- What Are The Common Types of Microphones?
- What is A Bad Mic Quality?
- What Makes Your Microphone Sound Bad?
- How to Improve Your Mic Sound Quality
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Final Thoughts
A microphone is an essential component of any professional or home recording activity. The quality of your recordings will depend largely on the mic sound quality. You won’t be able to receive a professional graded voice recording if your microphone can’t provide you with a clean and clear sound quality.
A microphone helps to convert sound into an electrical signal. The quality of the microphone will determine how accurately this conversion takes place. A better quality microphone will result in a better quality recording.
In this article, we will discuss some ways you can improve the sound quality of your microphone.
What Are The Common Types of Microphones?
There are so many mics out there that it’s difficult to keep track of them. Even deciding on the best microphones is a difficult undertaking. There are four types of microphones that we will be discussing:
Ribbon technology has been around since the beginning of microphones. You can see presenters speaking into vintage ribbon microphones in photos from the golden era of broadcasting.
Ribbon microphones create their signal using a super thin ribbon of aluminum suspended between two magnets. They are well known for their lush and warm sound. Ribbon microphones are generally more expensive than their dynamic counterparts. Still, they have experienced a resurgence in popularity in recent years.
The first ribbon patterns were quite delicate. Moving them incorrectly or simply exposing them to high SPL might damage the ribbon. However, the sound was worth the trade-off in terms of durability. Many people look for ribbon microphones because of their warm, vintage sound.
They’re ideal for taming excessive high-end from components such as brass, drum overheads, or guitar amps. Ribbon microphones have a natural figure-eight polar pattern and are responsive to EQ.
Dynamic microphones are the workhorses of the mic world. They’re rugged, can handle high SPL, and are relatively inexpensive.
The most common type of dynamic microphone is the moving-coil microphone. This type of mic uses a thin wire (the coil) attached to a diaphragm. The diaphragm moves when sound waves hit it. This movement causes the coil to move, which generates an electrical current.
This current is amplified and used to create the final sound. Dynamic microphones are great for several applications, including vocals, drums, and guitars.
🎤Large Diaphram Condensor Microphones
When you think about studio recording microphones, large-diaphragm condenser mics are typically the first thing that pops out. They’re the enormous, elegant, and serious microphones in most recording studios.
Large-diaphragm condenser mics are popular because they produce a very clear and detailed sound. They’re also quite sensitive, which means they can pick up a wide range of frequencies.
Condenser microphones operate using a backplate and a diaphragm that is electrically charged. Sound waves hit the diaphragm, causing it to move. This movement varies the distance between the backplate and the diaphragm, which results in a change in capacitance.
This change in capacitance is turned into an electrical current, amplified, and used to create the final sound. They need a power source to function, such as 48V phantom power.
🎤Small Diaphram Condensor Microphones
Small-diaphragm condenser mics are similar to large-diaphragm microphones. Still, as the name implies, they have a smaller diaphragm. Many people use these microphones for recording acoustic instruments like guitars and drums. They’re also popular for use as room mics.
Small-diaphragm microphones are known for fast transient and extended frequency responses. They tend to be more accurate than large-diaphragm condenser microphones, but they’re also more expensive.
They’re especially useful for capturing realistic stereo pictures of genuine acoustic rooms. They’re also generally sold in pairs for stereo recording.
What is A Bad Mic Quality?
The sound quality of a microphone is generally judged by its ability to reproduce sounds accurately. A good microphone will reproduce the sound of a voice or an instrument without adding any coloration or distortion.
An excellent quality mic sounds are like you’re conversing at a kitchen table or at your workplace with a colleague. Your music should act as a “welcome mat,” inviting the listener in for a dialogue that feels personal.
On the other hand, a bad microphone will add its character to the sound it reproduces. This character might be desirable in some cases. Still, it will usually result in a less accurate reproduction of the original sound.
Some signs that you need to improve your mic sound quality include:
- Recording room echoes
- Mic bumping sounds
- Audio processing at its most extreme
- Other background noises: keyboard clicks, lawnmowers, animals, etc.
What Makes Your Microphone Sound Bad?
Several factors can contribute to poor mic sound quality. The most common problem is background noise. It can be due to many things, including electrical interference, mechanical vibrations, and air movement.
Another common problem is handling noise. It is the noise generated when you touch or move the microphone. It can be due to incorrect handling, loose parts, or poor construction.
Finally, the microphone type can also affect the mic sound quality. Some microphones are simply better than others at reproducing sound accurately.
What to check first to fix your microphone issues?
If you’re having problems with your microphone, you need to inspect first the mic port to check if anything is blocking it. Take the time to thoroughly clean away any dust and grime in the way. Is everything okay? So, let’s get this party started.
Even if you take extra care of your mic, dust and dirt will eventually collect. We carry our gadgets and headsets about in our pockets and backpacks, exposing them to various situations. Microphones and the ports that link them to the outside world are small in current technological gadgets. A tiny mesh-like membrane normally prevents dust and particles from impairing and interfering with the mic function.
How to Improve Your Mic Sound Quality
If you’re not happy with your microphone’s sound quality, you can do a few things to improve it.
⏩Adjust Windows microphone settings.
- Click the sound icon in the system tray at the bottom right of the screen. A little window identical to the one above will open if you left-click on it. Click the Recording.
- A pop-up window will now display, with the active microphone shown under the Recording tab. Right-click the microphone icon from the list of options and click “Properties.”
