A microphone doesn’t always work out of the box on Windows 10. Drivers play a significant role in getting a mic to work but even when the device is detected, and shows up in Device Manager, it may not work or there may be noise in the recording. Sometimes, an app may not be able to pick it up. There can be all sorts of reasons a mic isn’t working or working well on Windows 10. Before you can fix the problem, you need to find what it is and it’s a good idea to test the microphone first.
Test a microphone on Windows 10
1. Check for sound input by OS
To check if your mic is actually picking up any sound, check it in the Control Panel.
- Open the Control Panel.
- Go to Hardware and Sound>Sound.
- Go to the Recording tab.
- Select the Mic and you will see a pulse bar next to it. Speak into your mic and see if the bar shows activity. If it does, the mic is detecting sound input. If it doesn’t show activity, it means the mic has not been set up properly.
Test sound input in app
Check if the app that you’re trying to use the mic in is able to detect input from the mic.
- Open the app and go to its settings.
- Select the audio settings, and you will see an activity bar under the mic dropdown.
- Speak into the mic, and see if the activity bar shows any input detected.
- If your app doesn’t show mic activity, use Audacity and click inside the mic level where it says ‘Click to start monitoring’.
- Speak into the mic and check for sound detection. If the app is unable to detect sound, it may not have permission to use the mic. You can enable permission from the Settings app.
A microphone test isn’t complicated to perform. If your microphone is being detected by the OS and not by an app, you should try testing it in more than one app. If there’s a particular app that isn’t able to detect the microphone, you should check the Settings app under Privacy>Microphone to make sure the app has access to the device. It’s also a good idea to run the troubleshooter. You need to run Recording Audio troubleshooter from the Settings app (Update & Security>Troubleshoot). You should also check out our guide on how to set up a microphone with a headset.