Microphones are an integral part of a computer system today. If you have a notebook computer or netbook, chances are it already comes with a built-in microphone. Some desktop computers, particularly all-in-one devices like the Apple iMac or the HP Pavilion desktop line, will also have a microphone embedded on top of the LCD screen.
If you have a desktop computer without a mic, you will have to purchase a computer mic separately, and plug this into the microphone jack of your computer. Or, if you want to have a better-quality microphone for your desktop or laptop, you can purchase one that’s specifically made for better impedance and dynamic range.
Here’s how to test the audio recording from your computer microphone.
- Install the mic. If the mic is an external microphone, first plug it into the proper port. Some newer microphones fit into the USB port. If this is the case, you might have to install and run special drivers so that your mic will run. If it’s a simple mic with a 2.5 mm jack, then plug it into the red port of your sound card.
- Open sound recorder. This is the simplest way to test your microphone, and is usually available on all versions of Windows. If you’re using Windows Vista or Windows 7, simply click the Start button (or press the Windows key), then start typing “Sound Recorder” in the search bar. Click the “Sound Recorder” application when it appears. If you’re using Windows XP or prior, go to Start, click All Programs, Accessories, then Entertainment. Then click on Sound Recorder.
- Record audio. Once you’ve activated sound recorder, find the red button that stands for “record.” Press the button and then start recording some audio. Speak using a normal tone and don’t talk directly into the mic. Just speak as if you were talking to someone in front of you. The sound recorder should have an indicator that will move, depending on the level of your voice.
- Play back the audio. After stopping, sound recorder might ask you to save the recording to a file. Give it a file name, and then open the file by double-clicking it. With older versions of Windows, you can simply press the triangular “play” button.
- Listen to the recording if the quality is acceptable. You might have issues with very high or very low sound levels. You can adjust these by double-clicking on the speaker icon in your system tray. You can also click the Start button and do a search for “volume control” if you’re using Windows Vista or Windows 7.
- Do an audio test. If you’re using Windows 7, you can access the special microphone setup interface. Simply click the Start Button and type in “microphone.” Click the result named “set up a microphone.” You will be asked to choose if you are using a headset, desktop mic or other device. Select accordingly. The computer will then adjust the input level of the microphone depending on your normal speaking voice. You will be asked to sit at a comfortable distance from the microphone while you do a test.
Windows will ask you to dictate a few pre-set sentences, so that the audio input level will automatically be adjusted.