From Laptop's Mic

Linuxmint 20.1 Cinnamon - Audacity 2.3.3 - Installed from Mint Release.
How do I record from my laptops builtin Mics?

  1. Leave Audacity at it’s default settings.
  2. Click the “Pause” button.
  3. Click the “Record” button.
  4. Open the system Audio Mixer (PulseAudio Volume Control)
  5. Select the “Recording” tab.
  6. Select “Built in Analog Stereo” as the “Capture” source.

My internal microphone is crappy, the external (3.5mm) one I have is ancient and crappy, and I need a solution.

Doesn’t need to be super fancy, but does need to:


Have decent/tolerable/good sound quality

Cost less than $20-25

Be either USB or 3.5mm

My internal microphone is crappy

Why? Do the computer fans make noise? Bad room? I think we should try and get your existing stuff working first. $20 USD is just going to buy you more crap.

Burn a sound test with the built-in microphone. Don’t filter it or apply effects. Just record, export, and post it on the forum according to these instructions.

What’s the show or production? Why are we doing this?


Adding to what Koz wrote, you may also want to read this:

As per my post above about proximity effect, you could try and speak closer or further away from your mic to get you some
control over the frequency response.

Of course, getting too close, may overload your preamp stage, plus, cheaper mics normally have a peak at the mid-range
and higher frequencies.
This can lead to a very tinny sound and/or sibilance.

Below, the response of several mics at different distances.
“A” gives the graphs versus distance, “B” and “C” are at approx. 10cm.
Those 3 are all good mics.

Mic “D” is an “el-cheapo”, note the responses at 1cm and 50cm.
Mic “E” is another “el-cheapo” type, and no information as to distance is even shown.
In all cases for mics “D” and “E”, the figures should be taken with a pinch of salt, the real world figures are bound to be much worse.

Over and above, all condenser type cheap mics for computers, have built in FET pre-amps which tend to distort (clip)
when you speak too closely or too loudly.
This then limits you as regards taking advantage of the proximity effect.

Another possible approach is to add (or attenuate) the problem frequencies after recording to help you shape your mic’s response.
Audacity has quite a few filters that would help.

As another option, I have attached a simpler 3 way filter that may help you.
It has 3 bands with a fixed bandwidth.
I have named them low, mid and high bands and each gives you a +/- 15dB range.
Don’t forget to leave some headroom if you are boosting a lot, else you will get clipping when you export.
Screen Shot 2021-06-01 at 1.32.59 AM.png
In the screenshot above, I’m boosting the bass frequencies by 4.7dB, attenuating the mid-range by 3.3dB and
increasing the high end by 3.4dB.
Adjust to try and compensate for you mic’s short comings.

The code:

;nyquist plug-in
;version 4
;type process
;name "Three Band Filter"
;action "Filtering..."
;info "by Paul2.\nReleased under GPL v2.\n"
;; 3 Band filter with fixed octaves BW.
;; Released under terms of the GNU General Public License version 2:

;control lo-band-gain "Low Band Gain [dB]" float "" 0 -15 15
;control mid-band-gain "Mid band Gain [dB]" float "" 0 -15 15
;control hi-band-gain "High Band Gain [dB]" float "" 0 -15 15

(eq-band (eq-band (eq-band *track* 150 lo-band-gain 3) 1000 mid-band-gain 3) 4000 hi-band-gain 3)

Of course, some filtering alone is not going to turn a bad mic into a great mic, but it may help just a bit.

Here is the plugin.
ThreeBandsFilter.ny (529 Bytes)

In the screenshot above, I’m boosting the bass frequencies by 4.7dB

I’m betting on recording-in-the-kitchen echoes and cooling fan noises.

I’m on the edge of my seat.


I’m on the edge of my seat.


Yep, if it’s a “bad” room, no filter is going to help.
The low end boost will help a bit with a tinny sounding mic, but if there are other noises in that frequency range,
they gonna be amplified too.