How to Improve Sound and Microphone Quality in Windows

Improve Audio Sound And Microphone In Windows 11

Microphone and audio quality on your PC may still be subpar, even if you use high-end audio input and output devices. Fortunately, Windows 10 and 11 come with many built-in enhancements that can help you get a superior audio experience. We’ve gathered a series of tips to help you improve sound and microphone quality on your Windows PC.

Tip: learn how to customize your Windows startup sound.

1. Enhance Audio Feature

Windows 11 allows you to optimize sound features manually for each audio device connected to your PC. Follow the steps laid out below to enhance audio features for output/input devices:

  1. Go to the Settings app by right-clicking the Start menu.
Improve Audio Mic - Go To The Settings App By Right Clicking The Start Menu
  1. Go to “System” in the left pane, then click the “Sound” option on the right.
Improve Audio Mic - Choose System In The Left Pane, Then Click The Sound Option
  1. Select “All sound devices” under the “Advanced” section.
Improve Audio Mic -  Select All Sound Devices In The Settings
  1. Select the audio device you want to enhance under either the “Output devices” or “Input devices” sections.
Improve Audio Mic - Select The Output Audio Device To Enhance
  1. Scroll down to find the “Enhance audio” option under the “Output/Input settings” section and click it to turn it on.
Improve Audio Mic - Turn On Audio Enhancement Feature For Output Devices

In some cases, turning on the audio enhancement feature can lead to more sound issues on your Windows PC. If that happens, repeat the same steps to turn it off before moving on to the next solution.

2. Configure Enhancement Settings

Windows 11 audio devices, such as Realtek, offer audio enhancement features. Follow the steps below to turn them on.

  1. Open “Settings -> System -> Sound -> Advanced” and select “More sound settings.”
Improve Audio Mic - Go To More Sound Settings
  1. Click on a device, such as “Speakers” that we are selecting here, then choose “Properties.”
Improve Audio Mic - Go To Speakers Properties
  1. Move to the “Enhancements” tab, make sure “Immediate mode” is on and choose the sound effects you prefer from the list, like “Voice Cancellation” or “Pitch Shift,” then hit “Apply” to save the settings.
Improve Audio Mic - Change Audio Presets In Windows 11

3. Increase Microphone Levels

Low-quality microphone sound may happen due to two reasons: a microphone array quality issue or low volume of the microphone in use. Rectify this situation by following the steps below.

  1. Make sure you’ve turned on “Enhanced audio” for your “Microphone Array” in the “Input section,” as shown above.
  1. If the above solution didn’t improve the microphone array quality, you may want to try increasing its volume. Search for the “Control Panel” app from the Start menu and open it by clicking it.
Improve Audio Mic -Search For And Select Control Panel
  1. Select the “Hardware and Sound” option.
Improve Audio Mic - Select Hardware And Sound
  1. Under “Sound, click on “Manage audio devices.”
Improve Audio Mic - Manage Audio Devices From The Control Panel
  1. At the top of the pop-up window, move to the “Recording” tab, then click the microphone in use and choose “Properties.”
Improve Audio Mic -Go To Microphone's Properties
  1. Click on the “Levels” tab to find the “Microphone” volume bar, change the volume by dragging the arrow to the right, then hit “Apply” to save the changes before closing the window.
Improve Audio Mic -Increase Microphone Volume

Tip: Test you mic in the Settings app to determine whether it is working. If the microphone is not working, you may have to reinstall the audio drivers.

4. Activate Spatial Sound

Enabling Spatial Sound will simulate a surround sound setup that also improves the audio device’s sound quality. Follow the steps below to enable it.

  1. Open “Settings -> System -> Sound.”
  2. Select the output device you want to change, then click on the arrow next to it.
Improve Audio Mic - Select The Output Device To Improve Its Overall Sound Quality
  1. Scroll down to the “Spatial sound” section, click the down arrow beside “Type,” and select “Windows Sonic for Headphones.”
Improve Audio Mic - Select Windows Sonic For Headphone For 3d Spatial Sound
  1. In Windows 10, you’ll need to tap on the “Device properties” button under “Choose your output device” to view this option.

