When I try to record with my HP laptop’s built-in mic using Audacity 2.3.3, the mic level is low and I get a hum along with some low level noise - kind of like radio static. Windows Voice Recorder usually doesn’t work at all but when I can manage to get it working, it does the same thing.
The noise is not acoustic (not being picked up by the mic). Moving the laptop to a different room, running it on battery versus AC power etc., all has no effect on the noise intensity. The noise does increase/decrease along with microphone level settings.
I’ve had Windows 10 on this machine for a long time - I’m running 64 bit, version 1909 - and the microphone input has always worked fine up until a couple of weeks ago. The PC has no other issues.
What I have attempted so far:
Tried an external analog microphone - no difference.
Ran Windows Recording Audio Troubleshooter; it found nothing.
Used System Restore to go back to a restore point before the noise appeared - no change.
Removed and re-installed the latest Windows driver for the sound card (there isn’t a manufacturer’s version).
Removed and re-installed the latest Windows driver for the internal mic ( " ").
Turned off Audio Enhancements/Sound Effects in Windows.
Ran Windows Update.
Ran Windows sfc /scannow. It found corrupt files & successfully repaired them but there was no change.
Did you try a clean Windows start? Shift+Shutdown > Wait > Start and make sure nothing else starts.
Maybe you’re trying to simplify a problem that isn’t simple. Do you use Skype, Zoom, Google Hangouts or any of the other chat or conferencing apps? They all try to use your microphone and can change the settings “in the background” without telling you. Game sharing or experience running? Same problem.
This is in addition to Windows’ regular microphone processing.
It’s a wonder your voice ever gets through any of this.
What were you doing when you first noticed the low volume and noise?
the microphone input has always worked fine up until a couple of weeks ago.
That may be the common thread. When you connect a 1/8" plug to use an external microphone, it has to switch out the built-in microphone. Older laptops use actual physical switching contacts behind the socket. Your symptoms are what might happen if one or more of the tiny wires broke.
If your laptop can remember where it was when Kennedy got shot, maybe its time has come.
You can switch to a USB device. I’ve had good luck with the StarTech devices. That white thing on my Mac is one example.
· I did try a clean Windows start, but that had no effect.
· I don’t use any of those apps you mentioned and none are installed.
· There was no obvious cause and effect that made this happen. After using Audacity to successfully record a podcast, the machine was shutdown. When it was started up again, the mic issues appeared.
· Although there could be internal damage to the socket, that seems unlikely. The machine has been treated with care and I have always relied on the internal mic; the external mic jack has seen almost no use. Also, if I plug a cable into the jack with nothing connected to it, I get no noise or hum, even with the mic levels all the way up.
· My PC isn’t THAT old - it was purchased new in 2016 (BTW, I find your comment about Kennedy to be in poor taste).
That muffled thump you hear is me throwing in the towel. You know a Venn Diagram with a bunch of circles and the solution to a problem is where all the circles overlap? Your circles never overlap.
I can put up an OK theory that the 5 volt battery system inside the computer is dying. I was good with that until you plugged in a plain sound cable and the noise vanished. There’s a little voice telling me I need to pay more attention to that, but the way is misty.
We always go into these things with the assumption that your computer isn’t broken, but yours might be.
You have a massive “hum” tone in the sound, but it’s not standard electrical power hum for either US or Europe. It’s 90Hz which could be the internal workings of the computer falling into the dirt. Did you try both internal battery and plugged into the wall?
I can be even more Suzy Sunshine. You may have more than one problem.