Few things are as frustrating when you sit down to record a podcast than discovering that your mic doesn’t seem to be working.
Now, there are many reasons why your microphone might not be working, which is reassuring in a way because it means that a few of them are easily fixable.
However, this also means that you might need to undergo a process of trial and error to work out why your default recording device isn’t working and how to solve the problem.
In this brief guide, we’ll be outlining a few common reasons why you find yourself asking why is my mic not working to help you get to the bottom of the issue.
Reasons Your Mic Isn’t Working
1. It’s Muted
This might seem like an obvious thing to check, but it remains one of the most common reasons why microphones seem to not work when connected to laptops or PCs.
It’s easy to accidentally mute your mic without realizing it, and depending on the configuration of your audio settings on your PC, the mic can even get automatically muted.
So, if your input device seems to have stopped working without explanation, don’t discount the possibility that it might simply be muted. To check this, go into the sound settings in the control panel on your PC or laptop and make sure the volume slider isn’t set to mute.
If it is, just slide the mic volume to the right and the issue should be resolved. If that isn’t the problem, keep reading to find out why else your mic might have stopped working.
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2. Physical Connection Problems
If you’re using a microphone that physically plugs into your laptop or PC using a USB port, bear in mind that there could be a physical connection or device properties issue at play.
This can sometimes be difficult to diagnose because if the connection issue is to do with your cable, several parts of your connection cable could be to blame.
It could be the wire, a problem with the USB plug, the connection to the microphone itself, or even the USB port on your computer. In some cases, however, it could just be that you haven’t properly pushed either end of the cable into the relevant port.
Make sure both ends of your cable are securely connected to the mic and your PC. If they are, it’s worth examining the connections and ports to check for damage.
If you still can’t see anything wrong, try using a spare cable if you have one. In the event that your mic still isn’t working, we recommend checking the other possibilities in this article. In case none of them solve the problem, it could be that you need to buy a new cable.
3. Default Device Settings
If your microphone isn’t set as your default audio input device on your computer, it may seem like it’s not working when you actually just need to adjust your audio device default settings.
Go into the control panel menu on your PC and select the audio settings. Choose ‘sound’ and select ‘recording’. The microphone you’re trying to use should appear in your list of audio devices. There should be an option for you to select ‘set default’.
4. Microphone is Disabled
Similarly to how many people don’t realize that their mic is on mute, it’s possible that your microphone has been disabled without your knowledge. Luckily, microphone access is an easy issue to fix.
To enable your microphone on your computer, you’ll need to access the privacy settings. Once you’ve done this, you can select your microphone, choose ‘change’ and look at the microphone access switch.
If the toggle is set to ‘off’, simply switch it back on and your microphone should be enabled and ready to use.
5. Access Permissions
If you’re recording your podcast using a microphone connected to your laptop or computer, the chances are that you’re using a specific app to record and edit your audio.
If that’s the case, the reason behind your mic being unresponsive could be that your chosen app does not have access to your microphone.
Again, you can fix this easily. What you need to do is to disable app exclusive control. Follow the same steps you would to enable your microphone settings on your PC, but then scroll to find the option called ‘allow apps to access your microphone’.
Once you have switched the toggle to ‘on’, you should be able to choose which individual apps or default recording device can access your mic.
6. Outdated Drivers
If you haven’t updated the audio drivers on your microphone, it might stop working until you update them. To fix microphone settings, you’ll need to do this using Device Manager.
Once in Device Manager, you should see an option called ‘audio input and output’ or something similar. Your microphone should be listed underneath this. To update the drivers, right click on the option for your mic and choose ‘uninstall’.
Then, you’ll need to access the action menu towards the top of the page and choose ‘scan for hardware changes’. If your audio driver needs updating, this scan should do it automatically.
7. PC Incompatibility
If this is a new microphone or one you haven’t used with your PC or laptop before, you might be dealing with some compatibility issues. Unfortunately, this often means using a different computer or a different microphone.
To check whether your microphone and computer might be incompatible, run your troubleshooter by right-clicking the volume icon in your taskbar and choosing ‘troubleshoot sound problems’.
This will prompt a set of instructions for you to follow. If your microphone and computer setup are not compatible, the troubleshooter should let you know.
As you can see, there are many reasons why your mic might seem to not be working. Quite often, there may not be a problem with your microphone at all, and the issue can be resolved by changing a few settings on your computer.
However, sometimes, physical connection problems and incompatibility issues arise, in which case, you may need to use a different setup or purchase new equipment. Before you go out and buy any new tech, make sure you’ve tried all the fixes listed in this guide.