Monitoring a mic sounds like a complicated concept, but it's actually pretty easy to do and explain. Mic monitoring is the process of hearing what you're recording played back into your headphones in real-time. Mic monitoring is most often used to hear the playback of your voice, but it can be used to take the sound from anything recorded and play it directly in your ears at the exact time it is happening. It is important for mic monitors to play back in real-time so that you won't hear delays or a lag between your recorded sound and the actual playback.
Mic monitoring has several benefits that most people know about, and a few that most don't even consider. For example, did you know that mic monitoring can actually help with your health?
Common benefits of mic monitoring include the ability to hear yourself clearly as you talk or sing in a loud environment, checking the technical aspects of your recording quality, and improving team communication.
One hidden benefit is that this feature allows you to avoid the dangers of The Lombard effect, which is the tendency of speakers to increase their vocal work when speaking in a loud letting to make sure that their voice is heard. This can easily cause vocal fatigue which brings about a sore throat, loss of voice, scratchiness, and similar symptoms.
Mic monitoring can also help your team members avoid ear damage due to loud levels when people are testing out their sound quality in digital meet-up settings. Many people are tempted to scream loud or have the volume way too high to the point where everyone on the call with a headset is at risk of some crazy and unnecessarily dangerous volume levels.
For singing or playing an instrument in a studio recording setting, using a mic monitor setting can help you hear yourself as you record without feeling like the music in your headphones is drowning out your own sound. Monitors are also used regularly in live performance settings where a singer or rapper on stage needs to hear certain things in their ear (referred to as in-ear monitors) without being drowned out by the loud environment they are performing in.
The term mic monitoring is usually associated with gamers. In other uses, most people just refer to it as a monitor setting. You can easily use mic monitoring with consoles like Xbox and Playstation when gaming while streaming or playing with other gamers. For team settings, mic monitoring will help with fast gameplay and good communication without the risk of a player shouting too loud and ruining the flow because they can't hear their own mic quality.
For online calls where you need to properly communicate with your team, mic monitoring can come in handy and make your meetings more productive and timely. A lot of work meeting time is often spent with team members figuring out if their audio levels are right (or simply never knowing at all). You and your coworkers can save time on the meeting by testing the levels of your mic before the call with monitoring, or during the meeting while you speak.
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