How do I set up and test microphones in Windows 10?

November 1, 2018 |

greater than 12 minutes

If you set your computer’s voice recognition facility, you can dictate words and sentences to execute operations; you can also communicate with your work colleagues or family members. Generally, users tend to achieve more with speaking than typing.

Of course, your PC must be equipped with a microphone through which it listens to you. Otherwise, you must connect an external microphone or listening device. Well, in this guide, we plan to show you how to set up a microphone on Windows PCs. Let’s go.

How to set up a microphone on Windows 10?

Before you begin working on your microphone’s settings, you must do the most obvious thing: plug the mic into your PC. If the microphone employs a wireless means of communication (Bluetooth, for example, in most cases), then you must link it up with your computer (via Bluetooth pairing).

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The next important part of the process requires you identify and install the needed drivers for the microphone. In theory, Windows is supposed to search for and install the necessary driver software automatically. Well, most times the automatic setup does a good job. However, if things do not go as expected, then the onus is on you to search for and install the required drivers.

Auslogics Driver Updater will prove to be an incredibly useful resource if the need ever arises for you to work on your drivers.

After you download and run this program, it will run checks on your PC to help you identify the missing and outdated drivers, and after the scans are complete, you can push it to download and install the latest manufacturer-recommended versions of the drivers on your behalf.

After you finish installing the necessary drivers, you must restart your computer to ensure that they are now active, and only then will you be done with the tasks involving drivers.

Now, you can move on to the main operation to define the configuration for your microphone.

Follow these instructions:

  • On your desktop screen, you must right-click on the volume icon in your system tray. There, from the options that appear, you have to click on Sounds.
  • The Sound window should be up by now. There, you must navigate to the Recording tab because that is where you will find the settings for your microphone. You should see the microphone or external listening device you plugged into your PC.
  • Click on the microphone you intend to use to highlight it, then click on the Configure button. Windows will move to bring up the Speech Recognition window.

It is imperative you understand that the tool you are about to use is actually geared towards speech recognition, but we nonetheless plan to take advantage of it to set up your microphone and equip it with the capability to deal with voice chats better.

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  • Once the Configure your Speech Recognition experience window is up, you must click on the Set up your Microphone link. The setup wizard will appear now. There, you will get to choose the type of microphone you intend to work with, and after this, you must click on the Next button.
  • Now, Windows will display some tips for using your microphone that matches up with the device you selected earlier. We implore you to go through them and follow the instructions attentively. Click on the Next button to begin.
  • The wizard will display some text and ask you to read it aloud. Do what is asked of you, then click on the Next button to move on. At this stage, you are more or less done with the most important settings and your microphone should be ready for use.
  • Click on the Finish button and Windows will close the wizard. You should be good to go now.

During the microphone setup process, if your computer struggled to listen to your voice or if your PC could not hear you at all, then there is a good chance your microphone was muted, or perhaps, there is another microphone or listening device installed on your PC that was picking up the audio from you.

In any case, you might have seen the window with a message asking if your microphone was muted. You have to check the microphones available on your PC and put things in order, then you have to go through the instructions above once more to set up your microphone.

How to test your microphone on Windows 10?

Even after you finish configuring your microphone, from time to time, you might have to do a quick test to ensure that your device is hearing you without issues. These instructions will guide you to perform the necessary check:

  • First, you must open the Sounds window. To do this, you must right-click on the sound icon in the taskbar on your desktop screen, and from the menu list that appears, select Sounds.
  • After the Sounds window comes up, you must navigate to the Recording tab there to see the list of available devices. Now, you must speak to your microphone and carefully observe the movements of the green bars.

If the green bars are rising and falling in tune with the intensity of your voice or the sounds your PC is exposed to, then your device is fine.

If you notice some movements on the green bar, but they do not correspond with your voice input, then you might want to turn up the levels your microphone depends on to work. In other words, you are going to increase the sensitivity of your microphone. This change will enable it to pick up more sounds.

Continue with the instructions below:

  • Under the Recordings tab, you must click on the microphone that is struggling to work as expected to highlight it. Click on the Properties button (usually close to the bottom of the window).
  • The Properties window for the device you selected should be up by now. There, you must navigate to the Levels tab. Now, you must adjust your microphone’s sensitivity to allow it to pick up more sounds easily.

