Setting your mic to get the best quality sound and recording can be tricky. Good quality recordings are key to growing your audience and although many mistakes can be fixed in the editing process, it’s best if your mic sounds good from the start.
In this article, we will look at five ways to make your mic sound better.
Reduce Background Noise
Background and ambient noise are a fact of life and although our brains are pretty good at filtering them out and concentrating only on what is important, microphones will pick up every sound they can hear. Condenser mics are especially sensitive to background noise and will record everything.
Background noise can not only be distracting for your audience but can make your voice sound muffled and unclear. If you want your mic and recordings to sound better, you need to reduce background noise.
Make sure your windows are shut, that any unnecessary electrical equipment is switched off, and that there are no other voices nearby that might be heard.
Keep Any Noise Sources Behind the Mic
Although you should turn off unnecessary electrical equipment, some things are needed for your recording. Computers and laptops are necessary but can make noise that will be picked up by your mic.
Thankfully, you can reduce the amount of noise your mic picks up from equipment such as computers. Most modern mics have a cardioid polar pattern which means that they pick up noise from in front of them and ignore any sounds from behind.
You may need to alter the settings on your mic to get this pattern set up correctly but once you have, make sure that your mic is positioned in front of anything likely to make a noise. You won’t be able to completely eliminate the noise generated by anything behind the mic but you can greatly reduce it.
Keep Your Mic Off Your Desk
If you’re recording at home with a standalone microphone, the mic may have come with a short stand that was meant to be placed on your desk. This is a common feature with cheaper, entry-level microphones.
This is a very practical and easy way to set up your microphone but it can result in unnecessary noise being picked up.
When recording anything that requires you to use your keyboard, having the mic sit on your desk means it might pick up the sounds of your computer keys being pressed or clicked. If you use a mouse, it could also capture the sounds of your mouse moving or being pressed too.
Putting the mic on your desk also means it could be affected by any movement of the desk itself. Even something as seemingly insignificant and quiet as picking up a glass of water or putting it back down will cause your desk to bump slightly and the mic will pick up the vibrations from this.
The best solution is to attach your mic to your desk or another piece of furniture using a mic boom. Boom arms clamp onto a solid surface and suspend your mic, giving you not only more freedom to position them, but to also avoid these types of background noises.
Position Your Mic Correctly
Many condenser microphones have a powerful range which means they can pick up your voice even if the mic isn’t too close. However, keeping your mic further away just increases the possibility of background noise interfering and the recording quality being lower.
The optimal distance for a microphone varies from model to model, but generally speaking, you should sit around 6 to 10 inches away from your mic as you record.
If you’re too far away, you increase the risk of your voice echoing or sounding light and tinny. In contrast, if you’re too close, you may find that your recorded voice sounds distorted or clipped.
Check your microphone’s instructions and make sure that you do thorough soundchecks to find the right distance as this will greatly improve how your mic sounds.
You should also consider whether your mic is a top-address or side-address mic. Top-address mics should be spoken into at the top, whereas side-address mics need to be spoken into from the side. If you speak into the wrong part of the mic, your recordings will not sound as clear and crisp as they should.
Check the information that comes with your mic to see if it is top-address or side-address. If for any reason you can’t find the information, look online for your make and model and you should be able to find the information.
As a last resort, you can try recording from both the side and the top and see what sounds best.
Set Your Gain Correctly
To explain gain simply, it refers to how loud your final recording will be and how sensitive your mic is. With a gain that is set too high, you will get a recording where your voice is too loud and this will make it sound distorted.
If your gain is set to 100 percent, you can almost guarantee that your recording will be clipped and won’t sound as good as it should.
To avoid this, you should reduce your gain. Some mics have a slider on them so you can change it directly on the mic but for others, you will need to change the device settings on your computer.
The best setting for your gain will differ from microphone to microphone. A good place to start is at 75 percent and you can dial it back further if your recordings are still clipped. This is another circumstance where taking the time to do a sound check will save you a lot of time and trouble.
We hope that the hints and tips in this article will help you make your mic sound better!