How to improve a $10 headset/mic for video calls

My previous headset for phone/video calls was a pair of $30 Sony earbuds [Hello, affiliate link].

Sony 10561681-ZA Earbuds mic

The microphone is part of the cord that dangles down. On calls, I would have to rope the cord over my ear so the mic would be closer. A cord dangling over my ear looks pretty ridiculous, so sometimes I would just hold the little mic with my hand, which is silly too.

No more earbuds.

Instead, I looked for a cheap pair of headphones. I was considering a pair that cost $10, and one that costs $26. I figured at this low price point, the quality would be pretty much the same, so I went for the $10 headset [you got it, another affiliate link].

The sound quality is pretty good—except when I the mic is right by my mouth. It would pick up all these gross moist mouth sounds.

Two ways to improve the sound quality of a $10 headset

Step 1. Test the position of the mic

Thankfully, microphone could be rotated in different positions.

I tested the various positions by recording myself with Audacity (a free recording application). Then I listened to the results.

  • Mic right by mouth: You’d think this should be the natural position to place the mic. But it is probably one of the worst positions. The mic sounds awful when it’s by my mouth. It picks up all my moist mouth sounds.
  • Mic low by my chin: Better. Although a bit quiet.
  • Mic up by my forehead: This is also quiet. It picks up the echo in the room a little bit, probably because it’s pointing to the ceiling.
  • Mic by my eyes: The sweet spot. No mouth sounds. It’s a little bit louder.

Step 2. Use a microphone fuzzy

To help even more with any mouth or breathing sounds, it’s a good idea to put a fuzzy over the mic. That’ll stop the wind sounds. I didn’t want to buy a professional fuzzy/muffler, so I found some tips online to cut off the finger from a fuzzy glove.

Pair of scissors sitting on top of a cheap glove with the ring finger cut off. The ring finger part of the glove is missing!

Slide that cut-off finger over the microphone.

Headset with DIY fuzzy made from glove finger

Ahhh, yeah. That helps with the mouth pop sounds. It’s nice to have the headphones for a mere ten bucks. On video calls, the fuzzy doesn’t look weird. It just looks like one of those things you have over a mic.

Oh, I should also note that I purposefully got a headset that is wired with a 3.5mm jack.

  • It doesn’t have to get charged up—ever
  • It doesn’t lose a Bluetooth connection
  • There is no delay in the audio because of Bluetooth

When it comes to video/audio calls, I just want the connection to be reliable. These headphones work—especially with these little enhancements.

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