Whether you are a podcaster, YouTuber, or just trying to record your voice for a video project, the ambient sound from anything around you can be picked up by your mic. This is why it’s important to choose the right type of mic for what you’re doing and how much money you want to spend on it. In this article, we will cover everything from ambient noise in microphones to solutions that will help save your recording if there is external noise in the background of your audio.
There are many common problems you can face when recording audio. If you feel your mic is picking everything in your environment, such as pc fan noise, body movements, chair noise, and so on, there are a couple of microphone background noise reduction solutions for this issue.
Which mic is more likely to be sensitive to ambient sounds?
There are two main types of microphones, dynamic and condenser. Dynamic mics are known for its ability to handle high levels of sound pressure. Condenser mics, while requiring a low level of sound pressure to work properly, cannot handle high volumes as well as the dynamic mic. Dynamic microphones are less sensitive during audio recording and therefore easier to use for beginners. They will pick up the sound in front of them, unlike condenser mics, which means you can often record better without worrying about background noise spilling into your recordings.
As a result, condenser mics are more sensitive to sound than other types, and consumers should be aware of this. If you are using a cheap mic or gaming mic that is in close proximity to the speaker and has lots of ambient noise around it, you will also pick up more sounds generated from that direction.
All in all, as with any competing design, you have your pros and cons. Condenser mics provide a clearer recording while dynamic ones might be slightly muted or “muddy.” Again, it is best to choose what works for you based on the quality of your microphone. You may be interested in my other post on using condenser mics without phantom power.
You decide which type is better for you!
What’s the Solution to mic ambient noise?
Microphones are susceptible to ambient noise, but there’s no one size fits all solution for this. The first step in solving the issue, is identifying which noises affect your recording. You then need to find ways of reducing the noise at it’s source.
To ensure a clean recording of your vocals, it’s best not to have anything else making noise in the background. For example, if you’re near speakers or air conditioners then move them away from where they are positioned before starting so that only one sound comes through at once instead multiple sounds mixed together will appear on tape/digital recording. Click here to read my post on how to reduce keyboard noise from a mic.
Changing the distance between a spring pop filter, windscreen or windshield can help reduce background noises picked up by a microphone. A noise gate is another option to consider for reducing sound during recording sessions and has settings allowing you to set a volume trigger point. In other words, what level of volume should be considered “silence”, and will automatically cut off signals before they’re louder than desired so as not to introduce obvious distortion into your work.
Rescuing your recording from ambient noise
If you’re recording and want to fix clicks, crackles, pops or rustles in the background, there are a few solutions. Post-editing can save recordings with no issue if you know how to use the software tools correctly.
It is better to solve the problem beforehand with a mic pop filter, but here are a few different ways to get rid of unwanted sound in your recordings. One option without any advanced plugins is Audacity. Audacity is a free open-source digital audio workstation. Its decent noise reduction plugin, as well as its click and pop removal tool, make it worth the download. The user interface is straightforward and easy to learn.
To get the best possible recording, you need to know what level of sound is being picked up by your mic and how much noise will be around when capturing it. If there are lots in background sounds that shouldn’t affect our target dialogue then set those levels low enough so they don’t overload while still high enough for everything else – but make sure not too lose any important elements like speech!
For more advanced users, it is widely known that izotope’s RX8 can be used to reduce background sound from your microphone. However, this comes at a price.
Frank Edwards is the founder and owner of churchsoundtips.com and has over 10 years experience running sound in his local church.