Trying to improve gaming audio quality

SkullSkulk

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So I’m trying to improve my audio input for my current setup for gaming voice overs with little to no background noise from keyboard or mouse. I currently have a mechanical keyboard and a Blue Snowball Ice. The problems I mostly encounter are
- keyboard clicks
- vibrations from desk as a shock mount can’t go on a Snowball Ice
- mouse clicks
- fans and background noise are picked up
Im trying to achieve an almost quiet input with only my voice being picked up. I would try a headset but I have glasses and headphones make my head hurt after prolonged gaming sessions. I would like to put sound dampening material on my walls to help with reverb.
As with recording my voice at some point I would like to record audio form a guitar and input that to my PC. That would be a later goal but I added this so that if I need to get an audio interface I could.
Any suggestions to help me improve this setup? My budget is about 450 but if needed I can go a little more. Any suggestions are appreciated! Im more along the lines of a new microphone and tips on bettering my setup.
 
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Dan_D

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I have a few ideas.

Get a more stable and solid desk.
Level the one you have so it doesn't shake.
Get quieter fans or use fan controls to slow them down or both.
Get a different case that's quieter.
Water cool if not doing so already.
Get rubber O-Rings for your keyboard
Change to a keyboard with a quieter switch type depending on what you have now.

There are lots of little things you can do here and some big ones. Getting a decent desk is something you'll never regret. Mine is real wood, and enormous. The result? It doesn't move. I have a ridiculously heavy PC on it that doesn't move. I do not fear how heavy anything is and bumping it isn't a problem. As for your PC, you can do many things to reduce its noise. I have a 9900K @ 5.0GHz and outside of gaming, I can put my fans on low and you can barely hear it. The fans can run a little loud, but I can make it quieter if I want to but I go for lower temps. Rubber O-Rings can dampen your keyboard noise quite a bit. Most of what you typically hear when typing isn't the switches, but rather people bottoming out the key and thus making extra noise.

Lastly, I have no idea what the hell a Snowball Ice is. It sounds like one of those ****ed up sexual acts you look up on Urban Dictionary like the Russian Meatloaf Surprise.
 

SkullSkulk

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I have a few ideas.

Get a more stable and solid desk.
Level the one you have so it doesn't shake.
Get quieter fans or use fan controls to slow them down or both.
Get a different case that's quieter.
Water cool if not doing so already.
Get rubber O-Rings for your keyboard
Change to a keyboard with a quieter switch type depending on what you have now.

There are lots of little things you can do here and some big ones. Getting a decent desk is something you'll never regret. Mine is real wood, and enormous. The result? It doesn't move. I have a ridiculously heavy PC on it that doesn't move. I do not fear how heavy anything is and bumping it isn't a problem. As for your PC, you can do many things to reduce its noise. I have a 9900K @ 5.0GHz and outside of gaming, I can put my fans on low and you can barely hear it. The fans can run a little loud, but I can make it quieter if I want to but I go for lower temps. Rubber O-Rings can dampen your keyboard noise quite a bit. Most of what you typically hear when typing isn't the switches, but rather people bottoming out the key and thus making extra noise.

Lastly, I have no idea what the hell a Snowball Ice is. It sounds like one of those ****ed up sexual acts you look up on Urban Dictionary like the Russian Meatloaf Surprise.
I should say that the Blue Snowball Ice is my current microphone. As for my desk, its decently sturdy. Its real wood, mounted to the wall with legs. Problem is my microphone picks up anything I do on the desk.
 

Brian_B

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Really sounds like you need a different mic - on an articulating stand would get it up off the desk. One that is more directional would stop picking up the rest of that background noise.
 

SkullSkulk

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Really sounds like you need a different mic - on an articulating stand would get it up off the desk. One that is more directional would stop picking up the rest of that background noise.
Would you recommend any? Ive been doing a little research but I'm looking for a more experienced opinion.
 

Brian_B

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I don't do any recording/streaming to be able to recommend any specific model, but when it comes to Audio equipment, I'd go to an audio source, not a computer/gaming source. Snowball Ice is a decent entry mic, but it's more for people who want to game and don't want to wear a headset - the Snowball (non-Ice) would be better for streaming/podcasting, as you can select the mic pattern on it.

Cardiod mics are much more directional (i.e. they will pic up whatever they are pointed at, and not much more), and I would think that would be what you are looking for - the regular Snowball lets you select between Cardiod and Wide pickup patterns, something your Ice lacks.

I'd start about here, and branch out from there. Can find pretty much anything to fit any budget here, along with needed accessories


A lot of these mics will use a balanced XLR connector (although many of them are USB direct, surprisingly) - there are adapters for XLR inputs. Should be able to find suitable stand at that site as well.
 