If you do everything correctly, then your microphone will become more sensitive to audio input and become able to listen to your voice more clearly than before.

If the green bars fail to rise or if their movements still do not correspond to your voice’s intensity no matter what you do to fix the issue, then problems with your drivers are most likely in play. You will do well to identify the problematic drivers and replace them with better versions.

How to fix Microphone not working on Windows 10 and related problems?

Windows 10 might be the latest operating system from Microsoft, but issues that affect microphones and similar listening devices have been well observed on it. It might seem absurd if we say this iteration of Windows struggles to work with far too many recording devices, but such a claim is hardly an unfair one to make.

In the vast majority of scenarios, if a mic connected to a Windows 10 device fails to work, then the wrong settings or configuration are probably being used. To this end, we will show you how to resolve the most common issues that affect the operations of microphones connected to Windows 10 computers. Here we go.

Specific fix for a problem that appeared after the installation of the Windows 10 April 2018 update:

If your microphone worked well until the arrival of the Windows 10 April 2018 update on your PC, then you will do well to go through the solution that has proven to be the most effective fix for users that had the same issue as you.

As far as we know, the update in view was bundled with an unfamiliar reset that made applications and programs unable to access your webcam, microphone, and similar devices. Well, the obvious fix would require you to restore the permissions that were taken away. Follow these instructions:

  • Press (and hold) the Windows button on your keyboard, then continue with a tap of the letter I key to launch the Settings app. Once the program window shows up as expected, from the options list, you must click on Privacy to enter its menu.
  • Go through the list on the left pane. Under App permissions, you should see Microphone, which you must select. On the right pane, click on the Change button under the Microphone access for this device is on option.
  • Now, you must toggle on the button for the Microphone for this device option. You must also toggle on the button for the Allow apps to access your microphone option.
  • At this stage, you move on to go through the applications list. You must toggle on microphone access for every single app you intend Windows to provide with permission to use your microphone.

Once you are done with the work on your microphone, you might have to repeat the same operations for your webcam or any other hardware component that is plagued by problems that manifested not long after you downloaded and installed the Windows updates we mentioned.

  1. Perform preliminary checks:

Here, you are going to check and find out if your microphone is faulty or not. It is imperative you confirm things so that you do not end up using advanced or complicated fixes in scenarios where they were not needed.

We want you to try out as many ports available on your computer as possible to see if any of them supports the correct functioning of your microphone. Perhaps, the port you are using is faulty or simply incompatible with your microphone for unknown reasons.

For one, if you use a desktop device, you will do well to plug in your mic to the back panel of your computer. We know too well that the front audio ports (which most users use for convenience purposes) are not always well connected to the motherboard.

We recommend you plug in your microphone into another PC and see how it performs there. Preferably, we request that you use a computer that is running an older version of Windows (Windows 8.1 or Windows 7 will be ideal).

If your microphone struggles to work on other devices for no discernable reason, then there is a good chance that it is faulty, or maybe it has become damaged. A replacement for it is very much in order after you carry out further tests to determine that your mic is irreparable.

On the other hand, if issues affecting your microphone are non-existent on the test devices, then the result you obtained points to a software problem on your computer, and in that case, you have to do some work on your PC.

  1. Alter the settings for your recording device:

Here, you are going to adjust some important parameters to enable your microphone to function more effectively. Follow the instructions below:

  • Check your system tray, locate the sound icon there (usually close to the bottom right section of your screen), right-click on it, then select Sounds from the options you see.
  • After Windows brings up the sound window, you must navigate to the Recording tab. Now, you should see all the recording devices or components available for use on your PC.
  • Speak to your microphone. We expect you to see movements on the green bar beside the listening device.

If you did not see any green bar (or movements on it) beside any microphone device while you talked, then the program in view or your system was probably listening to the wrong recording device. You must alter the affected program settings to select the correct listening device.

Anyway, there is still a good chance that your microphone is appropriately configured.

  • At this point, you have to go through the list of recording devices and locate the microphone for your PC or the one you intend to use. Click on that mic to highlight it, then click on the Set Default button.
  • Once again, you must speak to your computer and try to check for movements on the green bar beside the recording device you chose.

