Gaming is a huge part of my life, and I always use Discord when playing with my friends. But you’ll always have that one friend, where his or her microphone is absolutely atrocious, and you’ll literally hear everything in their room.
So to solve that, you’ll usually get a good gaming headset. Or… Should you get a standalone desktop microphone instead?
Now in terms of comparing the two, the most obvious difference is of course, that a headset is basically an All-In-One solution. You get both the microphone and headphones in one package.
That is the main reason why headsets are so popular and generally the first choice for most people. It’s simple, straight to the point, and you don’t need anything additional with it.
Yet, desktop microphones are getting more and more popular in the past couple of years. Partly because of the growing gaming scene, but also because it offers slightly more flexibility and arguably, a better microphone experience.
Desktop microphones also tend to offer more variety in terms of the polar pattern of the microphone itself.
Now, most, if not all headset microphones use a cardioid pattern, so it mainly picks up everything in a somewhat semi-circular fashion. As the microphone on the headset is usually positioned right by your mouth, this polar pattern works the best, and that’s why almost all headsets use this.
Similarly, the same is true for most desktop microphones as well, with cardioid being the optimum choice for most scenarios, such as gaming, streaming, or even voice-overs.
But some desktop microphones do offer other polar patterns like omnidirectional, which is what’s found on most lavaliers. It can record anything in a 360-degree pattern, useful for something like a band recording.
Stereo is another polar pattern which basically allows for more precise left and right channel separation, maybe for things like ASMR.
The last would be bi-directional, which is similar to stereo, just that it’s now front and back, and this is usually ideal for a two-person podcast, sitting across one another.
Sadly though, this Seiren Emote that I have right here only features a hypercardioid polar pattern. If you want access to the other polar patterns, you’ll have to take a look at microphones like the Blue series or the HyperX QuadCast, and a lot more, if you’re looking at more professional-grade microphones.
But I digress, most of us, gamers, will be looking at a microphone with a cardioid pattern.
We did a series of tests in the video, between the Razer Kraken Ultimate headset, the Razer Seiren Emote, as well as our standard professional set-up, which uses the BP-28 microphone from Audio Technica and a Rode VideoMicro.
Both the Razer products will be recorded directly to the desktop using DaVinci Resolve, while the other two microphones will be recorded via the TASCAM.
If you check out the video, you’ll have an idea of how the various microphones sounded. Just comparing the two gaming-centric products, we personally prefer Seiren Emote. There’s a little more depth to voices, and it’s also able to capture a little more bass while being cleaner overall. But even so, the headset works just as well.
With that said, however, you do have to take note that if you’re just using the Seiren Emote out of the box, you’ll most likely place it like this, between you and your keyboard. That also does mean that it’ll pick up the clicks and clacks when you’re typing.
If you’re looking to get a desktop microphone, we do suggest getting a boom arm and mount it overhead. This will not only allow you to increase the distance between the microphone and your keyboard, thereby reducing the noise, but also reduces vibrations that your microphone might pick up as you move about.
Now we do have to mention that the Razer Seiren Emote is kind of a unique microphone that can do more than just record your voice.
We’ll be honest. We don’t use the extra features at all. Nevertheless, this microphone does feature an 8-bit LED display which can be configured to show a variety of things, like images or GIFs, a selection of preset effects or even your own custom logo.
All these can also be configured to work with Twitch, Streamlabs, XSplit and OBS. So you can do things like, say, when you gain a follower to your Twitch channel, it can show a fire emote. Or maybe someone cheered, you can show… some salt. All these will happen real-time during your stream.
As you can tell, this microphone was aimed towards streamers… and that’s why we don’t use it. It’s fun and cool, but we much prefer to get a better sounding microphone at that price.
And yes, this microphone is pretty expensive, given what it is.
The Razer Seiren Emote retails for $270 Singapore Dollars, and at that price, there are many better options that will give you more flexibility and much better sound, such as the HyperX QuadCast or any of the Blue series. You can even get an Audio Technica AT2020 with a boom arm and a pop filter, and it’ll still be more affordable.
If you’re a fan of Razer, however, and you want a desktop microphone, I’ll say, take a look at the standard Seiren X instead. It’s exactly the same as the Seiren Emote, except without the 8-bit display, and it’s much more affordable.
But we now come to the question, is it worth upgrading to a desktop microphone?
In my opinion, yes, but it’ll vary depending on your situation. If you’re lacking in desk space, and perhaps more budget-conscious, go for a headset.
Personally, for me, I do not like to wear headphones for long periods of time, simply because of the weather here in Singapore. I’d much rather have earphones and a dedicated microphone.
This isn’t really a full in-depth comparison, nor perhaps, exactly that fair, considering we’re only comparing Razer products, but we do hope it gives you a little bit of insight and help when making your decision.
More information and purchase options for the Razer Seiren Emote (S$272.90) can be found on Razer’s website.