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How to boost computer headset mic gain adequately?

Brock Member ✭✭

Not sure if this is a Windows issue, or within SmartSDR. Regardless, I've been chasing it on and off again for a while, with no success.

I have a USB headset that I use for Teams, Zoom, etc. The audio, by all reports, is just fine. However, I can't get SmartSDR to see enough level from my computer to get my transmit audio to peak the Level meter up to the -5 dB range. I have the gain settings in Windows for that mic pushed to the top. And of course the level in SmartSDR is as high as it will go too. I might manage -10 if I yell...

Any thoughts on how to get the mic audio hot enough to bump the meter properly?

Would the SDC package with what looks like an audio mixer of sorts help me any? I paid for it to get the skimmer function, but the setup is far from intuitive so far. I'll bash away at it if this seems like a plausible solution.

73, Brock VA7AV



  • Mike-VA3MW
    Mike-VA3MW Administrator, FlexRadio Employee, Community Manager, Super Elmer, Moderator admin

    This is a Windows issue. :)

    Make sure you look in the MIC Sound settings in Windows. You can see MIC level metes there as well.

    Let us know how you make out.


  • VE7ATJ_Don
    VE7ATJ_Don Member ✭✭✭

    Hi Brock... just another thought as well: Do you have another headset/mic you can try? Does it react any differently? Do you have one that you can plug directly into the Flex (just to eliminate the possibility there's a problem with the input jack on the radio :-) )

  • Brock
    Brock Member ✭✭

    Thanks Mike, yeah, unfortunately I've been through all of that. The headset is recognized and I can tweak the mic level in Windows Settings. However, the maximum gain in Settings combined with maximum mic gain in SmartSDR still wouldn't allow me to get peaks any higher than -10. I was hoping to hear there was a hidden adjustment somewhere in the **** of Windows 11 that would sort this out for me, but I guess not. No driver update for the sound card associated with the headset either.

    I assume there isn't enough gain in SmartSDR to bring up lower levels supplied by the Windows system very far. Based on that, I downloaded Voicemeeter Banana to see if I could push the sliders up to get me peaking properly in SmartSDR. The answer is yes, apparently that can be done with Voicemeeter. Unfortunately, getting that working broke the TX audio from WSJT-X to SmartSDR (DAX Audio TX)... but not the receive audio via DAX Audio RX 1. I see a thread about Voicemeeter that might be a better place to ask about this new issue, so I'll post there if I can't sort it myself.

    Hi Don, I don't have another USB headset to try - note that the headset issue is USB via the computer, not a headset plugged directly into the Flex. It really feels like there's another mic setting somewhere that needs to be tweaked, but I don't know where it would be... and I've had some practice digging around in the guts of Windows. Why I get good audio reports with Google Meet and similar, I don't know.

    I have an splitter cable that is supposed to take the CTIA plug on the headset (that normally plugs into the small sound card on the headset's USB cable) and separate it into mic and headphones for a direct connection to the Flex, but that doesn't work (headphones work, mic doesn't). I actually started a thread about that particular problem many months ago. I'll have to play with a multimeter to see how the TRS connections compare to the FHM-2 and maybe make up an adapter for the splitter... LOL... but I was hoping to connect the headset via the computer so I could hear other things too, so that direct connection problem is an investigation for a night I have nothing better to do. 😏

  • Craig Gagner
    Craig Gagner Member ✭✭

    Hi Brock,

    I am experiencing identical issues. I use three different computers and the problem is particular to only one which is a Dell Optiplex 7090 Intel i7 11th gen Windows 11 machine. No problems on my Framework gen 11 Win 11 or older HP Win 10 laptop. What computer are you experiencing issues with?

  • Brock
    Brock Member ✭✭

    Hi Craig,

    I'm running a Windows 11 machine. It's home built computer based on an ASUS Rog Strix motherboard. Decent board, but no extras... GPUs were stupidly expensive and rare when I put it together, so I'm using the onboard video (which seems to be fine) and the onboard sound as well.

    Pushing the mic audio slider up above 0 dB in VoiceMeeter Potato gets the level to bounce in the recommended region in SmartSDR (v2.10.1). Audio quality is reported as being good. However, I'm told my signal isn't as strong as when using the FHM-2 microphone with what appear to be the same mic and processor levels on the 'meter'. So why that is, I really don't know. I'll have to dig into CESSB to understand whether it's 'always on', or only with a local microphone... that's the only thing I can think of that might impact signal strength, but my external power meter doesn't look much different in either case... so, yeah, strange.

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