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Resolving Microphone and Line-In Problems (Windows XP, ME and 98)

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This document applies to HP and Compaq desktop computers with Windows XP, Me, 98, and 95.
This document provides solutions to a variety of problems using microphones and other line-in sources (such as tape players, record players, and other types of sound devices). . This document includes sections that deal with individual issues. Before performing any of the solutions in this document, make sure the computer can produce sounds from the speakers , make sure the microphone is enabled , and then test the microphone . After testing, if the problem persists, select the document section that applies and follow the instructions.

Enabling the Microphone

Some Microphones must be enabled before they can be used. Complete the following steps to enable the microphone in Windows:
  1. In Windows XP, click Start, and then click Control Panel.
    In Windows 98 and Me, click Start, click Settings, and then click Control Panel.
  2. In Windows XP, click Sounds, Speech, and Audio Devices, and then click Sounds and Audio Devices.
    In Windows 98 and Me, double-click Multimedia or Sounds and Multimedia.
  3. Click the Audio tab.
    In Windows XP and Me, click the Volume button under Sound Recording.
    In Windows 98, click Advanced Properties under Recording.
  4. Adjust the Microphone Volume slider until it is close to the top of its range.
  5. Click the checkbox under Microphone to select it.
  6. Close the Volume window and click OK to close the Sounds and Audio Devices window.
You might need to enable the microphone in specialized sound software. Check to see if the computer comes with other sound software and make sure the Microphone port is enabled. In some audio configurations the Microphone port can also be used as a speaker out. Open the sound software and make sure microphone is enabled:
  • In Windows XP, click Start, click Control Panel, and then click Switch to Classic View.
  • In Windows 98 and Me, click Start, Settings, and Control Panel.
  • Look for an icon that corresponds to the sound system that came with your computer. Some popular sound software that comes with an HP or Compaq computer are:
If you do not have one of these applications, continue with the next section.

Testing your equipment

To troubleshoot microphone or line-in recording problems, make sure the microphone works, and that the computer can record sound:

Testing the microphone

Make sure the microphone is functional by connecting it to a recording device such as a tape recorder. Record your voice into the recording device using the computer microphone. If the microphone successfully records your voice, test the microphone in the computer again. If a recording device is not available, try another microphone in the computer that is known to be good.

Testing the line-in audio source

Make sure the device that you are trying to receive an audio signal from (tape player, record player) is sending a good audio signal by connecting it into another playback device other than the computer, such as a tape recorder, home stereo system, or another computer that is known to have the line-in working correctly.
If another playback device cannot detect or play the audio signal, the problem is probably coming from the device sending the audio signal. Troubleshoot or try a different the audio device to get a better audio signal for your line-in on the computer.

Testing the microphone record function on the computer

  1. Plug the microphone into the mic-in plug on the computer .
  2. In Windows XP: Click Start, click All Programs, click Accessories, click Entertainment, and select Sound Recorder.
    In Windows 98 and Me: Click Start, click All Programs, click Accessories, click Entertainment, and select Sound Recorder.
  3. Click Record (the red circle) and speak into the microphone.
    Figure 1: Record button
    Image of Sound Recorder window, showing Record button
    The thin green line moves as you speak into the microphone.
  4. When you have finished recording, click Stop (the black rectangle).
    Figure 2: Stop button
    Image of Sound Recorder window, showing Stop button
  5. To play back the recorded sound, click Play (the single black triangle).
    Figure 3: Playback button
    Image of Sound Recorder window, showing Playback button
  6. If the recorded sound does not play back, continue to the next section of this document.

No sound is recorded (recordings are silent)

If no sound or signal is recorded when recording with a microphone, complete the following steps to resolve this issue.

Step 1: Checking connections

  1. Verify the microphone or line-in source is plugged into the correct jack on the computer. The microphone connector is usually pink (or yellow), and the line-in connector is usually blue:
    Figure 4: Microphone and Line-in connectors
    Image of Microphone and Line-in connectors
  2. If you are attempting to record sound from an audio device using the line-in connector, make sure that the volume on the audio device is not muted, or the volume on the device is not set too low.
    NOTE:Turning the volume up too high on the source device can cause distortion and might cause damage to the computer line-in jack. Start with the volume low, and slowly turn it up until the recording is at the desired level.
  3. If you are using a microphone and it is connected to the correct jack and there is still no sound, try unplugging the connector about 1mm (1/32 inch), so that the connector is sitting more loosely in the connector. It is possible your microphone’s connector does not match up correctly with the connector on the sound card. If this does not resolve the problem, push the connector firmly into the connector and continue with these steps.
  4. If you are using a USB microphone try a different USB connector. If the microphone came with software, make sure it is installed correctly.
    If the problem continues, go to the next step.

