How To Stop a Microphone From Echoing Through Speakers

Few things in life are more irritating than a microphone that won’t stop echoing when you speak. It can even become embarrassing if it happens in an important conference meeting. But it’s now time to say goodbye forever to the pestering echo.

Here are a few methods to stop a microphone from echoing through speakers:

  1. Lower the volume on your speakers.
  2. Mute your microphone when someone is talking.
  3. Move the microphone away from the speakers.
  4. Switch to cardioid mode (On some microphones).
  5. Select the correct microphone in windows settings.
  6. Disable any enhancements on your microphone.
  7. Lower microphone gain/boost.
  8. Lower the microphone volume.
  9. Check your internet connection.
  10. Unplug your audio devices and plug them back in.
  11. Buy a noise-canceling microphone.
  12. Use a headset in place of a microphone and speakers.

Troubleshooting a microphone that won’t stop echoing is incredibly difficult. This article will go over all the strategies laid out above in more detail so that you can fix your microphone echo.

Headphones Microphone

Lower the Volume on Your Speakers

You have probably turned your speakers up to hear your colleagues on Microsoft Teams or Google Meet. Some people have very quiet mics, so it’s your only option if you want to hear them.

However, when your microphone is on, it’ll pick up the sound from your speakers. 

Lowering the speaker volume will stop the mic from echoing. This is one of the simplest yet most effective solutions, and it’s the first thing you should always do when you get an echo.

Note that this isn’t always a good solution. If you don’t lower the volume enough, your friends will still hear an echo. On the other hand, if you turn it all the way down, you won’t be able to hear anyone.

Try to strike a balance between hearing other participants and not having an echo.

Mute Your Microphone When Someone Is Talking

In most cases, an echo happens when someone other than you is talking, and your microphone is still on.

Thankfully, there’s a mute button on pretty much any voice call software. Alternatively, you may have one on your microphone, which is even more convenient.

When you mute yourself, your microphone won’t pick up the sound coming from the speakers. You won’t get an echo that way.

If you still hear an echo after doing this, then you’re not the source of the problem. Tell your friends to do the same, and the problem is solved.

Move the Microphone Away From the Speakers

When your mic is too close to the speakers, it picks up the sound. The speakers then play it back, and the mic picks it up again. 

This infinite loop is called feedback.

By far, the most effective method to put an end to your echo is to relocate your microphone. 

Move the mic and speakers away from each other.

Ideally, you want the mic to be 1-3 inches (2.54-7.62 cm) away from your mouth. Likewise, you should sit 8 to 12 feet (2.43-3.65 m) away from the speakers.

However, laptops are problematic. The microphone and speaker are close to one another. To address this issue, you can switch to an external microphone or lower the volume on the speakers until the echo goes away.

Switch to Cardioid Mode (on Some Microphones)

It may have multiple microphone modes if you have a fancier microphone like a Blue Yeti.

You should always use cardioid mode when you’re talking into the microphone on your own. Your microphone won’t create an echo in this mode because it’ll only pick up what’s in front of it.

However, if you use the wrong mic mode, you’ll hear a horrible echo. 

For example, the bidirectional mode picks up sound from both sides of the mic. It’s the same as having a mic oriented directly toward the speaker.

People mix up microphone modes all the time. I used to use omnidirectional mode because I thought it’d pick up only what’s in front of the mic. However, that wasn’t the case.

Here’s a quick rundown of some common modes you can find on high-end microphones:

  • Cardioid Mode: Picks up everything in front of the microphone in a heart-shaped cone.
  • Stereo Mode: Picks up the left and right side channels. It’s best for instrument recording.
  • Omnidirectional Mode: Captures 360° surround sound around the microphone. Great for more than two speakers.
  • Bidirectional Mode: Equally picks up the front and back of the microphone. This is used for interviews.

Some microphones have a few variations of these four basic modes. For example, you might have sub-cardioid and hyper-cardioid. These two modes are similar to cardioid but with a wider range. It’s only useful if your audio source is moving in front of the mic.

Select the Correct Microphone in Windows Settings

You can get an echo if you have more than one recording device. Finding out what microphone you’re using isn’t always straightforward.

