Question: How can I eliminate echo when using my USB microphone?
Answer: As the proud owner of a brand new USB microphone, you are excited for all of the conveniences, including no more long cables to connect to a recording interface! With a laptop in hand, you can operate a portable, on-the-go recording studio or be a podcaster! So, you are all set up, have your headphones firmly in place, hit record and … “Hey what’s this echo I hear?”
Before talking about the echo let’s briefly discuss how a USB mic works. Without getting into a lot of technical explanations, think of a regular microphone as an analog device while a USB microphone has a built-in analog-to-digital convertor (A-to-D convertor). Why is this important? An analog microphone is mainly used to provide live sound reinforcement into a public address system or an audio/video conferencing system. An analog microphone can also be used for recording audio into a computer system, but you need additional (expensive) equipment to convert the analog audio signal into a digital format that a computer program understands. A USB microphone has the analog-to-digital convertor built in, so all you need to do is plug the microphone into your computer and fire up your recording or communication software.
Now, the echo you hear is caused by latency. When you speak into a USB microphone that analog signal is converted to digital using the above mentioned A-to-D converter. That process takes a bit of time, thus creating a slight delay called latency. Adding to the A-to-D conversion delay, any digital effects that you may introduce with your recording software could make the issue even more pronounced.
So what can you do to minimize or eliminate this echo? For one, unless you absolutely have to hear your own voice while speaking into the microphone, turn off input monitoring of the microphone in your recording program. You can still hear any previously recorded content through your headphones, but not your own voice.
Another effective method is to use a microphone that allows you to monitor the input of the microphone before it goes through the A/D processing. Our AT2020USB+ has this capability.
Using this type of microphone you can hear your voice totally unprocessed and without any type of delay. This is extremely beneficial if you are singing along with a recorded music track.
If you have additional questions or would like a recommendation for an Audio-Technica USB microphone, feel free to contact the Audio-Technica Audio Solutions Department. We are always happy to help.