Why Your Microphone Is Too Quiet: Bridging the Volume Gap

Last Updated: August 23, 2023By
Black microphone near keyboard

Effective communication remains at the forefront of our interactions, especially in an era where virtual connections dominate our personal and professional lives. Attending virtual meetings, creating content, or simply engaging in casual chats demands good audio quality.

Yet, a recurring challenge for many is a microphone that sounds too quiet, leading to communication barriers or reduced recording clarity.

Hardware Causes and Fixes

When encountering a quiet microphone, one of the first areas to examine is the hardware itself. Even the most sophisticated software can’t compensate for a physical issue with the microphone or its related components.

Here are some of the common hardware causes and their respective solutions.

Microphone Sensitivity

Microphone sensitivity, often measured in dB, reflects how well a microphone can pick up quieter sounds. If the sensitivity is set too low, the microphone might not capture sounds effectively.


  1. Navigate to the sound settings.
  2. Under the recording tab, select the microphone in question and click on properties.
  3. Adjust the levels tab to ensure maximum sensitivity.


  1. Go to System Preferences.
  2. Choose Sound and then select the Input tab.
  3. Adjust the input volume to ensure your microphone captures sound optimally.

Physical Obstructions

Over time, microphones can accumulate dirt, debris, or other obstructions, especially if they’re frequently handled or left uncovered.

Tips to Resolve:

  • Regularly inspect the microphone for any visible obstructions.
  • Gently clean the microphone with a soft brush or compressed air.
  • For microphones with removable parts, consider taking them apart for a thorough clean, but ensure you’re familiar with the assembly process.

Damaged Hardware

A fall, a spill, or even wear and tear can damage your microphone, leading to reduced performance.

Signs of Damage:

  • Distorted audio.
  • Intermittent sound dropouts.
  • No sound capture at all.


  • If under warranty, consider seeking a replacement or repair from the manufacturer.
  • For external microphones, testing on another device can help determine if the microphone is the issue.
  • If confirmed damaged, consider investing in a new microphone.

Correct Microphone Selection

Especially for those who have multiple audio input devices connected, it’s crucial to ensure the right microphone is selected.


  1. Visit the sound settings.
  2. In the recording tab, ensure the intended microphone is set as the default device.


  1. Access System Preferences.
  2. Click on Sound and navigate to the Input tab.
  3. Ensure the desired microphone is selected from the list.

By addressing these hardware-related issues, you’re on the right path to ensuring clear audio input, paving the way for effective communication or high-quality recordings.

Software Causes and Fixes

While hardware is often the first suspect when troubleshooting microphone issues, software settings and configurations play an equally significant role in how well your microphone performs. Understanding and navigating the software landscape can be the key to rectifying a quiet microphone.

Let’s explore some software-related causes and their respective solutions.

Drivers and Software Compatibility

Drivers are essential software components that enable your computer’s operating system to communicate with hardware devices, including microphones.


  • Ensure that you have the latest drivers installed. Outdated or corrupted drivers can affect microphone performance.
  • Navigate to the device manager, locate the audio input section, and check for any updates.


  • Mac automatically manages drivers, but software updates can bring improvements. Regularly check for system updates in the App Store to ensure optimal performance.

System Settings

Adjustments in your computer’s system settings can directly influence microphone performance.


  1. Go to sound settings and navigate to the recording tab.
  2. Select the microphone and adjust the levels to improve its volume.


  1. Open System Preferences and select Sound.
  2. Navigate to the Input tab and adjust the microphone’s input volume slider.

Application-specific Settings

Many applications come with their own audio settings, which can sometimes override system configurations.

Tips to Check and Adjust

  1. Open the application you’re using and access its audio settings.
  2. Ensure the correct microphone is selected and adjust the input volume if available.
  3. Turn off any features that might suppress or reduce the microphone’s volume.

Background Noise Suppression

Some software, especially communication apps, offer noise suppression features to reduce background noises, which might inadvertently lower the microphone volume.


  1. Check if the application in use has a noise suppression or noise-cancellation feature.
  2. If available and turned on, consider adjusting the intensity or disabling it altogether.

By addressing software-related challenges, users can significantly enhance their microphone’s functionality, ensuring that their voice is not just heard, but heard clearly.

External Factors

Beyond the realms of hardware and software, external factors can have a profound impact on microphone performance. From the environment in which the microphone is used to the position of the microphone itself, these external elements deserve attention.

Let’s explore some of these external influences and how they can be managed.

Environmental Noise

The surroundings in which the microphone operates can directly impact its effectiveness. Loud environments can drown out the speaker’s voice or introduce unwanted noise.


  • Choose a quieter setting for recording or communication to minimize background noise.
  • Use noise barriers, such as acoustic panels or even soft furnishings, to dampen ambient sounds.
  • Consider the use of directional microphones, which focus on sound coming from a specific direction, filtering out unwanted noises.

Positioning and Proximity

How and where the microphone is positioned in relation to the sound source can drastically change the input volume and clarity.

Key Considerations

  • Ensure the microphone is oriented towards the sound source.
  • For optimal sound capture, maintain an appropriate distance. Being too close can cause distortion, while being too far can lead to lower volume.
  • Adjust the angle of the microphone, if necessary, to capture the best sound quality.

External Interferences

Electromagnetic interference from other devices, as well as physical interferences like wind, can adversely affect microphone performance.

Strategies to Counteract

  • Maintain distance from devices that might emit electromagnetic interference, such as routers or large electronics.
  • Use windshields or pop filters, especially when recording outdoors, to guard against wind noise or sudden air bursts.

By being mindful of these external factors and implementing the mentioned strategies, you can ensure a consistently high-quality audio input, regardless of the external conditions or challenges.


Ensuring that your microphone operates at its best requires a combination of addressing hardware issues, tweaking software settings, and being mindful of external influences. With the insights and solutions provided, you’re better equipped to identify and resolve common microphone volume issues.

Clear audio is essential for effective communication, and by taking proactive steps, you can guarantee that your voice is always heard loud and clear.