Microphones are a necessary tool in day to day life, from content creation to simple tasks, like video phone calls. But, regardless of what you use your microphone for, it can be frustrating when you play back your media and your mic sounds muffled.
There are multiple reasons why your mic could be muffled, but luckily, there are a few ways we can determine not only why your mic sounds muffled but how you can fix it.
5 Reasons Why Mic Sound Is Muffled
When using a computer-connected microphone, or a headset microphone, there could be a few reasons why you’re running into trouble:
- Software issues
- Hardware issues
- Microphone Positioning
- Recording Issues
- Using the Wrong Mic
Microphone software includes anything that isn’t the physical setup of the microphone. For example, recording software, the microphone drivers, microphone settings.
Some of the most common microphone sound issues can stem from software issues. When looking at your microphone software, make sure to check that everything is updated. Update your recording software, or uninstall and reinstall the program if it doesn’t seem to be working correctly.
Drivers are usually automatically installed, but if you’re having issues with the sound it might be a good idea to uninstall and reinstall drivers, or to do an update if possible. If need be, you can always look up your microphone make and model and manually search and install them.
Make sure you’re only installing drivers from verified or official websites, though, because downloading malware will cause more harm than help.
To uninstall and reinstall drivers:
- Go to your computer’s “Device Manager”
- Right click on the device that you’re trying to fix
- Click on “update drivers’ or “uninstall drivers”
It could also just be the recording software that you’re using. Try switching to another program to see if that makes any difference. If it does, look at your program settings. Is your mic recording volume too high? Too low? Do you have enhanced bass or vocal distortion? Are your settings optimized for your microphone?
On most recording software, you should be able to see your volume levels. Are you maxing out your volume? Is your volume usually in the max range for your recording software? Make sure to level out your recording mic levels and your gain so you’re never maxing out the volume in your recording software.
Also, check to make sure that your microphone is the one that your computer is connected to and recording from.
Expert Tip: Look at your settings and make sure the default recording device is the microphone that you’re wanting to use, instead of your computer’s default microphone or a microphone from another device.
To make sure your microphone is always the one being used:
- Go to your sound setting in your Control Panel
- Click on “Manage audio devices”
- Click on the “recording” tab
- Click on your headset
- Click “set as default”
Microphone hardware is any of the physical components of the microphone. If your mic sounds muffled, one of the first things you should do is to look at your hardware.
Make sure your plugs, sockets, and cords are free from any dust, or maybe even gunk if it’s been exposed to any food or beverages. Are you missing any pieces to your microphone?
It might also be a connection problem with the cords of the mic. Cords can create big differences in sound quality, especially because that’s the sole connection from our microphone to our computer.
Do you have any outdated or incompatible hardware? Looking up your microphone’s make and model could help you determine the optimum hardware for your microphone.
Hardware is important because if any of the physical components don’t work or are misaligned, it could give you a muffled sound.
While all of the components of the microphone itself are important, it’s also important to keep in mind your microphone’s positioning. Bad microphone positioning can lead to a muffled sounding mic.
Being too far away from your microphone can make it hard for the microphone to pick up sound, therefore giving it its muffled sound. It’s best to stand about a foot away from the microphone, but if you have no other choice, up to about 20 inches can be okay.
However, being too close can be detrimental to sound as well. It’s important not to max your sound out at any time because doing this at all will leave you with a really warbled, muffled sound. Make sure as well that you’re not so close that it’s picking up too many bass notes or low tones, because this audio dissonance can lead to muffling as well.
It’s important to speak clearly into the microphone, with no head waving or bobbing. Make sure to angle your mic towards you, and that when you’re speaking into it that you’re speaking directly into the microphone.
It’s also vital that your microphone is facing you head-on, and that everything is oriented the correct way. I know I’ve definitely been upset over my sound being muffled and then realized my mic was sideways, or backwards.
How you record your sound, and what you use to record your sound can cause muffled sounding mics as well. Make sure your recording software is compatible with your microphone. If not try a new program to see if that works.
Keep in mind as well, that the state of your recording space is going to be reflected in your recording. Make sure that any loud noises (fans, electronics, animals) are kept to a minimum. Any of these disruptive factors can alter your recording into something that sounds bad.
Make sure your voice as well is clear and concise. Sometimes sounds can come off as muffled if proper recording practices aren’t used.
Using the Wrong Mic
When looking for the sound that you want in your recordings, make sure that the microphone that you have is one that fits your needs.
