How to reduce microphone background noise on your PC

Video and audio quality are important for a good user experience during a video conference call. Your audio should be crisp and clear so that all ears can hear it easily. However, one of the common problems that disrupts the call is the background noise from your microphone. Here you will learn how to reduce the background noise from the microphone on your computer.

Use headphones

Most laptops have a low-quality built-in microphone, which can cause echo or muffled sound. The best way to reduce microphone background noise in this case is to use headphones, preferably with a dedicated microphone. This will ensure that your voice quality is clear and that the microphone does not pick up noise from your speakers.

Remove surrounding background noise

Another very important step in improving your audio quality is to remove background noise from your environment. You can do this by turning off the fans, closing the windows, and keeping away from any other disturbing noise. Make sure your microphone is away from your mouth so that your breathing is not heard by others. Another good option is to mute the microphone when you are not speaking.

Perform a microphone test

The best bet to understand the quality of your voice and what factor can affect it is to do a microphone test. There are different options for achieving this.

The first method is to use the Windows built-in microphone configuration. This can be found in “Control Panel -> Hardware and Sound -> Sound”. Make sure it is the old traditional control panel and not the one with new settings.

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Here, in the Recording tab, select your microphone and select Configure.

Reduce background noise Configure

Select “Configure microphone” and follow the steps given to allow you to view the sound level of your microphone. Windows will also tell you if something is wrong with your microphone.

Reduce the noise level of background noiseReduce the noise level of background noise

The second method is a little simpler though manual. Simply record a small voice clip using the Windows voice recorder, play it and listen to your own voice. You can figure out if something is wrong with background noise and echo, and then you can take action to fix it.

Reduce background noise voice recorderReduce background noise voice recorder

Voice suppression in Windows

Windows offers some features to help you reduce background noise. The exact features available depend on your PC’s sound card and your manufacturer’s audio drivers. We have included a small guide below.

1. Open the traditional control panel on your PC / laptop. To do this, look for Control Panel in your Start menu. Make sure to open the old traditional Start menu, as these features are not available in the new Settings app.

2. In the control panel, go to “Hardware and Sound -> Sound”.

Noise reduction control panelNoise reduction control panel
Reduction of background noiseReduction of background noise

3. In the Recording tab, select the microphone you use for your video calls / recordings. Once selected, click Properties.

Reduce background noise propertiesReduce background noise properties

4. Here, in the Levels tab, you can adjust the voice level of your microphone. If you have background noise, you can try reducing the Microphone boost setting. This makes the microphone more sensitive to sounds so that it can be activated more easily, but it will automatically pick up more background sounds.

Reduce background noise levelsReduce background noise levels

Likewise, if your voice is too low and difficult for the other person to hear, increase the microphone volume to make your voice louder. Once you are done playing with the settings, click Apply to test the microphone as described above to check the output.

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Another option which may or may not be present depending on the settings of your PC is voice suppression. This will be present in the Improvements tab. If you do not have this tab, your computer may not support this option.

In the Improvements tab, you will find two options:

  1. Noise cancellation / noise cancellation: this reduces background noise and, in some cases, can eliminate it completely.
  2. Cancellation of acoustic echo: this eliminates any echo in your voice, especially if it is caused by the sound emitted by your external speakers (if used)

Microphone input settings on macOS

You can also adjust the microphone input settings on your Mac. Depending on the Mac you have and the type of microphone you are using, you may be able to adjust these settings. To do this:

1. Open System Preferences on your Mac.

2. In Sound, click “Enter”. You’ll see a slider to adjust the input level of your microphone, which you can do to effectively reduce any additional noise or breathing noise that may be picked up by your Mac.

Reduce Mac Input NoiseReduce Mac Input Noise

3. Similarly, depending on your microphone, you may also see an option for “Use ambient noise reduction”. This option is not available if a built-in four-channel microphone format is selected in Audio and MIDI Setup.

Use the application’s built-in voice reduction software

Many video conferencing software offers settings to optimize your voice and audio quality. For example, Discord and Zoom both allow you to configure, check and optimize your voice via your microphone. They also offer different background noise cancellation features which can be very handy for reducing microphone background noise.

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