When making a video-conferencing call, both the video and audio quality are important for a good user experience. Your audio should be clear and crisp so that it’s easy for all listening ears to understand. However, one of the common issues that disrupt the call is the background noise from your microphone. You’ll learn here how to reduce your microphone background noise on your computer.
Most laptops have a low-quality built-in microphone, which can cause echo or muffled audio. The best way to reduce microphone background noise in this instance is to use headphones, preferably with a dedicated microphone. This will ensure that your voice quality is clear and that the microphone does not pick up noise from your speakers.
Remove Surrounding Background Noise
Another very important step to improve your audio quality is to remove background noise from your surroundings. You can do this by turning off fans, closing windows, and locating yourself away from any other disturbing noise. Make sure your microphone is at a distance from your mouth so that your breathing can’t be heard by others. Another good option is to mute your microphone when you’re not talking.
Perform a Microphone Test
The best bet to understand your voice quality and what factor may be affecting it is to do a microphone test. There are various options to accomplish this.
The first method involves using Windows’s built-in microphone setup. This can be found in “Control Panel -> Hardware and Sound -> Sound.” Make sure this is the old traditional Control Panel and not the one with new Settings.
Here, from the Recording tab, select your microphone and select Configure.
Select “Set up microphone” and follow the steps listed to allow you to visualize your Microphone sound level. Windows will also let you know if anything’s wrong with your mic.
The second method is a bit simpler albeit manual. Simply record a small voice clip using the Windows Voice Recorder, play it and listen to your own voice. You’ll be able to understand if something’s wrong with it in regard to background noise and echo, and then you can take steps to rectify it.
Voice Suppression In Windows
Windows offers some features to help you reduce your background noise. The exact features available will depend on the sound card in your PC and your manufacturer’s audio drivers. We’ve included a short guide below.
1. Open the traditional Control Panel on your PC / Laptop. To do this, search for Control Panel in your Start menu. Make sure to open the old traditional Start menu, as these features aren’t available in the new Settings app.
2. In the Control Panel, navigate to “Hardware and Sound -> Sound.”
3. In the Recording tab, select the Microphone that you’re using for your video calls / recordings. Once selected, click on Properties.
4. Here, in the Levels tab, you’ll be able to adjust the voice level of your microphone. If you have background noise, you can try lowering the Microphone boost setting. This makes the microphone more sensitive to sounds so that it’ll be activated more easily, but it will automatically pick up more background sounds.
Similarly, if your voice is too quiet and difficult for the other person to hear, increase the microphone volume to make your voice louder. Once you’re done playing around with the settings, click on Apply to test the microphone as described above to check the output.
Another option that may or may not be present depending on your PC settings is Voice Suppression. This will be present in the Enhancements tab. If you don’t have this tab, your PC may not support this option.
In the Enhancements tab, you’ll find two options:
- Noise Suppression / Noise Cancellation: this reduces background noise and in some cases may completely eliminate it.
- Acoustic Echo Cancellation: this eliminates any echo in your voice, especially if it’s caused by the sound emitted from your external speakers (if used).
Microphone Input Settings on macOS
You can also adjust the microphone input settings on your Mac. Depending on which Mac you have and what type of microphone you’re using, you’ll be able to adjust these settings. To do this:
1. Open System Preferences on your Mac.
2. In Sound, click on “Input.” You’ll see a slider to adjust the input level from your Microphone, which you can do to effectively reduce any extra noise or breathing sounds that may be captured by your Mac.
3. Similarly, depending on your microphone, you may also see an option to “Use ambient noise reduction.” This option is not available if a four-channel built-in microphone format is selected in Audio MIDI Setup.
Use App’s Built-In Voice Reduction Software
Many video-conferencing software offer settings to optimize your voice and the audio quality. For example, Discord and Zoom both allow you to set up, check and optimize your voice through your mic. They also offer different background noise suppression features which can be very handy to reduce microphone background noise.