The main issue here is that you might be using a mic you didn’t even know you had. For example, web cameras often come with poor built-in mics, and when you plug in a new microphone, Windows doesn’t always switch to it automatically. 

Maybe you’re unknowingly using your old mic instead of your shiny new one.

So, here’s how to change what microphone you’re using in Windows:

  1. Click on the up arrow in the bottom right corner, right-click the speaker icon, and press Open Sound settings.
  2. Under Input, click on the bar below Choose your input device.
  3. Select your new microphone. If you don’t see your new microphone, try unplugging it and plugging it back in.

If you see other input devices other than your microphone, that was probably the reason behind the echo. You can disable those unused mics or leave them as is.

Disable Any Enhancements on Your Microphone

We’re going to stay in the Windows sound settings just a little bit longer.

Windows has several virtual enhancements that are supposed to improve your sound quality. 

There’s noise suppression, acoustic echo cancelation, equalizer, and so on. The number of enhancements will depend on what mic you have.

The only issue here is that these enhancements don’t always work as intended. When they act up, you get an echo and all other kinds of problems.

Here is how you disable microphone enhancements:

  1. Click on the up arrow in the bottom right corner, right-click the speaker icon, and press Open Sound settings.
  2. Under Input, go to Device properties.
  3. On the right, you’ll see Related Settings. If you don’t see it, open the window in full screen. Select Additional device properties.
  4. Go to the Enhancements tab.
  5. Select Disable all sound effects.
  6. If you don’t have the Enhancements tab, go to Advanced.
  7. Uncheck the option Enable audio enhancements under Signal enhancements.

Test out your microphone now to see if the problem persists.

Note that not all enhancements are inherently bad. In fact, there’s a couple of them that may stop your echo rather than cause it. Let’s see which enhancements those are.

Try Enabling Acoustic Echo Cancellation and Noise Suppression

Acoustic Echo Cancellation (AEC) and Noise Suppression are two enhancements that can stop your mic from echoing.

This entirely depends on your setup and microphone model, though.

AEC is self-explanatory. It recognizes the echo coming from your speakers to your mic and cancels it out.

Noise Suppression is a general noise cancellation enhancement option. It works by removing all sounds below a certain threshold, which is usually the volume of your voice.

Enabling these will require some trial and error. Try to disable both or enable just one and see if the issue persists.

For more information about removing background noise, check out some of my other articles:

Lower Microphone Gain/Boost

Microphone gain and microphone boost are essentially one and the same.

In a nutshell, mic gain artificially amplifies the volume of your mic.

You can find a physical gain knob on many high-end mics. If your mic has one, play with it until the echo stops.

But you’ll still have to adjust the virtual mic gain and boost. Even Microsoft says that a mic boost can cause an echo.

Here’s how you disable or adjust microphone boost:

  1. Click on the up arrow in the bottom right corner, right-click the speaker icon, and press Open Sound settings.
  2. Under Input, go to Device properties.
  3. On the right, you’ll see Related Settings. If you don’t see it, open the window in full screen. Select Additional device properties.
  4. Go to Levels.
  5. Uncheck Microphone Boost. Note that it’s not available on all microphones.
  6. Under Microphone Boost, lower the slider until the echo goes away.

It’s best to slide the mic boost all the way down to 0.0 dB and then maximize the mic volume. Only increase mic boost if your friends can’t hear you well.

Lower the Microphone Volume

What if you have already disabled the microphone boost, and your gain control knob is all the way down?

In that case, you can play with the volume of your microphone. 

This can happen if your microphone is exceptionally sensitive. It’s not necessarily bad, but it takes some time to fine-tune the settings.

Without any further ado, here’s how to adjust the volume of your mic:

  1. Click on the up arrow in the bottom right corner, right-click the speaker icon, and press Open Sound settings.
  2. Under Input, go to Device properties.
  3. You’ll see the Volume slider below your device name. Lower it and use the Test button until the echo goes away.
  4. Check Your Internet Connection

Sometimes, an echo isn’t caused by your microphone at all.

If you have adjusted your microphone perfectly and still have an echo, it’s probably your Internet.

If one Google Meet session is plagued by your pestering echo, but it disappears the following day, that’s a dead giveaway.

