Poor microphone gain from bluetooth headsets in Windows 10
February 17, 2021 7:06 AM   Subscribe

From a USB headset, the volume input level from the microphone is normal and good in Windows 10. From two sets from pretty-different sets of bluetooth earbuds the microphone input level is uselessly low... Could replacing my bluetooth adaptor have any impact on this?

I have a cheapo set of knock-off airpods and a decent, well-reviewed pair of earbuds fresh from Amazon, and both of them give me uselessly low input volume, topping out at 7% according to the microphone test in the Control Panel. Unfortunately, I don't get a "boost" slider in the Advanced Settings for the mic input when either of the bluetooth headsets is in use, so Google's main tip is a no-go for me.

The reviews for my new set of earbuds repeatedly mention people loving them for Zoom or Teams, so I don't think the buds themselves are to blame. Both sets of bluetooth earbuds work as expected with Apple and Android phones as well as my 10-year-old MacBook Pro.

The bluetooth adapter for my PC is some generic Bluetooth 4.0 USB dongle that was cheap on Amazon. It SEEMS like it works perfectly, but I'm curious if a cheap dongle could somehow lead to issues with microphone gain or if using a powered vs unpowered USB port for the dongle would affect performance/microphone gain. Clearly I don't understand bluetooth. =P

Any thoughts or ideas will be heartily appreciated, thanks in advance!
posted by chudmonkey to Computers & Internet (1 answer total)
It shouldn't make any difference what dongle you use. The audio from the mic is digitised on the device before being sent over bluetooth to the dongle. The dongle just translates that data from Bluetooth to USB, and then some standard drivers deal with decoding the audio data and feeding it into the Windows audio stack.

If the audio signal is weak it's almost certainly because it was weak at the mic originally.

You're comparing Bluetooth earbuds - where the mic is presumably on a lump on the cord, hanging round your neck - to a USB headset which presumably has the mic on a boom in front of your mouth. I think that's more likely to be the reason for poor audio pickup.
posted by automatronic at 10:42 AM on February 17

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