4 [Inexpensive] Ways to Improve Your Audio as You Work From Home

smiling man while listening to music on the computer

Working from home is a new development for many professionals, and numerous people have become increasingly frustrated with the sound quality within their households. Whether it’s a tinny sound coming from your webcam microphone or distracting echoes emanating in your office, this poor audio can negatively impact your productivity and engagement. 

Fortunately, there are several key ways to improve your work-from-home audio experience. By investing in high-quality sound equipment, you can ensure that communications between you and your colleagues will consistently be clear and understandable each and every workday.

What Equipment Do You Need for Work from Home Audio?

Several elements contribute to audio quality while you communicate with others. On the one hand, you must consider how your coworkers and clients are receiving sound from you. Conversely, you need to make sure that you can hear them clearly and with as much detail as possible, in addition to other audible elements revolving around work. 

Address these issues by integrating the following equipment into your home office:

  • Headphones 
  • Webcam with superior sound quality
  • Microphone
  • Soundproofing material

Below are top-notch examples of this equipment and how these items can enhance the audio in your home office.

1. Invest in Headphones for Working from Home

Whether you’re a freelance content creator, a CEO of a company, or a virtual assistant for a small business, a pair of reliable headphones can drastically improve your work-from-home audio experience. 

One thing that many remote professionals have in common is the need to eliminate distracting extracurricular noise. Some people do this by listening to music while they work. Other professionals must eliminate unwanted sounds as they conduct phone and video chats or perhaps host a webinar or stream a production. 

Whatever your work-from-home duties are, headphones are critical to ensuring you pick up every bit of sound to improve productivity and enhance your attention to detail during calls, editing projects, and everything in between. The best headphones for these applications are described below.

Mpow 071 Noise-Canceling Computer Headset

mpow 071 usb headset with controller

This wired, lightweight headset is the ideal affordable headphone solution for the remote virtual assistant or teacher. It includes an adjustable unidirectional microphone and a noise-reduction sound card, both of which are specially designed to eliminate as much background noise as possible, making your voice crystal clear.

The removable 2-in-1 control box allows you to turn your mic on and off, adjust the volume, and use the speaker, all without having to fuss over the controls in the video-chatting app you may be using. To utilize the headset with different devices, detach the control box and use the 3.5mm audio plug instead of the USB cord. 

These headphones are for:

Conducting phone and video sessions, especially for call centers and educational presentations. 

These headphones are not for:

Anyone looking for noise-canceling options or headphones specifically for listening to music.

Anker Soundcore Noise-canceling Bluetooth Headphones

close up headphone on travel luggage and passport

These headphones are His-Res Audio Certified—an indication of their exceptional quality. Designed to incomparably enhance your listening experience—whether you’re gaming, video editing, or conducting other tasks—Anker headphones are capable of producing sound at frequencies as high as 40 kHz.

The noise-canceling feature eliminates up to 90% of ambient sound, thanks to the hybrid-active noise functionality, which detects and cancels a vast array of low- to mid-frequency sounds. 

With just one charge, you can enjoy up to 40 hours of nonstop audio without a hint of discomfort, as the memory-foam ear cups and rotating headband joints perfectly adjust to your head for premium headphone comfort. 

These headphones are for:

Individuals who are looking to maximize both comfort and focus when listening to music or conducting audio work, especially while traveling. 

These headphones are not for:

Conducting work meetings and audio or video phone sessions.

2. Upgrade Your Home Office Webcam

Webcams are often the bane of a professional’s work-from-home daily life. Although many people need them to join Zoom and Skype meetings, Webcams can be a hasslefrom the mic picking up computer sounds to the tinny screeches and awful echoes. These disruptions are the last thing colleagues and clients want to hear while trying to conduct business. 

Luckily, you don’t have to give up the webcam to resolve these issues. Investing in a high-quality camera that emphasizes microphone functionality—such as the two described below—is the best way to make yourself heard in virtual work meetings.

