Hardware Mac Software

How do I boost the microphone volume on a Mac?

black and silver headphones on black and silver microphone
Be heard: turn up the volume on your Mac's mic

If you’re struggling to be heard on videos calls, there are things you can do to boost the microphone volume on a Mac. So, put your throat sweets away, stop shouting at the computer and follow our guide.

Check the Mac’s microphone settings

Here’s how to fiddle with the Mac audio settings to make sure the mic is being heard properly:

  • Click on the Apple logo in the top-left corner of the screen
  • Select System Settings then Sound, and you’ll find a section named Input & Output
  • Select the Input tab – this will show a list of current microphones, with the one you’re using highlighted
  • First of all ensure, the correct microphone is in use. The low volume could be because you thought you were talking into an external microphone but, in fact, the Mac’s built-in mic was selected
  • Assuming that’s correct, check the Input level below that. Speak normally into your microphone and this should light up, from left to right. You want to see the level peaking towards the right when you speak loudly, but don’t overdo it, or else you may introduce distortion
  • If it’s not lighting up enough, adjust the Input volume control above this until it’s filling more of the little bars
Mac audio settings

Check your individual app settings

If all of that appears fine but people are complaining they still can’t hear you, it may be that the app you’re using has its own audio settings. Let’s take Zoom as an example:

  • Open the Zoom app for Mac, and then in the Menu Bar at the top of the screen click on Zoom.us then Preferences
  • Select the Audio tab
  • Under Microphone, does it show the selected mic as Same as System? If it’s not using your system settings, the input volume can be adjusted from this menu. Otherwise, the controls will be greyed out and unusable.

Check your external mic’s gain

Some external microphones will have a gain control on them. This may be a wheel or dial that you turn, and this improves the amplification. Here is an example of this on a Blue Yeti microphone:

Blue Yeti microphone showing the gain dial

It’s worth checking the instructions for the external microphone as well. In the case of the Blue Yeti, for example, it has an adjustable pattern that affects the direction of audio pick-up and, if set incorrectly, could result in lower than expected volume.

Finally, if all else fails, you could consider a pre-amp, which will boost the volume between your microphone and your Mac.

Getting no sound from laptop speakers?

About the author

David Artiss

Works for Automattic Inc., the company behind WordPress.com and Tumblr. Tech geek, international speaker and occasional PC Pro podcaster. Lover of Lego and video games.

Add Comment

Click here to post a comment

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.