Something you might have noticed whilst watching any big-name streamer is that their condenser mics are extremely good at getting rid of background noise.
This allows the audience to be 100% focused on what the streamer is saying and what they are doing. And do not get distracted by weird hisses or buzzing coming from seemingly nowhere.
Within this article, we provide 10 ways in which you can get rid of the background noise of your condenser mic. These methods include the following:
- Increasing Mic Quality
- Correct Audio Filter
- Noise Gate Thresholds
- Attack, Hold, Release Times
- Picking Audio Options
- Increase Noise Gate
Throughout this article we’ll be discussing all of these methods in extensive detail, so you have all the information that you need to make your condenser mic sound as professional as possible.
Moreover, we’ll be giving you all the specific settings and levels you are recommended to set in the various options you will be presented, with to reduce hassle.
What software should you use?
If you want to begin your journey of improving mic quality and removing background noise, you first need to invest in obtaining a good screen casting or streaming application.
These applications are purpose-built to have features and tools that can enhance your recordings and provide you with the options you need to remove that pesky background noise.
Within this section, we have two important recommendations that can aid you in whatever venture you’re hoping to use your condenser mic for.
Whether it be streaming or making videos, you need two software which are OBS Studio and Audacity.
The first software that you will be required to have is the OBS Studio. This is because it contains the various options we’ll be delving into in detail that can largely remove all the background noise your condenser mic is picking up.
OBS Studio is essentially a free, open-source, and even cross-platform screen casting and streaming application. It is readily available on both macOS and Windows, so you should have no issues getting it for your computer.
OBS Studio is perhaps the best overall free software that anyone can pick up for their recording needs. It is both powerful and flexible and allows for a host of customization options to enhance the user experience.
The second software that we recommend you use, especially if you want to create video or audio content for Youtube is Audacity. It is exceptionally good recording software that is free and open-source.
In terms of functionality, Audacity probably has more features than most people will ever need. On top of that, it’s got a super-simple interface that is easy and efficient to use.
It offers real-time monitoring, so you can adjust recording levels as you go. It also provides many editing options to optimize your recordings.
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1. Increasing Mic Quality
Perhaps one of the easiest ways that you can remove unwanted static or background noise from your condenser mic is to simply get a better condenser mic in the first place.
The simple matter of the fact is that a better quality condenser mic might be pricier, but is generally great value for money especially if you wish to maximize your recording ability.
The advantages of a better Condenser Mic
Most condenser mics have great dynamic range, however, top-tier condenser mics dwarf the range of cheaper mics. This gives you a host of additional options to change to better suit your audio requirements.
Moreover, top-tier condenser mics also have better Noise Floors than their cheaper counterparts. This means that they will be able to cancel out additional noise segments in your recordings because of their increased detection capacity.
The higher-quality condenser mics have powerful off-axis capabilities, and it’s why we see them as the near-exclusive choice on the end of boom poles everywhere. This feature allows them to reduce a lot of the noise that otherwise might be picked up by a regular condenser mic.
Recommended Condenser Mics
We wouldn’t be helping you out in reducing your condenser mics’ background noise if we didn’t recommend to you some of the best mics for that feature.
In our mind, the best condenser mics to use if you want the least amount of background noise are as follows:
2. Correct Audio Filters
The first step to making sure that you remove your background noise from your condenser mic is to use a Noise Gate. A Noise Gate is an audio filter that will remove unwanted or unneeded sounds that otherwise get picked up by your mic and ruin your audio.
- Simply open up your mics audio file on your OBS Studio
- Go to the microphone section at the bottom center.
- Right next to it you will see a gearbox and you want to click on it.
- Navigate down the pop-up menu till you reach Filters
- Go to the bottom left corner and click on the + sign
- Click on Noise Gate on the pop-up menu
And voila, you’ve got yourself a noise gate filter ready to be used in your audio recordings to remove any unwanted noise or static that might be picked up from your environment.
3. Noise Gate Thresholds
For Noise Gate to properly work on your audio recordings you have to carefully manage what settings you apply to function.
There are several different facets that make up all of the options for your Noise Gate. However, the two most important settings are related to the Noise Gate Thresholds.
The two settings are Close Threshold and Open Threshold. Both of which exist to dictate what specific levels of noise or sound should be picked up by the condenser mic and which should be ignored.
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The close threshold indicates the level of sound that will be picked up by your microphone. This means that if there is a sound that is below that threshold then your condenser mic will not pick it up.
