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If you’re one to record voiceovers or conduct video calls, then chances are you already own a computer microphone. You know that the internal computer mic may not cut it, so you have decided to purchase a decent microphone for your PC to make you sound better.
However, after a few recordings and video call voice quality technical difficulties, you may start to wonder if you’re the problem or the microphones.
Wonder and worry no more! If you’re looking to improve the sound quality of your external computer microphone, then you’ve come to the right place. By following this how-to guide we’ve created, your sound issues regarding your computer mic will be gone and you’ll be assured of great sound from here on out.
Here are 6 tips that are worth noting to help improve the overall sound and audio quality of your computer mic and recordings.
There are different types of microphones in the market and each has a specific setting and function best used. With that said, it pays to know what is the best type of computer mic to use for your needs and requirements as this will play a huge role in your audio recordings as well as movement.
Generally, three types of microphones are best used for the computer.
If you plan on using your computer mic for gaming or need to keep your hands free, then headsets may be the best computer mic for you. With a built-in mic and headphones that will sit on your ears, can help you flexibly record audio. Recording and creating content using headsets are also often done by gamer streamers.
If you’re looking for portability and ease of setup, USB microphones are a great choice! With a plug-and-play setup, a USB mic is perfect for recording music, podcasts, and content may it be on the go or for when you have little space to play around with. Some models will let you adjust the microphone gain level using a physical knob and tweak the audio input level directly once connected to the PC, which are great pros to have for a recording device.
If you’re looking for the highest level of microphone quality and audio recording, then XLR microphones are your top pick. With sound settings, input settings, and an audio interface that will help you tweak further the quality of your audio recording and the microphone itself, XLR mics are the professional standard. However, the trade-off here is the price point and setup required.
No matter the type you are using or the device you are recording in, tweaking the settings will always help in improving the sound. Here are the basic ways how to adjust the input settings of your microphone via Windows or Mac.
You can also check out how to adjust the settings of your mic when conducting live streams or using OBS filters in the other guide we have created.
Depending on the type of microphone you are using, you will need to know the optimal distance and position it will require for the best sound possible. By positioning it properly, your audio recording will have the least amount of background noise.
A microphone with headphones will need at least 1-3 inches of distance away from your mouth so no wind noise or plosives will be recorded from your speaking voice. Make sure that the front of the microphone is facing or pointing towards your mouth and not the speakers so no sound distortion will be picked up in the audio recording.
For a USB mic, you will need to position it 6-12 inches away from your face or the sound source you would like to be recorded. Having a microphone stand will help in positioning it more securely, but in also avoiding any sound vibrations from getting picked up. It’s also best to angle a USB mic upwards to prevent any plosives and wind noise from getting picked up, but a pop filter will also help in this area.
As for an XLR mic, keep a distance of 6 to 12 inches between your mouth and the mic. If you position it any closer, then the audio recording will sound boomy and muddy. If you also keep it too close to the sound source or speakers, then an audio distortion or echo may occur.
Your microphone must be facing toward the sound source that you want to be recorded. This can be properly done by knowing the polar pattern of your mic. The polar pattern will determine where the “front” and “back” of your mic are.
Positioning your device accordingly will help the intended audio or your voice to be recorded more clearly while rejecting any noise from the “back” of your mic. If your mic has an omnidirectional polar pattern, then it will be able to pick up sounds coming from all sides of the room.
To minimize or prevent any unwanted noise from getting picked up, you will need to choose a strategic location. It could be that your mic is situated where wind noise from the fan or AC can be picked up thus, resulting in an audio recording where the noise is loud enough to drown out your voice. Regardless, sometimes the noise you hear in your audio recording can be solved just by simply relocating.
Avoid placing the device too near the PC’s keyboard or mouse to avoid any of the clacks and clicks. Keep a good distance between the mic and the speakers so there will be no echo or distortion. The volume from other sounds coming from the PC, such as the voices of other people in a conference or a fellow gamer can be picked up if placed too near.
The audio will also help if you design the room you will be recording in optimized for the mic. A large space with ample dimensions can give you a flatter audio response hence, better acoustics. This will also help produce a flutter and richer sound.
Sometimes the audio can be improved simply by checking for any background noise. You can do this by using headphones to monitor the audio that you recorded and decipher where and what is making the noises. By pinpointing all the background noises, you may be able to find out where in the room you can best place your mic and what else you’ll need to do to remove background noise.
There are also apps and programs to help you control noise levels. Recording apps such as Audacity or Adobe Audition can help you remove noise, adjust the audio volume, and more. All this can be done via the operating system that will flash in front of your screen.
Lower the noise volume by investing in accessories such as pop filters, windscreens, and boom arms.
A pop filter will help reduce plosives that can be picked up from the “popping” sounds from any dialogue. Windscreen can block out any wind noise coming from a fan, the AC, or your breathing. A boom arm will not only stabilize a microphone but also help prevent any desk vibrations from getting picked up.
There are plenty of ways to further enhance and improve the audio and sound quality of your microphone. Tweaking the settings, position, and location can make all the difference from muffled audio to a clear one.
The best audio levels range from -10 to -12db. If you want the audio to be on the quiet side, then you keep the noise floor level above and maximize the signal-to-noise ratio.
There are plenty of factors that may contribute to poor sound quality. It can be that the settings were not optimized, incorrect positioning, poor location placement, or too much external noise is getting picked up.
You can hear the audio more closely by using headphones to listen. You can also monitor the audio via an app or audio interface.
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