Not often do we realize this but one of the most important pieces of hardware that we use is the microphone. Online business meetings, calls with friends and family or even gaming experiences need the support of a good microphone.
There are many kinds of problems that can lead to mics not functioning properly or developing lower sensitivity. This usually happens due to poor network connections and lower mic sensitivity settings.
So, how to change the mic sensitivity in Windows 10?
To fix microphone sensitivity in Windows 10, open the Settings window, select the Input option and Choose your input device and click on its property box which will open up the Microphone Properties window. Now, select the Levels tab and then change the sensitivity according to your need.
There are a couple of ways you can improve the audio quality of your mic and we will explore each one of them in detail. If you are facing any issues with your mic, then follow these steps to fix the problem.
Solutions to fix Mic sensitivity issues
Troubleshooting via Windows
All Windows operating systems come with a troubleshooter service for hardware and software services. If you have any issues with your mic, you could first launch the troubleshooter to understand what the problem is. Follow this guide to use the Windows troubleshooter.
- From the Start menu, click on the Control Panel to enter the system settings
- Find the Troubleshooting option and click on it to open the window
- On the left-hand side of the Troubleshooting window, click on View All
- There will be an option for Playing Audio. Click on it
- Click Next and do as the troubleshooter asks. The troubleshooter will take you through a series of steps
- If Windows does find a problem, it will offer you solutions as well
- Follow the on-screen instructions and you should have a resolution soon
- Once the troubleshooter has performed its actions, record an audio clipping and see how the quality was
- Restart the computer post the troubleshooting, if required
Adjusting the mic volume levels
Low mic volume can be a major cause of low mic sensitivity. There is a simple solution for this so please do follow the below-mentioned steps just like these steps to use apple earbuds as mic on pc.
- From the Start menu, click on the Control Panel to enter the system settings
- Now you need to locate and click on the Hardware and Sound option
- In case, your folder view is set to Small/Large icons, then you need to scroll through the options and find the option for Sound
- If you were in the Hardware and Sound window, you need to click on the Sound option
- Once the Sound window opens, you will see an option for Recording. This should be in a separate tab. All your recording devices should appear here. If they aren’t, then make sure they are connected to your computer
- Now, right-click on your mic and then select Properties
- Under mic properties, there should be four tabs – General, Listen, Levels, and Advanced
- Click on the Levels tab
- Check the sound level. It should be at the maximum (100). If it isn’t, then drag the slider towards 100
- If you tend to speak loud, then you could reduce this a bit
- Once your changes are done, click on OK so that the changes get applied
Changing the volume level should take care of the mic sensitivity issues you are facing. To check if it worked, record audio with your mic and then see how the output sounds.
Fix driver issues
Not always can you blame the hardware for faults? Sometimes, device drivers get outdated leading to incompatibility or reduced performance. You need to keep all your driver software update to get the best possible performance from your computer. Follow these steps to update your device drivers
- Open an Explorer window and type Device Manager
- Alternatively, click on Start, then Settings followed by Devices
- In the Devices window, click on Sound, video, and game controllers
- You should see your microphone listed there
- Right-click on your microphone and select Update Driver
- You will need an active internet connection to update your drivers
- In the next window, you will get two options. Select the first one (automatically search for driver software)
- Now your computer will look for the updated driver software online and if this is one, it will ask you if the installation can begin
- Once it is done, you will need to restart your computer
- However, if your driver is up-to-date, then you will be prompted about the same
- Sometimes, you might need to visit the microphone manufacturer’s website and then download the driver manually
Now, this option might not be available for everybody as it completely depends on the hardware you are using. However, it is still worth a try. Follow the below steps to work on the enhancement settings
- Launch the Control Panel, and click on Hardware and Sound
- Click on the setting for Sound
- Find your microphone and, right-click on it and select the Properties option
- Next to Levels, you should see a separate tab for Enhancements
- If it is there click on it
- There should be settings like Noise suppression and Acoustic echo cancellation
- Tick the boxes next to these options to enable them
- Click on OK and exit the window
- Record an audio recording and see if there was a change in the mic quality
Use 3rd party audio managers
Some computer manufacturers provide their own audio and microphone software that is in-built. This softwares can sometimes override the default Windows settings and can lead to performance issues. The software depends on the computer brand you use.
Some of the most popular ones are the Realtek Audio Manager and the Conexant SmartAudio. Check which software you have and then open it to inspect the sound settings. If you don’t know your way around such software, you can contact the software helpdesk or look for guides online.
Cleaning your mic
If the software settings don’t take your problem away then maybe we need to look elsewhere for a solution. Dirt particles, water droplets, or moisture can block the mic leading to loss of audio. The in-built microphones on our laptop are prone to getting dirty over time and there is a possibility that something is blocking it and leading to lower performance.
Locate your microphone on the laptop. These are usually found on the top, next to the webcam, or sometimes at the bottom as well. The mic could be single or double depending on the manufacturer and if you can’t locate it then you can search for it online or check the instruction booklet that came with your laptop.
After you locate the mic, take a cotton swab and dip it in lukewarm water. You could also use a mild alcohol-based cleaner. Now squeeze excess water out of the cotton swab. Excessive water in the swab can cause permanent damage to the mic. Gently, wipe the mic with the cotton swab a couple of times. This should remove dirt or dust from the mic.
Every couple of weeks you need to repeat the cleaning process since mics are prone to attract dust and get clogged, reducing overall performance.
FAQ’s about microphone sensitivity
Here are some commonly asked questions about mic sensitivity.
1. What is mic sensitivity?
In technical parlance, the mic sensitivity is the capability of a microphone to convert acoustic energy to electrical energy. It denotes the efficiency at which the mic can process the signals and deliver high-quality output.
2. Can the microphone sensitivity be changed?
Well, not really. The sensitivity is a hardware factor mostly and it can’t be changed by playing around with the software settings. All the above steps listed in this article do help you improve the overall quality of the mic but the sensitivity remains pretty much unchanged
3. How do I know what kind of mic sensitivity is good for me?
Different mics come with different kinds of sensitivity. What you plan to use it for will decide the kind of product you will need to invest in. If you intend to use a mic for guitar recordings, voice-over work, etc then you will need a mic with high sensitivity. However, if you want to record drums, bass guitars, live bands, and high frequency sounds like gunshots, etc then you will need a low-sensitivity mic.
Mics are an integral part of our computer usage daily and we really need them to function at peak performance. Mics are often not thought about, they are a small piece of hardware in the entire computer ecosystem. But the only time they really matter to us is when they stop working or don’t perform well.
While buying laptops or other devices that come with mics, it is always a good idea to check their specifications as well. If you are a musician, recording professional, etc then you will need to invest in a good mic that produces great audio quality.