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The Best Way to Test the Quality of a PC Microphone


Whether you are recording voice-overs, podcasts, live streaming, or doing any other audio project, microphone audio quality is incredibly important. A good microphone can make all the difference when it comes to your recordings sounding professional and high-quality.

To ensure that your microphone is working properly and producing a clear sound, it’s essential to do a mic test. This involves checking the levels of your microphone, running a recording, and listening to how it sounds in comparison to other microphones.

If you’re unsure what kind of results you should be expecting from your microphone, read this article to know some helpful tips on how to test a microphone’s quality.

What is a Good Quality Rating on a Mic Test?

The quality rating of a microphone depends on several factors, including the type of microphone and the application it’s being used for. Whether you’ll be using a mic on stage, recording audio for a podcast, or trying to capture distinct sounds, you’ll want the right microphone with the right type, polar pattern, and sensitivity. 

The right mic will be able to capture all the frequencies that can give your sound source some nuance. If you are looking for a vocal mic, one that gives a response range of around 80 Hz to 15 kHz during a microphone test would be a great pick.

However, if you’re going to record musical instruments, you would want to have a microphone that registers at the lower range. For example, when recording a bass drum mic, you will want to have something around 40 Hz or even lower.

Another thing that registers a good sound quality during a mic test is the sensitivity of the microphone. It should not be overly sensitive for the task you will be using it on but it should be sensitive enough to capture the sound without needing too much gain as the unwanted noise can also ruin your recordings.

In general, the lower the number, the more sensitive a microphone is. Taking note of this can help you select a good microphone that can give you high-quality audio for your application. The average level for a microphone’s sensitivity is around 100 dB (decibels) while a high level is around 130 dB. 

For example, you would not want a microphone that picks up a lot of noise if you are recording vocals. If you’re trying to film your on-camera talent on video outdoors, environmental noise is also a concern.

No matter what your application is, whether it’s pure audio or video, having the right kind of microphone can help a lot. Knowing the frequencies and sensitivities along with the type can give you the best audio possible.

If you find that your mic test is coming back with a rating lower than what you are expecting, then it’s time to look into improving your equipment or settings. 

Ways to Test the Audio Quality of a Microphone

Before you use a microphone in any setting, it is important to test your microphone first to know if it can deliver the high-quality audio that you need. Testing not only helps you know the correct mic that you should use, but it can also help you avoid sound mishaps whether in an event or during a recording.

Here are some methods that you can do to test your microphone.

Using an Audio Interface

The most efficient way to test the quality of a microphone is by using an audio interface. This hardware device connects to your computer and improves your microphone settings. It has dials, knobs, and switches to help you fine-tune areas such as the volume and equalizer, which may include lows, mids, and highs.

An audio interface also allows you to change your sound settings in real-time. This means that you can do mic tests with the interface without turning off your devices until you obtain your desired sound. Don’t forget to test the microphone’s response to loud and soft noises.

Using a Reference Microphone

If you don’t have access to an audio interface, then another option is to use a reference microphone. This is a microphone that has been professionally tested and rated for its sound quality, so it can be used as a benchmark when testing other microphones.

This device can be used in two ways: first by connecting your main mic to your computer and second by connecting both the main and reference mics to your computer.

For the first method, once you connect your main mic to your computer, test the sound from that device using your audio recording software. Next, save the data from your main mic and then remove the device from your computer.

Afterward, connect the reference mic to your computer. Then, start recording using the reference mic and save the data. Open the two audio files to check and fine-tune the quality from your main mic.

For the second method, connect both the main and reference mics to your computer. You may need extra peripherals to achieve this connection. Then, use your preferred software again to check but this time, you can record sounds from both mics.

Using a Recording Software

Another method to check if your mic is working correctly is via recording software. This will allow you to record both microphones at the same time and listen back in real-time as you adjust the settings. You’ll be able to hear any differences in sound quality between the two mics, so you can make any necessary adjustments to get the best possible audio.

Using an Online Mic Test Tool

Lastly, you can test the quality of a microphone by using an online mic test tool. This kind of program allows you to upload a recording and have it analyzed. While an online tool can get you an accurate assessment of your mic without having to use any additional equipment, most of them do not allow real-time fine-tuning.

These tools can only let you see the data to help you check which area of your sound system you will need to calibrate.

