How to reduce background noise on mic in windows 10?
Many people have the problem of a lot of background noise on their microphones while chatting in Skype, Discord or Teamspeak in Windows 10. But what are the reasons for this and what can you do against it. In this article we are going to answer these questions and more. We also show you how you can remove the backgorund noise from a recording. Maybe you want to record a video for youtube but on the voice-over you can hear the background noise. We show you how you can fix that, so your videos will have an excellent sound quality.
What is causing the background noises in Windows 10?
Classical stage vocal mics are quite good at recording only little background noise. The rock classic Shure SM-58 has a distinct proximity effect (gets more bass / snotty when you get so close that you suck on it), popular because the Sennheiser e840/e835 are cheap and useful.
The essential difference is above all: DISTANCE. In order for stage mics to deliver a usable level and great sound quality, you have to get ‘close’ to it. But they can handle that. Studio mics are usually 10 times further (or even further) away – and you have to be careful with sound levels (depending on the mic).
With smaller distances the difference in volume between the wanted signal and the background noise is much higher. That’s why you can see singers on stage (almost) sucking on the mic, while in studio recordings you can often see a quarter to half a meter between the singer and the mic (and the two surrounding sound isolation booths – guess why…)
For example, the popular (because they can be used without any micro discipline) headset/neck boom microphones usually have condenser type microphones (because such highly miniaturized dynamic mics simply sound lousy) – but they are very close to the sound source (and also built for it).
That means that the most background noise that gets recorded by your mic, whether it’s a gaming headset or a studio vocal mic, comes from the fact that the sensitivity adjustments of the microphone are not adapted adequately to the distance the microphone has to the sound source. The following guide shows you what’s important to get the most sound quality out of your mic:
Getting rid of the background noise of your mic
Noise from the microphone can have various causes. We present you with solutions to remove the noise from a microphone.
As a general rule, a microphone with USB connection should be preferred to a device with a jack plug. You should also keep in mind that noise can hardly be avoided with particularly cheap and poorly manufactured headsets. In addition, do not hold the microphone too close to the mouth, otherwise breathing sounds may already be transmitted.
First make sure that the headset is connected correctly. If you are using a USB headset, try a different slot. Avoid connecting via a USB hub, but connect the headset directly to your PC or laptop. Also make sure the cable is not loose.
There are also some options in the sound settings in Windows to remove or reduce microphone noise:
- Open the control panel. Alternatively, click on the speaker icon at the bottom right of the taskbar.
- Select the “Sound” section.
- Click on the “Recording” tab. The corresponding microphone should be listed here.
- Right-click on the entry and open the “Properties”.
- Regulates the microphone gain in the “Level” tab.
Eliminate interference with the microphone: This can be done
If there is still noise, you can use the Windows functions to set up the microphone. Right click on the entry for the corresponding device as described above. Instead of the “Properties” select the option “Configure Speech Recognition”. Now you can for example set whether it is a headphone microphone or a table microphone. Then read out the default texts to set up the device correctly.
The sound card can also cause interference during transmission. Often you can also turn down the gain in the sound card settings. Make sure that the sound card is compatible with your headset and that the hardware is not defective.
Other factors influencing the sound quality of your mic recording
First: The room selection
The room acoustics are decisive for the sound quality and at a disadvantage are usually those who live the most beautiful: Old building palaces with high ceilings, wooden floorboards, reduced furnishings and large windows provide a lot of reverb and give every audio recording the unmistakable tin can character. Mouse boxes from the 50s with carpet and dust are ideal in contrast. The first step is to test the acoustics of all rooms with small intercom systems, with the addition of a few criteria:
- Size of the room (usually small rooms are better),
- Location (street or courtyard) and possible sources of noise,
- Carpet (good), wooden floor (medium) or stone floor (bad),
- Heavily or less heavily furnished,
- Number of windows and possibility of hanging (preferably with heavy curtains)
Second: Quiet please!
Once a suitable room has been found, all artificial sources of interference should be located and minimized if possible:
- Close all doors and windows.
- Turn off all unnecessary electronic devices or place them at a sufficient distance. This includes mobile devices, televisions, telephones, aquariums, splashing fountains, bird cages, neon lights and other exotics…
- Turn off laptop or PC speakers (including external ones).
- Establish a distance between microphone and laptop/PC, e.g. to minimize vibrations and noise from the fan. If you don’t have a separate table for the laptop, you can place it on insulating material if necessary.
- Choose the right time for the recording (no rush hour, noise from the neighbour, etc.)
Third: Pop protection for the microphone
Popping sounds are caused by plosives (explosive sounds) such as p, b, k, t, g and can be avoided quite easily by using a pop protection. A popscreen is nothing more than a fabric that is stretched in front of the microphone and absorbs the air pressure of the plosives. You can build a popscreen yourself with a few nylons and an embroidery frame (here are the instructions). However, the DIY-version should undercut the price for a new purchase only slightly despite the cult factor (new price starts at approx. 15 Dollars).
