(Last Updated On: June 21, 2021)

A comprehensive guide on how to set up your headphones with built-in mic on a Windows 10 PC. Plus, the common issues you may encounter and how to fix them.

Imagine this: you got a new pair of headphones with a built-in microphone. So, you excitedly plug them into your PC to start your day full of online classes, calls, or game chat. But no matter what you do, no one can hear you!

No one likes having their communications interrupted, especially when you really need to be heard. There’s no denying how frustrating it is when instructions aren’t getting through to the other side.

This is especially agonizing when the issue only happens when you use your headphones with your PC.

Don’t worry! Even with the best headphones, you won’t get the best mic input experience till you’ve set it up properly. So, before you make any hasty decisions, here’s a guide for a few quick solutions you can do to use headphones with a built-in mic on your Windows 10 PC.

Headset and Windows PC
Headset and Windows PC

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How to Use Headphones With Built-in Mic on Windows 10 PC

With working-from-home becoming the default practice, headsets with built-in mics have become a necessity. But not all headsets are plug-and-play; sometimes, you may need to do some settings tweaks to make them work properly. This is especially so for Windows 10 PCs.

Sample headphones with built-in mic
Sample headphones with built-in mic

With Windows 10, you can configure multiple devices simultaneously and customize your sound settings for different events. However, this sometimes causes your PC to be confused with which device to use for certain settings: like the mic input.

That’s why, if your headphones’ microphone isn’t working, it’s most probably because your Windows PC doesn’t recognize it as the default input device.

Here’s how you can set your headset as the default device:

  1. Ensure your headsets (wired/wireless) and all their components are properly connected.
    If you need help on this, make sure to check out our guides on how to connect your wired or wireless headphones to a PC.
  2. Click on the sound icon (bottom right corner of the screen). The sound settings will open.
    Open Sound settings
    Open Sound settings
  3. Click to open the sound control panel (right of settings).
    Open the Sound Control Panel
    Open the Sound Control Panel
  4. Select your headphone as your default input device on the control panel.
    Select your headset mic
    Select your headset mic
If you’re using third-party audio apps like Discord or Zoom, it can override your system preferences for your audio devices with the programmed options. Be sure to turn them off to prevent unnecessary interference.

How to Enable/Disable Your Headset Mic in Windows 10

If your headphones are already set as your default input device but it still doesn’t work, it may be because it’s disabled in your sound settings.

Knowing how to enable/disable your headphone mic connected with your PC means you can always go back and check which setting is toggled when you encounter mic concerns.

You can do this in two ways:

Using the Device properties

  1. Open Settings & Click on the “System” section.
    Select System
    Select “System”
  2. Click on the “Sound” section. Under the “Input” section, select the “Device properties” option.
    Click on Device Properties
    Click on “Device Properties”
  3. Your microphone should be enabled by default. For louder volume, drag the navigator on the volume bar to the right and vice versa for softer volume.
    Device properties
    Device properties
  4. Check or clear the “Disable” option to turn off/on the device respectively. Upon completing this step, Windows 10 and apps will not have access to the microphone.
    Disable mic
    Disable mic

Using the ‘Manage sound devices’ option

If you want to enable or disable one or more mics, you can use these steps:

  1. Open Settings & Click on the “System” section.
    Go to System
    Go to “System”
  2. Click on the “Sound” section. Under the “Input” section, select the Manage sound devices option.
    Manage sound devices
    Manage sound devices
  3. Under the “Input Devices” section, select the microphone.
    Select the mic
    Select the mic
  4. Click on the “Disable/Enable” button to disable or enable the device respectively.
    Disable or enable mic
    Disable or enable mic
  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 to disable multiple microphones. Upon completing the above steps, Windows 10 and apps will not have access to the mics disabled.

How to Adjust the Headset Microphone Volume on Windows 10 PC

Of course, the default mic settings on your Windows PC may not be enough to please everyone. That’s why Windows allows users to finetune the mic volume manually. This is great for when the headphones are working, but your teammates still can’t hear you properly.

If you wish to tweak the current microphone input volume, follow these steps:

  1. Go to “System” on your Settings tab.
  2. Click on the “Sound” section and select the “Sound Control Panel” option.
    Sound Control Panel
    Sound Control Panel
  3. Click on the “Recording” tab. Select “Microphone” and click on the “Properties” button.
    Microphone Properties
    Microphone Properties
  4. Click on the “Levels” tab and drag the “Microphone Boost” slider. For louder sound, move to the right. For less sound, move to the left.
    You shouldn’t boost your mic levels too high as you might risk producing a distorted sound.
    Mic levels
    Mic levels

How to Test Your Headset Microphone on Windows PC

Don’t be too quick to pass judgment on your headset just because the mic doesn’t seem to work properly on your Windows PC. There are other factors to consider (e.g., headphones compatibility, hardware issues, connectivity, etc.). You wouldn’t want to throw them away prematurely.

That’s where testing your headphones’ microphone plays a key role.

Testing eliminates these unknowns and identifies the key fault with your headphones’ microphone.

There are three main methods you use to test your headphone microphone on Windows 10 PC:

Windows mic test

The Windows mic test is the most straightforward solution to testing your microphone issue.

