How to test your microphone on a Windows 10 computer, and make sure your PC is using the right input

Hollis Johnson/Business InsiderIt’s easy to test your microphone in Windows 10.


You’re in a Skype call, and you get told you can’t be heard – or if you are coming through, it sounds like you’re using a tin can on a string. It’s something that happens to even professional streamers.

It could be that you’ve got a good quality headset plugged in, but for some reason your Windows laptop’s trying to record using its awful built-in microphone. Or it could be something a bit trickier to deal with.

Here’s how you figure it out.

Check out the products mentioned in this article:

Windows 10 (From $US139.99 at Best Buy)

Microsoft Surface Pro X (From $US999 at Best Buy)

How to test your microphone in Windows 10

1. At the bottom-right of the screen, in your taskbar, find the tiny icon that looks like a speaker. You might need to click on the icon that looks like an up arrow, which will show you icons that have been hidden from your taskbar.

Ross James/Business InsiderPress the up arrow at the bottom of the screen to show hidden icons.

2. Right-click the speaker icon and select “Open Sound Settings.”

Ross James/Business InsiderRight-click the speaker icon to get your audio options.

3. Scroll down to “Input.” Windows will show you which microphone is currently your default – in other words, which one it’s using right now – and a blue bar showing your volume levels. Try talking into your microphone. If the blue bar jumps around as you raise and lower your voice, that means it’s working correctly.

Ross James/Business InsiderMy laptop is currently using the correct microphone, and the microphone is working.

4. If your computer is using the wrong microphone, you can change it by clicking on the drop-down menu and selecting a new option – make sure the right microphone is plugged in correctly, or it won’t appear.

Ross James/Business InsiderSelect the microphone from the list to set it as your active preference.

However, this method will only let you know if Windows is detecting your microphone – it won’t tell you how you actually sound.

If you want to know exactly how your microphone sounds, Audacity is a free audio recording program that will allow you to hear yourself. All you need to do is download it, select your microphone in the menu at the top of the program, and hit record.

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