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What is AGC in Microphone Settings?


If you own a microphone, you may have heard of the term “automatic gain control,” but you might not exactly know what it means or how it benefits you. Here’s what you need to know about the automatic gain control (AGC) microphone setting so you can get the most out of your mic and understand how it functions in relation to the speaker.

What is the Use of AGC?

Everyone speaks at different sound levels, and microphone technology today has found a way to regulate volume without human interference through an option called AGC. Automatic gain control (AGC) allows a microphone’s signal to automatically adjust the microphone level on the transmitting radio so that louder sounds are at a reasonable level. 

This setting automatically tracks and adjusts the audio volume of recordings to compensate for variations in volume from different talkers, or variations due to a single talker moving relative to the mic. An automatic gain control circuit also modulates an amplifier’s gain, in response to the relative strength of the input signal in order to maintain the output power.

Aside from physical mics, AGC can now be found in your online microphone in Windows 10, Discord, and other programs.

Should I Have Automatic Gain Control On?

Now that you know what automatic gain control does with audio, you might now be wondering when or if you should turn AGC on. Many people like this the fact that microphone AGC automatically adjusts volume and takes control away from the user, as it eliminates several unwanted knobs and buttons from the case of the device. However, the problem that many also have with AGC is that it can’t predict noises and often adjusts too late. 

One of the few situations where this might not matter is video conferencing, remote tech support, etc. It actually plays a vital role in maintaining your cellphone signal booster’s performance, as without AGC, you wouldn’t have the same audio quality when making long-distance calls. Some signals, especially louder ones, could even interfere with your own, making the other side of your call inaudible.

AGC is a unique circuit that listens to the incoming audio level and adjusts the recording level when sounds are too loud or too soft. Those who are recording for quality will want to turn AGC off, as having AGC off and making changes to your environment provides for more reliable and clearer sound.

Final Note

Automatic gain control is a fantastic innovation that makes it easier for the average microphone user to interact with their mic without having to worry about voice control. Today, we can even find it in our computer settings’ control panel and simply press enter to use it. 

However, it’s good to note that it can also have its downsides, so if you’re looking to get solid and reliable audio, you might want to keep its off switch in mind.

Naomi Feller

Originally from the East Coast, Naomi started singing as young as 3 years old. In her early teens Naomi made some embarrassing YouTube videos before settling on a love for Podcast editing. When she's not pouring over endless amounts of audio, she lends her expertise to us here at Shout4Music with her crystal clear and finely tuned microphone reviews.

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