Nowadays we have a huge range of possibilities when it comes to choosing a microphone, as we have from those integrated into the headphones -the most common- to professional microphones with XLR connection and mounted on articulated arms, logically passing through the middle terms such as desktop microphones or even those integrated into the webcam. Whatever type of microphone you use, if keyboard noise “sneaks” into your communications when typing, we’ll tell you what you can do about it to solve the problem or, at least, mitigate it.
What to do if keyboard noise sneaks into your microphone?
Most PC microphones have a defined pickup pattern, although some models have the ability to switch between different patterns. Generally, and especially in integrated or low quality microphones, this pattern is omnidirectional and therefore picks up all the sound around it, so it will be difficult to mitigate the noise generated by the keyboard so that it does not “sneak” into the microphone recording.
Change the microphone gain
However, the distance at which the sound is picked up is limited and it is also something that we can usually modify manually by changing the gain, either through the controls of the microphone itself if it has them or through software (although the microphone does not have software, the sensitivity can be changed even in Windows so regardless of the brand and model you have, you can change the gain).
To access these controls in Windows 10, simply right-click on the speaker icon in the taskbar, next to the clock, and select the “Open sound settings” option. Then, in the window that opens, find where the microphone is and click on the “Device Properties” button, where you can find the controls shown in the screenshot above. Here the “Volume” is the microphone gain, and you can modify it at will.
We recommend testing to verify the right gain level to find the perfect balance between the pickup of your voice and the keyboard noise that sneaks in. This will probably only help you to mitigate it and not avoid it altogether, but that’s what the following sections of this article are for.
Check your microphone placement and pickup pattern
If your microphone is a desktop microphone, you will obviously have to place it on the table and this will allow you to position it where you want it and modify the pickup pattern to suit your needs.r their position. One of the downsides of desktop microphones is that they are quite prone to picking up table vibrations, so keystrokes on the keyboard can put quite a bit of noise into the recording, so if this is your case, we recommend trying different locations to find the perfect balance between picking up your voice and keyboard noise.
Most desktop microphones have either a cardioid pattern or give you a choice of several, the most common being cardioid, stereo, omnidirectional and bidirectional. When you intend to use the microphone with the aim of capturing only your voice and not the noise around you, the most recommended pattern is unidirectional or, failing that, cardioid (since generally only the microphones integrated in headphones usually have a unidirectional pattern).
The cardioid pattern is especially good for preventing keyboard noise from getting into the microphone because 90% of the sound they pick up comes from in front of the microphone at an angle of about 45 degrees, although it is true that the other 10% of the sounds they pick up come from the opposite side. So if you place the microphone to the side of where you’re facing your head, the keyboard noise shouldn’t get through to the recording (as long as the microphone is well designed, that is).
If you have a microphone built into your headset and you’re picking up keyboard noise, make sure it’s pointing perfectly towards your mouth and not downwards as most of these mics have a unidirectional pattern and therefore will only pick up sounds that are in front of them.
Use an articulating arm and a spider stand.
Of course, one of the best solutions you will find to prevent any noise from getting through the microphone is to purchase or install a boom arm and a spider mount. The articulating boom will allow you to place the microphone in the position you want, including if you want to place it upside down to place it right in front of your mouth to capture the best quality in your voice, and this alone will almost completely eliminate the noise from the keys on the keyboard.
The spider support, meanwhile, serves to literally suspend the microphone on rubber bands that absorb all vibrations, eliminating not only the noise of the keyboard but also any blow you can give on the table or even the noise you can make when you move the articulated arm. In addition, if you add a pop filter as seen in the image above you will also eliminate the noise that all humans make when we open our mouths to start talking (that’s why it’s called “pop”).
Actually, this alternative involves an investment of money but it is the best option if you need to eliminate any noise around you, including the noise of the keyboard. Of course, for a lot of armIf the microphone has an omnidirectional pickup pattern, you will hardly be able to get rid of the noise, so make sure that the microphone has the correct pattern selected and that it is of decent quality to begin with.
Still getting keyboard noise in your microphone?
If after trying all these tips you’re still getting keyboard noise in your recordings, then you might want to consider changing your microphone as a last resort. As we’ve already mentioned before and although it won’t give you the best quality, most of the mics built into headphones have a unidirectional pattern and, in fact, most of them have noise cancellation so they are without a doubt the best alternative to keep keyboard noise or any other noise out of your recordings.
Obviously, spending hours and hours with a headset with a microphone can be uncomfortable, so if you prefer an external microphone, then we recommend you look for good quality alternatives that have a cardioid pattern or at least allow you to select it, and if they have an active noise cancellation system, all the better. This requires an investment of money, but if you can’t get rid of keyboard noise in your recordings, then you probably have no choice.