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Hi all!

I recently helped one of our CPD Community members who was having some microphone issues with Adobe Connect and Skype.

I thought I would drop some of the basic first steps to look at and hopefully save you all some time and head scratching for when you next have an issue! It might help with your understanding and advice for if your attendees are having issues also.

Are you plugged in?

If you are using a headset with a microphone that isn't USB, it will most likely have two wires. One wire will be for the audio out (what you hear), and one wire for the audio in (what you say). The wire for audio out will normally have a green socket or bit of green colour. This wire and plug then goes into the audio out socket on your computer that is normally green. The microphone will then be red or pink. This makes life easy as you just need to match colour with colour.

This is not always the case though! In rare cases a headset will be all in one and only have one cable that handles both in and out. Some people might have a separate microphone that connects to the computer in some way, such as USB, utilising the USB slot instead of the red/pink audio jack.

For most cases on a desktop computer you can plug audio cables into the top of the computer, some you might need to connect into the back. Often the socket will have a picture of what needs to be plugged in, a microphone for pink or audio in for green. People often get confused with audio in and out. Think of it this way:

  • Audio out = audio coming out your headphones or speakers so you can hear it
  • Audio in is you sending your audio into the microphone to be transmitted

Some headsets will have an audio mute, most commonly for the microphone but sometimes for the headphones also. It is always worth checking that the physical device is not muted somehow and that it is actually turned on. On some headsets this will be on the "ear" or in the wire connecting to the computer. Some will have a light to warn you, others won't. 

Are you connected to Windows?

Windows needs to be told what devices it should be using for the audio in and out. Most of the time it works this out automatically, especially if you only have one audio device such as a headset. It can run into issues when there are multiple devices to look at and sometimes it can decide to use a device that you haven't used for months! 

At the bottom right of Windows there is a speaker icon, I have highlighted it red in the image. If you right click on this, it brings up a menu where you can select ‘Sounds’.

From the sounds option you can select the audio devices for audio in and audio out. The image below is only for audio in, audio out looks the same and works in the same way.

With the screengrab to the left, you can see at the top of this window there are different tabs to select. 'Playback' is your audio out, what you hear. 'Recording' is your audio in, the microphone.

As I said before Windows normally does not have a problem if you have one device for audio. It can get tricky, like in the case in my own example. I have wireless headphones, speakers, my normal headphones, which are connected and have the green tick over the icon. I also have onboard sound from my motherboard, my monitor has speakers on it and more.

This is where Windows can get confused and sometimes jump to a different device. Non-tech savvy users might not realise the wrong device is now selected.

You can go to this menu and make sure your correct device is selected. Do this be right clicking on a device and selecting it as primary or default, you can also disable other devices.

Interestingly there is a green bar that shows the level audio coming in. You can see when I took the screen grab, I had three bars worth of sound coming in. If audio is coming in, even if you can't hear it because the wrong device is selected this will still go up and down. Then when the correct device is selected you should then get audio.

All of this works exactly the same for your microphone including the audio level bar except, when you talk into your mic and the wrong device is selected the audio bar will not go up and down. When you select the correct device and you speak, you then should see it go up and down as it picks up your microphone audio.

If you have made sure your Windows computer has the correct device or devices selected you are well on your way to having no audio issues!

 

Other software: Connect and Skype

In theory... Software you use should identify what Windows has a default or primary device and select that to use when you load the software. In theory...

It doesn't always work that way. This is why in Adobe Connect I often suggest people utilise the 'Audio Setup Wizard' as a first step as it effectively allows you to do what we did above for windows but in Connect. 

Skype is very similar also. At the top left there are three dots, from here you can get to the setup options to make sure the correct device is selected. Keep in mind the audio page starts with the webcam, scroll down and you get additional options. It also has audio level bar references for you.

 

You want to make sure that Windows and the software you are using are all connected to the same devices.

Summary

Is it plugged in?

Is it plugged in correctly?

Is the device on or not muted?

Does Windows or my Mac have the correct audio device or devices selected?

Does the software I am using have the same devices selected?

Hurrah my audio works!

Or.....

Oh no, it is still not working.... Leave me an angry message below!

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