If Windows’s default three-dimensional audio is not satisfying, you can download and enable other spatial sound formats from Microsoft Store. For instance, DTS Sound Unbound can help you experience an immersive sound while gaming with headphones on. If you are a cinephile, you can download Dolby Access audio format to hear more details and realism while watching a movie.

5. Activate Mono Audio

Mono audio makes both right and left audio channels produce a single sound simultaneously. As a result, it can be a useful feature to improve sound quality, especially when using headphones. Enable it as shown in the following steps.

  1. Open “Settings -> System-> Sound.”
  2. Find the “Mono audio” option under the “Output” section, then enable it to combine both audio channels.
Improve Audio Mic - Enable Mono Audio Option In Windows 11
  1. If you’re running Windows 10, you’ll need to go to “Settings -> Ease of Access -> Audio” to find the option.

Good to know: learn how to increase the maximum volume in Windows.

6. Update Audio Drivers

Keeping Windows up to date may improve audio and microphone quality and fix any related issues. However, you also need to remember to update your audio drivers manually, as new OS updates won’t do that. Follow the instructions below to update them.

  1. Right-click the Start menu and select “Device Manager” from the pop-up window.
Improve Audio Mic -Open Device Manager In Windows 11
  1. Scroll down to find “Sound, video and game controllers,” click on its arrow to expand it, then right-click the concerned audio driver to select “Update driver.”
Improve Audio Mic - Update Audio Driver In Windows 11
  1. Choose “Search automatically for drivers.”
Improve Audio Mic - Search Automatically For Drivers
  1. Repeat these steps for other audio drivers to ensure that they are all up to date.

7. Use Realtek Audio Console

Windows 11 and 10 come with a built-in Realtek Audio Console app that allows you to remove echoes and other unwanted sounds when using the microphone. We show you how to use it below.

  1. Click on the Start menu, search for “Realtek Audio Console” and open it.
Improve Audio Mic -Search For Realtek Audio Console
  1. Select “Microphone Array” or any other recording device from the left side of the window and enable the “AEC” feature by clicking the toggle.
Improve Audio Mic -Enable Aec Feature

8. Install Third-Party Audio Enhancement Software

If none of these methods were helpful in improving audio and microphone quality in Windows, you can download and use third-party apps to improve your PC’s sound quality. Below you’ll find a list of suggestions:

Good to know: don’t get your Windows software from just anywhere. Check out the best websites to download Windows software.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does my audio sound distorted in Windows?

First, check your speakers. Make sure your speaker jack is securely inserted into the computer’s speaker/headphone port. If the distortion persists, try switching speakers or headphones to determine whether they are the cause of the distortion. Audio driver issues may also be to blame, so make sure they are up to date.

Sometimes the mic actively receiving input will cause a feedback loop and pick up audio from your speakers, while your PC sends the mic’s input back through the speakers. In this case, you’ll need to create more distance between the mic and speakers. Alternatively, try turning down the speakers or decreasing the mic’s sensitivity.

If, on the other hand, you’re not receiving sound in Windows, follow this helpful guide.

What can I do if the app I’m using doesn’t recognize the mic?

Give the app microphone permission. If you have accidentally selected “Deny” or the app didn’t ask for microphone access, you can enable it in “Settings -> Privacy and Security -> Microphone.” Make sure the app you are using has access to the mic.

Image credit: Pexels. All screenshots by Farhad Pashaei.

Farhad Pashaei
Farhad Pashaei

As a technophile, Farhad has spent the last decade getting hands-on experience with a variety of electronic devices, including smartphones, laptops, accessories, wearables, printers, and so on. When he isn’t writing, you can bet he’s devouring information on products making their market foray, demonstrating his unquenchable thirst for technology.

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