Microphone issues are sadly far too common and it can take a fair while before you have perfectly optimized your microphone so that it hears only what you want it to hear. Learning how to lower mic sensitivity can be frustrating, but don’t give up!
Microphones can be altered when it comes to their sensitivity and gain which allows you to control what they hear. This is particularly helpful when playing games while talking to friends as you may not want them to be able to hear your keyboard and mouse clicking all the time while you are playing.
The same can be said for business calls, it would perhaps distract people if they could hear you typing while they are trying to talk.
In the simplest terms possible, Mic sensitivity is how sensitive your microphone is. While this may seem like an obvious explanation, it can get quite complicated if you are not fully aware of what it is. So while it is the sensitivity of your mic, you need to know what that actually is.
The sensitivity of a microphone dictates how easily it is activated and starts picking up your voice or any other noise. The more highly sensitive it is will make it so that quieter noises will trigger it. On the other hand, the lower your mic’s sensitivity is will mean that you will have to talk louder for it to broadcast your voice.
The ability to change your microphone’s sensitivity is very helpful for people who either have loud background noise and want to reduce it or for those who talk quietly and want their mic to still hear them. Other options to get around these issues are available, such as adjusting the gain but are not as helpful and straightforward. If you need to change anything about your microphone, chances are that the sensitivity will be the first and most helpful thing to change.
Hopefully, you know your issue so that you can identify if you need to raise or lower your sensitivity, but if not here are some reasons that may help you understand what you need to do.
If you are a quiet speaker most of the time or have to speak quieter than usual on rare occasions then you will have to adjust microphone sensitivity from time to time. Thankfully it is an easy process so having to do it often will not be too much of a hassle.
Another reason you may have to raise your microphone sensitivity is if your microphone itself is placed farther away than it is meant to be. This is for people who maybe do not have the desk space to have their microphone positioned in front of them directly. However, it is best to try and make sure your microphone is placed properly otherwise you will most likely hear unwanted background noise such as the typing of a keyboard.
Lowering your mic sensitivity is a great quick fix if you want to minimize background noise coming from a fan or a keyboard.
I say quick fix because lowering your sensitivity, for this reason, could lead to you having to speak louder than normal for your voice to be the same volume as it used to be. The best way to fix this, without worrying about a high and low volume, would be to stop the background noise entirely if possible.
Another reason as to why you would reduce mic sensitivity is if you talk very loudly or make louder sounds, as this can cause your mic to peak. Peaking is when the audio cuts out due to the input being too loud. Lowering your sensitivity would help with this as the noises and your loud voice would be reduced to a more manageable volume.
If the issue is that your mouse and keyboard make too much noise, you could always opt for a non-mechanical keyboard and a quiet gaming mouse if you have the money to spare.
Changing your microphone sensitivity is quite easy and generally stress-free, especially on windows 10. It can also be done on Mac with relatively the same steps however it varies so we shall discuss that as well.
If you are up to date and using Windows 10 then you should have no issues following this at all. However, if you are using an older version of Windows then some settings may be located in different areas but should remain mostly the same.
The end goal of the whole process is to have the tab titled “<your microphone’s name> properties” up on your screen, as this tab is where we make our changes.
There are multiple ways to go about getting this screen up and none of them are too complicated.
When you are finally at the correct menu by following the above steps, you will see two sliders.
The top slider is for output microphone volume and while it is not directly linked to sensitivity, having it turned all the way up can help out if people cannot hear you. It is a simple slider that works like your volume bar but instead of relating to what you hear, it is showing how loud your microphone volume is to others.
The other slider, below the first one, is called the ‘microphone boost’ slider and increases in decibels (dBs). This is more helpful to your mic’s sensitivity as increasing it will immediately make a difference. If you turn the microphone boost far too high then you will be able to hear too much background noise including yourself breathing, which is not ideal.
The Mac OS shines in some places that windows do not however some places, such as the mic sensitivity options, can feel underdeveloped and primitive due to their lack of options.
Discord is the most popular platform used for video game enthusiasts as it can easily work in the background while you play games with your friends. The main feature is being able to voice chat while playing.
With discord’s popularity increasing (especially after the COVID pandemic) being able to ensure your microphone is performing properly on it is important.
If you navigate to the settings by clicking the gear icon, you will be greeted by a fair few categories. The one titled ‘voice and video’ is where you will find all the relevant settings that you can alter to your preference.
Here you can select your input device and change your microphone sensitivity and also adjust your volume control. You can also find experimental features such as ‘noise suppression’ that act like noise cancellation features, as it mutes everything except your voice, completely negating all background noise.
On Windows 10 in the system setting, you will need to navigate to sound settings and find the category labeled ‘Input’. Under here you can find your mic and select ‘properties’ to change the sensitivity.
You can change the sensitivity of your headset mic under ‘sound settings’ on windows 10. This can also be done in the ‘voice and video’ settings on Discord if you are using that.
To check the sensitivity of your microphone is the same as changing it, so you will need to navigate to the sound settings and find your input device. Once found, you can select properties and change its sensitivity.