How to Make Microphone Sound Bad?

You can make the microphone sound bad and distorted using various effects on a DAW such as EQ, Reverb and Distortion or by exporting using low-quality audio settings.

Otherwise, if you don’t want to use any effects you can make the microphone sound bad by speaking or shouting very loud into it which will create an audio clipping effect and cause distortion.

Breathing into the microphone and loud mouth clicks will add an extra dimension to the bad audio you desire.

Here is a clean audio sample and we will try and work with it when applying effects to make it sound bad:

Normal audio

Speak close to the microphone

Try speaking very close to the microphone, whereas you are almost touching it. If you have a pre-amp, you can turn up the gain knob to make your audio louder for even less pleasant audio experience. Otherwise, you can add some volume later in post with any audio editing software.



Speaking close to the microphone

Shout into the microphone

Shout into the microphone. If combined with speaking close to the mic this will create an ultimate bad quality microphone sound.

Shouting from a close distance into the microphone will cause clipping as you will overburden the microphone’s diaphragm. Also, shouting will make you breathe harder and this will cause extra plosives to make the audio sound even worse.

Breathe into the microphone

Have you noticed how awful audio sounds when recorded outside in a windy environment? You can replicate that by recording outside, or you can also breathe heavily into the diaphragm to achieve similar bad audio quality.

The microphone is sensitive to the air that is hitting the diaphragm, hence any puffs of air coming from your mouth will cause bad distortions.

Add background noise

You can add background noise by creating it in the background. Computer fans, heaters, open windows work well for creating bad background noise. Just playing white noise audio while recording will also do, or you can add any sort of noise when editing your audio in post if you plan to do so.

I’ve recorded background noise here by turning up the gain knob all the way up and recording my background noise which mostly consisted of computer fans nearby.

I’ve recorded the noise within this recording myself, you can download and use it any way you want without any restrictions.

Audio with background noise
Background noise

Cause mouth clicks

Add some mouth clicks to make your audio sound worse. When speaking into the microphone touch the roof of your mouth with the tongue and smack your lips often. The saliva breaking will create a bad listening experience.

Or you can use this recording sample and add it to the mix

Mouth clicks

Distortion effect

The distortion effect as the name suggests will distort your audio making it sound bad. You can adjust distortion levels to your liking.

Although, if you don’t want to edit audio in DAW, a similar effect can be achieved by speaking loud and close to the microphone and utilizing audio clipping.

Distortion effect
Distorted microphone sound effect

Export in poor quality

Try exporting audio in low quality to make it sound bad. Adjust sample and bit rate to the lowest possible.

8000Hz sample rate and 8 bit depth MP3 settings will make your audio sound hollow and low quality.

Exporting in low quality MP3 settings
Audio exported as low quality mp3

Add reverb

You can add reverb while recording in an echo-y space such as a bathroom or any large room. The less soft furniture in the room the more echo you will hear. Sound waves hitting back and forth between the walls and then reaching the microphone will create the echo effect.

Otherwise, you can use a reverb effect, any DAW has it. You can use Audacity if you don’t want to spend money.

Here’s what you can come up with the reverb effect:

Audio with reverb
Reverb settings

Cut frequencies using an equalizer

Try messing around with the equalizer (EQ) and cutting various frequencies to obtain a desired bad audio quality.

Cut ‘lows’ and ‘highs’ to achieve bad phone quality audio

Cut low and high-end frequencies to achieve phone or portable radio quality audio. The more you will cut the poorer the audio quality will be. If you cut more high-end frequencies you will achieve unintelligible audio and cutting low-end frequencies will remove any warmth within your voice and make it sound tiny.

Phone or portable radio quality audio
Cut ‘low’ and ‘high’ frequencies for phone call quality

In this example, I’ve cut frequencies below 500Hz and above 2kHz to achieve phone call quality audio. It is still audibly clear as the main audible frequencies are in the mid-range which we preserved. But it has lost pleasant qualities since we cut lows and highs.


Now let’s combine everything we’ve got here to create the worst sounding microphone effect.


Before listening lower your volume.

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