As someone who has struggled with headset mics for years, I can sympathize with those who are annoyed by their poor quality. However, I learned to make even the worst headset mic sound better through research, trial, and error.
Here are 5 ways to make a headset mic sound better:
- Ensure that the connection is stable.
- Adjust the microphone to an optimal position.
- Remove any background noise.
- Adjust microphone settings using built-in software.
- Install additional mic control software.
In this article, I’ll list the elements that can interfere with your headset microphone and offer solutions to each of those issues. Read on to find out what causes poor headset mic quality and how to fix this annoying issue.
1. Ensure That The Connection Is Stable
Like any other device troubleshooting process, starting with the essentials is always recommended when you’re trying to fix headset mic sound.
The first method to improve any device’s output is to ensure it’s connected the right way. The process can depend on the type of connection that the device is equipped with.
Wired Headset Mic Connection
To ensure a stable connection with wired headset mics, keep an eye on the following:
- Check if connectors are fully plugged in.
- Check whether there are multiple connectors to the plugin.
- Clean the connectors from dirt.
- Check the cables for breaks and tears.
For wired devices, checking the connection is straightforward. All you’re required to do is ensure that the headset plug is pushed all the way into the input section of your device of choice (phone, PC, Mac, etc.). If the headset jack seems loose, just plug it in. In case it seems bent, it’ll need to be replaced.
While some wired headsets come with a single 3.5 mm (0.13 in) jack that serves for audio delivery and recording, keep in mind that there are headset mics that have a dedicated microphone connection.
Make sure that both cables are plugged in their dedicated slots if your device comes with two 3.5 mm (0.13 in) jacks. Most newly made mic-equipped headsets connect via USB, making loose connections somewhat unlikely and easy to spot.
Checking all of the connections for dirt and debris is another thing I’d recommend. You’d be surprised by how much gunk can accumulate in headset and mic connectors.
Finally, wired headsets are prone to cable breakdown. Ensure that the cable isn’t broken by moving it around and listening for any changes in audio delivery.
If you notice that one of the headphones comes on and off when the cable is moved, this is the reason your mic isn’t working the way it should. In this case, either the cable or the entire headset will need to be replaced.
Wireless Headset Mic Connection
Many factors can affect wireless headsets’ function. With wireless headsets, the situation can get a bit more complicated when fixing microphone issues.
Solving headset mic issues with this headset should always deal with any potential interference. Follow these tips to ensure a stable Bluetooth or wireless headset connection:
- Get rid of physical barriers and get the device as close to the receiver as possible. Obstacles such as walls are Bluetooth devices’ greatest enemy, especially for older versions such as 4.0. For this reason, making sure that you’re close to the receiver is a must.
- Avoid running multiple Bluetooth and wireless devices at the same time. Most Bluetooth and wireless devices run on a 2.4 GHz frequency. When shared by multiple devices, the frequency can get jammed, causing sound and recording issues with your headset and its mic. Resolve the problem by turning off any unneeded devices. For wireless devices with a 5 GHz option, always opt for this frequency.
- Step away from any microwaves and fluorescent lights. Microwaves and fluorescent lights also share the same 2.4GHz frequency, which can cause interference with Bluetooth headsets and mics. Avoid running the microwave while on a call. Another recommendation would be switching to LED lights.
2. Adjust the Microphone to an Optimal Position
Microphone positioning is another crucial step in making your headset mic sound better. Generally speaking, headset mics are highly adjustable and accommodate most users, regardless of their physique and microphone positioning preference.
Here are some microphone positioning tips and guidelines you should follow:
- Position the headset mic at the side of your mouth to avoid capturing breathing noise.
- Place the headset mic around ½ inch (12.7 mm) from the side of your mouth.
- Ensure that the right part of the mic is pointing towards your mouth.
Testing the mic sound should follow once you think you’ve found the correct position. You can use the listening function on your PC or Mac for this purpose, or you can record short audio using one of the built-in apps. Free software options such as Audacity are also available for Windows, Linux, and Mac devices.
The final step in finding the optimal headset mic position is remembering it. Using the same position every time you’re using the mic will ensure that the quality of your calls remains consistent.
If you find that the sound is still not satisfactory, move on to the next potential sound-improving solution on the list.
3. Remove Any Background Noise
In addition to cable breakdowns, background noise is one of the worst enemies of any headset microphone. Eliminating and avoiding background noise is the only proper way to prevent this issue. However, this isn’t always possible.
For this reason, most newer headset mic models are equipped with active noise cancelation. These devices are capable of removing up to 75% of unwanted noises. Loud fans, crying babies, and obnoxious neighbor’s dogs are just some of the environmental noises that noise-canceling headsets can help with.
Remember that this doesn’t mean that your caller will hear none of the loud noises from your environment. Rather, the noise will be reduced to a certain degree.
4. Adjust Microphone Settings Using Built-In Software
If your device is plugged in properly, positioned the right way, and there’s no environmental noise affecting the mic sound quality, it’s time to look at a different solution.
