Microphone through USB setup question

For months, I have been successfully recording through the microphone as input in the back of my computer.
Today I got a USB adapter that runs the microphone throughout the USB port. Mine is a Windows computer, a COMPAQ.

I went to the Edit, preferences, audio i/o screen and selected USB Audio CODEC as the recording device (it was Microsoft Sound Mapper before). I left the playback device as Microsoft Sound Mapper - output.

When I record, it picks up the sound. But if I leave the USB in, then no sound is heard in my earphones in playback. When I remove the USB, then I can hear the sound during playback.

I searched the forum and saw a thread suggesting that the OS might have chosen some other output device. I don’t know how to figure out if that is the case. Or what to do about it, if that is the case.

I am not very learned about computers and USB and I/O devices.

Has anyone got any suggestions on how to have the USB mike in and be able to hear the playback?


USB audio input devices often “hijack” the complete audio system and set themselves as both input and output (even if they do not have an output.

To fix the problem there are two options: (try the first one first, but if that doesn’t work, try the second)

  1. In Audacity go to “Edit > Preferences > Audio I/O” and look for a playback device in the drop down list that corresponds to your sound card output. Use that rather than “Microsoft Sound Mapper”.


  1. Go into Windows control panel and open “Sounds and Audio Devices”.
    Go to the “Audio” tab and select your soundcard as the default playback device.

Option 1) is preferable as with option 2) you may need to repeat the process every time you connect your USB audio device.

Thanks - #1 worked.
However I find that my input volume through USB is much softer than through the mike jack in the back.
The input volume slide on the mixer toolbar goes back to 0.0 no matter what I try to pull it to.
If I turn up the playback volume to where it is acceptable to hear the voice, there is a lot of hiss.
The input volume slide does modify the volume when I’m going through the mike jack.

Any suggestions?

Thanks again

Have a look in the Windows Control Panel, and see if you can adjust the recording volume from there.
Some USB audio devices (such as the Behringer UCA202) run only at line level (no adjustment possible), and in such cases it would be necessary to run the microphone through a mixing desk or microphone pre-amp before the USB audio device.

I set the Windows input volume all the way up. This didn’t seem to do much. Still way too soft.
I’ll fiddle with it some more, then investigate pre-amps.
Thanks again