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How To Get the Best Mic Recording Sound

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We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again – audio makes up 50% of any video we watch. Not everyone has the means to record in a private studio, but short of renting out a place, there are so many ways you could create a high-quality recording even if in the comfort of your own room.


Below, we share some excellent tips and tricks on how to maintain the integrity of your sound recording. Keep scrolling to find out what they are.


Choosing the Right Microphone For Audio Quality

Good sound starts at pre-production, and there’s no better way to assure high-quality audio than buying a microphone suited for your needs. There are tons of microphone types available on the market, but here are the main ones that you should know about:

Condenser

Condenser microphones, formerly called “liquid” microphones, are mics with very sensitive diaphragms that are able to capture sounds with a low audio signal (think soft acoustic guitars or quiet vocals) in great depth and quality. You can find these types of microphones in a private recording studio where sounds get absorbed by acoustic panels.

Needless to say, recorded audio sounds great on condenser mics. If you’ve got access to a professional recording studio and want to record high-quality audio without background noise, a condenser mic is ideal. Be warned that they’re not exactly cheap – the price range for models with decent sound quality is $400-$3,000, with some professional-grade models priced even higher. 

Dynamic

Versatile and hardworking, dynamic microphones are much less sensitive than condensers in the sense that they can handle loud or higher sounds without being overpowered. They contain a Mylar diaphragm and use electromagnetic induction to capture sound waves.

A dynamic microphone will be able to clearly capture louder instruments such as drums, electric guitars, and horns without distortion, which is why you’ll find it mostly used onstage or in a spacious room. Dynamic mics can also handle background noise quite well when recording audio – you won’t have a lot of cleaning up to do post-production if you do go with this kind of microphone.

Additionally, if you want to save a little money and still invest in quality sound recording, then dynamic mics are the best option. They’re recommended for people who want to record music and anyone with a limited recording space. To get you started, we’ve compiled a list of the best dynamic mics in the business, which includes some of the most popular microphone brands from Audio-Technica to Shure.

USB 

There are also microphones meant for amateur use but are great for those who want high-quality audio on a budget. USB microphones fall into this category, and the rise of at-home video making and podcasting has created a gigantic market for USB mics.

Portable and accessible, USB mics allow anyone to record, stream, or create Youtube videos in the comfort of their home. Because these microphones are essentially plug-and-play, they’re much more accessible to beginners and can be connected directly to a computer or laptop without the need for an external sound mixer or XLR. Suffice it so say that they’re a huge step forward from the built-in microphone.

Even though they’re cheaper than most microphones, there are plenty of USB mics that produce a high-quality sound recording. Industry giants like Rode, Shure, and Blue all have USB mics in their roster, and if there’s anything we trust, it’s the brands that have been around for decades. If you want to quickly record audio without spending ages on setup, you should consider getting a USB mic.

Lavaliers

Another wonderful option is the portable lavalier, also known as a lapel microphone or a clip-on mic. Lavs are great because they keep the microphone close to the subject while letting you record at a distance. These are often used professionally in television, broadcasting, and filmmaking, but they’re also popular for individual use such as game streaming and podcasting.

Lavaliers can be dynamic or use a cardioid condenser capsule. Both types approach voice, noise, music, and other types of audio quite differently, and the right kind will still depend on your needs.


How to Enhance Your Microphone Sound Quality

Let’s say you’ve decided on what microphone you’re going to purchase or use. You’ve set up all your gear and prepared your script – all that’s left is to do is press the record button.

If you’ve done your homework and put some effort into setting up the room, you might come out with decent-sounding audio. However, most of the time, your first recording will sound bad. This is completely normal — most people will not be able to produce professional-sounding recordings on their first (or even second) try.

But there are so many ways that you can improve the quality of your recorded audio, whether it’s music, voice, or even just ambient noise. Below, we list some of the steps you can take to ensure that your recording device captures its sound source clearly and accurately.

Use a Pop Filter

Pop filters are attachments that remove the sound of plosives, which is basically the sound of air blowing into your microphone. Pop filters and windscreens are a surefire way to remove background noise that could annoy your listeners, especially if you’re recording outdoors. If you enjoy making YouTube videos with a lot of dialogue, having a pop filter can reduce background noises and keep viewers focused on your voice.

Keep the Mic Closer To Your Mouth

Here’s a tip that won’t cost you a dime: re-position your microphone. If you play your audio files back, you might notice that the volume of your voice is a little low. Speaking closer to the mic can let listeners hear you more clearly and help mute unnecessary outside noises because your mic picks up loud sounds easier.

Adversely, keeping your external microphone too close to your mouth can negatively affect your voice quality. The perfect distance will depend on each device, but generally, placing your mic around 1 to 3 inches away from your mouth can reduce distortion and echo without losing volume. Having a microphone stand can help you adjust distance and placement.

Turn Off Anything Around You That Makes Background Noise

Did you play back your recordings or videos and hear the sound of a ceiling fan getting in the way of what you’re saying?

Even when we’re in the room, it can be difficult to assess which elements around us actually make up a relevant chunk of noise, at least to our recording devices. The worst that could happen is recording a whole YouTube video or live stream without noticing how loud the car across the street actually sounds on the video.

To avoid this, make sure to listen for anything that might cause unnecessary sounds – put your phone on airplane mode if necessary. Then, do a test recording and listen for anything that may annoy your ear, and remove the source from your room.

Look For a Recording Room With Soft Surfaces

Recording in a room with bare walls and hard surfaces will make your sound echo. Soft surfaces also eliminate the possibility of accidentally making noise while you’re filming your podcast or YouTube video. 

Record On the Correct Side of the Microphone

Mics have different polar patterns, and they have varied input levels depending on where the sound is coming from. You have cardioid patterns where the most sound comes from in front of the mic, directional mics where sounds from the sides and rear end are muted, and so on.

To make the most out of your video recordings, whether it’s for music or YouTube, or a podcast, make sure you’re speaking into the right side of the mic so that it does not end up capturing some other source of sound. 

Similarly, you’ll want to watch where you place your mic. It’s best to have it pointed towards you, but try to place it below your mouth and not directly in front of it. 

Make Sure to Set Your Gain to an Appropriate Level

This can be adjusted through your computer or XLR settings. Take a look at our blog that’s all about how to enhance mic gain to improve your podcasts, YouTube videos, live streams, and more.


Final Note

There are plenty of ways that you can improve your recordings. With enough practice and the right technique, any beginner can record at pro levels.

Found this blog helpful? Keep an eye on our website for more informative content on all things audio.

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Ash Burnett

Hailing from Chicago, IL - Ash made his break into journalism at the age of 23 writing music reviews for a local website. Now in his late 30's and after being pulled closer towards the technical side of the music and live gig industry, he founded Shout4Music to write thorough microphone reviews.

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