Step 2: Checking Windows settings

  1. Click Start, Programs, Accessories, Entertainment, and Volume Control.
    A Volume Control or Master Volume window displays.
  2. Click Options, and then Properties.
    Figure 5: Master Volume window
    Image of Master Volume window
  3. Select Recording, and make sure Microphone, Mic Volume, or Line-In is selected.
    Figure 6: Volume properties
    Image of Volume properties window
  4. Click OK.
    The Volume Control Window changes to a Recording Control or Recording Gain Control window.
  5. Click Options and Advanced Controls. If an Alternate Microphone is not available, continue to Step 3.
  6. Remove the checkmark next to Alternate Microphone, if it is available, click Close, and test. If there is still no sound, continue to the next Step.
    Figure 7: Advanced Microphone controls
    Image of Advanced Microphone Controls window

Step 3: Selecting correct recording device

  1. In Windows XP, click Start, and then Control Panel.
    In Windows 95, 98, and Me, click Start, Settings and Control Panel.
  2. In Windows XP, click Sounds, Speech, and Audio Devices, and then Sounds and Audio Devices.
    In Windows 95, 98, and Me, double-click Sounds and Multimedia or Multimedia.
  3. Click the Audio tab.
  4. Under Sound Playback, select the Audio device that is installed on the computer.
  5. Under Sound Recording, select the Audio device that is installed on the computer.
  6. Click OK.
  7. Close the Sound and Multimedia Properties window and test the recording. If there is still no sound, continue to the next Step.

Step 4: Removing duplicate Soundcard entries from Device Manager

  1. Start the computer in Safe Mode:
    1. Turn on the computer and when the blue HP screen displays, press the F8 key repeatedly.
    2. Use the Up and Down arrow keys to select Safe Mode and press the Enter key.
    3. If a "Please select the operating system to start" menu displays, select “Windows XP Home Edition” (or similar).
      Windows starts in Safe Mode.
  2. Open Device Manager using one of the following methods:
    • In Windows XP, click Start, right-click My Computer, and select Properties. Click the Hardware tab, and then click the Device Manager button.
    • In Windows 95, 98, and Me, right-click My Computer, and then click Properties. Click the Device Manager tab, and select View devices by type.
  3. Click the plus (+) sign next to the Sound, video and game controllers icon from the list and check if there are soundcard entries that have the exact same name.
  4. Selecting each item, click Remove, and then click OK each time. Continue removing sound devices in this way and on as many devices as possible. Windows does not allow some devices to be removed. Skip these devices and continue with the remaining entries in the list until all possible devices have been removed.
  5. Restart the computer and let the system detect and install the sound card drivers again. Try recording again to see if the problem is resolved.

Microphone does not work with Internet software (Chat rooms)

There are many reasons why voice might not work over the Internet. These reasons vary based on the voice software you are using. Typically, Internet connections that use a proxy server or firewall do not work.
If the microphone can record sounds into the computer, it can work with software that carries voice over the Internet. Test the microphone to see if it works. If the microphone can record, use the online help for the voice carrying software that you are using.

Microphone fails after Web camera is installed

Some Web cameras include a built-in microphone. Windows might have problems determining which microphone to use when a Web Camera is installed on the computer. To use the microphone on the Web camera, it might need to be configured separately in the Web camera software. If you want to use a different microphone than the one included with the Web camera, the Web camera microphone might need to be disabled. See the documentation that came with the Web camera or consult the Web site of the manufacturer of the Web camera for more information.

Fixing feedback, noise, and static problems

If the Microphone Boost feature is enabled, noise can interfere with recording. Use the following steps to check for and disable the Microphone Boost feature:
  1. In Windows XP, click Start, and then click Control Panel. In Control Panel, click Sounds, Speech, and Audio Devices, and then click Sounds and Audio Devices.
    In Windows 95, 98, and Me, click Start, click Settings, and then click Control Panel. Double-click Sounds and Multimedia or Multimedia.
  2. Click the Voice tab.
  3. Click Volume inside Voice Recording or Voice Capture.
  4. Click Advanced inside the Balance adjustment for the microphone. If the Advanced option window does not display, select Options and click Advanced Controls (Advanced Controls might not be available on some models).
  5. In Advanced Controls for Microphone, select 1 Microphone Boost or +20dB Gain.
  6. Click Close and close all Windows. Try recording again.
    Figure 8: Microphone Boost setting
    Image of Advanced Controls window, showing location of Microphone Boost
NOTE:If the steps in this document did not fix your problem, the microphone or the audio/sound controller might have failed. If your computer was purchased after 2001, it probably contains a software program called PC Doctor. Use PC Doctor to help verify that the microphone or audio/sound controller failed before calling support. Use the HP support document Using PC Doctor to learn more about testing for hardware failures. If you receive an error code after running a test, you need to Contact HP (in English) for further assistance. Write the error code number down so that you can provide it to the support agent.

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