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Whether you’re recording vocals for your new song, voice overs or even live streaming, the sound quality of your microphone can make or break your work.
There are a lot of factors that go into how much sound quality you will get from your microphone. These include which kind of device you’re using, your audio interface, the room you’re in, proper setup, and even your cables.
While there is no universal solution, the good news is you probably don’t need to spend money on a new microphone. You can greatly improve the quality of your captures with the tips and tricks we will discuss in the article.
By the way, I’m Ian. I’m a music producer and audio enthusiast with 10 years of experience, here to help you make your microphone sound better. Let’s get into the article!
Table of Contents
- How to Make Your Microphone Sound Better?
- Tips to Improve the Audio Quality of Your Microphone
How to Make Your Microphone Sound Better?
The best way to make your microphone sound better is to use it in a quiet room with little ambience. Using good-quality cables and setting up your recording chain properly will also greatly improve your microphone’s audio quality.
Below, we will explain each factor of how to make your microphone sound better in detail.
Tips to Improve the Audio Quality of Your Microphone
1. Find a Quiet Room/Spot
Depending on the type and model of your microphone, it might capture a lot of ambient noise, which can be distracting and affect the quality of your recordings.
The easiest solution is finding a quiet room or spot to record. Turn off any noisy appliances, such as fans and TVs, before you get started.
Of course, recording in a soundproof room would be ideal. But since most people don’t have access to a professional studio, you can try a few DIY hacks to help keep the noise outside.
A cheap way to soundproof your room is to install foam insulation tape on your doors and windows. It might not seem obvious, but small cracks will let a lot of noise leak inside your room.
You can also put blankets or mattresses over your door and windows, which will not only help with soundproofing but will also dampen the sound, something that is important for a good recording, as we will explain in the topic below.
2. Sound-Treat your Room
Let’s compare a sound recording done in a professional recording studio to one done in a stairwell, for example. The latter will have much more reflections, making the sound intelligible and amateurish-sounding.
The reflectiveness of a space will depend on many factors, such as the size and format of the room and the surfaces inside it. You want your microphone sound to have minimal ambience. The result will be a much clearer and professional-sounding audio.
Again, not everyone has access to a sound-treated professional recording studio, and that’s ok. Just like with soundproofing, you can use a few DIY methods to dampen the ambience in your room.
One of the cheapest and most popular ways to do it is to scatter some blankets, mattresses, rugs, and even pillows around your room. These soft surfaces will absorb the sound rather than reflect it, with the added benefit of giving you some soundproofing.
You can also try recording inside a closet, for example, as closets tend to have lots of sound-absorbing surfaces. If you choose this method though, make sure to add some ambience artificially, so your recordings are not too dry-sounding.
If you’re willing to spend some money, hanging acoustic panels in strategic places is your best bet, but it can be pricey.
3. Position your Microphone Correctly
Microphone positioning is something that can make or break a sound recording. I’ve seen vocal recordings in professional studios having to be redone because the device was positioned a few inches off from its optimal position. This is a factor you always want to double-check.
The ideal position for the singer or speaker to be is 5 to 10 inches away from the microphone, directly in front of it. Of course, this will depend on other factors, such as the type of the mic and your gain settings, so experimentation is a must.
4. Adjust the Gain of your Microphone
Gain adjustment is something that a lot of people overlook but shouldn’t. It should be one of the first things to be adjusted in a recording chain. Whether you’re adjusting the gain on your audio interface or your computer system, the process is very simple.
Ideally, you want to leave at least 6dB of headroom in your recording, but the most important thing here is to make sure the sound isn’t clipping. A clipped recording will sound distorted and unpleasant, so listen closely while you adjust your gain and check the dB meter to ensure it is at the proper level.
5. Use a Pop Filter/Shock Mount
If you’re using a condenser microphone, you need a pop filter and a shock mount. Condenser microphones have high sensitivity.
A pop filter will prevent plosives (the sound from the letter p, for example) from creating a peak transient in your sound. A shock mount will prevent your mic from picking up vibrations from the floor and the room as well.
If you’re using a dynamic microphone, then you most likely won’t need a pop filter and a shock mount since this type of mic isn’t as sensitive as its condenser counterpart.
In some cases, using a pop filter with a dynamic microphone will make the high frequencies more transparent, so it is worth trying. Plus, a pop filter is very cheap.
6. EQ your Sound
An equalizer is one of the most useful post-processors you can insert in your recording chain. You can use a plugin (if you’re recording in a DAW) or your operating system’s built-in EQ (if you’re live streaming, for example).
With an equalizer, you can either attenuate or boost certain frequencies to make your microphone sound as clear and as high-fidelity as possible.
As with any audio processor, there is no setting that will work for all cases, so you will have to listen carefully and experiment/adjust it yourself.
For example, if your microphone sounds boomy, you can attenuate the low frequencies, such as 250Hz, to taste. If it sounds dull or muffled, it is a great idea to boost some high frequencies above the 5kHz area to give it some “air”.
7. Use an External Preamp
This solution is for those who are willing to spend some money to get a professional-sounding recording since external preamps can be a pricey investment.
A preamp will bring your mic audio signal up to line level. Without one, your recordings might sound too quiet or weak.
If you’re using an audio interface or a USB microphone, you most likely won’t need an external preamp since most of these devices already feature a built-in one, so it is not a universal solution.
8. Use Good Quality Cables
In the audio industry, it is popular wisdom that one should not go cheap on the cables. And there is no reason to since good quality cables aren’t that expensive, and making a larger investment upfront could save you some spare time from solving problems in the future.
Check our article on Best Home Stereo Systems
By being mindful of the factors discussed in the article, it is possible to make a microphone sound better with a bit of effort and spending little to no money.
We recommend that you try all of the solutions listed in our guide and keep in mind that they aren’t mutually exclusive: treat these tips as a must-have for your next recording session and, if possible, make a checklist with all these factors before you start using your microphone.
We hope this article was helpful. Make sure to check our related guides about microphones and improving the quality of your home recordings. Share this page with a friend, and feel free to contact us if you have any questions!
Hello, I’m Ian.
I’m a music producer, musician, and writer for the AudioReputation website. I’ve been involved with making music and the processes revolving around audio technology for longer than I can recall, so I find it amusing to share my knowledge with fellow enthusiasts worldwide when I’m not working with artists or creating new songs.
Along my path as a music maker, I discovered the ability to write informative content, and I decided to embrace it. I’ve written for a few websites about audio and music, including a digital magazine.
I’m particularly passionate about any sort of audio gear: guitar pedals, amplifiers, headphones, and even home speakers. That makes it really joyful for me to review any product related to the subject and give my honest opinion about them. I also frequently write tips and guides for consumer and professional-grade audio.