Using a built-in microphone with Voice Recorder

April 3, 2020 at 23:17:16
Specs: several
The built-in microphone in my 2016 HP laptop seems to
be reasonably good quality, but I don't have a chance
of getting good sound from it when using the Windows 10
Voice Recorder app because the sound of the hard drive
churning is practically constant. Apparently Voice
Recorder writes to the hard drive as it records, so
the playback is clickety-clack all the way through.

I expect that it also picks up the sound of the fan,
which *is* constant, of course, but the sound of the
hard drive is so nearly constant that I couldn't tell.

I right-clicked on the Taskbar speaker icon and chose
"Recording Devices", then selected "Microphone", then
"Properties", and then "Levels". I lowered it to as
low as 50% with "Microphone Boost" turned off. That
lowered the recorded level of the hard drive noise, but
no more than it lowered the level of my recorded voice.

Is this just pure bad design? A lot of different people
had to be involved in the design of the whole system, so
I can see how it would be difficult to get it all right,
but they've had years to refine it. I'd think that by
now they'd know what works and what doesn't.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis


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#1
April 4, 2020 at 00:20:01
Well it depends on what you wanna use mic for.

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#2
April 4, 2020 at 05:52:40
Clickety-clack & constant fan noise?

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#3
April 4, 2020 at 08:02:27
Time for an SSD and maybe an external mic.

You have to be a little bit crazy to keep you from going insane.


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#4
April 4, 2020 at 15:51:34
New poster Qwertyp,

No, it really doesn't depend on what one wants to use the
microphone for, because no normal user would ever want
to use the microphone to record the noise of the hard drive.

riider,

What are you asking? The hard drive makes a sound which
I can't think of any good terms to describe, but "clickety-clack"
comes pretty close. It is doing stuff almost all the time that I
am doing anything, and of course, sometimes when I'm not
doing anything. It isn't loud, and I don't think it is unusually
loud, but it is audible. It sounds much louder and much more
obnoxious on a recording made with the built-in microphone.
The fan makes a constant whoosh sound. Odd, because the
laptop has only a single air vent. I presume that air goes in
one side of the vent and out the other, but I have never been
able to detect any airflow, either with a moistened finger or
with a bit of toilet paper, just now. I do not believe this has
changed since I got the laptop brand-new 3-1/2 years ago.

As I said, I didn't notice the noise of the fan on the recording,
but that might only be because the noise of the hard drive was
nearly constant, apparently because Voice Recorder uses the
hard drive while it is recording.

And as I said, the microphone seems to be good quality. But
what good is that if it picks up the noise of the hard drive?

Bad design.

Fingers,

Yes, if I want to do any quality recording I can't use this laptop
with its built-in microphone. Certainly not with Voice Recorder,
but I do have Audacity installed, and I don't expect that to be
much, if any better, because something in Windows will still
want to use the hard drive while I'm recording. The point is
that the laptop has a good-quality built-in microphone for a
reason, and it is essentially useless.

And I wonder how it is for other people, who depend on the
built-in microphone all the time. Both on this same model of
laptop and others. Do they all suffer constant clickety-clack?

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis


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#5
April 4, 2020 at 16:31:16
Sound induction (vibration, mechanical noise etc.) into/through the laptop frame is almost certain to be picked up by a built-in mic.


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#6
April 4, 2020 at 17:04:32
Yes. I tried placing the laptop on my bed instead of a hard surface,
but it made no obvious difference. Also bending the screen far back
so the microphone pointed away from the bottom part made no
obvious difference.

Oh, wait. Did you mean "conduction" rather than "induction"?
It took a minute for me to notice that consciously. I just accepted
at first that "induction" was the right word. It seems plausible.
I think "induction" involves a conversion of energy from one form
into another, while sound conduction is just kinetic energy moving
from one bit of matter to another.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis


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#7
April 4, 2020 at 17:12:14
Well dun grasshopper...

Yup I ort to have sed “conduction..”

You may have another chocolate cookie (chocolate biscuit in the UK).


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#8
April 4, 2020 at 21:17:05
Yes, the sound is being conducted through the metal and plastic to the mic. It should have been isolated with a bit of foam neoprene.
An SSD would eliminate the clickity clack but turning off the built in mic and plugging in an external one would allow you to still use the laptop to make the recordings and keep the mic a significant distance away from the noise of the laptop (and no conduction).

You have to be a little bit crazy to keep you from going insane.


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