Nothing is more frustrating when playing online with your friends than repeating what you say five times in a row because it sounds like you are talking from under the Marianas Trench.
Maybe your mic is old, or cheap, or hell, you might be talking to your friends from the bottom of a canyon. Does that mean that you are stuck with the poor sound quality until you buy a new headset? Not necessarily. There are some tricks you can try to improve your audio.
For starters, if you are using a wireless headset, you might have to:
Fixing connectivity issues with the Bluetooth or Wi-fi
This is a problem that we have touched before on the blog for other accessories. Your house might have a lot of wireless interference that gets in the way of your headset connection and might even literally add white noise to it.
There are a lot of causes for this problem. It can happen because you have a lot of electronic devices turned on that overcrowds the frequency, like routers, laptops, cellphones, even microwaves.
All these devices can cause a bit of interference (much more, if they are connected to the wifi) that put together add up. It might be enough to ruin your mic quality.
Another issue might be in the position of your headset. Physical obstacles can and will obstruct the wireless frequencies by which your mic sends and receives data over the web. Distance plays a role too. If you are too far away from your router/PC/game console, the quality will suffer.
Now, you might think this is asinine. After all, who plays with a fridge in between them and the game? And you might be right when it comes to PC gaming when you have a high-end battle station with your router next to you.
But when you are on Wifi, be it with a game console (like the PlayStation or Xbox) or a laptop, you got to remember that the position of your router is also fundamental.
Your headset sends your voice to the console (usually via Bluetooth), and then the console sends the data via Wifi to the internet. Having the router far away, well, you can guess what will happen to the quality of the signal.
One final often-overlooked reason that you might be having connectivity issues is outdated firmware. Remember to update your mics and headset drivers to ensure they are up to date.
So, how can you try to fix these issues and improve the sound quality? Simple.
Play close to the computer or game console.
Try to play close to the router if you are playing online via Wi-fi.
Don´t play with too many electronic devices around you, or turn them off.
Update your drivers.
Of course, you might be playing right next to your router, with the latest driver possible, and still, sound like you are talking from the bottom of the ocean. In that case, there is probably another reason for your quality issues. You can try to fix them by:
Improve the quality of your audio by messing with the microphone settings
You can´t turn a bad mic into a good one, but you can mess with the settings to try and refine your audio quality. It won´t turn coal into diamonds, but it will improve how you sound.
Now, while not all mics come with drivers, you can always use Window´s default sound settings to adjust the configuration a bit. If you chat mainly on Discord, you can also use its tools to adjust the sensitivity of your microphone.
The idea here is to tweak the settings until you find the configuration that works best for you.
On Windows, you can find these settings by going to the Control Panel, Hardware, and Sounds, clicking on the recording tab, and finding your microphone on the list there. Click it and select properties. On the "levels" tab you can adjust its sensitivity and give yourself a boost if you need it.
If the mic is having trouble picking your voice up, then you should crank the sensitivity up. If, on the other hand, you have too much of an echo or a distorted voice, then you should lower the sensitivity towards the lower end of the spectrum. The boost is there to help you sound louder when the microphone can barely register you.
Both the Playstation and the Xbox also have a similar menu on their settings. You can adjust the sensitivity of your microphone there pretty much the same as you would do on Windows.
Finally, if you talk to your friends a lot using Discord, you can also adjust your settings from the app. You access it by clicking the gear next to your name and going to the "Voice and Video" options. It also boasts natively built echo cancellation, automatic gain control, and noise suppression features you can try to see if they improve your audio quality.
Improve the sound quality by changing the microphone position.
While it might sound a bit obvious, if the microphone is too far away, it doesn't matter if it costs 10$ or 100$; your voice will barely pick up. Try to keep the mic right in front of your mouth, but not close enough so that it picks up your breathing.
This is not a big problem for headsets with boom mics, as it´s easy to adjust the microphone´s position. In-line mics, however, are trickier. Their headset puts the mic next to the little plastic cylinder from which you adjust the volume (most of the time). See that little hole? That is the mic.
For in-line mics, you might have no other choice but to hold the plastic part next to your mouth. If you one hundred percent need to have a clear mic quality but can't hold the mic the whole time, an imperfect solution would be to tape the mic to your shoulder or even your face.
Reduce background noise by using a foam cover
If all else fails, there is one final trick to improve the quality of your sound. This trick, however, only works in boom mics.
You can buy a little foam "cap" for your mic, like this one. You might recognize the covers as the foamy things on top of pretty much every professional mic out there. The material helps reduce and filter out background noise, and therefore it improves the quality of your audio, if just by a little bit.
And that's it! These were a few tips to improve how your mic sounds. However, a lot of poor-quality headsets are without recourse, so be sure to only buy good-quality earpieces. You can find a list of such headphones on our page over here.
Want to use your wireless headsets for the Nintendo Switch? Check out how to do it in our article here!