Technology has evolved over the years and with all the impressive innovations around us, it can be difficult or even rare to have devices that give bad quality output. However, it is not impossible. Especially, when it comes to microphones, you can still up sounding really bad in the world of today. We will tell you how this is possible.
Nevertheless, before going onto the ways or reasons which can contribute to making your mic sound terrible, it is important to be aware of the two different kinds of microphones available out there.
Let us start with the traditional microphone- this is basically the one which one uses usually on stage performances. There is always a different setup in different venues.
Using the wrong equipment with these traditional microphones is the perfect ways you can make them sound terrible. The placement of the microphone also plays good roles in this.
However, given the extensive possibilities, it is handier to look at the other kind of microphone to discuss how it might be possible to make the mic sound bad.
The other kind of the microphone we are referring to is the one that comes in your phone, tablets or headphones. We will now look at some of the contributing factors for the poor quality of output from this kind of microphones.
Poor Network Coverage – Poor Call Quality
Even with the best microphone integrated in your device, a bad network connection will assist hugely in making your mic sound bad. The data from your voice will keep getting dropped due to the network error or poor coverage of the network.
This also includes insufficient Wi-Fi connection and crappy data coverage. Try to visualize video calling in poor network connection. The way your video breaks is exactly how your voice through the microphone can too and thereby, sounds terrible.
Bluetooth during data transfer
You might already be aware, but Bluetooth comes with extensive limitations. Regardless of whether you have top quality network and service coverage, the manner in which your audio in the mic is picked and delivered over Bluetooth can be a terrible bottleneck- it can successfully fail in the work it is supposed to do.
As many of you already know, Bluetooth is merely low-power and has low-bandwidth standards. Hence, it is common for Bluetooth to keep falling short in being able to transmit the data perfectly.
So, if you are looking to make your mic sound bad, connect to Bluetooth and try to send the audio over through this instead of Wi-Fi.
Diaphragm size of microphones
This is the part where we talk about the microphone itself. Manufacturers make use of micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) microphone in the headphones. The top layer of the MEMS microphone is pretty thin. They are polarized membranes which are pretty sensitive to changes in air pressure. On the other hand, the bottom layer is a hard plate perforated with holes.
When you speak, the air pressure changes and these variations travel through these holes on to the membranes behind it. As a response, the membrane will be moving. During this time, the charge across the membrane will start to change slightly.
Such changes can be measured and sent as the data to the receiving end. The receiver is then responsible to decide the message, and then, play it back through the speaker on the output end for the person to hear the audio.
By now, after understanding the mechanism, you can already assume that a larger surface area (and hence picking up the very slight changes in the air pressure) means that more data is transferred to the receiver for the process of duplication.
This usually makes the voice sound better to the person on the other end. If however, you use a smaller surface area, and thereby fail to pick up the small changes in the air pressure, the receiver will hear a deteriorated voice.
One example is- using microphones in a pair of wireless earbuds instead of the gaming headphones that have a large arm of microphone annexed to them. This will not give much physical room to do the work with and hence, will significantly lower the quality, making the voice state suffer accordingly.
You can easily make your mic sound bad through a very noisy surrounding. Some of the most significant part of vocals depends on the lower frequencies (ones which are lower than almost 1 kHz). This is also the range in which most of the sound around you lies. These include the sound of passing by cars, vehicles, airplanes etc.
When there is a lot of background noise of such sort, the mic takes longer, and faces difficulties to pick up your voice. Hence, noise cancelling microphones or ANC headphones is made to reduce the surrounding noise that can allow the mic to pick up most of your voice. If you are looking to make your mic sound bad, you should avoid any sort of such noise cancelling mics.
Another device you must try to not use is the Powerbeats Pro, which comes with a technique to reduce background noise issues. They use accelerometers in the headphones, which allows the sensors inside to detect you voice via the movement of your jaw. It actually even turns off the mic when no speaking is detected. This helps to cut down any kind of background sound during the call. You will not want this if you need to make your mic sound bad.
Now that you are aware of all the factors that help to reduce the performance or create a hurdle to the purpose of a microphone, you will be able to easily make your mic sound bad. There are several things which can cause the microphone quality to degrade besides something being completely wrong with the hardware of the microphone itself.
You may also like to read: Best Microphone for YouTube.