Microphone/Recording Issue

Well this is my first post here and I’m hoping I can get some help. I am having an issue with getting quality out of my microphone for recording. I am operating on Windows Vista Premium and just updated to the latest version of Audacity. Basically, Audacity is recognizing the microphones that I have tried using because I can hear them coming through my head phones, but recording is quite an issue. No matter which microphone I use (either my UBS mic which is honestly just the Rock Band Logitech mic, or my Audio-Technica ATR-3350 Lavalier Omnidirectional Condenser Microphone you basically have to yell into either one in order for Audacity to actually record anything. I have tried playing with the levels and different settings. I have disable to internal microphone on my computer and still can’t get anything to work. I need to do some at home voice over work to create sports highlight audio tracks and not being able to record cleanly is hindering that. Any help would be great. Thank you!

Both microphones have to go through Windows Sound Services before Audacity gets there. I assume you’re plugging your lavalier into the pink Mic-In of your soundcard?

Win7 has a bouncing sound meter in the Control Panels. Did Vista have that? It’s insanely handy in diagnosing sound problems.

Windows has Special Effects like Cathedral Sound, etc. as well as Enhanced Services to help you with Skype or other conferencing. You probably need to find all those and turn them off to get a straight recording at the right level.


Then launch Audacity and make sure the volume is turned up in the mixer tool bar.

You might also make darn sure you’re recording the right thing. Never blow into a microphone, but you can scratch and tap one with your fingernail. The scratching sound should be far louder than your voice or musical instrument. If it’s not, then you’re very probably not recording that microphone. This can help solve the “recording the laptop microphone by accident” problem.

You should do this test to find your laptop microphone if you don’t already know where it is. Mine is just to the left of the left-hand shift key. The computer before this one was up in the lid.

It’s also possible on Windows machines to get the sound pathways all balled up with Stereo-Mix. If you like to record YouTube sound, the settings for that are different than the ones for recording a live microphone. You should make sure you’re recording exactly the microphone or service, actual hardware, and not a software pathway.


Oh, one more. It’s possible you may need the “20dB Boost” setting to get your lavalier loud enough. That’s buried in the Sound control panels — if you have a boost. Some soundcards don’t have one and you may not be able to use that microphone with that computer.

The USB microphone has all that built in, but the sound is still affected by other control panel settings.


Thanks for the tips, I will definitely try this out. I should have been a bit more specific though. I know the mics are working because I can hear myself in my headphones when I have the mic on. The problem is that when I hit the record button in Audacity, even though I know the mic is picking up my voice and other noise, no wave forms show up at all unless the mic is basically in my mouth and then the waveform completely fills the audio track because its so loud. How can it only pick it to record when its that close/loud and come in so hot, but not record anything when I can clearly hear the noise in the microphone anyway?