How to Reduce Microphone Background Noise on a PC

Headphones with a built-in microphone, which can reduce background noise.Micolas /

Whether you’re videoconferencing with colleagues, chatting with friends, or recording content for public consumption, the quality of audio recording is always important. Here’s how to get a crisp, clear audio recording and minimize background noise on a Windows PC.

Basic tips for clear audio recording

Before exploring the functionality of the software, you should follow some basic best practices for clearer audio recording. Here are some quick tips:

Wear headphones: If your microphone picks up noise from your speakers, put on headphones to eliminate the echo.
Use a dedicated microphone or headset: Many laptops have poor quality built-in microphones. Sure, they work, but that’s about all that can be said for them. Try plugging a dedicated microphone or headset into your PC.
Eliminate or move away from background noise: Close windows, move away from air vents, go to quieter rooms, close apps that make your laptop’s fans roar, move your microphone away from your mouth so other people can’t hear your breath and usually think about how you can avoid noise. Consider exchanging this noise mechanical keyboard for something quieter during calls. Remember to mute the sound while you are not speaking either.

How to enable noise reduction in Windows

Like Windows 7 before it, Windows 10 offers built-in features microphone options this will help with microphone background noise. The exact options available depend on your PC audio hardware and your manufacturer’s audio drivers.

These options are found in the traditional control panel. They are not available in the new Settings app. To find them, open Control Panel from the Start menu and go to Hardware and Sound> Sound.

Opening sound options in Windows 10 control panel

Click the “Recording” tab in the Sound window, select your microphone device, then click “Properties”.

Launching the properties window of a microphone device

Click on the “Levels” tab. If you’re dealing with background noise, try reducing the Microphone boost option, perhaps to +10.0 dB instead of +20 dB. This makes the microphone more sensitive, which means it will be easier to hear you, but it will also pick up more background noise.

After reducing the microphone boost option, try setting the microphone volume to 100. If you decrease the amplification setting and the microphone is quieter, increasing the volume here will allow people to hear you easier.

After modifying certain parameters, click on “Apply” and test your microphone again to see if it helped.

Microphone volume level and boost options that affect background noise

Finally, click on the “Improvements” tab. This tab may not be available. It depends on the audio hardware and drivers of your PC.

If there is a “Noise cancellation” or “Noise cancellation” option, activate it. Other options here can also help reduce background noise – for example, on the PC on which we tested this, there was an “Acoustic Echo Cancellation” option that would help reduce the echo caused by loud speakers. speakers if you’re not wearing headphones.

Click “OK” to save your changes and close the window.

Enabling noise cancellation on Windows 10

RELATED: How to configure and test microphones in Windows 10

Use noise canceling software or features

Popular communication tools are gaining more and more sophisticated noise suppression features that work on calls. Some software promises to remove background noise when recording any application on your PC. Here are some tools you can use:

Google Meet: Google additional noise suppression at Google Meet on April 22, 2020. Google Meet will automatically filter background noise.
Zoom: The zoom has built-in background noise suppression which is enabled by default. To check these options, open the Zoom settings window in its menu, select “Audio” in the sidebar, then click the “Advanced” button. You will see the features “Remove persistent background noise”, “Remove intermittent background noise” and “Echo cancellation”. These audio processing functions are all set to “Auto” by default, but you can deactivate or set them to be more or less aggressive.

Zoom in on the background noise options in its Settings window.

NVIDIA RTX Voice: With the NVIDIA RTX Voice the installed application, you can activate a “Remove background noise” function which uses machine learning and the power of an NVIDIA GPU to suppress background noise from your microphone in any application on your system. According to NVIDIA, this software only works on systems with NVIDIA RTX GPUs. however, Ars Technica reports that it can also work on PCs with older NVIDIA graphics hardware.
Discord: Discord now has a noise cancellation function integrated by To activate it during voice chat, click on the Noise Canceling button at the bottom left of the Discord sidebar and activate “Noise Suppression”.

Noise cancellation in Discord, available for free in Discord, also offers a software product that can enable noise cancellation in any application, such as NVIDIA’s RTX Voice software, but for PCs without any. It has a free level that offers 120 minutes of noise cancellation free of charge each week, but you will have to pay $ 3.33 per month thereafter.

Many other video conferencing applications also have built-in noise canceling functions. You may be able to configure them from the application settings window. If you are using an old videoconferencing tool which does not have built-in noise cancellation, it is best for your organization to upgrade to a modern solution that does.

Consider a noise canceling microphone

If nothing else works well, you may need a better microphone. Some microphones are designed to filter or reduce ambient noise. For example, they may have two built-in microphones: a primary microphone to record your voice and a secondary microphone to record ambient noise. They can then filter out ambient noise. They are often marketed as “noise canceling microphones”.

Even if you don’t take a specially designed microphone, a better quality microphone can be a big improvement in audio quality compared to a built-in laptop microphone or an old headset that you had lying around.

RELATED: The 6 best free video conferencing apps

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