Another way to improve your headset mic audio quality is utilizing your PC or Mac settings. Keep reading to find out how you can access those settings depending on your preferred platform.
Headset Mic Sound Adjustment on PC
For PC users, following these instructions will lead you to mic settings:
- Visit the Control Panel.
- Enter the Hardware and Sound section.
- Select Sound from the listed elements.
- Click on the Recording tab.
- Select your primary recording device, right-click it, and select Properties.
- Click the Levels tab.
- Adjust the Microphone Level and Microphone Boost as needed.
Headset Mic Sound Adjustment on Mac
Keep up with the following steps to enter mic adjustments for Mac devices:
- Click on System Preferences.
- Go to the Sound section.
- Select the Output tab and click on the active headset to adjust its settings below.
- Select the Input tab and click on the active mic to access the adjustment sliders below.
- Move the sliders to your preferred levels.
5. Install Additional Mic Control Software
If none of the tips listed above help with improving your mic sound, it’s time to dive deeper into the sound adjustments.
While your device’s settings might offer some level of adjustment, there’s software available that takes microphone adjustment to a whole different level. One of those is Voicemeeter Banana.
This software offers functions such as sensitivity adjustment and noise gate, both of which can be extremely useful for casual users, gamers, or even professionals and streamers. The best part is Voicemeeter Banana is entirely free to download and run.
Unfortunately, there’s no Mac version of this software. Mac users can try other free extensions such as Soundflower instead.
How To Improve Your Headset Mic Sound on Discord
During the last few years, Discord has evolved from being a gamers’ communication platform to a community that helps all sorts of business people stay in touch with their team. Reliability, user-friendliness, and features such as screen share capability are just some of the reasons behind this significant addition to Discord’s user list.
While it offers numerous benefits, Discord isn’t without its faults. Headset mic sound issues can be one of those faults. Here are a few ways you can get rid of microphone issues on this platform:
Activate the Push To Talk Function
Push to Talk is an excellent feature that enables Discord users to activate their mic only when needed. The function can be set up in two ways, either as a voice or button-activated feature. I’d recommend selecting the button-activated option, as it can prove to be more helpful.
You can locate this function and further adjust it under Voice and Video settings.
Activating this option can help immensely with sound issues and unwanted noise. Therefore, I wholeheartedly recommend it.
Activate the Noise Suppression Function
Using Discord’s Noise Suppression option is a great way to add an additional level of noise cancellation to your setup. This is especially applicable to those who are constantly exposed to loud surroundings.
Once again, the feature is clearly labeled under Discord’s Voice and Video settings.
Optimize the Attenuation Settings
Attenuation is just as important in a group business meeting while playing online games with friends. This Discord feature improves your audio quality by reducing the sound from other apps when it detects speech.
You can find it in Settings, under the Voice and Video submenu. The attenuation slider can be adjusted to your preference. Make sure to tick the When others speak option below the slider.
Adjust the Bitrate
Bitrate might be one of the most significant aspects of audio signal transfers. This number designates the number of audio info bits that circle the chain every second. The higher the number, the higher the sound quality.
However, not all devices can handle high bitrates. Adjust the bitrate according to your PC or Mac’s specs and capabilities.
You can adjust the bitrate slider for each channel by selecting the Edit Channel menu when hovering over each group.
Fiddle With the Advanced Voice Processing Setting
Are you not comfortable installing advanced sound processing software on your device? If this is the case and you use Discord as your main communication app, have no worries.
Instead of running additional voice processing software, Discord can handle some more advanced vocal processing in the app. You can find this option in the Voice and Video settings, under the Voice Processing tab.
While there, ensure that you tick the Automatic Gain Control and Advanced Voice Activity boxes for additional mic sound improvement. Enabling the Noise Reduction option that can be found in this menu will disable the Noise Suppression feature, so I’d recommend avoiding it.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Does My Headset Mic Sound Muffled?
Your headset mic can sound muffled due to external factors such as a loose cable connection, faulty cable, or background noise. The headset mic sound issues can also be caused by other factors such as bad mic positioning or improper sensitivity adjustments.
How Much Does a Good Headset Mic Cost?
Depending on your needs, you can spend up to a few hundred dollars on a good headset that comes with a mic. However, for an average user, a decent headset averages at around $40. For this price, you can get a headset mic that performs all of the basic tasks and more, with no hitches.
Are Expensive Headset Mics Worth It?
Spending hundreds of dollars on a headset mic can be worth it for those who highly depend on their mic’s quality. Those who use the headset mic for an occasional meeting should be more than happy with one of the cheaper options. Remember that their quality can be improved with some basic adjustments.
- Headphonesty: How to Make Your Headset Mic Sound Better on Any Platform
- nuance: Microphone placement
- Headsets Direct: How To Sound Better To Your Callers With Proper Headset Microphone Positioning.
- tom’s guide: The best cheap gaming headsets in 2021
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