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jelin-socal
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎09-06-2011
Location: Irvine
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W520 bad microphone??? Usable!

Hi,

 

  I have read the other postings about the bad mic in the W520. The mic in my new W520 is horrible and useless for any voice recording (Skype, etc...).   I went into the Control Panel and was able to find the SmartAudio HD drivers for the built-in mic.  Uninstalled it and rebooted.  Somehow, after the reboot, the Conexant SmartAudio driver is right back.  There are no VOIP settings or anything.   Not sure if the Conexant driver is the default Win7 driver?    How do I fix the bad mic?     


Thanks,
jelin 

eos
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eos
Posts: 388
Registered: ‎06-30-2011
Location: gibraltar
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Re: W520 bad microphone??? Usable!

[ Edited ]

Yes, the mic on the W520 is probably the worst mic on a notebook in existence, saving them perhaps $1.  I recommend that you re-install the drivers, then in the (not very) Smart Audio app:

 

  1. Click on the VIOP icon at the bottom (kind of like a blue globe)
  2. Click on "Conference Room" on the right.

The mic is still bad, but now at least the other end can hear your words rather than "bwa-bwa-bwabwa" which is what you get out of the box.

 

I recommend going out and buying a USB headset like the excellent Logitech 960 for £16 from amazon.co.uk , and using a different notebook for skype conference calls with multiple people - perhaps a Mac or a Dell just to rub it in.  If you dont want to carry round a second notebook, then the Polycom Communicator C100 (£100) is excellent for skype conferences in a large or small room.  If I had the cash I would get one of these for home too - the quality is amazing.

 

W520, i7-2720QM, Quadro 2000M, 16GB 1333, 1080p panel, msata M4 256GB, Crucial M4 512GB SSD, Scorpio Black 750GB. Bios 1.38 Power Manager 6.64.1. Dell U3011 & 3007 wfp. Minidoc 3, 9&6 cell batteries. Problems: 1) 2h battery life. 2) DVDs unreadable after burning 3) two finger scrolling on trackpad is unusable. 4) mic is unusable for Skype 5) speakers are unusably quiet for films 6) battery drains by 10%/day when shutdown.
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PeterTWJ
Posts: 1,050
Registered: ‎05-29-2010
Location: Singapore
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Re: W520 bad microphone??? Usable!

hi, jelin-social

1st, try disabling any Microphone VoIP optimization in conexant

2nd,  go to Control Panel > Sound > Recording > Microphone > Advanced
Change to the highest Bits and Hz as possible.

3rd, reduce Microphone Boost level and increase mic level to compensate a bit.

Alternatively, if you have time. I would welcome you to try this driver / optimization for improvement of speakers and microphones with Dolby Home Theater v4, more customizable than Conexant SmartAudio.
http://forums.lenovo.com/t5/W-Series-ThinkPad-Laptops/W520-Sound-Enhancement-Thread/td-p/442761/page... 

So far I am satisfied with the speakers and microphones for my W520, it should be great as it provides dual mic. Maybe you should test out my advice to see if it helps, if problem persist or worsen before using alternatively, there might be a problem with the mic and perhaps you may contact Lenovo Technical Support.

 

Best Regards :smileyvery-happy:

Peter

=============================================
Does someone post helps you? Give them a kudos as a reward, as they will do better to improve :smileyvery-happy:

Refunded Set: W510, 4876-A11

Current Set: W520, 4284-A99

 

Dolby Home Theater v4! on T520 or W520:
http://forums.lenovo.com/t5/W-Series-ThinkPad-Laptops/W520-Sound-Enhancement-Thread/m-p/451401#M1551... 

eos
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eos
Posts: 388
Registered: ‎06-30-2011
Location: gibraltar
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Re: W520 bad microphone??? Usable!

This is interesting if it will rescue the mic which I had relegated to the unusable category. Currently, under levels, the mic is set to 78 and boost set to +20dB. What do you recommend they both be set at?
W520, i7-2720QM, Quadro 2000M, 16GB 1333, 1080p panel, msata M4 256GB, Crucial M4 512GB SSD, Scorpio Black 750GB. Bios 1.38 Power Manager 6.64.1. Dell U3011 & 3007 wfp. Minidoc 3, 9&6 cell batteries. Problems: 1) 2h battery life. 2) DVDs unreadable after burning 3) two finger scrolling on trackpad is unusable. 4) mic is unusable for Skype 5) speakers are unusably quiet for films 6) battery drains by 10%/day when shutdown.
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PeterTWJ
Posts: 1,050
Registered: ‎05-29-2010
Location: Singapore

Re: W520 bad microphone??? Usable!

hi, eos

If I did not remember wrongly, when I was using Conexant
My Configuration was this
- Disable Listen to this device
although it would not project out your voice to speaker, but it would project out clear voice in Conferences
Enabling this messed things up. Unless your mic volume and boost is very low or the mic is faraway from the speaker. 

