Windows 10 USB Microphone quietness + low quality (AT2020 USB)

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  1.    06 Sep 2016 #1

    Windows 10 USB Microphone quietness + low quality (AT2020 USB)


    There is a significant problem with the the new generation of Windows which is to do with (mostly) professional USB microphones, mine being the Audio Technica AT2020 USB Plus. The microphone input by default is far too quiet (and also slightly lower quality). This problem occurs in Windows 10, however it worked perfectly in Windows 7.

    The solution, I repeat, is NOT turning up the percentage level, DB, or boosting the microphone. For someone who intends to record professional audio, this solution is effectively what "digital zoom" is in a camera, simply boosting the audio in its entirety, even though the input volume is simply not what it should actually be. This results in noise becoming louder, and many other various imperfections.

    Things I have tried:

    • Reinstall/update the driver. There are no drivers except the generic Windows 10 USB microphone drivers. They worked perfectly on Windows 7 but after that they were completely broken.
    • Contact the manufacturer. I contacted Audio Technica and explained how this is a call they get often, and that it is a problem with Windows. The only way they said it could be fixed is with some form of Windows update which matches the driver format of Windows 7.
    • Boost the volume. Artificially boosting the volume in any way results in quality loss and is in no way a valid solution. This works for some people, but mostly it is just hiding the problem.
    • Run the recording audio troubleshooter. All this does is check to make sure the audio services are running and that the microphone is detected. Neither of those are the source of the problem, therefore this fixes nothing. Neither will any other troubleshooter.
    • Install Windows updates. As of this post, there is no Windows update that fixes this. I've installed every update for the past 2 years and they've done nothing to address this. Unless an update has been released that specifically addresses this, installing updates will fix nothing.
    • Contact Microsoft support. This helped slightly as it gave me a few different things to do, but all of them have been in vain.
    • Run a virtual machine of Windows 7. Not only is this extremely tedious, but it simply doesn't work correctly. Even if the microphone was working in its original Windows 7 format and as far as I know, a virtual machine is simply not made to record audio at high quality. This was suggested by Microsoft Support. VM tried: VirtualBox.
    • Install previous audio codecs and drivers. I have tried to install previous audio drivers from Windows 7 onto Windows 10 with no success. This was also suggested by Microsoft support.

    This was NEVER a problem in Windows 7. This problem has been on the forums of Microsoft Support for over 2 years with no clear solution.
    Name of my laptop: MSI GL62 6QD

    Any, and I mean ANY help would be appreciated about solving this problem, thank you.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  2. bro67's Avatar
    Posts : 5,585
    Mac OS High Sierra 10.14.3 Beta (18D21c)
       06 Sep 2016 #2

    Check the spec's on the microphone. Have you tried using a powered USB hub to see if it is just because the laptop does not have enough to power the mic for the USB hub on the laptop.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  3.    07 Sep 2016 #3

    bro67 said: View Post
    Check the spec's on the microphone. Have you tried using a powered USB hub to see if it is just because the laptop does not have enough to power the mic for the USB hub on the laptop.
    Just tried this. This provided no difference to the problem at all. Here are the specs if you would like them.

    Click image for larger version. 

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      My ComputerSystem Spec

  4.    07 Sep 2016 #4

    I have a recording studio and use several AT condenser mics but not USB.

    If "this problem has been on the forums of Microsoft Support for over 2 years with no clear solution." that means its not a Windows 10 specific problem as Windows 10 is only a little over a year old (production).

    I visit several recording forums but don't recall seeing this type of problem posted. However, I see many problems (both MAC and Windows PC based) of recording interface units that use the PC/USB power. The self powered hub would be a good place to start, it may not be the problem but will eliminate a potential USB voltage issue. This may be more the recording software than the mic? What program are you using to record? Is it fully Win 10 compatible?
      My ComputersSystem Spec

  5.    07 Sep 2016 #5

    Right, so this problem I believe started in Windows 8. That's why I said "over 2 years", sorry for not clarifying. Also the software I have tried it on is Adobe Audition CC, CS6, Audacity, and the default Windows Voice Recorder.

    Also to clear this up slightly, I'll post a link to the thread on the Microsoft support forums here.

    Also as said before, I had no success with the powered USB port.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  6. bro67's Avatar
    Posts : 5,585
    Mac OS High Sierra 10.14.3 Beta (18D21c)
       07 Sep 2016 #6

    I personally would not bother with the Microsoft forums, since they are flooded with people that just look to attack the company and their products with no real help to those who are needing it. Even those who are contractors with Microsoft to answer questions on that group, just give out canned answers.

    It also appears that you posted back in 2013 and noted that in your post. Of course the BS excuse they gave you by not owning up and passing it on is very typical of the Microsoft house not being there anymore for the consumers or Enterprise.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  7. bro67's Avatar
    Posts : 5,585
    Mac OS High Sierra 10.14.3 Beta (18D21c)
       07 Sep 2016 #7

    I use a Orico 4 port USB3.x powered hub. With four devices I have never had any issues with it choking. You may want to invest in that one or just a decent hub, since cheaper ones are always going to be an issue.

    It does appear to be a common problem with that microphone from what people are posting in the professional audio forums.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  8.    07 Sep 2016 #8

    I personally don't think that the USB hub is the issue. Though out of curiosity I will attempt to use it on an actual PC, because I've not tried that yet. I don't think this will fix the issue however, though I will try and this will possibly mean that a good USB hub is the solution.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  9.    07 Sep 2016 #9

    Although this is a USB mic, Microsoft changed some audio requirements (codec) in Win 8.1. With Win 8, the older Win 7 drivers worked OK, however starting with Win 8.1, new Win 8.1 specific drivers were required (or the existing drivers modified to be 8.1 compatible).

    As the AT202USB has been discontinued and replaced by the AT2020+ USB, I wonder if AT recognized a compatibility issue that couldn't be fixed and resolved it with the 2020+ model?
      My ComputersSystem Spec

  10.    07 Sep 2016 #10

    Ok so I tried it on a different computer using Windows 10 in a different room unfortunately, but here are some samples of the audio I recorded, including samples from the Windows 10 laptop I talked about in the original post. I recorded samples from my Windows 7 PC to compare also (this is how the audio should ACTUALLY sound):

    Windows 7 PC audio - (the audio shouldn't sound like anything other than this, as mentioned in the original post).

    Windows 10 laptop audio -
    (this is recorded in the same room as the Windows 7 PC, quite a lot of noise).

    Windows 10 PC audio -
    (this is recorded in a different room with less background noise, however this proves that even with background noise, the original Windows 7 audio was better).

    As you can probably tell, the Windows 7 audio is far superior to the others. The results here should prove that there's really no difference in which USB port used, the difference in audio on the Windows 10 PC is due to there being less background noise.

    I truly believe this is a problem with Windows 10's audio input.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

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