A little help from audio experts

lostinreality

Regular Member
May 20, 2021
38
19
13
Country
UK
Hey, ya'll. So I just bought a new mic (it's one of those mics that have this long metal arm thingie to keep it in place) and I'll be using it for zoom calls and online meetings mostly. However, I'm not the most techie when it comes to balancing the audio quality. It comes with a small sound card that has bass, echo, and treble knobs. What would be a good balance or rule of thumb for the respective levels of each knob so that I'd sound natural? I've tried tinkering with it but I generally can't stand the sound of my own voice... so a little help is greatly appreciated!
 

Chimpzy

Professor of Monkey Business
Legacy
Escapist +
Apr 3, 2020
8,445
2,602
118
Not an audio expert by any means, but if you're going to use it for zoom calls and online meetings, being easily understood is probably the most important factor. My suggestion would be to grab your partner or a friend for a test call.

Start out with all 3 knobs in the neutral position, which should be 12 o clock. Generally it's better to substract before adding. So if you sound too boomy, try reducing bass by turning that knob counter clockwise before upping treble, and vice versa. As for echo, unless you have a specific reason to have it, you want almost none, so turn the echo knob counter clockwise until its pretty much gone.

Oh, and if you enlist someone's help for a test call, don't be in the same room together.
 
Last edited:

Kyrian007

Officially no longer the Enemy of the People
Legacy
Apr 6, 2020
2,146
168
68
Kansas
Country
U.S.A.
Gender
Male
I work with a lot of audio. The unfortunate answer is, it really depends on your own voice. Those of us here with our own studios and dedicated mics, have really specifically tuned equalization settings. The good news is, we have station and news studios that are used by many people, and have to have more of a general setup. Just working with bass, treble, and reverb or echo; shouldn't be too hard. I'd start from bass and treble each in the middle, or at neutral. Just in general, people need a slight to moderate amount of bass added (something like a third of the way between neutral and max,) unless you already sound like Sam Elliott. Without being able to adjust a mid-range it would probably help to boost treble just slightly more than bass. I've found that helps, it gives a voice a brighter tone... but in a subtle way. Like a brass instrument with a sharp edge on its bell rather than a rounded edge. As for reverb, that is really subtle. You want some, it creates a more "solid" tone. But you don't want it to be particularly noticeable. A good test of that, turn it up about a quarter of the way (way too much) and contrast that with it at 0. You will be able to hear the difference. Keep adjusting it down and contrasting that with 0 until you get something that you cant tell much difference between it and 0. Then turn it down a little more and that's what you are probably looking for. Oh and a tip, echo or reverb doesn't generally have negative settings. So its neutral is 0, off, all the way down. Neutral for bass and treble should be halfway (giving you the ability for negative adjustment.) But I have seen equipment that only allows boost, with neutral at 0. So if the way I had you set it up sounds particularly odd, its possible that neutral position is 0 instead of 5 out of 10 or whatever halfway would be labeled.
 
  • Like
Reactions: lostinreality

Chimpzy

Professor of Monkey Business
Legacy
Escapist +
Apr 3, 2020
8,445
2,602
118
Oh, one more thing, and this is mostly just me venting about some of my colleagues

Don't eat the mic

Meaning don't put the mic so close to your mouth your lips are almost touching. Because you'll 9 out of 10 regale any listeners to the sound of your breath blowing into the mic, which is rather annoying (unless they're into mic blowing asmr). It also tends to introduce a lot of unwanted low frequency into the recording cuz of the proximity effect, i.e. you'll start sounding too bassy.

Don't put it too far either tho. The sweet spot differs from mic to mic, but for most it's somewhere in the 6-12 inch range (15-30 cm).
 

Elvis Starburst

Unprofessional Rant Artist
Legacy
Apr 5, 2020
2,258
238
68
I unfortunately don't have much advice for the 3 knobs beyond what's already been said, but if there is one thing I can suggest... depending on how far the mic is, invest in a pop filter. Doesn't have to be $50 fancy, just one that works. If your P sounds are potent, your listeners will thank you
 

lostinreality

Regular Member
May 20, 2021
38
19
13
Country
UK
Not an audio expert by any means, but if you're going to use it for zoom calls and online meetings, being easily understood is probably the most important factor. My suggestion would be to grab your partner or a friend for a test call.