 

Normally, I would set it as 
Microphone - 100%
Microphone Boost - 10% or 12%  (Dolby driver)

 

If not, I would set it as
Microphone - 50 - 100% (varies)
Microphone Boost - 20% or 24% (Dolby driver)

 

Go to Control Panel > Sound > Recording > Microphone > Advanced

Change to the highest Bits and Hz as possible. 
The 2nd portion helps me a lot. I have done a lot of Skype Conference with different laptops and so far this is one of the nicest mic I have for laptops. Maybe you need different calibration / settings for your environment.


Best Regards :smileyvery-happy:

Peter

=============================================
Does someone post helps you? Give them a kudos as a reward, as they will do better to improve :smileyvery-happy:

Refunded Set: W510, 4876-A11

Current Set: W520, 4284-A99

 

Dolby Home Theater v4! on T520 or W520:

http://forums.lenovo.com/t5/W-Series-ThinkPad-Laptops/W520-Sound-Enhancement-Thread/m-p/451401#M1551... 

What's DOS?
jelin-socal
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎09-06-2011
Location: Irvine
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Re: W520 bad microphone??? Usable!

Hello PeterTWJ,

 

   Thank you for all of your tips.  I believe I have resolved the issue.  I went to Control Panel > Sound>Recording Tab>Select Conexant 20672 SmartAudio HD>Properties>AdvancedTab (changed to 24 bit, 48000 Hz) and Disabled audio enhancements under Signal Enhancements.   I believe it was really the "signal enhancements" feature checkbox that did the trick.  Once I disabled it, I placed some test Skype calls and the playback was really clear!    

 

  I played around a little with the Boost and Microphone level but didn't feel that it make too much difference.   All is well now!

 

Thanks again,

 

Jerry

What's DOS?
rogerdpack
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎12-29-2011
Location: Orem, UT

Re: W520 bad microphone??? Usable!

Thanks jelin-socal. It appears that disabling "signal enhancements" fixes it for me too--but apparently for unchecking its box to "take" one has to switch at least once to some other bit rate. I.e. switch to 24 bit, then back to 16--then it will be loud). If all you do is uncheck signal enhancements without (at least once) switching the bit rate it stays very soft for some reason.
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drewwesley
Posts: 43
Registered: ‎10-18-2011
Location: Los Angeles, CA
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Re: W520 bad microphone??? Usable!

Hi,

 

I wrestled with this [issue] too, as end users complained about the quality of my voice and excessive background noise (until grudingly plugging in a headset). After uninstalling Conexant's SmartAudio HD drivers in favor of Microsoft's stock HD drivers, I noticed much improved mic quality (I use level 90, mic boost +12dB, 24-bit, 44100 Hz), and much improved audio output. I just finished a flawless Skype call using a the built in mic without having to repeat myself a single time (yay).

 

Andrew

ThinkPad W520 (4276-38U), i7-2720QM, 1600x900 HD+, 8GB RAM, NVIDIA Quadro 1000M, 256GB Samsung SSD 840 Pro, Dolby Home Theater v4 - Conexant HD Audio
Blue Screen Again
ivanz
Posts: 55
Registered: ‎11-30-2010
Location: United Kingdom
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Re: W520 bad microphone??? Usable!

@drewwesley,

IMHO the problem is mostly that out of the box Lenovoenables VOIP filters in the SmartAudio tool, which are terrible with Skype for example. You have to go to "Voice Effect" and turn all of them off by clicking on the two profiles on the left and making sure none of the effects are ticked/glowing
Paper Tape
SowaBezOka
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎06-10-2012
Location: Edinburgh, UK
0

Re: W520 bad microphone??? Usable!

I managed to sort out the issue by removing the Conexant 20672 SmartAudio HD driver. Then Windows just installed its own simply driver and since then everything works very well for me.