After getting your mic tested with an online tool, you should be able to see data such as echo cancellation, sample rate, sample size, volume, and overall quality rating. You can keep calibrating the sound performance of your mic using the data until you achieve your desired output.

How to Test Microphones on a PC/in Windows

Testing microphones on a PC or in Windows is a relatively simple process. All you need to do is connect the microphone to your computer, follow a series of instructions, and adjust the settings until you get the best audio possible. 

Connecting a Bluetooth microphone can differ from connecting a wired mic. Additionally, instructions differ between Windows 10 and Windows 11.

How to Set Up a Microphone on a Windows 10 Device

  1. Once your microphone is connected, right-click the speaker icon in the taskbar and select the Sounds option.
  2. In the Sounds window, select the Record tab to view all connected microphones. If the one you plugged in isn’t selected as the Default Device, right-click the mic and select the Set as Default Device option.
  3. Next, select the Microphone and select Configure to open the Speech Recognition window.
  4. Select the Set Up Microphone option to open up the setup wizard.
  5. Select the type of mic you’ve connected and keep reading and selecting Next to continue through the setup wizard.
  6. On the next setup screen, speak into the mic as you read the text on the monitor. You should see the lower sound bar move as you talk.
  7. Select Next again. You should see a confirmation window that your mic is set up. Select Finish to exit.

How to Do a Microphone Check on a Windows 10 Device

If you already have a mic connected but you’re unsure if it’s working, here are the steps you have to do:

  1. In your taskbar, find and right-click the speaker icon.
  2. Select the Open Sound Settings option.
  3. Scroll down to the section labeled Input. Windows will show you which mic is your default, as well as a blue bar showing the volume levels.
  4. Try talking into your mic. If the blue bar jumps around as you raise and lower your voice, that means it’s working right.
  5. If your computer is using the wrong mic, you can change it by clicking on the drop-down menu and selecting a new option. 
  6. Run a program such as Audacity to test how you sound. Simply select your microphone in the menu of the program and hit record.

How to Set Up and Test a Mic on Windows 11

Setting up and testing your device on Windows 11 is a little different from Windows 10. If you’re using a USB microphone that comes with driver software, you should install the driver first and then restart your PC. Otherwise, simply plug in your mic and follow the next steps.

  1. Select the Start Menu (or the Window icon) in the taskbar and select Settings in the options.
  2. Next, select System in the sidebar, then select Sound.
  3. Under the Input option, select Choose a device for speaking or recording.
  4. Choose a device, then select the right arrow next to it to open the mic settings.
  5. Select the Start Test option to test your mic. 

How to Set Up and Test a Bluetooth Microphone in Windows 11

Configuring and testing a Bluetooth mic on your PC is different from using a wired mic. First, you’ll need to pair your mic with your Windows 11 PC, and then do the steps below.

  1. Select the Action Center icon in the taskbar.
  2. If the Bluetooth option is grayed out, select it to turn it on.
  3. Right-click Bluetooth and select Go to Settings.
  4. Select Add device.
  5. Select Bluetooth.
  6. Select your Bluetooth microphone from the list of Audio devices. Confirm that your device is turned on and ready to pair.
  7. Once your device is paired, you’ll see a confirmation window letting you know your mic is ready. Select Done to exit the screen.
  8. Follow the steps in the previous section to test your mic and adjust your settings.

How Do I Know If My Mic Is Bad?

Doing a microphone test can help you determine whether you have the correct microphone or not. However, there can be times when you’ve already done all the tests and you are still not getting the sound quality that you need. 

If you’re having trouble getting your mic test results up to par, then it may be time to evaluate the condition of your microphone. Common signs that a microphone is on its way out include sudden drops in sound quality, static or humming noises during recordings, and an overall muffled sound.

If any of these problems persist after making adjustments to your settings or equipment, then it’s likely that you’ll need to replace your microphone.

Final Note

Whether you’re recording a video on your PC or speaking during a video conference, testing your microphone is essential to avoid audio mishaps. Testing microphones on a PC or in Windows is a relatively straightforward process that can provide you with the insight you need to produce the highest-quality audio.

Using the best testing method for you can help you get the most out of your microphone setup.

Ash Burnett

Hailing from Chicago, IL - Ash made his break into journalism at the age of 23 writing music reviews for a local website. Now in his late 30's and after being pulled closer towards the technical side of the music and live gig industry, he founded Shout4Music to write thorough microphone reviews.

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