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ThinkPad W520 microphone troubleshooting

Audio, How To, Microphone & Speakers, W520, Windows

Question

The mic in W520 is poor 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?     

 

Answer

This applies to any ThinkPad E/W/T/X/Xt/L/R/SL#10 or #20 Series with Conexant Sound Card. (# represent screen size, e.g. 5 = 15")

1. Disable Microphone / VoIP optimization

 

Go to Sound > Control Panel > Sound > Manage Audio Devices.

 

Select recording tab, click on Microphone, then Properties.

 

Select Enhancement tab, check Disable all enhancements / sound effects. This will disable all Windows and Conexant optimization in SmartAudio Control Panel.

 

2. Disable Listen to this Device

 

Go to Sound > Control Panel > Sound > Manage Audio Devices.

 

Select recording tab, click on Microphone, then Properties.


Select Listen tab, uncheck Listen to this device. (This option can be checked / enabled if connected with external speakers / headphones, as the internal mic and speakers are too near to each other, causing a lot of feedbacks)

 

3. Increase microphone sample / depth rate


Go to Sound > Control Panel > Sound > Manage Audio Devices.

 

Select recording tab, click on Microphone, then Properties.

 

Select Advanced tab, change to the highest Bits and Hz as possible for default sample rate / bits.

 

4. Fine-tune microphone volume level

 

Go to Sound > Control Panel > Sound > Manage Audio Devices.

 

Select recording tab, click on Microphone, then Properties.

 

Select Levels tab

Recommended Range of settings:

Microphone: 50 - 100

Microphone Boost: +10dB

 

If this does not correct the problem, you might check the Microsoft audio troubleshooter here it includes diagnositics, automated fix it solutions, and proceedural guidance on other common configurations issues.