One of the remarkable developments of our age is the democratization of broadcasting. From kids streaming their games online, to podcasts, the migration from passive listeners to active content providers is profound, shifting the balance of power to motivated consumers. If you want to be heard, you want to be well-heard. That is where the BLUE Condenser Microphone ($109.88) comes in. This substantial microphone has exceptional sound quality and multiple pickup modalities, so it will work for one person, or two in an interview situation. A standard in the industry, there are options available for movable stands and pop-shields. It is a top-pick for game streamers and podcasters.
As far as I'm concerned, the best gaming keyboards come from Logitech. They have a variety of styles and price-points. The latest flagship product, the G915 LIGHTSPEED Wireless RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard ($234.99), is an engineering marvel featuring an ultra-slim, fully customizable, wireless design. Like many other Logitech G-series keyboards, this one is available with different key cap types, each with its own feel (and sound). I prefer gaming with a clicky keyboard, but my wife can't stand the sound, so (as you might guess) I game with a non-clicky keyboard. The keyboard has a very thin design that belies its heft, important for gamers who want the keyboard to stay in place. In addition to the function keys above the regular keys, there are five customizable function keys to the left of the board. I've never been a fan of this arrangement because I often mistake them for the Tab and Control keys. Still, in the right situation, being able to assign a macro string of commands can make the difference between victory and defeat (and can even be useful in day-to-day work related work). I do like the inclusion of a smooth scroll wheel that adjusts volume. The software is top-notch and actually offers incredible versatility and depth of power. Keep in mind that while the way you can program the colors of the keyboard LEDs is almost infinite, only the primary, unshifted part of the each key is lit. For example, you won't see the "@" sign above the 2 in a dark room. I sure wish this was an option.
PuroGamer Volume Limited Gaming Headphone ($49.99) I was riding up the elevator this morning and realized I could hear and even identify the music that someone else was playing on their earbuds. If I could tell what they were playing, imagine how loud it was, and what damage they were doing to their ears. That's why I'm a huge proponent of the volume-limiting tech incorporated into headphones by Puro. They have lots of models, including one with the look (and built in boom mike) of a gaming headset. The difference is that these won't play too loudly. Unlike baby-teeth, our children don't grow new ears as they get older, in fact, just the opposite...our hearing tends to diminish over time. Keeping the volume at a level that is fun to listen to, but not phyiscally damaging is a great idea. The trick, I suppose, is how to convince your kids not to get hung up on the packaging that suggests you're stripping the fun from the game. Also, the sound quality of this headset will disappoint those looking for big bass. So, if they are "all about that bass", just keep dancing past these phones.
With games getting ever bigger, having storage space is ever-appreciated. Extra room is particularly important if you subscribe to the Xbox subscription service, as you'll probably end up with more games than you might have if you were buying each one. Seagate's latest solution for gamers is a Star Wars themed Game Drive for Xbox ($99.99) that give 2 Terabytes of storage. Just plug it in and the galaxy will seem so much larger!