Hardware Windows

Why is my microphone so quiet in Windows 10?

Yogscast studio suite including PC (studio equipment)
Sound solution: get your Windows 10 mic levels right

If you’re constantly battling to be heard during online chats, then you’re not alone. Although the sales blurb for your microphone promised crisp clarity worthy of the Queen in an anechoic chamber, in reality, it sounds like you’re screaming from the moon. Every day, millions ask themselves why is my microphone so quiet in Windows 10 and we’ve got some suggestions which will help.

Select the right microphone

Laptop screenshot with 3 mic setup

Take a couple of moments to look at what you’re working with and at the risk of sounding condescending, count your microphones. Laptops have one built-in but desktops usually don’t. Microphones are often included in devices such as screens, webcams and wireless headphones, so it’s common for machines to have more than the user realises. The image above shows a laptop with three microphones. It’s vital to select the best one in order to tweak it’s settings (see below). Note that apps often have individual audio settings, so make sure the correct mic is selected in those too.

Windows 10 Sound Settings

Once you know which microphone needs help, you can dig inside Windows 10’s Sound Settings to give things a tweak.

Left click on the Start button and type Sound. Sound Settings will appear in the menu for selection.

Windows 10 Sound Settings screenshot

Scroll down the screen to the Input section. In the drop-down box, ensure the correct microphone has been selected. Select Device Properties.

Windows 10 Sound Settings Device Properties screenshot

Most commonly, the answer as to why the microphone is so quiet in Windows 10 is that the volume is set too low. This volume slider controls the loudness of microphone’s input signal and it’s tempting to whack it up to maximum. However, audio distortion will creep in if you turn it up to 11 and then your audience will wish that they still couldn’t hear you. Move the slider to halfway, and click the Start Test button. As you speak, Windows will show you the peak volume and ideally the bar needs to go around 80% along the bar. If it’s too low or high, adjust the slider and try again.

Know your mic

Logitech Blue  Yeti range product image.

Incorrect usage is another reason that the microphone is so quiet. In our screenshots, you’ll have spotted that our mic is from Blue’s Yeti range. The natural instinct is to tilt these and speak into the top. Wrong.

Image showing the correct positioning of a Yeti microphone.

The microphone capsule in the Yeti range face outwards and not upwards, so speaking to the wrong part of the mic will result in quiet output. All manufacturers are slightly different, so check the documentation just to be sure.

How do I boost to microphone volume on a Mac?

About the author

Lee Grant

I can normally be found attacking things with screwdrivers in my small computer repair business or writing a column for PC Pro magazine.

I am also trying to solve a mystery involving David Bowie.

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