YOUR MIC SOUNDS LIKE ASS

FUCKING DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT

SO YOU'RE ONE OF THE THOUSANDS OF IDIOTS WITH NO IMPULSE CONTROL THAT BOUGHT THE AMAZON STREAMER STARTER PACK (BLUE YETI, ELGATO CAPTURE CARD, LOGITECH C920, IRRATIONAL DELUSIONS OF CHARISMA). MAYBE SOMEONE TOLD YOU THAT THE BLUE YETI IS GARBAGE, AND YOU PROCEEDED TO DO ABSOLUTELY ZERO RESEARCH BEFORE BUYING AN XLR MICROPHONE AND AUDIO INTERFACE. MAYBE YOU DIDN'T PUT IN ANY FUCKING EFFORT AT ALL, AND YOU'RE USING YOUR LAPTOP MIC INSIDE AN ACTIVE WIND TUNNEL AS PART OF YOUR SOUNDCLOUD RAP DEBUT, WHICH IS TOTALLY A SUBSTITUTE FOR A REAL JOB.

I DON'T GIVE A FUCK. YOU SOUND LIKE ASS AND I'M TIRED OF IT. IT'S DISRESPECTFUL TO EVERYONE THAT HAS TO LISTEN TO YOU, AND YOU'RE GOING TO SIT DOWN AND FIX IT RIGHT THE FUCK NOW.

YOUR GAIN IS TOO FUCKING HIGH

DIGITAL AUDIO HAS A MAXIMUM VOLUME. IF YOU HIT THAT MAXIMUM VOLUME, YOUR AUDIO WILL GET FUCKED UP, DESTROYING AND DISTORTING THE SOUND. EVEN IF YOUR LISTENER TURNS DOWN THEIR VOLUME, IT WILL STILL SOUND LIKE ASS, JUST QUIETER. CHECK THE RECORDING VOLUME IN YOUR OPERATING SYSTEM,[1] THE INPUT VOLUME IN YOUR RECORDING OR VOIP SOFTWARE, AND THE VOLUME ON YOUR MICROPHONE OR INTERFACE. IF ANY OF YOUR METERS ARE MAXING OUT, TURN IT THE FUCK DOWN.[2]

YOU'RE TOO FAR AWAY FROM THE FUCKING MIC

YOU NEED TO BE CLOSER TO YOUR MIC THAN ANYTHING ELSE THAT CAN CONCIEVABLY MAKE NOISE. A LOT CLOSER. AS IT TURNS OUT, HARDWARE BUILT FOR PICKING UP SOUND IS PRETTY FUCKING GOOD AT PICKING UP SOUND: IF YOU WANT TO RECORD JUST YOUR VOICE AND NOT EVERYTHING HAPPENING AROUND YOU,[3] YOU HAVE TO GIVE YOUR HARDWARE SOMETHING TO FUCKING WORK WITH. FOR MOST ACTUAL MICROPHONES, A DISTANCE OF TWO FISTS FROM YOUR MOUTH (THUMB TO THUMB) IS A GOOD STARTING POINT. JUST DON'T FORGET TO ADJUST YOUR GODDAMN GAIN AFTERWARDS.

YOU'RE EATING THE FUCKING MIC

TO GET GOOD SOUND QUALITY, YOU NEED TO BE CLOSE TO YOUR MICROPHONE. THIS DOES NOT MEAN YOU HAVE TO SPEAK INTO IT HEAD-ON. ADDRESS THE MIC DIRECTLY AND YOU'LL TREAT EVERYONE TO A HIGH-FIDELITY RENDITION OF YOUR DISGUSTING MOUTHBREATHING, PLUS EVERY "P" "B" AND "T" SOUND WILL BLAST RANCID AIR DIRECTLY INTO THE FUCKING MIC.[4] MOVE THE MICROPHONE OUT OF YOUR LINE OF FIRE AND KEEP IT AT ROUGHLY THE SAME DISTANCE, OR YOU'RE GOING TO SPIT ON THE GODDAMN ELECTRONICS.

YOUR ROOM IS FUCKING NOISY

DISTANCE WON'T HELP IF YOU RECORD DURING A FUCKING SHUTTLE LAUNCH. MICROPHONES REPRODUCE THE SOUND THAT YOU GIVE THEM—GIVE THEM GARBAGE SOUND, LIKE NOISY FANS OR ELECTRICAL HUM,[5] AND THEY'LL GIVE YOU THAT GARBAGE BACK. IT'S A FUCKING MICROPHONE, NOT A MIRACLE WORKER. TURN OFF THE NOISE SOURCES OR FIND ANOTHER PLACE TO RECORD, AND IF YOU ABSOLUTELY CAN'T REDUCE YOUR NOISE, YOU'D BETTER NOT BE USING A FUCKING CONDENSER MICROPHONE.[6]

YOU BOUGHT A FUCKING GAMING HEADSET

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR GIGANTIC WASTE OF MONEY. GAMING HEADSETS HAVE GARBAGE DRIVERS,[7] GARBAGE BUILD QUALITY, AND SPECTACULARLY FUCKING AWFUL MICROPHONES, WITH VIRTUALLY ZERO EXCEPTIONS. NEXT TIME, BUY AN ACTUAL PAIR OF HEADPHONES, THEN PICK UP A LAVALIER MIC OR A BLUE SNOWBALL. IN THE MEANTIME, FOLLOW THE REST OF MY ADVICE. NOTHING WILL SAVE YOU FROM YOUR GODAWFUL PURCHASING DECISIONS, BUT YOU OWE IT TO YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY TO LIMIT THE COLLATERAL DAMAGE.

