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Resolving Microphone and Line-in Problems (Windows 8)

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This document applies to HP and Compaq computers with Windows 8.
This document provides solutions to a variety of problems that can occur when using microphones and other line-in sources such as tape players, record players, and other types of sound devices.
NOTE:Make sure that Windows can produce sounds from speakers or headphones before using this article. If the computer cannot play sound from the speakers, choose one of the HP support documents below:
NOTE: If you are not using the latest version of Windows 8, some graphics and information in this document may vary. You can get the latest version from the Microsoft Store.

Microphone or line-in device is not working with the computer

If the computer does not recognize the device, there may be a problem with the device or connection, or you may need to update the audio driver. Follow these steps to resolve the issue:
If your microphone or other line-in device is not working with your computer, the first step is to make sure the computer is able to detect an audio signal. Follow these steps to check if the computer can detect audio signals from the microphone or from the line-in port:
NOTE:If you are testing the line-in port using a device with a volume control, start with the volume low and slowly turn it up until recording is at the desired level. Never turn up the volume more than half way on the source device.
Follow these steps to test for an audio signal:
  1. If testing an external microphone or line-in device, connect it to the computer.
  2. From the Start screen, type sound to open the Search charm, and then select Sound from the search results.
    Figure 1: Sound search results
    Sound search results
    The Sound window opens.
  3. Click the Recording tab.
  4. Right click an empty area of the Sound window.
  5. Click Show Disabled Devices and Show Disconnected Devices .
    Figure 2: Disabled and disconnected devices shown in the Sound window
    Disabled and disconnected devices shown in the Sound window
  6. If the microphone or device you are trying to test is listed as "Currently unavailable" or "Not plugged in," disconnect and then reconnect it. If the device is still not detected, refer to Checking connections and hardware and follow the steps to check the hardware and connections.
  7. To test a microphone, speak into it. To test line-in, send a signal from the source audio device (press play on the audio player). Look at the gray bars next to the device name on the recording tab:
    • If the gray bars next to the device name change to green, this device is active and an audio signal is passing through the microphone or line-in port. If you are experiencing problems using the microphone with a software program, make sure the program is set to use the default microphone. Refer to Checking volume and mute settings to make sure the sound settings are correct.
    • If the bars remain gray and inactive, the device is not recognizing a signal. Leave the recording tab open and refer to Checking volume and mute settings .
    Figure 3: Sound window with Recording tab showing a detected signal for the Microphone device
    Sound window with Recording tab showing a detected signal for the Microphone device
If the computer does not detect the microphone or device, or if it detects no sound, there may be a problem with the connection or with the device.
  1. Disconnect the microphone or device from the computer.
  2. Reconnect the microphone or device, making sure to use the correct port on the computer. Even if the plug was already connected to the correct connector, reconnecting might help if there is a connection problem between the plug and socket.
    Check to see if the computer recognizes the device. If the computer recognizes it, you are done.
    If the computer does not recognize the device, continue with the next step.
  3. Connect the microphone or device to another computer or audio device. If the microphone or device works, it is functioning correctly. If the microphone or audio device does not work, replace it.
  • If you are using a USB microphone, try a different USB connector. If the microphone came with software, make sure it is installed properly and is compatible with Windows 8.
  • When you have verified that the microphone (or source device) is good, plug it into the correct jack on the computer. Consider the following while checking the connections:
    Desktop PCs
    • The microphone connector is usually pink.
    • The line-in connector is usually blue.
    Figure 4: Example of audio connectors on a desktop PC: pink for microphone, blue for line-in
    Desktop audio connectors.
    Notebook PCs
    Figure 5: Example of microphone and headphone connectors on a notebook PC
    Audio ports on a notebook.
There are two types of connectors on HP computers for headphones. One supports only sound to the headphones, and the other supports sound to the headphones and the use of a microphone . The connectors are marked with symbols next to them.
  • Connectors on the computer marked with a headset with a microphone, , support sound and the use of a microphone when used with a headset with a four-pin plug and a microphone.
    Figure 6: Four-pin plug
    Four-pin plug
    To use the microphone and hear sound from the computer, the four-pin plug and four pin connector must be used .
