I am trying to record something for a PowerPoint presentation with audacity. My microphone is a cheap one from Wal-Mart. Audacity won’t pick up my voice unless I am very close to the microphone, but when I get that close to the microphone the air coming out of my mouth is picked up also and makes for a very poor recording. Do I need a better microphone or do I need to make changes within audacity?
Try turning the input level up in the Audacity Mixer Toolbar. Go to the sound card control panel or the system mixer (Sound or similar in the Windows Control Panel) and look under “Advanced” or similar for a “Boost” or “AGC” control to boost the level.
You can get pop filters to limit plosives - also try recording fairly close to but slightly above/below the centre of the mic.
And pantyhose over a hanger bent in a circle = one cheap but effective pop filter.
Two other possibilities are from the corner of your mouth instead of straight-on – like where a headset would be if you were wearing one, and record with the microphone further away and use Effect > Amplify to bring the weak volume up in post production.