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Windows 7: Microphone way too quiet. Tried two different mics and sound cards.

18 Sep 2011   #1
roper512

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 w/ SP1
 
 
Microphone way too quiet. Tried two different mics and sound cards.

Audio samples at various gains/input levels

My microphone is picking up sound WAY too quiet (even with it at max input level). I can boost up the gain to max (20% for Soundcard, 30% for on-board) and the voice quality it picks up is good, however with the amount of gain used there's hissy noise in the background (to be expected with that much gain).

I have done a lot of searching on google and found many people with the same problem with Windows 7. Some people have had no issues on previous OS's (XP or Vista) and when upgrading to 7 have instantly had mic volume issues.

To troubleshoot this on my own before posting here I have not only tried my headset in my soundcard, but also in the on-board (realtek) inputs. I have also tried a second standalone microphone and had the same exact results. Extremely quiet with no gain. I used the latest drivers for both soundcard and on-board, although I did not have them running at the same time to avoid conflicts. Also, I wanted to try my headset in another machine not using Windows 7 but unfortunately don't have access to one at home or at work.

The only way to get myself audible is to also have hissy noise from cranking up the gain. I find this unacceptable with a good quality headset/mic as I've heard crisp/clear/noiseless dialog on youtube/streaming videos with much lower quality mics.

My guess is there's some conflict going on with my hardware combination and windows 7 that is difficult to pinpoint.. I also reformat fairly often (a couple times a year) and have the same exact problem every time with the most up-to-date drivers.

Something tells me if I built a brand new system with new motherboard, sound card, etc. the problem would rectify itself. I'm going to build a new machine in the next few months anyways, but for now want to be able to do live streaming with noise-free voice. Hopefully someone has some insight here.

OS
Windows 7 64-bit Ultimate (SP1 and all updates installed)

Headset
Sennheiser PC360 G4ME

Soundcard(s)
Creative Labs X-Fi XtremeGamer
Realtek on-board sound

Motherboard
EVGA X58 SLi motherboard


My System SpecsSystem Spec
.
18 Sep 2011   #2
seavixen32

Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64-Bit
 
 

Are you using both the onboard sound and dedicated sound?

Unless I'm mistaken, you need to disable onboard sound in the BIOS if you want to use the Creative sound card as the default sound settings.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Sep 2011   #3
roper512

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 w/ SP1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by seavixen32 View Post
Are you using both the onboard sound and dedicated sound?

Unless I'm mistaken, you need to disable onboard sound in the BIOS if you want to use the Creative sound card as the default sound settings.
I specified in my original post that I did not have both enabled simultaneously to avoid conflicts.

When I was running through my sound card (which is how I have been always doing it) I had the on-board audio disabled in the BIOS.

EDIT: Added link to my soundcloud with mic tests at various gains/input levels at top of original post.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

18 Sep 2011   #4
seavixen32

Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64-Bit
 
 

Have you considered using an external microphone amplifier? It could be that the impedance of your microphone is too low to use with your sound card, so you may need to use your sound card in conjunction with a USB microphone amplifer whose impedance matches that of your microphone.

Microphone connected to a computer sound card
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Sep 2011   #5
roper512

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 w/ SP1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by seavixen32 View Post
Have you considered using an external microphone amplifier? It could be that the impedance of your microphone is too low to use with your sound card, so you may need to use your sound card in conjunction with a USB microphone amplifer whose impedance matches that of your microphone.

Microphone connected to a computer sound card
Hm, interesting.

It just seems like other people get away with setups not really thought out and have good recording volume without noise.

Seavixen - did you listen to my audio samples I linked in my original post? In particular, listen to the ones at 20/30 dB gain.. My fiancee says she can't tell there's hiss with her speakers but I can definitely tell with my headphones. Maybe I'm just being too picky?

I could swear I don't hear this kind of white noise on other peoples podcasts/streams/etc, some of which are using crappy mics.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Sep 2011   #6
tman69

win7 ultimate 32bit
 
 

info here for proper setup of your sound card:

Creative Worldwide Support
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Sep 2011   #7
seavixen32

Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64-Bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by roper512 View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by seavixen32 View Post
Have you considered using an external microphone amplifier? It could be that the impedance of your microphone is too low to use with your sound card, so you may need to use your sound card in conjunction with a USB microphone amplifer whose impedance matches that of your microphone.

Microphone connected to a computer sound card
Hm, interesting.

It just seems like other people get away with setups not really thought out and have good recording volume without noise.

Seavixen - did you listen to my audio samples I linked in my original post? In particular, listen to the ones at 20/30 dB gain.. My fiancee says she can't tell there's hiss with her speakers but I can definitely tell with my headphones. Maybe I'm just being too picky?

I could swear I don't hear this kind of white noise on other peoples podcasts/streams/etc, some of which are using crappy mics.
I couldn't detect any noise through my computer speakers, but I did detect very faint white noise through my headphones at the gain settings you mention.

Would I have noticed it if you hadn't mentioned it? I doubt it.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Sep 2011   #8
roper512

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 w/ SP1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by seavixen32 View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by roper512 View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by seavixen32 View Post
Have you considered using an external microphone amplifier? It could be that the impedance of your microphone is too low to use with your sound card, so you may need to use your sound card in conjunction with a USB microphone amplifer whose impedance matches that of your microphone.

Microphone connected to a computer sound card
Hm, interesting.

It just seems like other people get away with setups not really thought out and have good recording volume without noise.

Seavixen - did you listen to my audio samples I linked in my original post? In particular, listen to the ones at 20/30 dB gain.. My fiancee says she can't tell there's hiss with her speakers but I can definitely tell with my headphones. Maybe I'm just being too picky?

I could swear I don't hear this kind of white noise on other peoples podcasts/streams/etc, some of which are using crappy mics.
I couldn't detect any noise through my computer speakers, but I did detect very faint white noise through my headphones at the gain settings you mention.

Would I have noticed it if you hadn't mentioned it? I doubt it.
Really appreciate the feedback Maybe I'm just being too picky afterall...
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Sep 2011   #9
seavixen32

Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64-Bit
 
 

You're very welcome.

Too picky? Perhaps, but I am reminded of an old friend who many years ago paid a lot of money for a then state-of-the-art Bang & Olufsen hi-fi system.

When he got it all set up, he couldn't discern any improvement at all and after lengthy investigations discovered he was tone-deaf and no matter how good his system was he could never enjoy the improved sound.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Sep 2011   #10
MichaelWR

Windows 7 Business 64 bit
 
 
Same issue here

Hi all... I have a similar issue with my system, (Win 7 business, Asus on board RealTek HD audio). I did not post samples of my audio, but same complaint. I must go 100% mic gain, and +30 boost to achieve usable audio, but then I get a LOT of hiss, a whole lot more then the previous poster. I've been at this nearly a week and after several microphones, and every combination of settings, still no joy. I have not tried 'Line in', only microphone. Maybe that is next. ~Michael
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Microphone way too quiet. Tried two different mics and sound cards.




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