Windows 10 Will BARELY Pick Up Audio Through Microphones


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This is a serious issue, as I can not communicate with anybody using my desktop computer. I am not a tech-y person, I do not know my way around these things. My issue is: the Windows 10 software will only pick up very small parts of the audio going through a microphone, and I must be extremely loud to even get that minuscule amount through. I've tried the following things:
  • Getting a new computer: this started on my old computer, so I purchased a new PC (it is a Dell) and the problem persisted into the new computer. It's not a hardware issue.
  • New microphones: I've tried multiple microphones, including headsets that directly plug into the front jack. None of them will work, they all do the same thing where little audio is being picked up. Not an issue with the microphones...
  • Changing levels: It is not muted, nor is the boost to low. i've tried all these things and it just makes me quiet, with more static. The mic level is all the way up.
Anybody willing to help?
 
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If you have a wired headset which has a microphone, make sure and select Headset in the Waves popup user interface.

Headset.JPG
 
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A few months ago, the Waves utility was changed so Headphones were no longer allowing a microphone. You have to pick headset to get the microphone to work. The size should not be related to the microphone but to the quality of the headset.

You may need to open the Windows UI and see if the microphone is showing and what level it is set to.

You can also use the Voice Recorder to test your microphone or the Voice section of the Waves UI.

You are using a plug with the three rings and four sections? Tip, ring, ring and sleeve (TRRS)?

One thing I have started doing when checking a microphone is to tap or run my finger along the area where the built-in microphone is located, just to confirm which microphone is actually picking up the sound. The system will favor the built-in version, probably for consistency with Cortana.
 
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A few months ago, the Waves utility was changed so Headphones were no longer allowing a microphone. You have to pick headset to get the microphone to work. The size should not be related to the microphone but to the quality of the headset.

You may need to open the Windows UI and see if the microphone is showing and what level it is set to.

You can also use the Voice Recorder to test your microphone or the Voice section of the Waves UI.

You are using a plug with the three rings and four sections? Tip, ring, ring and sleeve (TRRS)?

One thing I have started doing when checking a microphone is to tap or run my finger along the area where the built-in microphone is located, just to confirm which microphone is actually picking up the sound. The system will favor the built-in version, probably for consistency with Cortana.
Yes, all the plugs are correct. I have opened the Windows UI, as far down to the "device manager" with the microphone, and the "Microphone Level" is set to 100. It may be worth noting that my "Waves UI" looks like this:
h ttps://ibb.co/jqFKH7
 
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Your attachments don't show. You can attach pictures directly in the forum or fix the link you have listed.
 
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Your attachments don't show. You can attach pictures directly in the forum or fix the link you have listed.
Sorry! I have found the Waves UI shown in your picture, and it shows clearly that the "headset" preset is selected, however when I go to the "voice" tab it still shows extremely low input (it only goes over the line when I cough obnoxiously), and yes, the mic volume is set to the max.
 
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Well, just a few more things,

Make sure the plug is fully inserted.

If you have the Windows sound UI open to the Playback devices, the microphone will not work.

Did you tap next to the built-in speaker to see if it was still active?

Does the Windows sound UI Playback show Speakers/headphones or just Speakers?

You have tried other headsets?

When checking the Wave UI, do you show a volume level as illustrated below?

Sound_Waves.JPG
 
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Well, just a few more things,

Make sure the plug is fully inserted.

If you have the Windows sound UI open to the Playback devices, the microphone will not work.

Did you tap next to the built-in speaker to see if it was still active?

Does the Windows sound UI Playback show Speakers/headphones or just Speakers?

You have tried other headsets?

When checking the Wave UI, do you show a volume level as illustrated below?

View attachment 8330
  • Plug is fully inserted.
  • In the playback devices I see the speakers, in the recording I see the mic for the headset. It shows a tiny little sliver of a green volume bar when I'm obnoxiously screaming or coughing.
  • I use external speakers but the built-in ones are active.
  • UI shows speakers/headphones.
  • I've tried numerous other headsets, ones with mics with dials, without dials, I've even tried those single-earbud mics. ALL of them have this issue.
  • When I check the wave UI it shows the volume, but I'm also hearing static through my headphones. The voice still doesn't hit the line, except when I'm screaming or coughing.
 
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The one question you did not answer and I asked it for a reason was, did you tap next to the built in microphone to see if it was still active. The way you describe the sound you are getting would seem to fit that scenario.

The Waves UI should be available in the hidden icons on the Taskbar or from the Apps list on the Start Menu. If you are getting the popup, you should have the utility installed.

