The most popular question I get is “how do I make my mic sound better?” It seems like a simple enough question, but there are actually many things you can do to improve the quality of your recordings.
The microphone is one of the most important pieces to a successful recording. If your mic sounds bad, then you have no chance of sounding great! But how can you ensure that your mic doesn’t sound bad? We’re going to share 10 tips that will help you fix the problem!
But first, let’s try to understand why a microphone sounds bad so we can figure out how to make it sound better. What are the reasons behind this problem?
Two major factors will affect the quality of your recordings: room acoustics and noise pollution. If you don’t have a quiet place to record or if there is too much background noise in your area, then these problems will carry over into any recording – including voice! Here’s our list of ways to help solve both issues…
1. Position yourself at the right distance
Positioning yourself correctly from the microphone is a great way to start improving your sound. If you’re too far away, it will be hard for us to hear you and if you’re up close then we’ll pick up any unwanted noises. It’s best to record around 20 cm/eight inches away from the front of your mic (or about one hand-length).
If that doesn’t work, try moving back another 30cm/12in and see if that works better. You can also adjust how high or low your microphone sits – most mics don’t need their capsules more than eight centimeters off of a desk surface…
As long as you position yourself at an appropriate distance with good posture and make sure that you’re not too close or too far away, then you won’t have to worry much about bad room acoustics!
Of course, many other factors will affect your recordings like reverb (a lack of it) and background noise. We’ll talk more about those in tips.
2. Record in a quiet room with no background noises
Recording in a quiet place is the first step to making your sound better. If there are too many back noises (from cars, construction, or any other source) then our microphone will pick that up and it’ll be hard for us to focus on what you’re saying!
The best way to test this is by recording yourself talking while playing some music at a normal volume. Then playback your audio afterward and see if we can hear the background noise – like traffic or an airplane passing overhead…
If you can still make out sounds of nature but not much else, then congratulations! Your recording environment isn’t noisy! But if all of those crazy outside noises come through loud and clear, then you might find a quieter room with less background noise.
3. Record in a room with soft surfaces around
It’s also a great idea to record in a room with objects around you. These soft surfaces will absorb some of the sounds and make your recordings quieter while reducing echoes! This is especially important if it sounds like we can hear an echo when listening back on our end.
Although not all mics pick up ambient noise, some do – which means that they’ll pick up any reverb or echos from surrounding walls and furniture…
There are many ways to fix this issue including using a pop filter, moving away from hard surfaces, installing acoustic panels/furniture, etc… But hopefully, these small changes will be enough so that we won’t have to worry about bad acoustics.
And talking about pop filters…
4. Use a pop filter
A pop filter is an attachment that you’ll need to use to prevent plosives (that’s when air blows into the microphone and makes it sound like “puh puh” or “tih tih”).
If these sounds aren’t filtered out, they can potentially damage our recording application and annoy your listeners. You don’t want us hearing popping noises every few seconds! So be sure to invest in a high-quality one…
You might also consider using foam windscreens instead of filters – but either way is equally effective. The main difference between them is how much noise/reverb they cut down on along with their durability over time. It’s ultimately up to your personal preference which route you choose.
5. Set your microphone input levels to around 75%
This step is pretty self-explanatory. If you set your input levels too low, then we won’t be able to hear everything that you’re saying clearly…
On the other hand, if they’re turned up way too high, distortion kicks in and we won’t be able to make out any words. So aim for around 75% and see how that works! This is a general rule for speakers, headphones, recording devices, etc. In general, you don’t want to go over 70-8’0% of the max input/output to avoid distortion.
6. Invest in a high-quality microphone and recording apps
The microphones and recording apps that we use can make a huge difference.
For example, if you’re using the built-in microphone on your device or even an older model of headset/headphones then chances are they won’t pick up low frequencies very well… And this is bad for anyone who has a deep voice! It’ll sound like you have something stuffed in your mouth – not professional at all!
No matter how many tips you end up taking if your hardware can’t keep up with your work 🙂
So try to invest as much money as possible into these tools because it will help us hear what’s going on better from both ends. Plus, there are many different types of mics out there so be sure to do some research first before purchasing one…
7. Keep the microphone off your desk or any moving objects
If your mic is touching anything, it can pick up even the tiniest sounds – like a cardigan brushing against its surface or you shuffling in your chair. This is a common problem for PC streamers or gamers where the mic picks up all of the keyboard and mouse sounds and it’s annoying.
This also goes for any other objects that might be able to move around and make noise (like cables). So try to keep them away from everything/anything that could potentially cause disruptions during recording sessions…
It’s always better if we hear only what comes directly into the microphone instead of outside noises! Plus, this step helps prevent unwanted editing later on down the line too so take note 🙂
You can use a microphone arm/clamp to do this or just place it somewhere away from your desk as long as it’s still in the desired distance. There are tons of these online and they’re relatively cheap (around $15-25 USD). So you don’t have to worry about breaking the bank here 🙂
8. Make sure you’re using the right side of the microphone
This step is meant for podcasting or anyone who has a dynamic mic that’s not integrated into their laptop/PC/phone.
Many microphones, such as the very popular Blue Yeti, have a recording side that’s meant to be used. If you’re not sure which one is the right side, there should be an indicator on your mic itself letting you know what it is… or read the instructions!
If this isn’t available or hard to notice then just make a mental note of where your head usually goes when speaking into the microphone and try recording from that same angle! This will help tremendously with voice quality because otherwise, we’ll hear all sorts of weird stuff coming out of our speakers and it won’t record the things that matter (a.k.a. your voice).
10. Use a noise reduction software
Many recording apps have their own noise reduction features but it’s always better to use third-party software.
For example, Audacity has its own built-in feature that helps with sound cleanup and the ability to reduce background noise… But there are many other tools out there such as DeNoise (paid), Noisecanceler (free), or Noise Ninja (also free).
Some microphones have this feature enabled by default when recording (such as the Airpods), but having access to it after recording the value or simply adjust the noise reduction levels is always a great idea.
The bottom line – How to improve mic quality
You can always improve the way your mic sounds by trying out different tips and tricks! Plus, all of these recording apps and tricks are relatively cheap so nothing is stopping any gamer or streamer from investing in them to improve their recording game 🙂
Remember that all of these steps can be used for both streaming and podcasting so if you ever find yourself in need of better quality sound, just try out some new things! There’s no harm done by trying. Now that you know how to make mic sound better, remember to leave comments below if you have any questions or suggestions we could add.