Audio sounds muffled

I dropped my headset on the ground yesterday. Today i tried to record audio in Audacity and it sounds kind of muffled, it kinda sounds like i recorded the audio with my face in a pillow. Is there a way to fix this?

You can try boosting the higher frequencies with the [u]Graphic EQ[/u]. (In case you don’t know, the low-frequencies are on the left and the high-frequencies are on the right.)

…That’s a strange failure. Are you sure it’s from dropping the headset? If you have a laptop try the built-in mic.

Try listening to some music that you are familiar with. Does that also sound muffled?
If so, you may have damaged the headphones rather than the mic.

I and my fellow volunteers have been recording items of local news for our “Talking Newspaper” (for the blind) at home since March 2020. I like to do the best job I can, so I use my “music studio toys” for the purpose. After all it’s a great excuse, and nice to have a purpose!

I’ve been using Audacity on my (regrettably) Windows 11 laptop, as I like to deliver a finished product, so our lovely engineers don’t have to edit out the fluffs. However ….

A while ago the chief engineer told me my audio was muffled, and he had had to boost the treble - but it was still not ideal. I had been using my “Boss BR800” as an interface, and my Shure SM58 beta microphone.

On learning I was muffled, I had an excuse to acquire MORE toys!! So I bought a second-hand Shure KSM9 condenser mic and a Tascam DR40x for the interface.

Still muffled!

So I have just googled it and come across this forum with already two posts about muffled speech. Has anyone found a solution? Obviously I will boost treble anyway with this news, but is there any other solution out there? I really love Audacity, and would be sad to have to use something different.

  1. When you connect an external microphone and start recording, note that the internal microphone is still picking up your voice. Do the scratch test to verify which microphone Audacity is recording from. (Run you fingernails lightly over each microphone).

  2. Check to be sure that Windows audio enhancements are turned off:

  • Press Win + R to open the Run dialog.
  • Type mmsys.cfg
  • Click on the Recording Tab
  • Click on the interface controlling your microphone
  • Click on Properties
  • Check for an Enhancements Tab. Make sure all enhancements are turned off.

Others can suggest how to create a recording environment with reduced echoes, etc.

Do the scratch test

It’s also possible to have two microphones running at once. That could be fun to fix.

In the case of the dropped headset, you could have damaged the mouthpiece. The boom and microphone are no longer in alignment. You could also have damaged the amplifier inside the headset. That would be hard to fix even for someone good with tiny tools. You might start saving for a new headset.

Headsets can have other odd problems as well. I have a headset where the mouthpiece is a little ball of foam to help with breath noises. But inside the ball of foam is a highly directional microphone and you can aim it left or right depending on which side of the head you like to wear the boom. If you get the direction wrong, the microphone can be aimed away from your mouth and be seriously muffled.

On learning I was muffled …

… I critically listed to my older and newer performances on good quality headphones to analyze the difference. Then, once I had a “good” reference, I started to check the settings and sound pathways to find where the damage was coming from.

That’s what’s supposed to happen. Also talk to the engineer to find out if this defect just lately started happening—or only the last submission. It isn’t that unusual for someone in that application to just now notice something wrong and it’s been muffled for weeks. You can also download one of your older submissions and compare it.

There’s nothing wrong with an SM-58-Beta. They’re “bright” without being harsh or crisp. Perfect for reading. The Beta version has higher volume than the older rock band microphone and easier to achieve a good background noise level.

I would expect your new microphone to be bright and crisp. If it’s not, then there’s something in the sound pathway that is affecting the sound quality. And either microphone will probably be OK once you find the problem. Audacity doesn’t apply filters, effects, or corrections on recording. This is between the microphone and Audacity.