Looking for ways to improve your microphone's sound quality? Does your mic sound bad?
It doesn't matter if you are on stage at a live event, in the recording studio, podcasting, or creating audiovisual content for social media. You need the best possible sound when you use your microphone.
Therefore, we created a guide on how to improve microphone sound quality. Unless you know about each of these nine tips, you might be wasting your mic's potential.
How To Improve Microphone Sound Quality – Tips To Improve Your Sound
You can take full advantage of a microphone's features when miking vocals, instruments, or any other sound source. Simple mistakes can make all the difference between excellent and mediocre sound. To avoid them, follow these steps:
Use Quality Cables
When performing live or recording, you might hear popping, crackles, or static noises if you have a cable problem. Your sound may be adversely affected if your cable is old or bent out of shape.
It is always a good idea to test your cables before each performance or before recording. Don't let cable problems ruin a great take!
Make sure the mic cable has a flexible polymer strain relief. Strain relief is a piece of rubber that protects your cables' wiring from getting bent out of shape.
Additionally, make sure the cable is well-shielded. Shielding refers to a layer of braided copper strands, copper tape spiraled together, or a conducting polymer layer.
The shielding reduces electrical noise and crosstalk between cables, and they also reduce RF interference while protecting the copper inside your cables.
Mic cables should be shielded enough to block interference and offer an excellent electrical connection between the microphone and the equipment with which it is connected.
Another thing to keep in mind is to store your cables properly so that they last longer. Make sure that your cables are neatly wrapped and avoid throwing broken cables back into the mix.
A final tip when it comes to cables is to use a right-angle cable connector if you need to place a microphone in a tight location. For example, when miking a guitar amp, a drum set, or when shooting video, taking photos, or miking an instrument on stage, the cable can be less visually obstructive.
Thus, you do not have to bend the cable, which creates a signal problem in the form of noise and unstable signal flow.
Use A Quality Low Distortion Preamp
One of the most critical steps to improving the sound of your microphone is to take this step. Here is why.
Mic level refers to the amount of sound coming from a single microphone. The mic level is usually a very quiet signal, which is why you need a preamp to boost its volume.
Your audio will be brought up to “line level” with a preamp, which is the level at which most audio equipment operates.
To ensure that your signal stays clean while it is amplified, you need a low distortion preamp. It is common for low-quality preamps to produce too much distortion, which makes everything sound muddy.
Most audio compressors, interfaces, mixing boards, and other recording equipment have built-in preamplifiers. The quality and distortion of signals provided by these preamps are generally good enough for most users, but it doesn't compare to the quality of external preamps.
The best preamplifiers are external preamplifiers. They will give you the best sound quality.
Listen To The Sound Source Before You Mic Up
Before you mic your sound source, it is important to listen to it. It is important to know how much raw signal is coming out of your sound source in order to amplify it properly, and depending on what you want to mic, the mic placement and EQ will differ.
Before setting up a mic for vocals, you should always listen to the singers. Singers can have vastly different vocal powers depending on their tessitura, vocal style, and singing register.
When you are trying to mic wind instruments, you will also need to know where the instrument gives off the most sound.
For example, you should mic trumpets and saxophones close to the instrument's bell. Flute microphones should, however, be placed near the instrument's mouthpiece or center.
Listening to the sound source will allow you to set the gain at each stage correctly. In this way, you can achieve a clean, clear, and noise-free sound performance.
Make certain you start low and turn up slowly when setting up your volume levels. Make gain adjustments in small increments to avoid damaging any part of your audio system.
As a result, you should set the correct gain at the input of each amplification stage without distorting or clipping the signal.
Learn What Your Mic Sounds Like
All three microphone types sound different: dynamic, condenser, and ribbon. However, no two mics of the same type will sound alike.
Different mic tones can be described in four different ways: bright, dark, warm, and cool. It is merely metaphorical, but it describes how certain microphones affect the natural tone of an instrument or vocal.
The differences in tone come from the unique way each microphone is made, so the best way to discover what microphone best suits certain instruments is to experiment.
You can experiment with multiple mics on the same instrument (or vocalist) and see how the tone changes.
Since condenser and ribbon mics are in general more sensitive, they tend to produce more variation in tone. Dynamic mics are more predictable, but they do vary as well.
Find The Best Mic Placements On The Stage
Mic placement is one of the most important factors affecting your live signal. During the days before post-production effects, engineers only had mic placement to ensure a clean recording.
Be mindful of “bleed” when placing your mics on stage.
Imagine a saxophonist standing next to a guitar amp. Both channels must be mic'd without the guitar sound “bleeding” into your sax channel or vice versa.
Using a cardioid mic on the guitar amp and a bi-directional mic on the saxophone would keep your channels clean in this case.
Your live performance will be much easier to mix if you get your mic placements right.
We hope this has helped you understand the process of making your mic sound as good as possible. Go and try out our techniques and have a look at our other articles to get the best out of your recordings.