SkullSkulk

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I don't do any recording/streaming to be able to recommend any specific model, but when it comes to Audio equipment, I'd go to an audio source, not a computer/gaming source. Snowball Ice is a decent entry mic, but it's more for people who want to game and don't want to wear a headset - the Snowball (non-Ice) would be better for streaming/podcasting, as you can select the mic pattern on it.

Cardiod mics are much more directional (i.e. they will pic up whatever they are pointed at, and not much more), and I would think that would be what you are looking for - the regular Snowball lets you select between Cardiod and Wide pickup patterns, something your Ice lacks.

I'd start about here, and branch out from there. Can find pretty much anything to fit any budget here, along with needed accessories


A lot of these mics will use a balanced XLR connector (although many of them are USB direct, surprisingly) - there are adapters for XLR inputs. Should be able to find suitable stand at that site as well.
Thank you very much! I'll look into it and see what i can find!
 

Riccochet

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Yup, cardioid. I use a Shure PG58 and know a few people that use AKG D5. Both are excellent vocal mics. But you'll need a pre-amp.
 

Riccochet

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Thank you. Ill look into both of them.
Just know that these are the kind of mics that need to be a close to your mouth and positioned properly. So, you'll also want to invest in a good mic stand with isolation.
 

SkullSkulk

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Just know that these are the kind of mics that need to be a close to your mouth and positioned properly. So, you'll also want to invest in a good mic stand with isolation.
Both of the microphones look nice and can point toward the need to record my voice but I was also looking for the purpose of gaming and such, so I would be having these on a shock mount and on a scissor stand. Would these work for that or no?
 

Riccochet

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Both of the microphones look nice and can point toward the need to record my voice but I was also looking for the purpose of gaming and such, so I would be having these on a shock mount and on a scissor stand. Would these work for that or no?
I use my PG58 for streaming/gaming. So, yes, they are perfect for it.

Like mentioned though, you'll need a mic pre-amp for either one. Your PC's built in mic input does not have enough line amplification. I use this Behringer pre-amp. Connect my mic via XLR and the pre-amp connects to my PC via USB. Works perfectly.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00EK1OTZC/?tag=thefpsreview-20
 
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So, you can absolutely get a shock mount and an arm for a Blue Snowball Ice, which is a cardoid mic.

Look at Amazon's recommendations on their listing for the mic:

And also the recommendations with this arm, which list a suspension solution:


Now, I can't tell you whether that will help. It's relatively inexpensive, all things considered, but the Blue microphones definitely still pick up almost everything just due to being that good at what they're designed for, which isn't rejecting noisy stuff in the proximity of the user.

The further challenge is that the Snowball microphones are just plain huge.

That plays into the two basic paths to finding a solution -- by getting less noisy peripherals and by getting the microphone closer so that you can reduce its input volume and 'bias' your audio pickup toward your voice. The closer you get a Snowball to your mouth, the more it's going to get in the way.


Perhaps the easiest route is to grab a Modmic that you can attach to your headphones, and a decent audio interface, or if you're also interested in powering higher-end headphones, look at the Mayflower Arc Mk.2, which has a reference-quality headphone amp and perhaps the best mic preamp in a 'gaming' interface on the market.
 

SkullSkulk

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So, you can absolutely get a shock mount and an arm for a Blue Snowball Ice, which is a cardoid mic.

Look at Amazon's recommendations on their listing for the mic:

And also the recommendations with this arm, which list a suspension solution:


Now, I can't tell you whether that will help. It's relatively inexpensive, all things considered, but the Blue microphones definitely still pick up almost everything just due to being that good at what they're designed for, which isn't rejecting noisy stuff in the proximity of the user.

The further challenge is that the Snowball microphones are just plain huge.

That plays into the two basic paths to finding a solution -- by getting less noisy peripherals and by getting the microphone closer so that you can reduce its input volume and 'bias' your audio pickup toward your voice. The closer you get a Snowball to your mouth, the more it's going to get in the way.


Perhaps the easiest route is to grab a Modmic that you can attach to your headphones, and a decent audio interface, or if you're also interested in powering higher-end headphones, look at the Mayflower Arc Mk.2, which has a reference-quality headphone amp and perhaps the best mic preamp in a 'gaming' interface on the market.
I did want to possibly get a quieter keyboard. I currently have a Razer Blackwidow X Chroma, which is very loud. But I really fell in love with the switches and want to stay mechanical. As for the Mayflower Arc Mk.2, I was thinking more along the lines of a Focusrite Scarlett Solo Gen 3, as i can include a guitar or other instrument through it. Over all I wanted to get a standalone mic and not a headset. I can't wear headphones very long as they hurt my head a lot. The only headphones I have found to not hurt my head are headphones with the "ski mask band" that suspends them off your head. As for a microphone I didn't want to get a mod mic. I wanted to get something like the AT2035. I'm still open to all advice I can get before I make a final decision. Thank you!
 