- A new window will open with several different tabs. Click “Levels.”
- Adjust the microphone volume to the maximum level using the first sliding setting.
- The second slider will increase the mic’s output. The minimum is set at 10 decibels, but the other levels are 20 decibels and 30 decibels. You’ll have to experiment to figure out the ideal setting for your mic.
- After making necessary adjustments, click OK to save your changes.
⏩Choose the right location.
Choose a place with little background noise if you’re filming a conversation. Recording next to a waterfall, crashing waves on the beach or the side of a busy street can generate a lot of noise. It is challenging for your microphone to pick up your subject’s speech from the background.
When filming inside, aim to choose a location with the least amount of resonance. Painted bare walls and wooden floors bounce sound like crazy, leading to many echoes. As a result, look for carpeted areas with large material items such as sofas and closed drapes. Suppose you can’t locate a place with reflection-breaking items. In that case, you may always lessen reverb by hanging blankets near your topic.
⏩Maintain a few inches between the mic and your mouth.
Because dynamic microphones don’t pick up anything until they’re extremely near to your lips, this piece of advice is ideal for condenser microphone users. If you’re too close to the mic, your voice will sound muffled and unclear. Conversely, your voice will sound faint and echo-ey if you’re too far away.
Hold your hand about two inches in front of your mouth to find the happy medium. It is typically where your microphone should be positioned when recording. You can always test the sound quality by recording a few seconds of audio and listening back to it.
⏩Invest in a good mic stand.
Placing the microphone near your mouse and keyboard means that every click or keypress will be picked up on the recording, drowning out your speaking voice. It won’t affect you if you’re just producing quick videos without using the computer. Still, it’s critical for anybody live broadcast, playthroughs, or do online lessons to keep the keyboard noises low enough.
You might want to consider a boom arm for your microphone if you don’t have the desk space to keep it out of the way. Boom arms are essentially adjustable stands that can be positioned and locked into place, valuable for streamers and YouTubers who need to move around while recording.
⏩Use a windscreen or pop filter.
A windscreen is a foam cover that goes over the microphone to protect it from gusts of air, such as when you say “p” or “b” sounds. It prevents those sounds from being too loud and overwhelming on the recording.
You can buy a ready-made windscreen or make your own out of a small foam ball. Cut a hole in the center just large enough to fit snugly over the microphone, then cut a slit down the side so you can slide it over the mic.
A pop filter is similar to a windscreen. Still, it’s designed specifically to reduce the popping sound when you say certain consonants. Pop filters come in all shapes and sizes, but they all work by blocking out blasts of air before they reach the microphone.
You can buy a pop filter or make your own from a coffee filter and a rubber band. Just stretch the coffee filter over the end of the mic, then secure it in place with the rubber band.
⏩Use noise reduction software.
Suppose you can’t avoid background noise or recording in a particularly echo-y space. In that case, you can use noise reduction software to minimize the noise in your recording. This software identifies and removes unwanted sounds, such as keyboard clicks, people talking in the background, or driving cars.
A few different noise reduction software programs are available, such as Audacity and Adobe Audition. You can also find noise reduction plugins for popular video editing software, such as Final Cut Pro and Premiere Pro.
You’ll first need to record a few seconds of silence to use noise reduction software. This “noise profile” will be used to identify and remove unwanted sounds from your recording.
Then, simply import your audio file into the software and let it run. The software will analyze the recording and remove any background noise that it identifies.
You can also use noise reduction software to reduce the amount of reverb in your recording. Just leave a few seconds of silence at the beginning and end of your recording so the software can identify the reverb and remove it.
⏩Use the right side of the microphone.
The right side of the microphone is typically the side with the company logo. It is the side you want to face when you’re recording, as it’s where the microphone is most sensitive.
If you’re using a directional microphone, such as a shotgun mic or a lavalier mic, make sure that the microphone is pointing towards your mouth. It will ensure that your voice is being picked up clearly on the recording.
If you’re using a headset or earbuds with a built-in microphone, you can position the microphone closer to your mouth by tilting your head to the side. It will help reduce background noise and ensure that your voice is being picked up clearly.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How to get the best sound quality from my mic?
A: There are a few things you can do to improve the sound quality of your mic, such as using a windscreen or pop filter, using noise reduction software, and positioning the microphone correctly.
Q: Why is my mic picking up static?
A: If your mic is picking up static, it could be because the microphone is too close to the sound source. Try moving the microphone away from the sound source or using a windscreen to reduce the amount of background noise picked up by the mic.
Q: How can I reduce echo in my recording?
A: If you’re recording in an echo-y space, you can try using noise reduction software to reduce the amount of reverb in your recording. You can also try moving the microphone closer to your mouth.
Q: How can I make a cheap mic sound good?
A: Manually holding in-line microphones near your lips is the best approach to retain mic quality. Fit your headset over your ear and ensure it is in the most comfortable position possible. Make sure the mic’s front side is towards you. You can also try using an external microphone instead of the built-in microphone on your computer or phone. External microphones typically have better sound quality than built-in microphones.
A microphone is a vital piece of equipment for any musician or audio engineer. By following the tips in this article, you can ensure that your microphone is set up correctly and producing the best possible sound quality.
If you’re still having trouble with your microphone’s sound quality, consider investing in a better-quality microphone. A higher-quality microphone will produce a clearer sound, which will make your recordings sound professional.
Do you have any tips for improving mic sound quality? Share them in the comments below!