Have you ever recorded something only to play it back and realize you can barely hear your own voice? Sometimes, cheap microphones pick up unnecessary background noise, drowning out the voices you really want to capture.
But even good mics can be too sensitive. Whether it’s due to a mistake in the settings or a program blunder, we’re here to teach you how to turn down your mic sensitivity so you can record crisp, clear, and high quality sound.
At the end of the day, what distinguishes great sound and ear-splitting noise is your mic sensitivity. If your recording sounds choppy, muffled, or just too loud to listen to, then you should be adjusting your input sensitivity.
Microphone sensitivity refers to your capsule or hardware’s ability to pick up sound. It’s determined by the ability of audio recording devices to convert acoustic energy into electrical energy.
If you remember how a mic’s internal makeup works, it uses sound waves to measure air pressure changes in the environment. A hyper-sensitive diaphragm will be able to pick up those changes easily, while a more dynamic mechanism will focus on louder noises and suppress the rest.
A dynamic mic is generally better for vocal work. It won’t record unnecessary noise, thus enhancing the quality of your sound. It’s also helpful for everyday use – you’ll be able to speak on Zoom meetings without feedback ruining your audio.
Your mic’s noise suppression is another factor that contributes to sound quality. The ideal microphone device should be able to mute your computer’s internal audio and reduce unwanted background noise, while at the same time amplifying louder sounds such as your voice. Buying a mic with good noise suppression is a great investment, especially if your profession relies on great audio quality.
Mic volume shouldn’t be confused with microphone sensitivity. The volume level refers to the loudness or quietness of the audio being picked up and recorded by your device. You can increase or decrease the volume of your sound output through the control panel without necessarily altering your mic’s sensitivity level.
If your problem seems to be related to volume, such as a quiet or distant voice when trying to record audio, check out our guide to adjusting the volume of your audio devices through device settings.
If you’ve noticed that your mic or audio recording device tends to pick up unnecessary sound, the problem could lie in one of three things: your microphone volume settings, microphone sensitivity, or a loud sound source.
The first problem we addressed in a previous guide. But if you’re recording in an environment that is generally quite loud, we definitely suggest eliminating background noise first before recording. We give tips on that here.
What we will be focusing on in this article is when your microphone seems to be too sensitive. Even though you’re in a relatively quiet room recording, you could still hear the sound of a ceiling fan or the twitter of birds outside, and they seem to be at the same volume as your voice is. That means you might need to fix mic sensitivity.
Thankfully, it’s possible to change mic sensitivity using your computer’s sound settings. You can increase mic sensitivity or decrease it depending on your preference. Read on to find out how.
The first thing we’d recommend is to avoid buying cheap microphones. Good quality ones tend to be pricier, but if you have the budget, then we suggest investing in a dynamic microphone with excellent noise cancellation features. That way, you won’t have to worry about adjusting device properties on your computer as you’d already have chosen the best hardware and sound option.
Many experts also suggest buying a 3.5mm microphone over USB audio devices. This is because the former generally offers a superior sound.
However, if you’re not yet ready to buy a new mic, there are audio accessories that can fix mic sensitivity. Getting an air filter, also known as a pop filter, can help you record crisp and clear audio without unwanted noise.
There are a few ways you can change mic sensitivity depending on the device you’re using. Below, we’ll outline the steps for adjusting mic sensitivity (Windows, Mac, Apple and iOS devices).
If you’re running a Microsoft computer, the good news is that it’s relatively easy to tweak mic sensitivity in Windows 10. All you have to do is make your way to the microphone properties window in Settings.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to adjusting mic sensitivity in Windows 10:
Once you’ve adjusted the slider controls, it’s time to test your microphone. Record your voice, play it back, and tweak the levels shown on the sounds settings window until you get the desired output.
You can also check if you have Microphone Boost on too high. While microphone boost helps increase mic volume, it makes it harder for your input device to block out unwanted noise. You can open those settings when you select Control Panel > Hardware & Sound > Recording.
Not a Windows 10 user? Don’t worry. It’s not only Windows 10 that lets you adjust your mic’s sensitivity when playing audio. You can do it on Mac too, and the process is actually not that different from adjusting sensitivity in Windows 10.
Just head over to System Preferences, then select Sound. Under that, go to Input where you’ll find a slider for microphone gain. An Ambient Noise Reduction switch is available in the same window.
If there’s one thing that can ruin a fun voice chat with friends, it’s an unrelentless stream of unwanted noise that makes you unintelligible. When this happens, you can always check your Discord settings.
Simply click on the User Settings cog which you’ll find on the bottom left corner or left-hand side of your program. Go to Voice & Video. Look for the Microphone tab and select your recording hardware. Input sensitivity on Discord is usually set to automatic, so make sure you revert it to manual.
Now that we’ve outlined how to adjust your sensitivity on Windows and Mac, you should be on your way to recording clear and crisp vocals.
Check out our website for more information on the best dynamic mics in the market this year.