YOUR MIC IS FUCKING MOVING

IF YOUR MIC IS VIBRATING OR SCRAPING AGAINST SOMETHING, IT'S GETTING PICKED UP, AND THE PEOPLE YOU'RE TALKING TO HAVE TO FUCKING LISTEN TO IT. IF YOUR MIC IS RESTING ON A SURFACE, LIFT IT UP AND SEE IF IT GETS LESS NOISY. IF YOU'RE USING A CLIP-ON MIC, MAKE SURE IT'S NOT RUBBING AGAINST LOOSE FABRIC. AND IF YOUR MIC IS ON A STAND, MAKE SURE THAT STAND IS FUCKING STABLE.

YOU'RE USING THE WRONG FUCKING AUDIO DEVICE

I'M EMBARASSED I EVEN HAVE TO MENTION THIS, BUT PEOPLE FUCK IT UP WITH BREATHTAKING CONSISTENCY. IF YOU HAVE THE TIME TO READ THIS ARTICLE, YOU HAVE THE TIME TO GO INTO YOUR OPERATING SYSTEM SETTINGS (AND YOUR RECORDING/VOIP SOFTWARE) AND MAKE SURE YOU'RE NOT STILL RECORDING FROM YOUR GODDAMN WEBCAM MICROPHONE. YOU'RE PROBABLY THINKING "OH, ONLY A FUCKING IDIOT WOULD BUY A MICROPHONE AND NOT SET THEIR COMPUTER TO USE IT." YOU'RE RIGHT. NOW GO CHECK.

AN ADDENDUM FOR BROADCASTERS

YOUR EQ IS SHIT AND YOU SHOULD TAKE IT OFF, MOVE CLOSER TO THE MIC IF YOU WANT NATURAL BASS, LOOK INTO DEESSERS IF YOUR SIBILANT SOUNDS ARE GRATING, AND USE A GODDAMN COMPRESSOR.

NOW GET THE FUCK OUT OF HERE.


IF YOU GIVE A FUCK ABOUT IMPROVING YOUR AUDIO, WATCH SOULBROTHANUMBUH3'S "HOW TO BE AN ONLINE VOICE ACTOR" SERIES. IT'S GEARED SPECIFICALLY FOR VAS, SO NOT EVERYTHING WILL BE USEFUL TO YOU, BUT GOES INTO MUCH GREATER DETAIL ON GOOD RECORDING HARDWARE AND TECHNIQUE.


  1. YES, THIS INCLUDES MIC BOOST ON WINDOWS. ↩︎

  2. ONLY TURN YOUR GAIN DOWN AS FAR AS YOU NEED TO. IF YOUR GAIN IS TOO LOW, THEN WHEN YOUR SOFTWARE BOOSTS IT TO AUDIBLE LEVELS LATER, YOU'LL HEAR THE NOISE FLOOR. FEEL FREE TO PLAY IT SAFE HERE, BUT MINIMUM GAIN MAY NOT BE WHAT YOU WANT. ↩︎

  3. FOR INSTANCE, YOUR PARENTS SCREECHING AT YOU TO GET A JOB, OR THE SQUEALING OF THE RUSTY HAMSTER WHEEL POWERING YOUR WOODEN COMPUTER. ↩︎

  4. IF YOU BOUGHT A POP FILTER WITH THAT LET'S PLAYER STARTER PACK, THROW IT IN THE FUCKING GARBAGE. YOU WASTED $10 ON SOME THIN MESH STRETCHED OVER PLASTIC AND IT DOESN'T EVEN REMOVE THE ENTIRE SOUND. MOVE THE MICROPHONE TO THE SIDE AND REFLECT ON HOW INCREDIBLY FUCKING POOR YOUR LIFE CHOICES ARE. ↩︎

  5. THIS GOES FOR ECHOS, TOO. USE YOUR FUCKING EARS ON THIS ONE—UNLESS YOU'RE IN A TILED BATHROOM OR DOING PROFESSIONAL VOICE WORK, IT SHOULDN'T BE YOUR FIRST PRIORITY, BUT IT CAN AND WILL FUCK UP YOUR SOUND IF YOUR ROOM IS FIGHTING YOU. ↩︎

  6. DYNAMIC MICROPHONES ARE GENERALLY BETTER AT AVOIDING AMBIENT NOISE, BUT DON'T FUCKING BUY ONE WITHOUT DOING YOUR RESEARCH. ↩︎

  7. "DRIVERS" AS IN "THE HARDWARE THAT PRODUCES SOUND," NOT "THE SOFTWARE THAT ALLOWS MY CHINESE PLASTIC TRASH HEAP TO COMMUNICATE VIA USB," NOT THAT GAMING HEADSETS EVER GET IT RIGHT ON EITHER ↩︎