NexiGo HD Plug-and-Play Webcam with Microphone

HD web camera with easy installation dock

Not only does this webcam provide good video quality and much-needed peace of mind with its privacy protection cover, but it also boasts a superior sound quality that far exceeds the quality of many other webcams in this price range. 

This best-in-class camera includes a built-in noise-canceling microphone that helps filter out distracting background noises, even in the loudest of homes. Although you may still want to keep your playful pets and crying kids out of the office, this product will help dampen their noises if they do find their way into your office yet again! 

This webcam is for:

Those looking to reduce background noises during work calls and virtual conferences and presentations. 

This webcam is not for:

Streaming shows and podcasting. (While the sound is good, it is not optimized for such work.)

EACH HD Web Camera with Dual Digital Microphone

close up HD web camera

In addition to HD video (complete with light correction and autofocus), this EACH webcam is equipped with dual microphones. Thanks to this feature and the audio-processing chip, you can be certain that all listeners will hear your voice loud and clear during video meetings. 

Further, you won’t have to worry about your voice being drowned out by background sounds, thanks to the noise-canceling feature on the mic. As a plug-and-play device, you shouldn’t have to deal with manually optimizing your computer settings to experience these advantagesjust plug it into your PC or laptop and begin your workday with no hassle whatsoever. 

This webcam is for:

Streamers, speakers, and others whose work requires stereo-sound production.

This webcam is not for:

Anyone looking for simplified solutions for sound quality during work meetings only.

3. Get a High-quality Microphone for Your Home Office

Remember that your colleagues and clients need to hear you just as well as you would like to hear them. Even if you decide to invest in a webcam with a powerful microphone, such technology can only go so far for certain professions. 

Remote workers who specialize in content creation (especially video production, podcasts, and educational presentations) must gear up with dedicated microphones. These mics must be sensitive yet still capable of eliminating aural clutter from recordings and live streams. The best affordable examples of such characteristics are below.

FIFINE USB Metal Condenser Microphone

usb microphone condenser

This plug-and-play mic is a highly intuitive solution to sound management in your home office. Whether you’re hosting a podcast or recording voiceovers for a class lecture, you can count on the FIFINE to adapt to your every need. 

Optimize your audience’s audio experience by adjusting the volume knob, which dictates the loudness and sensitivity of the mic’s output. If there is any distracting noise in the room, this should be mitigated thanks to the cardioid polar-pattern functionality.

This microphone should make your voice will be crisp and properly isolated no matter what the background noise may be. 

This microphone is for:

Anyone who needs to emphasize single-source, directional sound in their recordings (e.g., podcast hosts and educators). 

This microphone is not for:

Group recording, streaming, conferences, or interviews in which more than one person will be speaking into the microphone.

TONOR Plug-and-Play Omnidirectional USB Microphone

easy USB Microphone mouse

This omnidirectional condenser microphone is perhaps the best available solution for group recordings, video calls, and conferences. It’s capable of picking up even the most subtle of sounds from up to 11.5 feet away, in all directions. 

The TONOR mic is specially designed for remote meetings and only needs to be plugged in for immediate operation. It’s fitted with its own mute button, so you can easily give the floor to your colleague without fumbling through conferences or the app controls of the video call. 

Though it’s optimized to detect sound from a distance, this mic is also equipped with anti-noise technology to prevent unwanted interference, aiming for the best possible sound quality for your team. 

This microphone is for:

People that host and participate in remote conferences and don’t mind ambient audio.

This microphone is not for:

Anyone who needs to eliminate background noise from audio.

4. Install Soundproofing Foam Panels

One of the most widespread issues concerning sound quality in the home office is room reverb. While it doesn’t affect remote workers in carpeted homes quite as much, those operating in spaces with hardwood and vinyl floors, or even garages, may have more of an issue. 

Installing high-quality soundproofing materials will both remove this aggravating echo and help your family not to be disturbed by noises coming from your office during their distance schooling or workdays.