    Using a four-pin plug that is capable of supporting a microphone in a three-pin connector allows sound to be heard, but the microphone does not work because the computer's three-pin connector does not support a microphone.
  • Connectors on the computer marked with a headset only, , support output sound only and work with a standard three-pin headphone or a four-pin headphone, for sound only.
    Figure 7: Standard three-pin plug
    Standard three-pin plug
If your microphone or other line-in device is not working with your computer, check the volume settings. The speaker volume for the microphone and line-in might be muted or turned down, making the computer appear unresponsive to the line-in device. Use the following steps to check the speaker volume levels for line-in and microphone.
Unplug all headphones or audio devices before starting this step.
  1. From the Start screen, type sound to open the Search charm, and then select Sound from the search results.
    Figure 8: Sound search results
    Sound search results
    The Sound window opens.
  2. Click the Recording tab.
  3. Select an active microphone or line-in device, and then click Properties .
    Figure 9: Recording tab in Sound window
    Recording tab in Sound window
  4. The Microphone Properties window opens.
  5. Click the Levels tab.
    Figure 10: Levels tab in Microphone Properties window
    Levels tab in Microphone Properties window
  6. Click the Muted button next to Microphone and any other line-in that is muted.
  7. Use the slider bar to raise the level for Microphone and each line-in to at least 75.
  8. Click OK .
    If the microphone or line-in device is working properly, you are done. If the device is still not working, configure the Windows recording settings.
By default, Windows 8 automatically enables microphones and line-in ports. Use the following steps to set the microphone/line-in port to be the default port and to configure the recording levels.
NOTE:Your desktop or notebook PC configuration may include different components then shown here.To verify that all the devices on your computer are listed:
  1. From the Start screen, type sound to open the Search charm, and then select Sound from the search results.
    Figure 11: Sound search results
    Sound search results
    The Sound window opens.
  2. Right click an empty area of the Sound window.
  3. Click Show Disabled Devices and Show Disconnected Devices .
    Figure 12: Sound window showing disabled and disconnected devices
    Sound window showing disabled and disconnected devices
    Your computer will now list all devices.
Follow these steps to set the default port and recording configuration:
  1. Click the Recording tab in the Sound window.
    Figure 13: Recording tab in the Sound window
    Recording tab in the Sound window
  2. If multiple microphones or line-in ports are available, select the port or device that you want to use.
  3. If the device you want to use contains a small circle with an arrow pointing down, the device is disabled. To enable the device, right-click the device name and select Enable .
    Figure 14: Enable selection in the Sound window
    Enable selection in the Sound window
  4. Click Set Default to make this device the default audio input device.
    Figure 15: Set Default option in the Sound window
    Set Default option in the Sound window
  5. With the device selected, click Properties , and then click the Levels tab.
    Figure 16: Levels tab in Microphone Properties window
    Levels tab in Microphone Properties window
  6. Adjust the slider to 75.
  7. If Mute is on, click the mute button to turn off mute. The mute button should show as a blue speaker without a red circle .
  8. If Microphone Boost is available, adjust to +20.0 dB.
  9. Click OK to make the changes.
  10. Test the microphone using the instructions in Step 1 to determine if Windows is able to detect a signal for the microphone or line-in being used.
Updating the audio driver can resolve issues of your microphone or other line-in device not functioning with your computer, as well as enabling the computer to recognize the device. Use the following steps to check for audio drivers updates:
  1. Connect to the Internet.
  2. From the Start screen, type device manager to open the Search charm, and then select Device Manager from the search results.
    Figure 17: Device Manager search results
    Device Manager search results
  3. Double-click Sound, video and game controllers .
  4. Right-click the name of the sound hardware and select Update Driver Software .
    Figure 18: Update Driver Software option in Device Manager
    Update Driver Software option in Device Manager
  5. Click Search automatically for updated driver software and wait for Windows to update the driver software.
    Figure 19: Updated Driver Software: Search automatically for updated driver software
    Updated Driver Software: Search automatically for updated driver software
  6. Windows checks to see if updated driver software is available.
    If an update is available, let Windows install the update.
  7. When the update is installed successfully, test the microphone or line-in.
    Figure 20: Windows has successfully updated your driver software
    Windows has successfully updated your driver software

Microphone volume is too low

If the volume of the microphone is too low, the microphone levels in Windows may be set too low. Follow the steps in this section to resolve the issue:

Configuring microphone levels

Follow these steps to set the microphone levels:
  1. From the Start screen, type sound to open the Search charm, and then select Sound from the search results.
    Figure 21: Sound search results
    Sound search results
    The Sound window opens.
  2. Click the Recording tab.
  3. Select the microphone, and then click Properties .
    Figure 22: Recording tab in the Sound window
    Recording tab in the Sound window
  4. Click the Advanced tab.
  5. Remove the check from the box next to Allow applications to take exclusive control of this device .
    Figure 23: Advanced properties tab in the Microphone Properties window
    Advanced properties tab in the Microphone Properties window
  6. Click the Levels tab.
  7. Change the microphone level to 100 and the Microphone Boost to +10.0dB .
    Figure 24: Levels tab in the Microphone Properties window
    Levels tab in the Microphone Properties window
  8. Click Apply .
  9. Disconnect and reconnect the microphone. Then check the microphone recording level.

Microphone does not work with Skype or other Internet software

If the microphone is not working with Skype, the wrong microphone may be selected as the default. Use the steps in this section to set the correct microphone as the default.
Follow these steps to set the microphone as default:
  1. From the Start screen, type sound to open the Search charm, and then select Sound from the search results.
    Figure 25: Sound search results
    Sound search results
    The Sound window opens.
  2. Click the Recording tab in the Sound window.
    Figure 26: Recording tab in the Sound window
    Recording tab in the Sound window
  3. If multiple microphones or line-in ports are available, select the port or device that you want to use.
  4. If the device you want to use contains a small circle with an arrow pointing down, the device is disabled. To enable the device, right-click the device name and select Enable .
    Figure 27: Enable selection in the Sound window
    Enable selection in the Sound window
  5. Click Set Default to make this device the default audio input device.
    Figure 28: Set Default option in the Sound window
    Set Default option in the Sound window
  6. With the device selected, click Properties , and then click the Levels tab.
    Figure 29: Levels tab in the Microphone Properties window
    Levels tab in the Microphone Properties window
  7. Adjust the slider to 75.
  8. If Mute is on, click the mute button to turn off mute. The mute button should show as a blue speaker without a red circle .
  9. If Microphone Boost is available, adjust to +20.0 dB.
  10. Click OK to make the changes.
  11. Test the microphone using the instructions in Step 1 to determine if Windows is able to detect a signal for the microphone or line-in being used.

Sound is coming from the headset and from speakers when I use microphone

If you hear sound from both the headset and from speakers when using a headset microphone, Windows is configured to listen to the microphone through the speakers. Follow the steps in this section to resolve the issue:

Configuring Windows microphone properties

  1. From the Start screen, type sound to open the Search charm, and then select Sound from the search results.
    Figure 30: Sound search results
    Sound search results
    The Sound window opens.
  2. Click the Recording tab.
  3. Select the microphone, and then click Properties .
    Figure 31: Recording tab in the Sound window
    Recording tab in the Sound window
  4. Click the Listen tab.
  5. Remove the check next to Listen to this device , then click Apply .
    Figure 32: Microphone Properties window
    Microphone Properties window

Microphone fails after a Web camera or a USB microphone is installed

To use the microphone on a Web camera or a USB microphone, it might need to be configured separately using the software that came with the device. Make sure the USB device and any associated software is compatible with Windows 8. If you want to use a different microphone than the USB microphone or Web camera, follow the steps in this section to select the default microphone.
Follow these steps to set the microphone:
  1. From the Start screen, type sound to open the Search charm, and then select Sound from the search results.
    Figure 33: Sound search results
    Sound search results
    The Sound window opens.
  2. Click the Recording tab in the Sound window.
    Figure 34: Recording tab in the Sound window
    Recording tab in the Sound window
  3. If multiple microphones or line-in ports are available, select the port or device that you want to use.
  4. If the device you want to use contains a small circle with an arrow pointing down, the device is disabled. To enable the device, right-click the device name and select Enable .
    Figure 35: Enable selection in the Sound window
    Enable selection in the Sound window
  5. Click Set Default to make this device the default audio input device.
    Figure 36: Set Default option in the Sound window
    Set Default option in the Sound window
  6. With the device selected, click Properties , and then click the Levels tab.
    Figure 37: Levels tab in the Microphone Properties window
    Levels tab in the Microphone Properties window
  7. Adjust the slider to 75.
  8. If Mute is on, click the mute button to turn off mute. The mute button should show as a blue speaker without a red circle .
  9. If Microphone Boost is available, adjust to +20.0 dB.
  10. Click OK to make the changes.
  11. Test the microphone using the instructions in Step 1 to determine if Windows is able to detect a signal for the microphone or line-in being used.