You can try a few things to fix your poor Internet connection. Here are a few effective methods:

  • Use a wired Ethernet connection instead of Wi-Fi.
  • Move your device closer to the router.
  • Reboot your router. Unplug the power cable from the router, wait for a minute, and plug it back in.
  • Buy a better router.
  • Upgrade your Internet plan.
  • Switch to a different Internet service provider.

Unplug Your Audio Devices and Plug Them Back In

The good old “unplug it and plug it back in” is surprisingly effective, especially with audio devices.

If you have tried all the solutions above, maybe this is the one that will finally fix it.

You should unplug both your microphone and speakers, not just the microphone. A delay between the two devices can cause an ear-piercing echo, and unplugging them and back in can sync them up.

Buy a Noise-Canceling Microphone

If you have tried all methods and have fast Internet but still got an echo, maybe it’s your microphone.

Not all microphones are designed to work with speakers. You need a noise-canceling condenser microphone that supports cardioid mode. Upgrading your recording setup is always a good thing. Your voice will be crisp and crystal clear.

I recommend the surprisingly affordable Fifine Condenser Microphone from Amazon.com. It’s one of the best budget cardioid microphones. It works via USB, and it has a tripod stand for easier installation.

Sale
USB Microphone,FIFINE Metal Condenser Recording Microphone for Laptop MAC or Windows Cardioid Studio Recording Vocals, Voice Overs,Streaming Broadcast and YouTube Videos-K669B
27,186 Reviews
USB Microphone,FIFINE Metal Condenser Recording Microphone for Laptop MAC or Windows Cardioid Studio Recording Vocals, Voice Overs,Streaming Broadcast and YouTube Videos-K669B
  • Plug and play USB recording microphone with 5.9-Foot USB Cable included for computer PC laptop that connects directly to USB port for record music, computer singing or podcast. Easy to use and install. (◆◆Incompatible with Xbox and Phones◆◆)
  • Solid sturdy metal construction design computer microphone with stable tripod stand is convenient when you are doing voice overs or livestreams on YouTube.
  • Gaming mic for PS4 with additional volume knob itself has a louder output and is more sensitive, your voice would be heard well enough when gaming, skyping or voice recording.

Last update on 2022-01-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Use a Headset in Place of a Microphone and Speakers

Sometimes, the only solution you have left is to use a headset. A microphone and a pair of speakers are often more convenient, but it has one inherent flaw – the microphone will always pick up some sound from the speakers. 

You must keep the speakers at a reasonable volume, and you can’t put the microphone 1 mm away from your mouth.

So, there’s always going to be an echo from time to time.

The only permanent solution is to switch to headphones with a built-in microphone.

A good headset for both conference calls and gaming is the Logitech G Pro X Headset from Amazon.com. It’s a high-quality headset that comes with a detachable microphone and 7.1 virtual surround sound.

Sale
Logitech G PRO X Gaming Headset (2nd Generation) with Blue Voice, DTS Headphone 7.1 and 50 mm PRO-G Drivers, for PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S,PS5,PS4, Nintendo Switch - Black
  • Detachable pro grade microphone featuring real time Blue Voice technology, including noise reducer, compressor, limiter and more for cleaner, professional sounding voice comms; Requires included USB external sound card, Windows PC, and Logitech G HUB software
  • Next gen 7.1 and object based surround sound for greater in game positional, distance, and object awareness during gameplay. Requires included USB external sound card, Windows PC, and Logitech G HUB software
  • Soft memory foam ear-pads with your choice of premium passive noise canceling leatherette or soft, breathable velour for supreme comfort

Last update on 2022-01-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Check out some of my other articles:

Final Thoughts

Microphones often pick up sounds coming from the speakers. This can cause a loud echo that will deafen all call participants.

Thankfully, there are a dozen ways to stop your microphone from echoing. A combination of the following is the best way to eliminate the echo:

  • Good microphone placement.
  • High-quality microphone in cardioid mode.
  • Fine-tuned microphone volume and gain.
  • A good Internet connection.

Sources

Vinnie

I'm Vinnie, and I'm here to support you to create your own studio at home, whether it’s for photography, recording audio, podcasts, or videos!

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