For most of us, microphones built into our laptops, mobile phones, and headsets are good enough to get the job done for a relaxing gaming session.
However, for real gaming enthusiasts, the audio quality provided by most inbuilt mics and headsets is not good enough for communicating with their friends in-game or even for streaming purposes. If you’re serious about ultimately optimizing every aspect of your gaming experience, then you definitely must’ve considered upgrading your mic at some point.
When choosing to buy a stand-alone gaming mic, you should have come across a few condenser mics advertised as gaming-friendly and marketed heavily by gaming gear companies, but are condenser mics good for gaming in reality? Or are there better alternatives out there?
Well, condenser microphones can be good for gaming if the environment you’re going to use them in is a quiet one without too much background noise.
But that is rarely the case, and more often than not, condenser mics pick up too much background noise, such as mouse clicks, keypresses on your keyboards, and noisy roommates, which is never ideal.
This is why condenser mics can be bad for your gaming setup, and a better alternative could be a good-quality dynamic microphone instead.
To better understand the pros and cons of condenser mics and the answer to the question “are condenser mics good for gaming purposes?” we need to discuss a few things about these types of microphones in detail.
Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about condenser mics and gaming, as well as the possible alternative type of microphones you could try instead. So, let’s dig in.
What Are Condenser Mics And Are Condenser Mics Good For Gaming?
To fully answer the question, are condenser mics good for gaming? We first need to dive deeper and understand how condenser mics work and what they’re designed to be used for.
Condenser microphones are also sometimes called capacitor microphones because it has a similar construction to a capacitor. Capacitors are a pair of metal plates close to each other that change with the distance between the plates.
Similarly, a condenser microphone’s capsule comprises a thin diaphragm or membrane close to a metal plate. This diaphragm is often electrically conductive, and when mechanical sound waves hit this membrane, it vibrates up and down relative to the metal plate.
The distance between these two conductive surfaces changes, and as a result, the capacitance changes as well. Therefore, the capacitance alternates according to the sound wave’s pattern. These variations in capacitance are how sound waves are converted into electrical signals.
To register these variations, there needs to be a charge across the capacitor system to begin with. This is why all condenser mics require a power supply.
Condenser microphones are often used in professional studios and properly sound-treated rooms to help capture vocals and high-frequency sounds with good accuracy and detail. Due to the thin, lightweight membrane and high sensitivity, condenser mics are good at picking up delicate sounds.
This means that they are great for capturing low-volume sounds in great detail and amplifying them. This is why they are used to record vocals or acoustic guitars in a studio setting. But this setup can be a wrong choice for use in gaming due to picking up too much ambient background noise.
A simple way to understand condenser mics is to imagine them as magnifying glasses that capture sound waves and amplify them accurately. Unless your gaming setup is in a quiet, sound-treated room, you’re better off sticking with something like a dynamic microphone.
What Are Dynamic Microphones And Where Are They Used?
Dynamic mics are commonly used in louder environments with booming sounds, such as during a live concert. Due to their lower sensitivity, they do a much better job at blocking unwanted ambient and room noise.
This also makes them perfect and ideal for gaming or streaming setups. Dynamic mics do a great job of loud broadcasting audio such as a gamer’s voice and block out all other unwanted noise present in the environment. This is the reason why dynamic microphones are even called “broadcast microphones” by many.
Dynamic microphones have a different design philosophy to condenser mics. They are commonly referred to as moving-coil microphones. These mics make use of electromagnetic induction to help record audio. The insides of dynamic microphones contain a membrane with an induction coil fixed.
This induction coil is placed inside a magnetic field of a magnet, and when waves of sound enter the microphone, the membrane vibrates according to the rhythm of the sound.
Hence the wire coil moves back and forth inside the magnetic field and produces a varying current. This variable current is how sound waves are transduced and translated into electrical energy.
Another reason why gamers could utilize dynamic microphones is due to their durable and rugged nature. Dynamic mic’s internal components aren’t as fragile as some condenser mics; they don’t need external power supplies and are pretty affordable, too, usually significantly cheaper than condenser mics.
All these features make dynamic mics great value for money and rugged enough to survive any unexpected and nasty falls during your gaming session.
All in all, dynamic mics are an excellent choice for gamers as they are more than capable of use in gaming and streaming, with an output level high enough to work directly with most mic inputs with a perfect signal-to-noise ratio. They also require close to no maintenance, and proper care will ensure they last for a very long time.