Resolving other microphone/line-in problems

Use the following steps to test, check hardware and connections, update audio drivers, and configure Windows sound settings. If you follow these steps in proper order, you will fix the problem or you will find that the audio software needs to be configured or updated.
First, check if the computer can detect an audio signal from the microphone or from the line-in port.
NOTE:If you are testing the line-in port using a device with a volume control, start with the volume low and slowly turn it up until recording is at the desired level. Never turn up the volume more than half way on the source device.
Follow these steps to test for an audio signal:
  1. If testing an external microphone or line-in device, connect it to the computer.
  2. From the Start screen, type sound to open the Search charm, and then select Sound from the search results.
    Figure 38: Sound search results
    Sound search results
    The Sound window opens.
  3. Click the Recording tab.
    If the microphone or device you are trying to test is listed as "Currently unavailable" or "Not plugged in," disconnect and then reconnect it. If the device is still not detected, refer to the Checking connections and hardware section to check the hardware and connections.
  4. To test a microphone, speak into it. To test line-in, send a signal from the source audio device (press play on the audio player). Look at the gray bars next to the device name on the recording tab:
    • If the gray bars next to the device name change to green, this device is active and an audio signal is passing through the microphone or line-in port. Make sure the selected device is set to default and refer to Checking volume and mute settings to adjust the volume levels.
    • If the bars remain gray and inactive, the device is not recognizing a signal. Leave the recording tab open and check your connections and hardware.
    Figure 39: Sound window with Recording tab showing a detected signal for the Microphone device
    Sound window with Recording tab showing a detected signal for the Microphone device
If the computer does not detect the microphone or device, or if it detects no sound, there may be a problem with the connection or with the device.
  1. Disconnect the microphone or device from the computer.
  2. Reconnect the microphone or device, making sure to use the correct port on the computer. Even if the plug was already connected to the correct connector, reconnecting might help if there is a connection problem between the plug and socket.
    Check to see if the computer is recognizing the device. If the computer recognizes it, you are done.
    If the computer does not recognize the device, continue with the next step.
  3. Connect the microphone or device to another computer or audio device. If the microphone or device works, it is functioning correctly. If the microphone or audio device does not work, replace it.
  • If you are using a USB microphone, try a different USB connector. If the microphone came with software, make sure it is installed properly and is compatible with Windows 8.
  • When you have verified that the microphone (or source device) is good, plug it into the correct jack on the computer. Consider the following while checking the connections:
    Desktop PCs
    • The microphone connector is usually pink.
    • The line-in connector is usually blue.
    Figure 40: Example of audio connectors on a desktop PC: pink for microphone, blue for line-in
    Desktop audio connectors.
    Notebook PCs
    Figure 41: Example of microphone and headphone connectors on a notebook PC
    Audio ports on a notebook.
The speaker volume for the microphone and line-in might be muted or turned down. Use the following steps to check the speaker volume levels for line-in and microphone.
Unplug all headphones or audio devices before starting this step.
  1. From the Start screen, type sound to open the Search charm, and then select Sound from the search results.
    Figure 42: Sound search results
    Sound search results
    The Sound window opens.
  2. Click the Recording tab.
  3. Select an active microphone or line-in device, and then click Properties .
    Figure 43: Recording tab in the Sound window
    Recording tab in the Sound window
  4. The Microphone Properties window opens.
  5. Click the Levels tab.
    Figure 44: Levels tab in the Microphone Properties window
    Levels tab in the Microphone Properties window
  6. Click the Muted button next to Microphone and any other line-in that is muted.
  7. Use the slider bar to raise the level for Microphone and each line-in to at least 75.
  8. Click OK .
    If the microphone or line-in device is working properly, you are done. If the device is still not working, use the audio recording troubleshooting tool.
The audio recording troubleshooting tool can fix common problems with audio recording. Follow these steps to use the Troubleshooting tool:
  1. From the Start screen, type troubleshooting to open the Search charm, and then select Troubleshooting from the search results.
    Figure 45: Troubleshooting search results
    Troubleshooting search results
  2. Under Hardware and Sound , click Troubleshoot audio recording and then click Next when the Recording Audio window opens.
    Figure 46: Troubleshoot audio recording selection in the Troubleshooting window
