Hardware Windows

Why is my Microphone so quiet in Windows 11?

Microphone closeup, singing equipment
Softly spoken: get those mic settings right in Windows 11

Fighting technology just to be heard online is extremely common. Modern machines are packed with technology to ‘bring us together’ but millions will testify that this doesn’t necessarily mean being able to see or hear each other at the same time. If you’ve found yourself screaming, “why is my microphone so quiet in Windows 11?”, then stop now, before the barista throws you out of Starbucks. We’ve got some things for you to try which may help.

Which microphone is selected in Windows 11?

Windows 11 laptop with 3 microphones in Sound settings

Microphones are sneaky things which can gather together to thwart your day. Although desktop PCs don’t usually have a built-in microphone, laptops do. Actually, it’s extremely easy to accidentally add more microphones to a computer and not realise that it has happened. Microphones are included in screens, webcams and headphones and often the reason that a microphone sounds so quiet in Windows 11 is because it’s not the one closest to a mouth. Or the one you’ve been swearing at for an hour. Our image above shows a laptop with three microphones. It’s critical to select the correct one when tweaking the settings.

Windows 11 Sound Settings

Once you’ve confirmed which microphone requires some attention, we need to have a look Windows’ sound settings.

Windows 11 System Page Showing Sound Options

Left click on the Start button, select Settings and from the System menu, select Sound.

Windows 11 Sound Options Screenshot

Scroll down the page to the Input Device section and ensure that the correct microphone is selected. Beneath the options is a box labelled Volume. Having this set incorrectly is the most common answer as to why the microphone is so quiet in Windows 11.

Windows 11 mic volume level

The slider controls the loudness of microphone’s input signal. In our screenshot, it’s set to three which is far too low so it tempting whizz up to the max. However, too much volume will distort the audio. Your audience will be able to hear you, but just won’t want to. As you speak, Windows animates to give an indication of the peak volume and ideally this needs to hit around 80%. Experiment with microphone positioning and the slider you’re loud, but not too loud.

How to position your microphone correctly

Logitech Blue Yeti range product image

Microphones can be deceptively tricky things to use. Although it looks like a stick to speak into, knowing how to point it at your mouth is vital. In all of our screenshots, we’ve used a Blue Yeti microphone, which looks like the sort of device that needs to be angled towards a face and nature/gravity/magic will do the rest. Well, not quite.

Image showing the correct positioning of a Yeti microphone.

The microphone capsules in Blue’s Yeti range don’t face upwards, but outwards, so speaking to the wrong part will result in quiet or distorted output. All manufacturers are different, so check the documentation of your microphone to check if you’re holding it upside down.

Will the Blue Yeti microphone work on an M1 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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