Fourth: The correct level control
With our own test mic, the Samson G-Track, there are numerous reports of very loud background noise on the internet. In fact, we had to experiment a lot, too, until finally the wrong level was discovered as a source of error.
As a rule of thumb for level control, the input signal should be recorded as loud as possible and as quiet as necessary. As quiet as necessary means that even loud passages should not be overdriven and therefore a tolerance range should be left free. Optimal recording is at 0 db, but for practical purposes you should “level up” with volume variations between -6 and 0 db. Everything above 0 db is overdriven and tends to sound distorted.
With some USB microphones like the G-Track you can adjust the signal strength at the microphone itself. In this case you should also send the signal to the PC as strong as possible without overmodulating it (with the G-Track the setting of “Mic” to approx. 75% – 85% has proven to be a good choice, depending on the recording situation and the distance to the microphone). In most cases, however, the level control is done by the audio software. In some cases the screencast software already offers an automatic level control (e.g. Camtasia). Otherwise, the db display with scale and coloured markings helps to level the signal sensibly:
When using Windows 7 instead of Windows 10, noise can also be caused by the onboard microphone. If problems occur, you should right-click on the speaker icon in the taskbar to check the recording devices and, if necessary, mute the unused devices via the properties. If necessary, a few experiments with different settings and combinations will lead to the same result.
According to the pattern shown above, the noise level during recording should be reduced to a tolerable level. However, it is not possible to avoid a certain amount of background noise with microphones in the “hobby price range“. Again, if you want to get the last 10 percent of quality out, you have to invest 90%. Whether this is worth it depends entirely on the goal of the podcast or screencast.
Filtering microphone background noise in Windows 10
Before you try to filter microphone background noise in Windows 10, make sure that the recording device is properly connected to your system. Often, a damaged microphone also produces a buzzing sound.
Enable Microsoft Extensions
Background noise in the microphone increases because low or negative signal-to-noise ratios may occur in Windows 10. But the operating system offers a useful setting to solve the annoying sound problem, and all you need is an activation.
- Step 1: Right-click the speaker icon in the taskbar and select Sounds from the options.
- Step 2: Switch to the Recording tab, right-click Microphone and select Properties.
- Step 3: In the new window that appears, you will find two options – “Adaptive Noise Reduction” and “Acoustic Echo Canceller”. Select both check boxes, then click Apply, and then click OK.
Set the correct microphone levels.
You must set the appropriate microphone level to prevent buzzing sounds from coming out of the microphone. In the Same window, click the Levels tab. Go to the first section, Microphone, and set the volume bar to 100, and then set the Microsoft Boost bar to 10.0 dB. Click the Apply button, and then click OK.
Disabling the Exclusive Mode Options
Navigate to the Advanced tab and find the section Exclusive Mode. Disable both the radio buttons of “Allow applications to take sole control of this device” and “Give priority to applications in exclusive mode”. Finally, choose Apply and OK.
Changing the setting on the Communication tab
The Windows 10 audio system adjusts the volume of several sounds to give you a better experience. But an error in the settings is possible, so make the following changes –
- In the Sound window, click Communications, the last tab.
- Select the Do nothing option and click Apply After, then OK.
Update Microphone Driver
To filter microphone background noise in Windows 10, make sure the driver is up to date. You can update the driver software with the following instructions:
Press Win+S, type devmgmt.msc and then Enter. To do this, click View in the menus and select Show Hidden Devices from the drop-down list. Locate the audio inputs and outputs in the list and click the arrow. After expanding, right-click Microphone and select Update Driver. When the Update Microphone Driver Wizard appears, select “Automatically check for updated driver software”.
If you are still getting microphone background noise, then right-click the same device and select Uninstall Device. In the warning window, select Uninstall and restart the system.
Perform audio troubleshooting:
Open the Windows settings (Win + I) and select Update & Security. Click Troubleshooting in the left pane and jump to the page to move to the right. Click on Language and select Run the troubleshooter after it has been expanded. Follow the instructions on the screen and select the options displayed according to your requirements. After troubleshooting is complete, restart your PC and check if you have the ability to filter microphone background noise in Windows 10.
In some cases, if your microphone has Bluetooth capability, you might find background noise. In this case, click the Action Center icon in the right corner of the taskbar and select All Settings. Select Devices. By default, the next page opens with Bluetooth and other devices. Navigate to the right and check that the setting is turned on and you can pair and unpair and finally pair by using Add Bluetooth Device to make sure the connection is right here.
Avoid third-party applications to use the microphone.
Third-party applications can also cause background noise when playing or testing. Windows 10 is pretty much effective at letting you use a microphone without interruption or annoyance. It might not be compatible with the daily development and changes in the Windows environment. Therefore, uninstall the software and configure your device properly as described above.