    Troubleshoot audio recording selection in the Troubleshooting window
  3. Select the device you would like to troubleshoot and then click Next and follow the on-screen instructions.
If a recommended action displays, select Apply this fix or Skip this step to continue to search for other problems. If your problem has not been resolved, continue to manually troubleshoot using the rest of this document.
You might find that a front microphone port does not work, a recording device is missing from the recording tab, a microphone is not recognized when it is plugged in, or other problem. There might be updated audio drivers that can fix these types of issues.
Use the following steps to make sure audio drivers are up to date.
  1. Connect to the Internet.
  2. From the Start screen, type device manager to open the Search charm, and then select Device Manager from the search results.
    Figure 47: Device Manager search results
    Device Manager search results
  3. Double-click Sound, video and game controllers .
  4. Right-click the name of the sound hardware and select Update Driver Software... .
    Figure 48: Update Driver Software option in Device Manager
    Update Driver Software option in Device Manager
  5. Click Search automatically for updated driver software and wait for Windows to update the driver software.
    Figure 49: Updated Driver Software: Search automatically for updated driver software
     Updated Driver Software: Search automatically for updated driver software
  6. Windows checks a remote Web site to see if updated driver software is available.
    • If an update is available, let Windows install the update.
    • If an update is not available, skip to the next step.
  7. When the update is installed successfully, test the microphone or line-in as was done in step 1. If the problem persists, configure your Windows recording settings.
    Figure 50: Windows has successfully updated your driver software
    Windows has successfully updated your driver software
By default, Windows 8 automatically enables microphones and line-in ports. Use the following steps to set the microphone/line-in port to be the default port and to configure the recording levels.
NOTE:Your desktop or notebook PC configuration may include different components then shown here.To verify that all the devices on your computer are listed:
  1. From the Start screen, type sound to open the Search charm, and then select Sound from the search results.
    Figure 51: Sound search results
    Sound search results
    The Sound window opens.
  2. Right click an empty area of the Sound window.
  3. Click Show Disabled Devices and Show Disconnected Devices .
    Figure 52: Sound window showing disabled and disconnected devices
    Sound screen showing disabled and disconnected devices
Follow these steps to set the default port and recording configuration:
  1. Click the Recording tab in the Sound window.
    Figure 53: Recording tab in the Sound window
    Recording tab in the Sound window
  2. If multiple microphones or line-in ports are available, select the port or device that you want to use.
  3. If the device you want to use contains a small circle with an arrow pointing down, the device is disabled. To enable the device, right-click the device name and select Enable .
    Figure 54: Enable selection in the Sound window
    Enable selection in the Sound window
  4. Click Set Default to make this device the default audio input device.
    Figure 55: Set Default option in the Sound window
    Set Default option in the Sound window
  5. With the device selected, click Properties , and then click the Levels tab.
    Figure 56: Levels tab in the Microphone Properties window
    Levels tab in the Microphone Properties window
  6. Adjust the slider to 75.
  7. If Mute is on, click the mute button to turn off mute. The mute button should show as a blue speaker without a red circle .
  8. If Microphone Boost is available, adjust to +20.0 dB.
  9. Click OK to make the changes.
  10. Test the microphone using the instructions in Step 1 to determine if Windows is able to detect a signal for the microphone or line-in being used.

Testing a microphone using Windows Sound Recorder

You can use this section to find out if the computer can record a signal from the microphone and play it back. Use Windows sound recorder to create an audio file using the following steps:
  1. Plug the microphone into the computer.
  2. From the Start screen, type sound recorder to open the Search charm, and then select Sound Recorder from the search results.
    Figure 57: Sound Recorder search results
    Sound Recorder search results
    The Sound Recorder opens.
  3. Click Start Recording (the red circle) and speak into the microphone.
    Figure 58: Sound Recorder initial screen
    Sound Recorder initial screen
  4. When finished recording, click Stop Recording .
    Figure 59: Sound Recorder while recording
    Sound Recorder while recording
    A save screen automatically opens.
  5. Type a filename and click Save . A file of type WAV or WMA is created in the OneDrive Documents folder.
    Figure 60: Sound Recorder Save As screen
    Sound Recorder Save As screen
  6. Find and double-click the filename of your recording to play back the recorded sound. The file should play from the sound software that is associated with the audio file type - either WAV or WMA. You can open the sound file using Windows Media Player.