How to get great sound from a computer’s microphone?

By Eunice Samson | November 12, 2018 |

greater than 5 minutes

When you listen to podcasts and radio programs, do you ever wonder if you can achieve the same sound quality at home? Well, they get that crisp, clear audio partly with the help of the right hardware. However, post-processing influences a huge percentage of the results. Sound technicians edit the audio after recording it, improving its quality. They can also modify the settings live to enhance the sound.

So, you might ask, “How can I improve the sound of my computer mic?” You can take advantage of the same techniques that recording studios use. However, if you want to learn how to make a PC’s microphone sound better without spending too much, keep reading this post. We will share some cost-effective methods and products that will help you achieve that straight-out-of-the-studio sound.

Technique 1: Using a Stand-Alone Microphone

It is true that post-processing can significantly improve the sound quality of your computer’s microphone. However, if you want the audio to become leaps better, then a good starting point would be a decent microphone. When recording sound, your primary concern is noise. There are audio post-processing programs that do an excellent job at equalizing voice. They can even make flat audio sound professional.

However, you should know that these audio editing apps can only do so much. They can only get rid of noise up to a certain degree. After all, the microphone inside your computer is small and it can pick up a lot of noise from your device’s case. On the other hand, you can expect large, stand-alone microphones to be less noisy.

On the higher end of the spectrum, microphones with excellent quality generally cost hundreds of dollars. However, you can easily find good ones that cost around $30. They will sound leaps better than the built-in mic in your laptop.

Technique 2: Keeping your Sound Drivers Updated

No matter how excellent your stand-alone microphone is, you won’t be able to maximize its capabilities if you have missing, corrupted, or outdate sound drivers. So, you need to keep your sound drivers updated. You can choose from three update methods:

  1. Using Device Manager
  2. Downloading the Drivers from the Manufacturer’s Website
  3. Using Auslogics Driver Updater

Using Device Manager

  1. On your keyboard, press Windows Key+S.
  2. Inside the Search box, type “Device Manager” (no quotes). Press Enter on your keyboard to open Device Manager.
  3. Expand the contents of the Audio Inputs and Outputs category.
  4. Right-click your microphone device, then select Update Driver from the options.

Downloading the Drivers from the Manufacturer’s Website

Sometimes, Windows can miss an update or two when automatically searching for the latest drivers. It is possible for your system to tell you that you have the latest drivers installed on your computer. To ensure that you have the latest driver version, you would still have to go to the manufacturer’s website. You need to search for the version that is compatible with your operating system and processor. Once you’ve found the right driver, you must download and install it on your PC.

Using Auslogics Driver Updater

The process for manually updating drivers can be time-consuming and risky. If you install the wrong driver versions, you might end up with system instability problems. So, we recommend choosing the convenient and reliable method—Auslogics Driver Updater. This software program will automatically recognize your system and processor once you activate it. It will also find the latest manufacturer-recommended drivers for your computer. So, you won’t have to risk making mistakes and wasting your time when you use Auslogics Driver Updater.

Technique 3: Noise Reduction

If you want to learn how to make a PC’s microphone sound better, you should know how to reduce noise. Even high-end microphones are not absolutely quiet. So, you need to clean up your audio by removing the annoying background hiss. One of the best ways to do this is to use a post-processing app like Audition and Audacity. It has a spectral frequency display that visualizes noise, allowing you to see the levels of noise at each frequency.

There are different ways to perform noise reduction, including a noise print that selectively cuts out the noise. However, there are other options like the hiss remover, allowing to mitigate various frequencies. There’s also the adaptive noise reduction, which does not need a noise print. Here are the steps in reducing noise via Audition:

  1. The first thing you need to do is capture a noise print. You can do this by selecting Effects ->Noise Reduction ->Capture.
  2. Now, select Noise Reduction (Process) from the options. When you click this, a window will pop up. It will allow you to configure the noise reduction settings.
  3. In general, you can select the default settings. However, you still have the freedom to adjust the noise floor.
  4. Before applying the changes, preview the sound by clicking the Play button in the bottom-left corner.
  5. Preview the noise you’re about to remove by selecting Output Noise Only. Make sure you keep the main recording out of the noise to avoid distortion.

You can also reduce noise using Audacity. You simply need to select Noise Reduction under Effects to clean the audio. From there, you will have access to the noise profile and other sound settings. It is worth noting that the noise removal feature of Audacity is not as comprehensive as Audition’s. However, you can still expect it to do a good job of cleaning the audio.

Technique 4: Using a Pop Filter for the Microphone

A pop filter may be a simple and humble device, but it does wonders to audio recordings. It is a shield or screen that you can attach to a microphone stand. Its primary function is to reduce ‘sound plosives’ or explosive consonants like the ‘p’ and ‘b’ sounds. When you say words with these sounds, your audio recording will have bursts of air that your mic’s diaphragm can pick up. Consequently, your audio input level will spike, causing popping in your recordings.

A pop filter blocks the bursts of air you produce when you pronounce ‘sound plosives’. This nifty material breaks up and disperses the air molecules, lowering their impact on the microphone’s diaphragm.

You can easily purchase pop filters from Amazon, and their prices range from $10 to $40. However, if you do not have the time and budget to purchase one, you can create it, using household tools. You can make an effective pop filter, using pantyhose.

How to Create a Pop Filter With Pantyhose

  1. Get a wire clothes hanger, then shape it into a circle. Make sure you leave out a handle which you can attach to your microphone stand.
  2. Cut the pantyhose legs off at the thigh.
  3. Insert the loop into the fabric.
  4. Secure the fabric by tying it onto the wire.

There are other tutorials online which will show you how to create a pop filter at home. Some require tools like an embroidery loop, while others will teach you how to make your pop filter, using printing paper and tissue. Without this material blocking ‘sound plosives,’ the audio becomes distorted, which makes it distracting and unpleasant. Once you start using the pop filter, you will notice the difference in the audio recording.

Can you suggest other methods for improving a computer’s microphone?

Join the discussion below and share your ideas!

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