Very Low Volume from Microphone suddenly

Top Volume I can get.jpg
I use Audacity 2.1.1 on Windows 10. I don’t know if it was exe or zip - but it used to work fine for ages. It has worked fine in recording with the microphone in the past. I haven’t changed anything, haven’t unplugged the mic or anything. But suddenly it records very faintly – I can just hear what I record, but can’t get any volume – the giggly line hardly moves (the attached pic shows top volume now). I have tried unplugging and replugging the mic, but it’s just the same. I uninstalled audacity and downloaded it again anew. But it’s still the same. I can’t get much volume at all. Can anyone suggest what I should do? I’m pretty stupid technically, as is probably evident. Thanks.

What is The Microphone? Pretend I want to buy one. How is it connected? USB cable or plugged into the Pink Mic-In? We may be able to tell when you say what it is.



The microphone is a very small one which came with the Dell Desktop tower computer. It is pink and plugs into a round pink socket at the back of the tower. I just record my speaking voice and do not need high quality, but the normal volume I used to get has suddenly disappeared. Thank you.

You’re already past the first level maintenance I can do, so we need to wait for a Windows elf.


okay Koz - thanks

So being a tower, there is no internal microphone, correct? If there was an internal microphone, you are probably choosing the wrong recording device.

Did this machine come with Windows 10 or did you upgrade from a previous Windows? If you upgraded, go to the Dell site and make sure you have the correct Windows 10 drivers (if any) for that computer model.

Does turning the mic level up in Windows Sound make any difference? It should not do, because putting the Audacity recording slider on maximum should move the slider in Windows to maximum.

Have you tried right-click over the mic in Windows Sound, then Properties, then the “Levels” tab? There may be a “Boost” or “Gain” checkbox or an “Advanced” button with a Boost or Gain checkbox behind that.


No, I am pretty sure there is no internal microphone. I upgraded from a previous Windows to Windows 10 – but since then Audacity on the microphone has worked perfectly well. It was working fine a month or so ago and since then I have changed nothing. This problem just happened of a sudden with no obvious cause. [Added Later] Thank you so much Gale. Under Windows/ Control Panel/ Sound/ Recording/ Properties/ Levels I found a “Microphone Boost” slide and this seems to have solved it. I am most grateful. But what I still don’t understand is why it worked perfectly a month ago, changed nothing but now needed to make this adjustment.

Do you have Windows set to Auto Update? Windows can be set to automatically make system and security updates in the background. This occasionally leads to unpleasant surprises.


Ah I see. Thank you. Is there some way I can stop it automatically updating?

Windows 10 defaults to automatically updating. You cannot prevent that if you have Windows 10 Home, short of setting the wireless or mobile internet to “metered”. See

If there was an update you can probably see it in Device Manager, by right-clicking the audio device, Properties, Driver tab. If the “Roll Back Driver” button is disabled, there was no update. In that case, I again recommend you check with the Dell site if you actually have all the Windows 10 drivers that they recommend for your computer model. If you do not have manufacturer’s Windows 10 audio drivers, your audio device may behave unpredictably.

If there was a driver update, it may revert old defaults or set new defaults. You should not necessarily roll back to the previous driver until you are sure behaviour is worse. If you do roll back, you may need to force Windows not to reinstall the bad update:


Thank you so much for all your help Gale. It doesn’t sound as if I have much control over MY computer does it. :frowning: