If you’re a musician, pod-caster, or just someone who wants to better your audio recording quality, you may be wondering if a sound card can help improve the microphone quality. This blog post will explore how sound cards can affect microphone quality and what you need to do to get a better sound quality. Stay tuned.
Yes. A good quality sound card can improve your microphone recordings by having more channels, better preamp/ADC quality, and world-class clocking capabilities. It is vital to have a good sound card if you use your computer for voice-over or recording purposes—the better the sound card, the better the quality of your recordings.
Ways a Sound Card Can Improve Microphone Quality
1. Sound cards can support more than one channel
A sound card can output more than one audio signal at a time. For example, some sound cards allow you to record two audio channels at the same time. This means that you can have multiple microphones connected and recording simultaneously into your computer if the correct setup is made.
Some professional voice-over artists use this technique to create stereo recordings or even different voices in their recordings (such as for character voices). The quality of these recordings is much improved because having multiple microphones reduces ambient noise such as background hiss and room echo from being recorded onto the track (because it will only be heard on one of the mics, not both).
2. Sound cards can have better quality DACs
A sound card’s DAC (digital-to-analog converter) is responsible for converting the digital audio signal into an analog signal that can be played through your speakers. The quality of a sound card’s DAC will affect the overall quality of your playback. A good sound card will have a high-quality DAC, which will result in less noise and distortion when playing back audio files. This is important if you plan on doing any critical listening, such as mixing or mastering music tracks.
3. Sound Card Preamp Quality
The preamp is located in the sound card and is responsible for boosting your microphone signal from low levels to high. If a sound card has a good quality preamp, you can expect it to increase your microphone signal with as little distortion or noise added during this process.
You also want to look out for how much gain the mic preamp offers; if it doesn’t provide enough gain, you may not get your mic loud enough and potentially cause clipping.
4. Sound Card Wordclock
A sound card’s word clock is the clock that sends a sync signal to all digital audio devices and prevents them from drifting out of time with each other. This maintains synchronization when recording multiple tracks or playing back complex mixes.
5. Sound Card Functionality Depends on Software Running It
The functionality of a sound card can be greatly affected by the software running on your computer. For example, if you are using a music production program such as Cubase or Logic Pro, you will want to make sure that the sound card’s drivers are compatible with those programs to get the best performance.
Whether or Not a Sound Card Is Necessary for Your Mic
Do I need a sound card for my mic? No. A sound card is an optional device that can improve the quality of your microphone recordings. If you are starting and don’t have a sound card, there is no need to go out and purchase one yet. However, if you are doing any serious voice-over or recording work, it is highly recommended that you get a good quality sound card.
Tips to Improve Your Mic Sound Quality
- Get a Pop Filter
A pop filter is an essential piece of equipment for any microphone and can significantly reduce the amount of popping and sibilant that occurs when recording.
- Get a Good Quality Microphone Stand
A good quality microphone stand will help keep your mic stable and reduce any unwanted noise or vibrations that may be picked up.
- Use a Closed-Back Headset
If you are using a headset to record, try and get a closed-back one. This will help reduce the amount of ambient noise picked up by the microphone.
- Use a Windscreen
If you are using a microphone that is susceptible to wind noise (such as a shotgun mic), then it is recommended that you use a windscreen to help reduce this.
- Use a Shock Mount
If you are using a microphone that is prone to handling noise (such as an SM58), you should use a shock mount to help reduce this.
Buy a Better Mic or a Better Soundcard?
Ultimately, whether or not to buy a better mic or a better sound card comes down to your budget and what you are using the microphone for. If you are starting then, it is probably best to invest in a good quality sound card as this will give you the most improvement in terms of overall sound quality.
However, if you have been using the same cheap microphone for a while and are looking to upgrade, then it might be worth investing in a new microphone instead. Moreover, having a better mic and a better sound card is recommended for professional audio production purposes.
A sound card can help improve your mic quality, but it is unnecessary for every setup. You can do many things to make sure your mic sounds excellent without needing a new device or software update. Moreover, if you want to make sure that it sounds as good as possible, consider investing in a sound card. Also, use the simple tips for improving mic sound quality better, like using noise-canceling headphones and getting rid of background noises with white noise generators.