Start out with all 3 knobs in the neutral position, which should be 12 o clock. Generally it's better to substract before adding. So if you sound too boomy, try reducing bass by turning that knob counter clockwise before upping treble, and vice versa. As for echo, unless you have a specific reason to have it, you want almost none, so turn the echo knob counter clockwise until its pretty much gone.

Oh, and if you enlist someone's help for a test call, don't be in the same room together.
Thanks for the tips! I'm scheduling a meeting with a friend this weekend. Good thing though is my friend is constantly with me so he'd know how my actual voice sounds like in real life.

I work with a lot of audio. The unfortunate answer is, it really depends on your own voice. Those of us here with our own studios and dedicated mics, have really specifically tuned equalization settings. The good news is, we have station and news studios that are used by many people, and have to have more of a general setup. Just working with bass, treble, and reverb or echo; shouldn't be too hard. I'd start from bass and treble each in the middle, or at neutral. Just in general, people need a slight to moderate amount of bass added (something like a third of the way between neutral and max,) unless you already sound like Sam Elliott. Without being able to adjust a mid-range it would probably help to boost treble just slightly more than bass. I've found that helps, it gives a voice a brighter tone... but in a subtle way. Like a brass instrument with a sharp edge on its bell rather than a rounded edge. As for reverb, that is really subtle. You want some, it creates a more "solid" tone. But you don't want it to be particularly noticeable. A good test of that, turn it up about a quarter of the way (way too much) and contrast that with it at 0. You will be able to hear the difference. Keep adjusting it down and contrasting that with 0 until you get something that you cant tell much difference between it and 0. Then turn it down a little more and that's what you are probably looking for. Oh and a tip, echo or reverb doesn't generally have negative settings. So its neutral is 0, off, all the way down. Neutral for bass and treble should be halfway (giving you the ability for negative adjustment.) But I have seen equipment that only allows boost, with neutral at 0. So if the way I had you set it up sounds particularly odd, its possible that neutral position is 0 instead of 5 out of 10 or whatever halfway would be labeled.
Thank you for the insightful advice! Sounds (heh, pun intended) a bit technical for me but I'll try and digest this. If it helps, my voice is somewhat deep, bordering baritone or bass types of voice so I think I won't need bass that much(?). Anyway, it looks like at the end of everything, it's still one huge trial and error. I don't have a studio-like setup but my walls are pretty thick and I need to do something with my room because there is a fair bit of natural echo going on hahaha.


I unfortunately don't have much advice for the 3 knobs beyond what's already been said, but if there is one thing I can suggest... depending on how far the mic is, invest in a pop filter. Doesn't have to be $50 fancy, just one that works. If your P sounds are potent, your listeners will thank you
Is that the circle disc thing with the mesh-like cover? If it is, my mic came in with that.
 

Elvis Starburst

Unprofessional Rant Artist
Legacy
Apr 5, 2020
2,258
238
68
Is that the circle disc thing with the mesh-like cover? If it is, my mic came in with that.
That it is! Sweet, sounds like you're set on that front. As far as the echo you mentioned goes, some acoustic foam panels would help that. Placing them in strategic places apparently cuts down on echoes a lot. Though I'm still a bit of an amateur when it comes to what the best stuff and placement is, so I don't have much good advice, but there's plenty of articles out there. I planned on getting some meyself to fix any echo from my speakers since their ports are rear facing (one against a wall, and one directly towards a corner)
 
  • Like
Reactions: lostinreality

lostinreality

Regular Member
May 20, 2021
38
19
13
Country
UK
That it is! Sweet, sounds like you're set on that front. As far as the echo you mentioned goes, some acoustic foam panels would help that. Placing them in strategic places apparently cuts down on echoes a lot. Though I'm still a bit of an amateur when it comes to what the best stuff and placement is, so I don't have much good advice, but there's plenty of articles out there. I planned on getting some meyself to fix any echo from my speakers since their ports are rear facing (one against a wall, and one directly towards a corner)
Okay, now I know what it's called :ROFLMAO:. Thank you! I tried lowering the mic instead of its recommended placement which is like head-level, and it actually helped a bit with the echo. It also removed the mic in front of my face lol.

Or even just some bath towels hanging from wherever you can put them in the room.
I wish I could like this more than one time. It actually bloody worked! Just a few towels on my left and right, and the echo doesn't feel like it was there, to begin with! I wish we were on Reddit, I'd give you an award 🤙. Thank you, kind internet stranger!