A buzzing or static noise from a microphone is irritating and bothersome to listen to. It is even more frustrating if you have the setup for a live event or a recording, as the static sound can be very distracting. But what causes these static noises on a microphone?
One of the reasons your microphone is static could be because its gain is set too high on the amplifier or the audio interface. Static noise could be caused by a bad cable connection, interference, ambient sounds, or even the recording software you are using.
Knowing why your microphone produces static noise is the first step to fixing the issue. However, fixing a static mic is pretty easy, provided the equipment is not faulty. This article explains more about the common causes of a static microphone.
Different Causes of a Mic Static Noise and How To Fix It
Static noises from a microphone are common, and even a high-end microphone could still pick up on them. So, the quality of the microphone is not always the cause of static noise. Let’s look at some of the different causes of the static noise on your microphone.
Reason #1: Microphone
If this is the first time your microphone produces a static noise, try recording with a different microphone. When you use another microphone and don’t hear the static noise, the fault is from your microphone.
A low battery can cause interference if you use a wireless microphone. In such a case, you should replace or recharge the battery and try again. If the problem persists, you might need to take your microphone to a technician.
Reason #2: Audio Settings
Another common reason your microphone might be producing a static noise could be because of the gain. When the gain is set too high on your amplifier or audio interface, it will cause your microphone to produce static noise. The more the gain, the louder your mic will likely pick up on background noises that amplify static noise.
Note that not all microphones have the same sensitivity levels. For example, a dynamic mic is not as sensitive as a condenser mic. So, when you expose these mics to the same sound, a condenser mic may pick up on static noise more than a dynamic mic. As such, you should use less preamp gain on a condenser mic as you would on a dynamic mic to fix the issue of static noise.
Reason #3: Faulty Cables
When the jack or cable is not plugged or sitting correctly in its port, it can cause static noise. If you are getting static noise, make sure your mic cable is pushed far enough into the port of the amp, interface, or computer. Also, check the cable to your speaker or headphones if they are not well plugged in.
Sometimes the problem could be that the cable is faulty. If the issue is with the cable, you should replace it with a new one. It is also worth noting that the mini-jack for your microphone could cause static noise. The mini-jack for your microphone is not earthed and could pick up static from your computer, electrical equipment, and even your body. You can get a mic with a USB connection to fix this problem.
Reason #4: Interference
Another thing to note is that if your microphone is too close to a speaker or amplifier, it will cause a sharp screeching or feedback. This feedback is caused by ambient noise projected into the air and cycles back through your microphone. Also, low or high-frequency sounds from other electronic devices in the room, like your phone, TV, electrical outlets, etc., can cause static noise.
To fix this issue, you should change the location of your speaker to your microphone. It would be best to position your microphone at least 3 meters or 10 feet from your speaker or other electronic devices. Also, turning off other electronic devices like radios, smartphones, and other devices that can produce sound near your microphone will come in handy in eliminating static noise.
Reason #5: Ambient Sound
Ambient sound in the studio or room can also cause static noise. The ambient sound can bounce around the walls, floor, and ceiling. To cut down on static noise caused by the ambient sound in the room, you should put up soundproofing panels or foams.
It is also a good practice to hold the mic at most 5 centimeters away from your mouth when recording. The more space you leave between the mic and your mouth, the higher the chance your mic will pick up on distorted sounds. So, move the mic closer to your mouth and see if the static noise will disappear. Also, use a pop filter, which might help eliminate hissing sounds.
Reason #6: Audio Software or Programs
When recording your voice, using the right program on your computer can help eliminate static noise. If the settings on the DAW you are using are faulty or wrong, it could cause static noise. The possible problems you can get with using a random program to record with your microphone are broad. So, you might have to refer back to the manufacturer’s website on how to troubleshoot that random program.
Sometimes, it could be due to compatibility issues in the sound settings in the software you are using that causes the static noise. So, you can go into the program’s settings and try other compatibility options that may fix the problem. You can also try using noise reduction software. These types of software help remove background noise, if any, from audio, thus isolating your voice and making it clean.
Unless you are recording in a vacuum, there will always be some sort of distortion in your recording. However, you can reduce it by padding and troubleshooting your microphone connection.
As you can see from this guide, there are multiple reasons why you may be experiencing static noise from your microphone. Go through each of them individually, and cross out each method until you get to the root cause. If none of the things highlighted in this article fix the problem, you might have to consider changing hardware like your microphone, computer, or amplifiers.