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I did want to possibly get a quieter keyboard. I currently have a Razer Blackwidow X Chroma, which is very loud. But I really fell in love with the switches and want to stay mechanical.
Look at Ducky's keyboards, bought one for the wife for Christmas and it surprised me how solid and quiet it is -- with the same switches as other keyboards. Many mechanicals, including anything you'd get at Best Buy, have a lot of key 'clatter' that has nothing to do with the switches themselves.

As for the Mayflower Arc Mk.2, I was thinking more along the lines of a Focusrite Scarlett Solo Gen 3, as i can include a guitar or other instrument through it.
That's fine too -- there are cheaper interfaces, but not much cheaper really. I mention the Arc Mk2 primarily because it has a clean interface for a headset mic and a beast of a headphone amp, and the headphone amp is where most interfaces let you down.

Over all I wanted to get a standalone mic and not a headset. I can't wear headphones very long as they hurt my head a lot. The only headphones I have found to not hurt my head are headphones with the "ski mask band" that suspends them off your head.
This is kind of separate; I don't use a headset, but I do use headphones pretty regularly, including for long sessions. I will say that you'll likely want to figure out how to wear headphones comfortably, and perhaps look at the Philips 9500 and X2 headphones for an inexpensive, decent sounding, and comfortable approach to gaming cans. Mostly so you're not trying to filter out speaker noise as well.
 

Riccochet

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the "clicky" part of mechanical keyboards has EVERYTHING to do with the switches. The brand of the keyboard matters not. The model of the switches is what determines if they are clicky or not. Ducky uses Cherry MX switches, of which are many models that offer different levels of tactile and audible feedback as well as different levels of force required to operate the switch. Some do not click or have a tactile bump at all.

You can also modify your existing switches to quiet them down by using o-rings. This also shortens the throw.

https://www.keyboardco.com/blog/index.php/2012/12/an-introduction-to-cherry-mx-mechanical-switches/
 

SkullSkulk

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I currently have one of the loudest keyboards out there. I was looking at maybe a Logitech G815 with the Linear or Tactile switches. That would be a level more quiet but still have the satisfying click that I love. With that, if i got a smaller microphone like the AT2035 I could move that closer and turn down the sensitivity like previously mentioned.
 
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the "clicky" part of mechanical keyboards has EVERYTHING to do with the switches. The brand of the keyboard matters not. The model of the switches is what determines if they are clicky or not. Ducky uses Cherry MX switches, of which are many models that offer different levels of tactile and audible feedback as well as different levels of force required to operate the switch. Some do not click or have a tactile bump at all.
I wish this were true.

It isn't.

So much goes into the caps, the backplate, the stabilizers... yeah. You need to start with a solid base, otherwise you're going to have a clacky mess no matter what you do.

Of course, you probably shouldn't start with MX Blue switches either :)
 

SkullSkulk

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the "clicky" part of mechanical keyboards has EVERYTHING to do with the switches. The brand of the keyboard matters not. The model of the switches is what determines if they are clicky or not. Ducky uses Cherry MX switches, of which are many models that offer different levels of tactile and audible feedback as well as different levels of force required to operate the switch. Some do not click or have a tactile bump at all.

You can also modify your existing switches to quiet them down by using o-rings. This also shortens the throw.

https://www.keyboardco.com/blog/index.php/2012/12/an-introduction-to-cherry-mx-mechanical-switches/
With the ducky keyboard, they use Cherry MX Silent switches. I believe you can get more keyboards with the Cherry Silent switches but I can't find a keyboard that I like with those switches. The Ducky keyboards are all 60% keyboards (From what I've seen). And i would prefer to have a full keyboard and maybe even room for custom buttons (Like the Logitech M1-5 Buttons)
 

Riccochet

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With the ducky keyboard, they use Cherry MX Silent switches. I believe you can get more keyboards with the Cherry Silent switches but I can't find a keyboard that I like with those switches. The Ducky keyboards are all 60% keyboards (From what I've seen). And i would prefer to have a full keyboard and maybe even room for custom buttons (Like the Logitech M1-5 Buttons)
Check out the Corsair K70. You can get them with any switch you want. I use a K70 with MX Brown's.

https://www.corsair.com/us/en/k70-rgb-gaming-keyboard
 
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