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Microphone recording at low volume

I've spent over three days on this problem and I'm pulling my hair out. My computer came preloaded with Realtek HD Audio Manager, which I suspect is the culprit based on everything I've researched about this issue.

Things I've tried:

  • The mic is not muted and the volume levels are maximized
  • I can "boost" the mic until it can be picked up better but this degrades the quality significantly
  • I've tried multiple (new) headsets and the problem doesn't change
  • The microphone is set as the default recording device
  • I've disabled every other audio device that I don't use; only my microphone, headset speakers, and main speakers are enabled
  • The microphone input is in the correct jack on the back panel (I've heard there are problems with the front panel)
  • I installed the most recent drivers from Realtek and through MSI's Live Updater (current Realtek audio driver version:
  • I've done recordings on multiple programs and the problem doesn't change
  • I've tweaked every option I have access to on the Realtek Audio Manager (noise cancellation, separating each input jack independently, and echo cancellation)
  • I've tried uninstalling Realtek and using standard drivers, and the problem doesn't change

If there's anything I haven't done yet, please let me know.

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8.1 64-bit
    Computer type
    System Manufacturer/Model
    Intel Core i3-4330 @ 3.5 GHz
    MSI H81I
    8 GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 Ti


Beach Observer
VIP Member
Pro User
Inverness, FL

Its not the drivers. I and many others use the same drivers. There are no front panel problems, unless there is a hardware/wiring problem. The front panel headphone and mic jacks are used by most users.

What do you show in the Device Manager, Sound Section? You should have the RealTek and possibly an NVIDIA HD Audio listed (for HDMI Audio) and nothing else.

But, whatever you get using the rear Pink microphone jack is what you will most likely get with the front.

One suspect is the +5VDC that is on the "ring" connection of the plug/jack. Computer microphones require the +5VDC to operate. If the voltage is low that could be one reason its not working. However, if it is low, that is a motherboard problem.

If you have done what you say and with multiple "known good" headset/mic's, then its a hardware problem. But, its not the RealTek software/drivers.

Along with checking to see if you have the +5VDC, you can disconnect (unplug) the front panel headphone connector from the motherboard, to see if that is causing the problem. However, if it is you are still back to a hardware problem and you need to contact the PC vendor for warranty repair/replacement.

I'm a musician and former guitar amp tech, and have a recording studio, although I use different equipment for the recordings and not the PC's audio.

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Win 10
    Computer type
    System Manufacturer/Model
    Home Built
    i7 6700K
    ASUS ROG Maximus VIII Hero
    16 Gb G Skill TridentZ DDR4 3400
    Graphics Card(s)
    Intel (i7 CPU)
    Sound Card
    RealTek Integrated
    Monitor(s) Displays
    27" Dell SE2717HR
    Screen Resolution
    Hard Drives
    500GB Samsung 850 SSD, 3TB for backups
    EVGA Supernova 750 G2
    BeQuiet Silent Base 600
    Deepcool Captain 120EX
    Microsoft Wireless
    Logitech wireless
    Internet Speed
    Cable - 100MB Downlink
    Other Info
    Sonar Platinum 64 bit recording studio software with MOTU 896Mk3 Hybrid recording interface unit.

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