For example, it’s kind of silly to think that you could record an entire album on a $50 streaming microphone. Sometimes, microphones, no matter how well set up they are, won’t be able to fit your needs.
If you’re looking for something high end, you need the equipment to match the sound you’re looking for. If you’re looking for something casual, as a streamer or hobbyist, then spending thousands of dollars on name-brand sound equipment won’t be the move for you.
If all else fails, objectively look at the hardware you have and ask yourself what you need.
How to Fix a Muffled Mic
Now that we’ve looked at some of the most common reasons for having microphone issues, let’s look at what we can do to actually fix it.
As a tip, it’s important that after trying each method, you test your microphone after, so we can pinpoint what the real problem is.
Software is a good place to start with trying to test and fix your muffled sounding mic issues. Make sure you check that everything is up to date.
If it is, and your mic still sounds muffled, then the next step is to uninstall and reinstall your drivers.
Sometimes you might need to search for and download your microphone’s driver software manually, but looking up for microphone make and model. Uninstall your current drivers, and then reinstall the new ones.
After testing the mic, if that still doesn’t work let’s look at hardware issues. It’s a good idea to test your microphone on a different device than the one you commonly use, to see if it’s an issue with the actual microphone, or just the computer itself.
Expert Tip: If the microphone is muffled on one computer but not another, then that most likely means your issue is a software issue. If the muffled sound persists on both devices, then make sure to thoroughly check your hardware for any issues.
Are any components missing? Have there been any recent drops or falls with your microphone? Was it exposed to the elements, or turned sticky with food?
Remember too to check all of your microphone’s supporting equipment. Experiment with different cords. Maybe it could be an issue with a connecting cord.
When testing your hardware, it can be hard to suss out what exactly is causing your issue, so it’s important to check your recording quality after each change.
Make sure you’re recording with good microphone positioning (with the microphone facing you straight on. with you being able to speak directly into it.
How to Fix a Muffled Headset Mic
When headset mics are having issues, it’s more than likely a software issue.
Headset mics often come with their own software, so with other microphones, it’s important to go through the steps of uninstalling or reinstalling drivers.
Since headset microphones are reliant on USB ports, make sure to test every USB port to see if that changes the quality of sound. A poor USB to microphone connection can cause a plethora of issues, the bad quality sound being one of them.
Also, make sure that there is no dust buildup and that all ports and cords are clean and free of anything that could interfere with its connection.
Sometimes with microphone settings, they come with automatic voice effects, so make sure any voice effects your microphone may have been turned off in your recording software. You should be able to find this under your device settings in whichever recording software you’re using.
Expert Tip: Look at your headset recording software as well. With it being closer to your face, it can be easier to max out your volume. If you are having issues with volume, go into your recording settings and make sure to turn your recording volume down.
While working with computer software check to see if your microphone works with other software. Because headset microphones are so versatile, there are a ton of programs that could record audio with the use of a headset microphone. Switch between programs to see if the muffled audio is consistent, or an issue within the program.
If it is an issue only within a single program, make sure you check the settings in your program. Make sure all voice distortion options are off. Also make sure that your headset microphone is the device that’s connected, instead of your computers default microphone, or the microphone of any other devices you have plugged in.
If it’s an issue across all platforms, look at your audio settings.
Like with any microphone, it’s important to know if the issue is within your recording device, or is a computer issue. If you’ve tested everything else and you’re still unsure, use your headset on another computer and see if you have the same issue.
If you do, it’s most likely an issue with the microphone itself, or the hardware, than it is with computer settings or software.
If all else fails, it might be time to call in a professional. There are very few things you can do to fix a microphone that has run its course, so a professional opinion might help you know if this is a home-remedy situation, or if your microphone is truly broken.
Some signs of a microphone that’s broken are audio recordings completely missing high or low frequencies, audio cutting in and out. or warbled or distorted sound. Another good indicator is if there is no sound being recorded at all. or it’s missing internal or external pieces, usually followed by something physically damaging the microphone (like dropping it or knocking it on the floor).
Most likely it won’t come to that, but it is something to keep in mind when trying to troubleshoot because it is a possibility.
If you have any questions, about that, or in general please leave them in the comments below.
Fixing a muffled mic might like to seem like a daunting problem, one that can also be frustrating but taking it step by step can help you determine the problems your microphone might have, and the things you can do to fix it.