Enable Microphones and Line-In Audio in Windows

Want to transfer those old vinyl LPs to MP3s? Want to use voice dictation software? Want to record video, and need to send the audio track through your sound card? Want to use your PC as a makeshift karaoke machine? Getting Vista to record all those sounds may not be so easy.

Vista and 7 allow more than one audio device, a “feature” that usually makes troubleshooting audio problems needlessly complicated. This is particularly true when recording sound, given that Windows can only record from one source at a time.

A single audio device may have two or three audio inputs: an analog (mono) microphone input, an analog stereo “Line-In” or auxiliary input, and sometimes a digital S/PDIF input. And special devices, like voice dictation headsets and TV tuner cards, have their own inputs.

All the inputs for all your audio devices are listed in Control Panel ➝ Sound ➝ Recording tab.

To choose the default audio source, highlight the device you want to use and click Set Default. Most applications will automatically use the default device to record sound, but some (particularly voice-dictation software) require that you choose a source separately in the application itself.  If you speak to your mic the mic level should rise real time:


You might need to tweak its properties to enable mic boost if the levels are too low:


Ben Carigtan shows you how it’s done!

Comments [3]

  1. It is ridiculously simpler in Windows XP.

    Open your Volume Mixer, and from the File menu, choose to view the "Recording" settings, instead of the "Playback" settings (you may have to view a Properties dialog from the File menu; it's been a while since I've used Windows XP in a facility that required me to tinker with that– also, the Volume Mixer can be accessed by either double-clicking the Speaker icon in your tasktray or selecting "Volume Mixer" from the Accessories menu under your Start menu). Check the box underneath the channel you want to record from. Done.

  2. I agree with previous comments. It was a whole lot easier with Windows XP.

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