output signal to low distortion and a balanced sound, it offers all you’d expect from a high-quality mic. The low self-noise and high sensitivity also work well to provide a substantial level of depth when it comes to audio in your live streams.
Furthermore, with the spring shock mount and foam wind cover, it gives you the portability you need to live stream on the go. At $199.99, it’s a must-have if you don’t want to go overboard with your mic investment but still need a device that offers crisp, clear sound.
8. Shure MV7
Another amazing dynamic microphone from Shure, the MV7 has both USB and XLR outputs. Thanks to its Voice Isolation Technology, this mic helps you get clear sound without background or room noise interrupting your live broadcast. The built-in 3.5mm headphone jack also helps you monitor the sound with ease. You can also adjust mic gain, headphone volume, and more with the built-in touch panel.
However, the USP of the MV7 is that you can configure and set it up using the ShurePlus™ MOTIV app and then pick from Auto Level Mode or Manual Mode as per your preferences. Available for $249, it’s one of the best XLR mics on the market.
9. Neumann U 87 Ai Studio Set
If there’s one studio microphone that’s the gold standard for XLR mics, it’s the Neumann U 87 Ai. Well, so does the brand says. And we also believe it. After all, it’s been a part of the industry for more than 50 years.
From its elegant looks to its refined sound, everything is brilliant about this piece. And, so, apart from your live broadcasts, this one comes in handy for a range of applications. The credit goes to its three polar patterns along with pad and low-cut options. With its large-diaphragm, impressive headgrille design, and shock mount, this mic produces smooth audio without any distortion.
Now, moving to its price – at $3,600, this one is a rather expensive buy. But its high-end components make it worth the premium price tag.
Your live streams are valuable. Don’t spoil them with below-average audio. Invest in one of the best XLR mics for high-quality sound in your broadcasts. And your audience will love your content even more.
Check out how StreamYard can help you level up your live streams.