Although owning the best USB mic out there will definitely help in making you sound great, it’s still critical to configure your USB mic to its optimal settings when live streaming or creating content so you can achieve the highest quality of sound possible.
Without adjusting the settings of your USB mic, you run the risk of distorting your voice during the stream when you get too loud or possibly make it difficult for your viewers to hear your voice over the gameplay. We also don’t want your USB mic to pick up any background noises during the stream as this can get distracting.
Here’s a guide on how to configure the settings of your condenser USB mic so you may avoid these issues while sounding your best when streaming!
What is the Best Mic Setting?
Whether it’s a Blue Yeti Pro USB Microphone or a Rode NT-USB Microphone, chances are, you own a condenser microphone if you are using a USB mic. Regardless of the brand or model of your condenser USB mic, you may follow the steps below in configuring the best settings for your microphone when streaming.
- Connect your USB mic to the USB port of your laptop or desktop.
- Once the microphone has been detected, open up the “Sound” menu.
- Click on the “Recording” tab, right-click on the name of your USB mic, and select “Properties”.
- Under the “Microphone Properties” menu, click on the “Levels” tab, and adjust the mic levels to somewhere between 70% to 80%.
- Connect your USB mic to the USB port of your laptop.
- Once the microphone has been detected, open up the “System Preferences” menu.
- Click on the “Speaker” icon. This should be labeled as “Sound”.
- Under the “Sound” menu, click on the “Output” tab, and select the speakers you want as your default playback device.
- Click on the “Input” tab and select your USB mic as the default device.
- Adjust the balance slider to somewhere in the center.
If you want to go the extra mile in configuring the settings of your USB mic, you may install an audio interface and tweak the settings via OBS. This can be done whether you are a Windows or a Mac user. For purposes of this guide, we will be using the free VST package of ReaPlugs, but you can opt to make use of other audio mixers.
- Download and install the free VST package of ReaPlugs.
- Open “OBS”. From your audio mixer, click on the gear icon and select “Filters”.
- You should be directed to the “Mic” menu where you then have to click on the “+” icon. Once it loads, add “Noise Suppression” from the list.
- Adjust the “Noise Suppression” level according to your preference. However, we suggest that you start at -10dB and decrease it up to a point where your USB mic is not picking up any ambient noise. The main purpose of this step is to help prevent your USB mic from picking up any background noise and ambient sounds during your stream.
- Once you have adjusted the “Noise Suppression” level to your liking, click on the “+” symbol and add “Noise Gate” to the list so you may remove subtle noises that can be picked up by your USB mic.
- While the “Noise Gate” is open, speak directly to the mic as you normally would during a stream and observe the “Close Threshold” and “Open Threshold” options. Adjust the “Close Threshold” meter by raising the level until your voice cuts out.
- Once your voice cuts out, you can slightly increase your dB and set the “Open Threshold” to a level just a tad bit more than the “Close Threshold” levels. This will help in further removing any background noise.
- Return to the “+” symbol and add “VST 2.x Plug-in”. Once it loads, select “reaeq-standalone” and click on “Open Plug-In Interface”.
- You should be able to see your unlimited-band equalizer where you can adjust the volume of your voice at different frequencies. Take note that the optimal frequencies will differ per mic so it’s best for you to familiarize yourself with what frequency range your USB mic works best in and how to equalize it.
- Return to the “+” symbol and add “Compressor” to the list. Adjusting the settings here will help raise the volume of your mic when it’s too quiet while also limiting the volume for when it is too loud. This helps in making your USB mic sound more consistent throughout the stream without distorting the sound.
- Tune the “Compressor” by setting the ratio to 4:1. As for the threshold, set it to 0 and gradually lower the level until your voice starts to get quieter. It’s best to monitor the levels by looking at the mixer bar. Once the bar drops, set the threshold to 10 dB. As for the output gain, you may raise the volume to your preference while talking at your loudest. Once the level touches the red zone, you can start lowering the gain while talking again at your loudest. Make sure that your voice gets close to the red zone without actually crossing the line.
- Return to the “+” and add “Limiter” to the list. This feature will help your USB mic cut off any sound that will go beyond a certain range so your voice will remain natural sounding. Under “Release”, place the level between 10 and 100ms.
While owning the best USB mic is already half the battle in making the sound quality of your streams sound great, configuring the settings of your microphone will make all the difference to make it sound even better.