How to Adjust Microphone Sensitivity

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How to Adjust Microphone Sensitivity

Microphone sensitivity is a setting that requires delicate adjustment. A microphone that is too sensitive will pick up everything from loud pets and children to even finer, unwanted details such as typing or subtle mouth noises. On the flip side, a microphone with low sensitivity might require a louder speaking voice, and lead to audio that cuts in and out if you don’t maintain a high level of volume.

The engineers at Yamaha UC are behind some of the most advanced audio technology found in our offered line of conference room microphones. We asked them for some tips on how to adjust microphone sensitivity to the ideal setting across various types of devices and software.

Table of Contents:

What is Microphone Sensitivity? 

Microphone sensitivity refers to the measure of a microphone's ability to convert acoustic sound waves into an electrical signal. Basically, it’s how good a mic is at picking up sound. A higher sensitivity means that the microphone requires less sound pressure to produce the same electrical output and vice versa.

What makes things a tad confusing is the term ‘microphone sensitivity’ is often used interchangeably with ‘microphone volume’. Many software settings use this language in an attempt to keep things as simple as possible, but the terms do mean different things.

Sensitivity vs volume

The key difference between mic sensitivity and volume is that sensitivity defines what range of sound is capable of being captured by the mic to start with, while volume can only adjust the loudness of what the mic was able to capture.

For example, if a mic with low sensitivity fails to pick up a quiet sound in an environment, such as the sound of crickets outside, raising the volume of that recording would do nothing to make the noise audible. The sound of the crickets simply wasn’t captured.

However, for the sake of simplicity, microphone volume or input volume usually equates to mic sensitivity in most software scenarios.

How microphone directionality affects sensitivity 

The sensitivity of a microphone can be affected by its polar pattern, which refers to the directionality of a microphone and how it responds to sound coming from different angles.

In general, directional microphones, such as cardioid and supercardioid, have higher sensitivity compared to omnidirectional microphones because they are designed to capture sound from a specific direction, thus requiring less sound pressure to produce the same electrical output. Omnidirectional microphones, on the other hand, have lower sensitivity as they are designed to capture sound from all directions equally.

How to adjust microphone sensitivity

The ability to adjust microphone sensitivity can vary depending on the type of microphone you have, or the videoconferencing software you may be using. Here are some ways you might be able to adjust sensitivity:

  1. Hardware controls: Some microphones have physical controls, such as knobs or dials, that allow you to adjust the sensitivity.

  2. Software settings: Some microphones are connected to a computer or device that has software that allows you to adjust the sensitivity. For example, you can adjust the sensitivity of a microphone connected to a computer using the sound settings in the operating system.

  3. Preamp: An external preamp device, typically used in professional recording sessions, can be used to adjust the ‘gain control’ or sensitivity of the microphone before the signal reaches the recording device.

How to raise and lower microphone sensitivity across different platforms

A good microphone will be compatible for use across the most common operating systems and videoconferencing software available today. In some cases, the hardware may be even come with certification for platforms such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams, which gives some guarantee of compatibility.

We’ve put together some simple instructions on how to raise and lower microphone sensitivity across different scenarios.

Windows 11'a screenshot showing how to adjust microphone sensitivity in windows 11.

To raise or lower mic sensitivity in Windows 11, follow the steps below:

  1. In the bottom right corner of your screen where time and date are displayed, locate the sound icon in the nearby application tray. 

  2. Right click this icon and select ‘Sound settings’. 

  3. In the newly appeared window, scroll down to the ‘Input’ section.

  4. Adjust the input volume slider to change the sensitivity of the microphone.

Mac'a screenshot showing how to adjust microphone sensitivity in mac-os ventura 13.

For macOS Ventura 13 operating systems, adjusting microphone sensitivity or input volume is simple:

  1. Open the Apple menu in the top left toolbar and select ‘System Preferences.’

  2. Click the ‘Sound’ icon within the sidebar or within the app folder.

  3. Select the ‘Input’ tab and then adjust the slider associated with your selected microphone device.



a screenshot showing how to adjust microphone sensitivity in zoom.Zoom refers to microphone sensitivity as ‘input volume’ under the audio settings tab. To reach this setting, follow these easy steps: 

  1. After you’ve joined your meeting, locate the ‘^’ icon near the Mute button in the lower left bar of participant controls.

  2. Click the ‘^’ icon and select settings from the menu.

  3. Select the ‘Audio’ tab to see settings related to your microphone

  4. Here you can adjust the ‘Volume’ slider associated with your microphone to a lower or higher input level.

Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams features a smart auto adjustment for microphone sensitivity, so theoretically you shouldn’t have to worry about it. However, if you still find yourself too quiet or too loud, your best bet is to follow the instructions above for adjusting mic sensitivity in Windows 11 or Mac OS.

Google Meet

a screenshot showing how to adjust microphone sensitivity in google meet.Google Meet does not feature a slider for microphone sensitivity or input volume. Similar to Microsoft Teams, you will want to make adjustments within your operating system, typically either Windows 11 or Mac OS. 

However, Google Meet does have a ‘Noise cancellation’ feature you can toggle on or off to help eliminate background noise from being picked up on sensitive microphones. Once in a meeting, you can select the kebab menu (it looks like 3 dots), choose ‘Settings,’ and toggle the noise cancellation feature there.


To adjust microphone sensitivity or input volume in Webex, follow these steps:

  1. Once in your meeting, select the down arrow icon near the mute button.

  2. Select ‘Settings’ from the drop-down menu.

  3. Use the provided input volume sliders to control your mic sensitivity, or simply use Webex’s provided ‘automatically adjust volume’ feature.

Discorda screenshot showing how to adjust microphone sensitivity in discord.

To adjust mic sensitivity or input volume in Discord, follow these steps.

  1. From the main screen, select the gear icon near your portrait in the bottom left corner to open ‘User Settings.’

  2. Locate the ‘Voice & Video’ tab in the left column.

  3. Here you can adjust input volume via the sliders to a higher or lower level of sensitivity.

  4. If using ‘Voice Activity’ input mode, your mic will only detect your voice past a set threshold of loudness. You can toggle this to be automatically determined, or toggle the setting off to manually apply your own threshold.

Microphones with perfect out of the box sensitivity

A microphone that requires constant adjustment to make yourself heard at reasonable levels can be a frustrating experience.  At Yamaha UC, we ensure our microphones are designed to be simple to use right out of the box, and easy to scale and adjust to different conference room layouts, classrooms, or work from home setups.

If you're looking for a ceiling microphone with an impressive sensitivity and pick-up range, look no further than Yamaha's RM-CG Ceiling Microphone. Check out just how far this microphone can pick up voices in this video.


Contact us today to learn more about which type of microphone is best for your needs.