This can help you check if the headphone mic set up is configured correctly. It’s exceptionally useful when multiple devices are connected to the Windows PC. You can isolate your input device and test them out.

  1. Open Settings & Click on the “System” section and select the “Sound” section.
    Sound System Settings
    Sound System Settings
  2. Under the “Input” section, select “Choose your input device”, and then select the microphone or recording device you want to use.
    Select your mic
    Select your mic
  3. Test your microphone by speaking into it. If the soundbar (blue bar) moves, your headphone mic is working properly.
    Test the mic
    Test the mic
  4. If the soundbar isn’t moving, select “Troubleshoot” to fix your microphone.
    Click on Troubleshoot
    Click on “Troubleshoot”
  5. If “Troubleshoot” didn’t resolve your issue, open the “App volume and device preferences” section.
    App volume and device preferences
    App volume and device preferences
  6. Select a different input and output device for each app that’s running before testing your mic again with steps 4 & 5.
    Manually select your input and output device
    Manually select your input and output device

Sound recording test

Sound recordings are a good indicator for measuring the clarity and amplitude of the sound recorded from the microphone. Based on the quality of the recording, you can make the adjustments to your PC settings accordingly.

  1. Search and open the Voice Recorder app on the Start menu. Start speaking and record for 30 seconds to one minute.
    Voice Recorder
    Voice Recorder
  2. Playback and listen to the recorded clip.
    Listen to recording
    Listen to recording
  3. If the recording isn’t clear, the issue likely lies with the app. However, if the recording cuts out or sounds choppy, the issue may lie with the hardware. Test your headphone mics on another computer to see if the same issue persists.

Mic monitoring

Mic Monitoring is one of the oldest features around for Windows that allows you to hear yourself accurately. Most gamers and gaming brands use this to develop their devices. However, most people are unaware of this feature.

With mic monitoring, you can monitor if your voice is loud enough or clearly communicated to others through your headphone mics.

Here’s how to enable Mic Monitoring on PC for headphones with in-built mics:

  1. Right-click the Sound icon on the taskbar and click on “Sounds” Reference link:
    Select Sounds
    Select “Sounds”
  2. Click on the “Recording” tab, look for the device you’re using and select the “Properties” option.
    Go to Mic Properties
    Go to Mic Properties
  3. Click on the “Listen” tab. Check the “Listen to this device” option. This automatically feeds your mic input back to your headphone speakers, so you can hear how your mic sounds.
    Check Listen to this device
    Check “Listen to this device”
  4. To disable Mic Monitoring, uncheck the “Listen to this device” option.

Troubleshooting Headphones Mic Issues on Windows PC

Now, if you find that your headset mic is unsatisfactory after the mentioned tests, you can take more advanced routes to troubleshoot your headset mic on Windows 10.

Allow apps to access your microphone

Your default privacy settings can prevent your apps from automatically accessing the built-in mic. Hence, some settings modifications are required to grant microphone access to your system and apps:

  1. Search for “Privacy settings” under the start menu.
    Privacy settings
    Privacy settings
  2. Select the “Microphone” section.
    Go to Microphone
    Go to “Microphone”
  3. Click on the “Change” button and turn on the master toggle switch to permit which apps can have access to your microphone.
    Change mic access
    Change mic access
To determine app access to the microphone, simply locate the app under the “Choose which apps can access your microphone” list, and turn on/off the toggle switch for the particular app.

Update sound driver

Most drivers for Windows 10 are automatically downloaded and updated through the periodic Windows Updates. However, you can still manually update your sound driver to be sure:

  1. Right-click on the start menu and select “Device Manager” on the taskbar.
    Go to Device Manager
    Go to “Device Manager”
  2. Select a category to view the list of devices, then right-click on the one to update.
    Update sound card driver
    Update sound card driver
  3. Select “Search automatically for updated driver software” and select “Update driver”.
    Search for driver updates
    Search for driver updates
If your driver doesn’t appear on Windows, follow the instructions on your device manufacturer’s website.

Use the Windows troubleshooter

The Windows Troubleshooter is your trusted aide whenever you encounter issues with Windows 10 PCs – especially for sound/mic-related problems.

  1. Select “Troubleshoot settings” under the start menu.
    Troubleshoot settings
    Troubleshoot settings
  2. Select the “Additional troubleshooters” option.
    Additional troubleshooters
    Additional troubleshooters
  3. Select the “Speech” option and Run the troubleshooter for your in-built mic.
    Select Speech
    Select “Speech”
  4. Allow the troubleshooter to run and answer any questions that appear. If no changes or updates were necessary, you could try out the recovery options.

Try a different headset

If you’ve exhausted all our abovementioned suggestions, it could be a hardware issue. However, before jumping to the conclusion that you have a faulty headset, make sure you test them first (to be safe).

To do this, you can connect other sets of headphones to your computer to confirm that it’s a headphone issue. Or, try the same pair of headphones on a different device.

Conclusion

Being able to use your headphones with built-in mic on your Windows 10 PC can have a great impact on the quality of your online meetings or even gaming.

With your headset mic properly working, you can now go through your daily online tasks with ease.

Which of these suggestions solved your headset mic issue? Are there any other solutions you can think of? Tell us more via the comments section below.