If the rise and fall of the bars are roughly in sync with the audio input being received by your PC, then your microphone setup is probably in order. Otherwise, you must continue with the instructions below:

  • Double-click on the device that represents the microphone you chose earlier. The Properties window for the selected mic should appear now. There, you must navigate to the Levels tab to do some work.
  • You should see the Microphone and the Microphone boost options. Now, you must adjust the slider for both parameters and move them to the right as much as possible.

This way, you end up selecting the maximum values, which are 100 for the first option (Microphone) and +30.0 dB for the second one (Microphone boost).

  • Click on the OK button once you are done adjusting the parameters based on the guidelines we proposed.
  • Now, you must navigate to the Enhancements tab (if one is available) to continue your work. There, you must untick the checkbox for Disable all sound effects.
  • Navigate to the Advanced tab and untick the checkbox for Allow applications to take exclusive control of this device to do away with this option. If the Enable audio enhancements option is available, then you must untick its checkbox too to deselect it.
  • Finally, it is time you navigated to the Communications tab for the concluding task. Click on the radio button for Do nothing to select this option (for When Windows detects communication activity). Click on the OK button.
  • At this point, you have to restart your PC to round things up. After the reboot, you must let your system settle down before you move on to recheck the recording devices panel. Redo the same speech operations you performed earlier.

This time, you should see the green bars rising and failing while you speak into your microphone. If the events go as we described, then you can rest knowing that you have the right microphone configuration and your troubles are over.

  1. Fix issues affecting your microphone and audio drivers:

At this stage, if you are still struggling with problems that prevent your microphone from working as it is supposed to, you must check your microphone drivers. Issues affecting the component in view are most likely responsible for your struggles.

First, we will guide you to uninstall and reinstall your microphone driver. The combination of the operations involved in the uninstallation and reinstallation of drivers brings about special changes that dissolve faults or issues affecting the drivers in view. Go through these steps:

  • Launch the Device Manager app by right-clicking on the Window Start icon that is always visible on your desktop screen and then selecting Device Manager from the list of options and applications you see.
  • On the Device Manager program window, you can go through the categories list for your drivers. Click on Audio inputs and outputs and Windows will display the drivers under this category.
  • From the short list available, you must identify your microphone driver, then right-click on it. Select Uninstall to force Windows to get rid of it.

You will do well to tick the checkbox for Delete driver software for this device (if a window with this option appears).

  • At this point, you must physically disconnect your microphone from your PC’s port. Restart your computer. After Windows boots up, your system will somehow detect that a driver is missing, and it will move to reinstall the necessary software.

In either case (even if Windows fails to reinstall the removed driver or otherwise), you must reconnect your microphone to your PC and see how things go.

If the driver problems persist—especially because Windows failed to reinstall the necessary driver or if the uninstallation and reinstallation operations were unable to deliver the result you were expecting—you must update your microphone driver.

Typically, you should be able to obtain a replacement for the problematic driver by checking your microphone manufacturer’s webpage. To make things go smoothly, you have to open the Device Manager app, locate your microphone driver and take note of its specific model or driver version.

Once you are armed with as many details about your microphone driver as possible, you should be able to search for an updated version for it on Google. Whatever happens, you must take enough precautions to avoid downloading the wrong driver or a malicious file since either of these items will cause more problems you do not need.

Tip: Besides the outlined methods of getting your microphone driver updated, there is one other path left. Here, we propose you use Auslogics Driver Updater. The recommended app (after you download and run it, of course) can be used to identify the problematic drivers, search and locate replacements for them and install the required updated versions of the drivers.

One last thing to do: After you fix the issues affecting your microphone by installing an updated version of its driver, a restart of your PC is required to round up the process. Only after a reboot of Windows can one be sure that recently installed drivers have begun to work.

Other things you could try to fix microphone issues on Windows 10

If the microphone not working problem persists even after you manage to resolve the driver issues, then you must consider extraneous software operations as your resort. Here are some of them:

  1. Get rid of VoIP programs and other voice-dependent apps like Skype, TeamSpeak, and so on. Restart your PC.
  2. Uninstall any recording programs or update them. Reboot your computer.
  3. Use System Restore (to revert your PC to a state where mic problems were non-existent).
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