Many PCs come with microphone jacks pre-installed, and some laptops even feature built-in microphones. With increased global Internet usage, microphones are becoming a greater necessity for usage with webcams, podcasts and other web-based media. According to the Associated Press, such microphone-dependant activities are on the rise, with over 100 million users registered on the popular Skype service (see Resources). While hooking up a microphone to most computers is pretty self-explanatory, the process for fine-tuning the mic settings is not as straightforward. The process doesn't have to be a mystery if you know where to click on your computer; in just a few steps, you can change your microphone's settings.
Right-click on the "Audio Settings" icon located at the bottom right-hand side of your main desktop screen. The icon features a white speaker symbol.
Click to select "Recording Devices" from the listing of Audio Settings options. This will bring up a new window showing all microphones currently installed on your computer.
Click on the microphone that you want to adjust.
Click on the button labeled "Properties" after you've selected the appropriate microphone. By default, this will open a Properties window set to the "General" tab.
Click on the "Levels" tab. From this tab, you can click and drag the slider to change the recording levels.
Click on the "Advanced" tab to access all the other microphone settings. From the Advanced tab, you can click a drop-down menu for changing the format settings, and you can also adjust some software settings related to the microphone.
Click "OK" to confirm any changed made.
The screenshots illustrating these steps were taken in Microsoft Windows Vista. The microphone adjustment process itself is very similar in Windows XP and other older versions of Windows, but bear in mind that the screen images will look a bit different.