Microphone Quality Suddenly Bad? How To Fix It

You want to present something important for your meeting or school project, but you sound muffled or–even worse–nobody can hear you. Don’t worry, you can still save your trusty microphone. 

Microphone quality can suddenly become bad due to dusty device ports or the microphone itself. However, the microphone’s quality can decrease due to worn-out parts or incorrect settings. There are also some practical issues affecting the quality, such as the incorrect placement of your microphone. 

In this article, I’ll list five ways you can try to follow if your microphone’s quality suddenly gets bad. There are various reasons why a mic’s quality gets bad. Therefore you should find at least one solution here that should help you with this issue. 

Table of Contents

Microphone Quality Suddenly Bad? How To Fix It

1. Clean Dust From the Device Port

Dust gets everywhere, including the ports on our CPUs, laptops, tablets, and TVs. Therefore, we need to clean device ports regularly. If we don’t, the accumulated dust can actually affect the normal functioning of those devices and other devices that use those ports.

One of those is a microphone. It doesn’t matter if you’re using a dynamic microphone or just a smaller one attached to your headset, the quality of recording what you’re saying can be greatly reduced if device ports are not completely functional. 

So, to ensure that device ports don’t negatively affect your microphone’s quality, clean the ports by blowing into them to remove dust, or try using a cotton swab to clean all the dirt.

2. Clean Dust From the Microphone

Sometimes the problem isn’t the device ports but dirty microphones themselves. Dust and dirt can accumulate in small crevices, especially in the main steel mesh part (grill) of microphones. 

When cleaning your microphone, you need to be careful you don’t damage any easily-breakable parts. Additionally, if you can, remove the grill from the rest of the microphone since it’s always the dirtiest and doesn’t contain any electrical components.

The best solution for cleaning your microphones is using isopropyl alcohol (70%), but don’t overuse it.

The type of microphone will require different techniques of cleaning:

  • For headset microphones. Put only a few drops of isopropyl alcohol on a piece of cloth and clean the grill. You shouldn’t submerge the microphone in any liquid because you can’t remove the grill from the rest of the microphone’s hardware and electrical parts.
  • For handheld and dynamic microphones. Remove the grill from the microphone and clean it with some isopropyl alcohol using a piece of cloth or a toothbrush. After a thorough cleaning, take a piece of cloth dampened with water and clean the microphone once more to remove the alcohol.

I recommend Lab Alley’s Isopropyl Alcohol from Amazon.com. This product will help you clean your microphone safely, and it can last you for an extended period of time.

In addition to dust, many other factors can cause your microphone to record blank. I’ve covered the various reasons and solutions in my other guide. Why Does Your Microphone Not Pick Up Your Voice?

3. Reduce the Level of Line Noise of Your Microphone

New system updates on your device or using microphones through USB ports can also negatively affect microphone quality. The common outcome of these changes in the device results in line noise, such as hissing or buzzing sounds in the recordings made by your microphone. 

To fix your mic’s quality, you can try to adjust your microphone settings on your computer or laptop by adjusting the frequency level. However, the issue can be related to recordings only. In that case, try using an equalizer program for your system.

4. Change a Microphone’s Faulty Part

While it’s possible bad microphone quality is software-related, it’s often the case that a decrease in microphone quality is hardware-related, meaning that some physical part of your mic stopped working or it just became weaker. 

In that case, buying a new microphone (or a headset) is the easiest solution. However, prices for headsets and microphones can get pretty high, so not everyone can afford to do that. In that case, try to replace your microphone’s faulty part, which should do the trick.

5. Place Your Microphone in a Better Position

Sometimes, our microphone quality drops and we start thinking about hundreds of possible reasons, both software and hardware-related. Then, we start blaming the company or store that sold us the mic.

We may even buy a new microphone only to find that everything was fine with the old one–it was just set up incorrectly.

Setting up your microphone means that all the wires and jacks are placed in a designated port, but apart from that, there are other things you need to consider. 

First, you should position your microphone so it’s not too close to or too far away from your mouth. If the mic is too close, you’ll have hissing or buzzing sounds throughout your recordings. This is especially common with headset microphones that are right next to your lips.

Try to move your mic away from your mouth, and the quality should improve.

When using dynamic microphones, however, many people often place them too far away. This’ll result in quiet and muffled sounds. You’ll see numerous pieces of advice about the right distance measurements for your mic, but the truth is that it really depends on you and where you keep your mic. 

You need to find what works best for you. Record something and have a listen. If the audio quality is bad, readjust the microphone and try again.  

Another issue with dynamic microphones that can happen is what side you’re using to record something. Believe it or not, this can also affect the quality. You shouldn’t put your microphone directly toward you. Instead, use the sides of the grill for better quality.

The sounds will be much cleaner and easier to understand. 

Some users experience extremely low sound even when the microphone is on max settings. Find out how you can troubleshoot the issue. Microphone Too Quiet on Max Settings? How to Fix It

Does Mic Quality Get Worse Over Time?

Mic quality gets worse over time because dust and dirt fill the mic’s grill. Apart from that, the quality worsens because plastic or metal parts inside a microphone lose their power over time and need to be replaced.

If you’ve had your microphone for quite some time now and you notice the quality got worse, it’s completely natural. If the quality decreases slowly over time, it’s just that the parts inside have become weaker, but if you notice a drastic quality loss, then it might be some other technical issue.

If your old microphone has kicked the dust and you one to buy a new one, don’t finalize your purchase until you’ve read my guide on selecting microphones. I’ve covered all the details you need to know. Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Right Microphone For You


If the quality of your microphone becomes suddenly bad, there are a few reasons why that happens. The bad quality can be software-related, such as wrong frequency settings, or hardware-related, if you have a faulty part in your microphone, for example. 

Other than that, microphone quality can decrease merely because there’s dust in your mic or your device port or you didn’t position it correctly. Whatever the case, fixing your mic’s quality is usually easy and straightforward.

Juan Louder
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Juan Louder

I started SoundStudioMagic to learn how to record my own audiobook at home, and now I'm addicted to all the latest techniques and gear.

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