Microphone too quiet on new computer

Hi, currently I am using the Lexicon Alpha Recording studio (basically just an audio interface) and a fairly cheap dynamic mic. The lexicon has a mic input and has an inbuilt preamp so the mic just plugs directly into it.

When using this setup with my old laptop which runs Vista (the lexicon unit connects via USB) and an older version of audacity (I can check if this is important) the recording levels were fine from the mic. In fact, I could even use the mic to record guitar and vocals a bit like you would a condenser mic (a few feet away as opposed to singing into it), I had to use the amplify effect but the noise levels were low enough after amplification to provide a decent quality recording.

My new samsung laptop runs windows 7 and I have audacity 2.0.2 installed. When I try to use the same setup with this laptop the recordings from the mic are far too quiet even when sung directly into it with maximum settings on the interface. It is picking up the sound, the recording becomes audible if a really high amplification is used but the noise level becomes way too high. I’ve got the windows 7 drivers for the interface which I hoped might fix it but it didn’t.

This is only a problem with the mic input. There are various other instrument inputs and line inputs on the interface which work fine.

I’m guessing this is not a very widespread problems so I’m not too hopeful but if anyone could shine some light on the issue it’d be much appreciated. Thanks in advance.

Someone will correct me, but on Macs, once you create the digital bitstream, the volume is fixed and that’s the way it is. Not so in Windows. I believe you can change the volume of the performance in the Windows Control Panels before Audacity ever gets to chew on it. Did you look there?

There’s no burned-in advantage of condenser microphones over dynamic or moving coil. You can start a religious war over the advantages of a low mass diaphragm, etc. etc. etc, but one is not automatically louder than the other. A good Dynamic microphone…


… will mop the floor with a crappy USB Condenser microphone. Condensers have odd problems as well. They have to be powered – required – and you can overload one and destroy it by accident. Dynamic mics can be used as personal defense devices in dark alleys and will record rock bands directly.


You said the new PC was Windows 7. Have you checked if any of the Windows Sound Enhancment features are enabled? Start > Control Panel > Sound then explore all the tabs and devices and their settings. Also check for any enhancement settings on your soundcard through its software.