DEKIRU 12" x 12" x 1" Acoustic Foam Panels

Black 12 x 12 acoustic panel

DEKIRU panels are the perfect solution for remote workers who are looking to both reduce echo and shield their housemates from office noise. These 12″ x 12″ x 1″ wall tiles are specially designed to absorb mid- to high-range frequencies and reduce the occurrence of echoes in small- to medium-sized rooms. 

The tiles each have a high-density cell structure that provides maximum absorptive capabilities specifically for flutter echoes and standing waves. 

This soundproofing is for:

Workers who expect to regularly emit high-volume sounds from their home office, such as those in the gaming, film, or music industries. 

This soundproofing is not for:

Those working in home offices that are 11′ x 12′ or larger.

Aokeo High-density Isolation Shield

microphone with isolation shield and headphone

This high-density absorbent foam isolation shield is an innovative approach to optimizing the sound quality in your home office. Podcasters, streamers, and others in the content-producing world will appreciate the cotton insulation that reduces interference and reflection during recordings. 

You can adjust the shield to meet your needs thanks to the lightweight folding panels. Additionally, don’t worry about inflicting damage during use, since this shield is made of premium steel. Since it measures in at a modest 12.24″ x 11.61″ x 4.45″, you can record from anywhere in your office or home with ease. 

This soundproofing is for:

Those who perform voice recordings for work such as podcast hosts and educators.

This soundproofing is not for:

Improving the sound quality in an entire home office, since it is specially designed to be used in front of a condenser microphone.

The Importance of Sound in Your Home Office

work office laptop with headphone set up

Since so many professionals are new to the work-from-home lifestyle, few understand the significance of sound quality in the home. Enhancing the clarity and efficiency of audio equipment is a matter of convenience, but it’s also a matter of productivity and mental health. 

In 2015, researchers discovered that noise pollution (e.g., traffic, construction, and other common noises in urban neighborhoods) is a major annoyance to workers across various industries. 

This aggravation functions as a source of stress that can:

  • Harm work performance
  • Reduce concentration
  • Disrupt sleeping patterns
  • Lead to an unwillingness to work altogether (i.e., absenteeism) 

Improving the sound in the virtual world that you and your colleagues are living in right now can positively contribute to your professional experience. Make sure you have audio with clear communications and little to no audible distractions whatsoever.

Things to Consider About Work-from-Home Audio Equipment

Here are some key points to consider as you gather these components for your home office:

  • Headphones: Think of the type of work you will be doing. For example, if you work in video or music production, you may want noise-canceling headphones that help you focus on your audio tracks with greater clarity and detail. On the other hand, virtual assistants and remote call-center staff should prioritize a microphone.
  • Webcam: Review how often you join video conference calls. When you participate in these meetings, can your colleagues hear your PC or laptop whirring, the clicking of your keyboard, and other potentially distracting background sounds? If so, your primary concern will be noise cancellation and focused, directional sound detection. 
  • Microphone: This is a necessity for those whose work requires a substantial amount of public speaking or voice-overs. Your students or a general audience won’t be able to concentrate on your content if there is too much static or ambient noise. Thus, your mic should be sensitive to proximal noise (i.e., your voice) above all else.

Note: The cardioid polar pattern is an excellent solution to reducing background noise. 

  • Soundproofing: Those working in home offices with hard floors or relatively open spaces should invest in soundproofing. This will help eliminate the reverb that characterizes such rooms and help your colleagues and audience hear you with greater clarity.

Note: If you only need sound protection for voice recordings, you may not want to invest in soundproofing panels for a full room. Instead, go with specialized equipment like the folding Aokeo panel.

Some Final Thoughts

Remember, when searching for optimal audio equipment for your home office, it’s important to consider how both you and your listeners will experience sound quality. You want to ensure that you can hear your music, work, and colleagues clearly, but you also want to make sure everyone else can hear you just as clearly. 

Working remotely can be a pain when you’re constantly bombarded with distracting ambient noise and static-ridden communication. By investing in the high-quality equipment described above, you will enhance your distance collaboration and improve productivity and concentration throughout the day. 

Review your daily work duties and determine which of these audio-gear options are best suited for the work you do.