Last updated: January 24, 2022 at 15:06 pm
We have all had our fair share of experiences with high-pitched noises on microphones. This is due to the sensitive nature of the microphone and its circuit board.
There are different reasons you might get an annoying high-pitched noise so this article will try to cover different fixes for each scenario and hopefully you will be able to find the solution that works best.
IN THIS ARTICLE
- 1 What Is a Microphone High Pitched Noise?
- 2 10 Reasons for Microphone High Pitched Noise
- 2.1 1. Weak PreAmp
- 2.2 2. Loose Cable
- 2.3 3. Worn Out Shock Mount or Pop Filter
- 2.4 4. Improper Room Acoustics
- 2.5 5. Mic Too Close to Speakers
- 2.6 6. The Microphone Is Not Shielded
- 2.7 7. Boost Mode Is On
- 2.8 8. Improperly Configuring Your Digital Audio Workstation (DAW)
- 2.9 9. Low-Quality Microphone and Cables
- 2.10 10. Using Plug-Ins Erroneously
- 3 7 Quick Fixes to Microphone High Pitched Noises
- 4 Conclusion
What Is a Microphone High Pitched Noise?
Mic popping/high pitched noise is most often caused by an improper gain setting on the computer or mixing board. It is not uncommon for it to be caused by a faulty mic or bad cable. However, it is also important to note that some mics are more susceptible than others to this problem.
The high-pitched noise coming out of the microphone is caused by a feedback loop. This happens when the microphone is picking up the sound produced by the speakers.
A feedback loop occurs when two devices are connected in such a way that they continually pass an output signal back to their input. This causes a series of rapidly repeating oscillations and resulting in squealing noise in audio equipment.
The most common source of this type of noise is the use of a microphone too close to a speaker or the use of speakers for picking up sounds from within the device itself.
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10 Reasons for Microphone High Pitched Noise
Mic distortion is a common problem for voice-over artists and even podcasters, but it can be avoided. Below are 10 reasons why you may be getting a high pitched sound from the mic:
1. Weak PreAmp
The most common cause is a problem with the pre-amp. All microphones have an input level (gain) control, which makes it possible to use the mic with different sources. You may have turned this control up too high or you may have placed the microphone very close to the source. If you place the microphone closer than 2 inches to any source you will likely get some hissing or humming.
2. Loose Cable
The most common cause of a high-pitched sound from a microphone is a loose connection between the XLR cable and the microphone connector.
Check all connection points, such as the microphone, XLR, and preamp. Then check to make sure that nothing has worked itself loose by shaking around when you have been walking around with your mic setup.
3. Worn Out Shock Mount or Pop Filter
If your microphone setup has seen better days and needs to be replaced, you might want to consider investing in a new shock mount as well as a pop filter for your microphone.
A shock mount will reduce vibrations from walking around with your mic. Also, reducing handling noise from plosive sounds coming from words like (b), (d), (g), (p), and other similar sounds.
4. Improper Room Acoustics
If you have hard, reflective surfaces (such as tile, concrete, or hardwood) that reflect sound at you, it can create an echo which also leads to this screeching sound.
Also, if you have corners in your room that create standing waves (where the sound is being reflected off of walls and then back onto itself), and that is causing it, then adding some acoustic treatment in those corners will help kill those reflections.
5. Mic Too Close to Speakers
If you’re recording something on-location with a shotgun mic and there are speakers nearby, they could be creating a feedback loop. Move the microphone further away from any potential sources of sound and try again.
6. The Microphone Is Not Shielded
It’s important to have a microphone that is shielded from electromagnetic noise and corrosion. The best way to do this is by making sure your microphone is not near or touching any electronic component.
If you already own a non-shielded microphone, there are some things you can do to reduce the hissing noise. Here are a few ideas:
- Avoid touching the cable of your microphone when speaking into it. This will reduce the chances of picking up electromagnetic noise
- Try using a windscreen or pop filter when recording audio. It will help cut down on sibilance and breathy noises, as well as reduce rustling sounds from clothing or papers
- Consider moving your microphone away from noisy areas such as computers, vacuum cleaners, etc. If you have to have it close to one of those, use an external sound card with a lower noise floor than the one built into your computer
- Use headphones for monitoring instead of speakers if possible; speakers can be very noisy due to their electronics and don’t provide good enough sound quality anyway for monitoring audio recording or speech pick-up
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7. Boost Mode Is On
You may have enabled boost mode on your microphone. For example, some microphones with built-in amplifiers will increase volume if boost mode is activated, which makes your recordings too loud and distorted.
To fix this problem, try switching off the boost mode and adjusting the volume settings instead. Boost mode makes things louder which is good if you want to get really loud sounds or you’re recording a loud instrument. But, it also amplifies anything unwanted like background noise and room echo.
8. Improperly Configuring Your Digital Audio Workstation (DAW)
It could be that you have gained settings too high on your microphones or the signal levels on your audio interface are too high. In this case, you will need to adjust the signal level of each microphone channel and/or the overall output of your DAW.
9. Low-Quality Microphone and Cables
You are using a cheap microphone cable or a balanced connection with an unbalanced cable. Be sure that you use proper XLR cables for all outgoing signals from your DAW to your mic preamps, audio interface, or mixer. Also, it’s always a good idea to use matched pairs of cables for all sending and receiving ends of any given signal path in your setup.
10. Using Plug-Ins Erroneously
If you use plug-ins that are not compatible with your system, the output of your microphone might make a high-pitched noise. In such cases, you should refer to the product manual to check if you’re using the plug-in correctly.
The main rule is that if the plug-in is not working properly and is showing error messages, you need to update them or get a new one. If it’s a software issue, you’ll need to patch up your operating system and applications with the latest versions.
7 Quick Fixes to Microphone High Pitched Noises
If you have noise coming through your microphone, the quick fixes below will help you to find a solution that rectifies the problem. Here are seven quick tips to fix high pitched noises from microphones:
- Change your microphone’s settings – Some microphones have an “automatic gain” function, which will make them pick up louder noises more than quieter ones. This can cause the sound to clip and result in a high-pitched squeal in your recordings. To fix this, you should disable this function, then boost the gain manually until it’s about 6dB above clipping for spoken word vocals.
- Get rid of background noise by turning off other devices – Before you start recording, turn off all other devices that might be causing interference such as fans and refrigerators. Leave your phone on silent so that its notification sounds don’t interfere when using your microphone.
- Make sure your mic is as close as possible to your mouth – It’s generally recommended to have it between 6-12 inches from your mouth. The closer it is, the less room there is for air blasts to hit it and cause unwanted noises.
- Replace faulty headset/mic cable – Sometimes they get damaged over time and start to lose their shielding, making them more susceptible to Pops and Clicks.
- Cushion your microphone – You can also try covering the back of the mic with foam to help absorb some of the sounds that cause interference.
- Use a pop filter – A pop filter is like a little net that attaches to the end of your microphone, and catches any breath or mouth noise before it gets into your recording. It’s cheap, easy to use, and makes a big impact on the quality of your recording.
- Change your positioning – You must take time and position yourself correctly when recording with a microphone.
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Finally, there’s a wide range of external noise that can interfere with the quality of your audio recordings. Therefore, causing a microphone high pitched noise. If you have a high-pitched noise that happens after your audio is fully amplified (like a speaker), then you might want to try isolating each piece of your recording setup and determine which piece is causing the problem.
For example, remove the microphone from your computer or external audio recorder, connect it directly to another audio interface. Test if the high-pitched noise still happens. If it doesn’t happen, then you know that it’s likely an issue with your computer or audio interface and not specifically with the microphone.