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Friday, October 19, 2018

How To Make Your Computer’s Microphone Sound Better

Ever wonder how radio and podcast hosts get their signature sound? While some of it comes from their better hardware, a lot of it comes down to post-processing, which is editing the audio after it’s recorded (or sometimes while it’s live) to make it sound much better. You can use the same techniques to make your microphone sound better.

The two apps we will be using for post processing our audio are Adobe Audition and Audacity. Audition is an excellent tool with a clean interface. Audacity is free, but lacks some features and is a bit harder to use, but either one is sufficient for our uses.

Buy a Standalone Microphone

While post-processing can help make your microphone sound much better, you still want a good starting point in the form of a decent mic. The primary concern here is noise. While audio post-processing apps like Audacity are great at EQing your voice and making flat audio sound professional, it can’t get rid of noise very well. Built in microphones are usually small and pick up a lot of noise from inside your device’s case. Large, standalone mics are generally much less noisy.

A great microphone could easily cost hundreds of dollars, but unless you’re an audio professional, you’ll see diminishing returns on audio quality, as even something like the TONOR BM-700 at just $30 will sound incredible compared to your laptop or phone’s built mic.

Noise Reduction

Most mics, even high-end ones, aren’t entirely quiet, and getting rid of annoying background hiss is one of the first steps in cleaning up your audio.

The spectral frequency display in Audition is useful for visualizing noise. It shows levels of noise at each frequency, over time. Before noise reduction, you can see here at the end of the audio (while I wasn’t talking) there’s still a lot of data. Looking closer, these lines of noise stretch across all of the audio.

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