Are your friends or co-workers having a hard time hearing your voice when using a microphone? Well, here are a few ways to increase microphone volume using a variety of popular applications on a PC. If you’re a live streamer or content creator, then this becomes especially important, as you want to ensure that your content is loud enough to hear.
This article features a few tools used by many YouTubers and Streamers and some options to boost your volume for video conference calls. If you’re having a hard time understanding any part of this article, please let me know in the comments to clarify it for you.
Let’s get started!
Table of Contents
1: Increase Volume In Windows 10 Using Sound Settings
The first, and I’d argue the best way to change microphone volume, is to increase the volume within windows or your operating system itself. I recommend boosting your volume here because the volume levels are increased across every program, including those mentioned below. To increase your microphone volume here, you’ll need to access your sound settings window.
How to Access your Microphone Sound Settings
- Click on your Start button located to the left of your taskbar
- Start typing out “Sound Settings”
- Click Sound settings (System Settings) list item at the top
Now, you’ll see a window that looks a little bit like this:
Next, you’ll want to click on the Sound Control Panel button under the related settings list. This will open up an older style window that you may or may not be familiar with. At any rate, click on the recording tab, and you should see something like this:
Now, you’ll need to click on your microphone device properties- In my case, it is the IN 1-2 device added by my Behringer UMC 204HD Audio Interface since I use a condenser microphone. The following steps are:
- Click Properties
- Select the Levels Tab
- And bring the slider all the way to 100 if it isn’t already
- In some cases, you may also have a microphone boost option, but mine doesn’t, as it doesn’t use the pink 3.5mm port in the back. This is another way to further boost your microphone volume.
If your microphone still isn’t loud enough, you can further increase it by using the voice meeter software. Don’t close this window yet!
2: Boost Microphone Volume Further Using Voice Meeter
Voice Meeter is a popular program that can be used to apply system-wide VST plugin effects to your microphone, pan the audio to the left or right channel, and what we care about for this tutorial, boost your microphone volume past its “Maximum.”
Pro Tip: If you need to reset a value to default, double-click it.
To do this:
- Download VoiceMeeter
- Assign a device to your hardware input
- Select a Virtual device to latch onto the Output
- Increase the volume slider in dB to audible levels
- Set “VoiceMeeter Output” to your default device
Benefits & Drawbacks of VoiceMeeter
As useful of a program as Voicemeeter is, there are a few drawbacks you should be aware of.
- It must be running any time you want to use your microphone
- It is complicated to use, especially in the Banana version. (Weird name choice, I know.)
- It adds a varying degree of latency to your microphone signal, making it harder to sync recorded video and audio
As for Benefits, those include:
- The ability to boost your microphone volume past its normal maximum
- The ability to apply EQ to your signal
- The ability to use Midi Devices to control your audio
- The ability to Send audio to other devices on your home network (VBAN Feature)
- The ability to use system-wide VST plugins to really dial in your audio (VoiceMeeter Banana required, more complex)
3: Boost Mic Volume In OBS Studio Using a Filter
If you live stream or use OBS Studio to record, you can use it to increase the volume of your microphone audio that goes to your stream or recorded content. I prefer using this method myself because it is far easier to use than VoiceMeeter. Additionally, I have sufficient mic volume for my use cases, given that my audio interface can increase the gain on my microphone using a dedicated amplifier circuit.
If you use OBS to create content, I recommend that you use this method over VoiceMeeter. It reduces the processing overhead, allowing your computer to better handle the job of encoding video.
With that said, there is nothing wrong with using VoiceMeeter in addition, plenty of streamers and YouTubers do it. At any rate, you can boost your microphone volume in OBS Studio using the Gain Filter.
Here is an article that goes over how to add filters to an audio signal.
And that’s it – Just make sure that it doesn’t peak the audio in the red when you get loud – That is what a limiter is designed to prevent. Super easy, right?
Just know that this does not apply to your microphone across your entire system, only within the OBS application. So it won’t boost your volume for zoom calls, Discord, or other programs.
4: In OBS Studio Using the Advanced Audio Properties
OBS Studio actually has an alternate way to boost your microphone volume using the Advanced Audio Properties. This method involves simply increasing the number above Zero (Or above 100%). I don’t like changing the audio here, though, because I like keeping all of my audio settings modified in one place. But If you prefer this method, then who am I to stop you?
You can increase the signal as high as 26 dB, or 2000%, but I don’t recommend that you go anywhere that number unless your microphone is super insensitive. You can cause damage to your listening devices if you drive your microphone too high and cause it to distort badly. Use that Audio Mixer meter bar to check if you’re peaking – If it’s all red, dial back the volume.
An ideal volume is roughly -10 to -15 dB for microphone volume.
5: In Discord Voice & Video Settings
If your friends or associates complain that you are too quiet in Discord, then I’d first recommend checking out the Windows 10 and Voice Meeter solutions mentioned above. However, there is a chance that your microphone was turned down within Discord itself.
To fix this:
While you’re in here, make sure the correct devices are selected. Sometimes, my dual sense controller likes to hijack my default audio device when I plug it in, resulting in poor audio.
6: In Davinci Resolve using Normalize Audio
If you’re recording content, and one of your takes has super quiet audio but great video, worry not. You can salvage this by normalizing the audio tracks. This normalizing feature is available in most major video editing software solutions. However, for the purpose of this article, I’m only going to be showing you how to do it in Davinci Resolve.
This editor is, in my opinion, the best free video editor available for several reasons, but those are beyond the scope of this article.
Anyways, to boost your volume, you simply need to open up resolve and select the Music icon once you’ve inserted a recording into the timeline.
Now, right-click the quiet audio clip, and select Normalize Audio Levels:
Select a maximum peak of -9 dB, unless you are making it for a specific media like Netflix, which has its own preset guidelines for audio normalization for a consistent audio experience across the platform. In which case, you’d select Netflix in the sample peak dropdown menu.
And that’s it! Normalizing audio is crucial to maintaining a consistent volume level across multiple recording sessions that differ in loudness. This is the difference between quiet conversations being inaudible compared to the deafening roar of music blasting away during a theatrical scene. Of course, you’ll probably want to consult some videos about normalization best practices because it can do more harm than good if misused.
Audio can be a complicated bag of worms. Even something as basic as increasing the volume of your microphone can be difficult to do in some instances. I hope this article helps you solve your audio dilemma, and you can be heard loud and clear in whatever your online endeavors require.