Why Does My Mic Sound Muffled?

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While using your mic sometimes it can sound muffled or muddy, it is quite a common problem with microphones of every kind. So, here we have discussed the reasons why your mic might be sounding muffled and provided easy solutions on how to fix muffled mic.

The most common reasons for muffled sound are port blockage, loose or faulty cable, wrong distance between your mouth and mic and wrong equalisation settings. These reasons vary depending on the type of mic you use and how you use them. 

Let’s find out more about these problems and how to fix them.

1. Mic’s port blockage 

Jack blockage is one of the most common reasons for muffled sound. This is caused when debris is accumulated inside the port where you connect your mic’s jack. 

This debris prevents your mic’s jack from fully contacting the inside of the mic’s port properly, which can break the circuit. So look for any debris inside the port and clean it.

You can use the flashlight of your phone to see if there is any debris, dirt inside the port. Since the port is small it can be quite tricky to clean.

How to clean microphone port

First of all try to clean it using a Q tip, if it does not work wrap a paperclip with a tape and gently pull out the dirt. The tape over the paperclip will prevent it from scratching and damaging the port.

Tips for keeping microphone port clean

  • Always place your gear in clean and dry place
  • Spray compressed air inside port periodically to avoid dust build up
  • Use anti dust plugs for your mic’s port

2. Wrong distance from microphone

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If the distance of the mic from your mouth is wrong, either it is too far or it is too close. Either way it can cause your voice to sound muffled.

Most experts believe the ideal distance between mouth and microphone is 6 to 12 nches.

 For gaming headphones with mic this distance is 2 to 3 inches because it is not as sensitive as a studio mic.

You should try to find your own sweet spot from where your voice sounds perfect.

 Let me tell you how to find the right distance from the microphone, you should aim for the distance where the microphone picks up only your voice and no background noise and you feel comfortable.

Let us see how distance from mic affects your sound output:

If you are too close to mic

It creates intense base frequencies called proximity effect which makes your voice low end sound and muffled.

Proximity effect increases the base of sound but overlooks other high end frequencies and you end up sounding muddy.

If you are too far away from the mic

Microphone picks up a lot of background noise and fails to pick up nuances of your voice and ends up sounding muffled. Since these nuances make your voice unique, they should be picked up by your microphone. 

3. Wrong equalization settings 

Equalizer adjusts the volume of the sounds of different frequencies to achieve final sound. Almost every device which can record sound has these equalization settings.

The quality of the final sound depends upon the settings of the equalizer. You should spend some time finding out what settings work best for you.

While recording voice, If the bass is too high it will decrease the clarity of your voice and sound muffled, so keep the bass in optimal level so that it does not interfere with treble.

If you record instruments, you should learn to adjust equalization settings for each instrument individually. For example for bassy instruments you should keep equalization levels low because they already have an ample base, trying to add more bass will make them sound muddy.

4. Poor acoustic setup

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When you record on mic some sound waves reach the microphone directly while the majority of sound waves bounce on the walls and reach the microphone later. This sound  interferes with the new sound and produces muffling.

This occurs mainly in rooms where sound can reflect easily which produces echo such as rooms with high ceilings, glass, tiles and hardwood. 

You can treat your room acoustically by adding acoustic panels to absorb access noise. If you have a studio grade mic use microphone pop filter it dissipates sound waves equally over microphone to obtain clearer voice. 

Make sure it is mounted on a separate stand because if it is on the same stand with a mic you might jerk it and make a sound which will go straight to the microphone’s sensor and interfere with it.

Tips to reduce echo

  • Use bass traps and acoustic panels; these are designed to absorb all kinds of extra noise to reduce muffling. 
  • Use carpet on the floor to further reduce echo.
  • If there is a speaker, lower its volume because it may be feeding back to the mic.
  • Adding furniture to your room will give more surface area for sound to absorb.

5. Broken wires

Long usage causes the cable of the microphone to break internally which may not be visible to you. This generally happens to those who do not use their gear cautiously, or to those who use cables of poor quality.

Since only the cable is worn out it does not make any sense to throw away the whole mic. Generally the cables are broken near the jack so you can replace its jack and your mic will work perfectly.

This video can help you https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-_bDblDewdw

Tips for preventing wires from breaking

  • Don’t coil the cables too tightly
  • Don’t pull tangled wires 
  • Use shrink tubes around wire near the jack as they restrict its movements and make it less prone to breakage.

Why does my phone mic sound muffled ?

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The most likely reason why your phone’s mic is not working is due to the blockage of the mic inlet due to dust or lint. It is a very small hole so try to clean it with a safety pin very gently. But if it does not work.

  1. Restart your phone, it will refresh your system.
  2. Disable Noise supression, it reduces background noise and stops muffling.

Conclusion

Most of the problems associated with microphone’s sound in general are easy to resolve. I am sure with the help of this guide you can find the problem and solve it.

But if you are unable to fix your mic it may be due to some internal fault which might require professional help. So do not damage it while trying to fix it; you might damage it beyond repair.

I would suggest you buy a microphone of high quality because they produce great sound and last longer and you don’t need to fiddle with them too much.

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