When I see a volume level on the Waves utility, as depicted, I see no green bars in the Win UI version. To be safe, do not open the Windows Sound UI so you will be sure it is not interfering.
 
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If nothing else then I suggest reinstalling the driver, which I am sure you have already done. But I do it a little differently,

First, download the Realtek driver from the Dell site you want to install. Then go offline and use the Device Manager to uninstall the sound device and its drivers by checking the box. Then allow the system to search for PnP devices and if it comes back with another Realtek version, uninstall again. Repeat this procedure until you have a basic HD driver. Then reboot and install the driver you downloaded. All while still offline.

Once the driver is installed, then you can go back online. This is the best I can do for you since it seems the driver should be working normally already.....
 
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If nothing else then I suggest reinstalling the driver, which I am sure you have already done. But I do it a little differently,

First, download the Realtek driver from the Dell site you want to install. Then go offline and use the Device Manager to uninstall the sound device and its drivers by checking the box. Then allow the system to search for PnP devices and if it comes back with another Realtek version, uninstall again. Repeat this procedure until you have a basic HD driver. Then reboot and install the driver you downloaded. All while still offline.

Once the driver is installed, then you can go back online. This is the best I can do for you since it seems the driver should be working normally already.....
Built in mic working just fine, in fact, the tapping is some of the only sound that gets picked up. I've tried multiple drivers now, all of them have not worked and have the same issue while some of them do not recognize any headset microphones at all. The issue just seems to make no sense, it transcends computers AND different microphones. It must be some sort of setting I'm missing. Are you sure there are no other settings that might be interfering with the mic? My computer is a Dell Inspiron 5675, if it matters.
 
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In the playback devices I see the speakers, in the recording I see the mic for the headset. It shows a tiny little sliver of a green volume bar when I'm obnoxiously screaming or coughing.
In this scenario, you can not tell the difference if the Mic. you are seeing listed is the Built-in one or the one on the headset. The tapping was meant to help you decide what was actually picking up the sound causing the level meter to move slightly.

You can go through all the settings related to the Mic, if it is default and does Waves show it as my attachment shows. You will not hear the mike under certain circumstances, so close all the Windows User Interfaces and just use Waves. I am using an Apple headset. The microphone is in the volume control on the wire. If I whisper into it, I can see the lever meter change.

I can't think of anything else to recommend. You might try to see if an older audio driver is available and go back to it, but these things are supposed to work. If you have checked all the settings and the Waves UI is the same as mine, it should work.

If you have a third party app or the mic is controlled by a specific application, it may not work. Windows seems to hide little bits of user adjustments all over the place.
 
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I also have a DELL Inspiron. (6700 I think) with Logitech Speakers+Sub-Woofer. I tried Headphones with a separate Mic in the front Jacks, and with the on-board (Realtek HDA) I got a lot of static. I switched them to the rear Jacks but the Vol was low - and seemingly no way to boost it. I never really needed them, but when I got a Skype connection, I picked up a combo-Headset (Microsoft Lifechat LX-3000) connected by USB. They are Plug & Play, as Drivers were already installed, and switchable (with System Realtek) via the Speaker Icon in the Taskbar. Marvelous !! Loud, clear & comfortable. The nice thing about the LX-3000 is that you cannot hear yourself through the Headphones, which is a distraction using the external Speakers with a Mic.
 
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Oh... BTW... look though I may, I see no such thing as MaxxAudio on this Dell, so I can't relate to the screen shots previously posted. I've checked the Realtek gizmo on my Dell's Soundcard (I suppose) and it has no such interface available.
 
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I picked up a combo-Headset (Microsoft Lifechat LX-3000) connected by USB.
Personally, I like to use Bluetooth so I am not tethered to the system but both USB and Bluetooth go around the systems audio device.

The Waves utility is used mostly with newer systems having a combined audio port. It installs when the Realtek driver is installed. Older systems may have it as part of a Dell Audio User Interface.
 
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You're probably right about older Systems - my Dell is 9-11 years old I think. My Son hates wires too, but where he lives he gets dreadful WiFi connectivity and his Bluetooth receive / transmit functionality is atrocious.
He begrudgingly pulls out his USB set if he wants to talk to me on Skype as otherwise he's barely audible.
 
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As an afterthought... I wonder if the Dell unit itself is to blame. My Front Audio Jacks,as I said, are lousy, the multi-Card Reader is absolutely non-functional and Dell have been unable to help at all. Nice Computer, but dreadful Service I'm sad to say.
 

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