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How to Perform a Microphone Test

How to Perform a Microphone Test

Today many computers come with a built in microphone, while others may require that you use an external microphone that you attach to the computer.  Either way, and it can be hard to tell if it is working.  Performing a microphone test will ensure that others can hear you when you use the microphone to chat over systems such as Skype, whether on audio only or a video call.  There are a few ways to perform a microphone test on your computer’s microphone and make sure it is functioning properly.

If you are using an external microphone, the first thing to do before beginning the microphone test is to to make sure that you have installed everything according to the directions.  Make sure the microphone plug is all the way into the input and nothing is loose.  You should also ensure that you have installed any drivers or other software that might be needed in order to make the microphone function properly.  If you have an internal microphone, it is likely that all required software is already installed.

The next thing to do is to make sure that your speaker volume is turned up and not muted.  While this does not usually affect the function of the microphone, you will need to hear the playback of your microphone test in order to be certain that it is working.  The easiest way to perform a microphone test is to use the sound recorder that is built into your computer.  In Windows this is normally located in the Programs section under Accessories – Entertainment.  Open the sound recorder and press the record button.  Speak at a normal volume – it does not matter what you say.  ”This is a test” works well if you can’t think of anything to say!

Stop the recording and press the playback button.  If you can hear the words you recorded clearly, the microphone is functioning and the microphone test is a success.  If not, you may need to perform some troubleshooting using the user manual of your microphone.

You can also perform a microphone test by using it to make a call over the computer.  This requires the use of a program like Skype.  You may have to set up your microphone for use with the particular chat program you are using.  Follow the directions provided by the program to complete this step.  Then, simply make a call to another person, and find out if they can hear you.  You might want to call them on your regular phone while making the online call in order to confirm with them that they are hearing you clearly.  While this microphone test is a little more involved, it also ensures your microphone is working for the task at hand if this type of call is your goal.

Performing a microphone test is straightforward and a good idea whenever you start using a new microphone, or if you are having trouble placing an online call or engaging in a chat and want to be sure the microphone is working.

Photo courtesy of M. Keefe.

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