This option is exceptionally important for cutting out low humming sounds in the environment or the buzzing sound of a nearby fan.
This option should be experimented with and set according to the noise levels that you experience in your recording environment.
The open threshold indicates which sounds if too loud will not be picked up by the microphone. This option acts as an upper limit. If something is too loud or outside of a certain threshold then the mic will ignore picking that sound up.
An example of this could be that someone is playing loud music in the vicinity or you’re experiencing car honks from the street outside. In either case, due to the high decibel count both of those sounds will be ignored by the condenser mic, and you’ll have crisp and clear audio.
4. Attack, Hold, Release Times
The Attack, Hold and Release times are the options that will specifically aid in maintaining clear audio recordings when we talk and when do not talk. These options are based in the time gaps that occur once we start talking and when we finish.
This is the amount of time that defines how long it takes for the noise gate to change from closed to fully open. You want this number to be as short as possible, however, be wary that if this number is too short then certain bits of the recording can be chopped off.
The Hold time defines the amount of time the noise gate will remain fully open. This is usually the time frame between after the signal falls below the threshold and before the release period will commence.
it’s best to give this option enough time that after you finish speaking the mic can fade out the sound naturally, rather than showcasing a bunch of cuts at the end.
This option defines the amount of time the noise gate takes in order to go from open to fully closed. It is very similar to Hold time, and provides a very nice natural fall out of the sound.
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5. Picking Audio Options
Which audio options you pick will highly be dependent on the type and choice of your condenser mic, but another factor that has a major influence on your background noise is your environment.
If you’re sitting in an area where there is a very loud ceiling fan or device near your microphone then there is a chance that the recommended settings aren’t perfect for you.
To mitigate this issue simply check the variances in your microphone’s level on OBS Studio when you are recording, and then tamper with the settings and options until you reach the settings that work perfectly for you.
We put this option as a method because most people try to use recommended settings and become frustrated rather than changing things to suit their own needs and requirements. So be mindful of that.
6. Increase Noise Gate
There are a variety of ways that you can further amplify your Noise Gate. But the simplest method is to be mindful of a bunch of options that become apparent to you the more you use a condenser mic.
First of all, noticing what type of amp is being used with your setup is important. This is because the valve of certain amps can get noisier with age. If you want to increase the ability to noise gate then try to use things with low-grain.
Secondly, if the type of pickup you use is single coil then that can end up generating more noise due to the design. Staying well away from such structures will help reduce the noise of your condenser mic.
Finally, make sure that the quality of your mains supply is up to par. If there is any electrical leakage or faulty wiring then you will be able to hear it in your recordings. So fixing these can amplify your noise gate significantly.
We can apply Compression to our audio recordings both through OBS and through Audacity. However, for this setting we’ll be describing how to carry out the process on your Audacity application.
In order to carry out Compression on your audio file follow these steps:
- Open the Audacity application on your computer
- Import your audio recording onto Audacity
- Select the Audio that you want to do changes to
- Select Effect from the top tool bar
- Navigate to the Compressor option and a text box will pop up.
- Setting Compression settings to your liking.
And voila, using compression you now should notice a noticeable smoothness in the audio file and that it sounds far clearer than earlier.
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By Normalization we mean raising the peak level of the audio file by a specific amount that we want. This is typically done to achieve the highest possible digital level without introducing distortion.
This allows your audio file to retain its dynamic characteristics, while also making the sound clearer and more refined. Additionally, it removes much of the static and noise you might experience in your audio.
To carry out normalization follow these steps:
- Select your Audio file in Audacity
- Select the Effect button on the tool bar on the top
- Navigate to Normalize
- Audacity provides some natural recommendations for this setting
- However, the settings can be changed in accordance to your own preferences.
- Simply Click okay and your file will be normalized.
This is perhaps the second most important aspect of audio editing and will drastically improve the quality of your audio as well as remove much of that pesky noise.
It works by fixing the frequency of the audio file. This is because low-frequency provides audio files with a base effect, while high frequencies give them a more energetic aesthetic.
By equalization you’ll improve all facets of your Audio file. Simply follow these steps:
- Select your audio file in Audacity
- Click on the Effect option in the tool bar above
- Navigate to Equalization
- You must now set the graph at certain points
- Change 70 Hz to 6 dB and change 1000 Hz to 9 dB
And there you have it, folks. These were nine ways in which you can remove background noise on your condenser mic.
If you have any further queries then let us know in the comments below. Till next time! Ciao.