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WebCam microphone issues
I need a webcam urgently for a remote meeting.

First one I bought had good video, but very low level sound - both with WebEx and using https://webcamtests.com/ for testing. My PC being Win7 Pro. Same problem with my wife's Win 10 PC.

So back it went to Amazon for a different make.

That arrived today and has the same problem with https://webcamtests.com/ so whilst it could be both mine and my wife's pc's, it could be that my voice is too soft?

My question therefore is do I go for a USB or a 3.5 mm jack microphone instead and will I have any issues with there being two microphones connected to the PC. I am hoping that I can select either mic in the software of WebEx or whatever other software I get to use.

So which is reccomended, USB or 3.5mm jack?


7 Replies
146 Posts
It is some time ago that I used a separate webcam/microphone but I also found the same problem of quality/level.  it might depend on your particular computer, but I used a 3.5mm jack microphone.  When plugged in  the webcam mike was overridden.  I have no experience of USB mikes.

In windows 10 under "settings" you can choose which mike is the input so if you have a problem then that is an option.  (Start - Settings - System - Sound - Input). Good luck
Edited for spelling mistakes
I had a problem with the sound when using the built in webcam for family Zoom conferences as to get everyone in the computer was too far away for the microphone to be effective (I also had to plug in external speakers). I plugged in a good quality microphone I got in about 1980 to the 3.5mm jack socket (with an adaptor) and it works fine. I have also used usb headsets and they give very good sound also.
The thing to beware of is the signal strength if you are on wi-fi. With a weaker signal the sound will break up quite readily. The picture will also freeze but the occasional freezing of the picture doesn't interfere with the meeting as much as the sound problems. The big problem with wi-fi sound is that the sound is sent as packets so if some of them fail the sound quality is buggered, while the picture quality is just the same, but frozen for a moment or two. It may well be that the problems you are encountering are due to wi-fi signal rather than being a microphone problem. I had problems prior to fitting a wi-fi booster.
Nigel Ward
3 Posts
This is a very relevant question - I hope the community pitch in and help with solutions.  I seem to have a small improvement with a small Logitech camera/mic plugged into a USB port on my MACbookPro.  But it's not great 
Any suggestions out there?
Well, after some thought where I was torn between USB and 3.5mm jack, I decided to go for USB.

Analogue 3.5mm jack appealed to me initially, however, looking at Analogue microphones available from Amazon, I found that there are 3.5mm jack plugs and 3.5mm jack plugs!

I am old enough to remember mono and stereo jack plugs (which have a ring as well as a tip connection), but looking closely at photos of Amazon's offerings, the one I fancied was fitted with a 3.5mm jack, but this had three rings plus tip.

Looked for microphone 3.5mm connections and usually a 4-pole 3.5mm jack is used for headphone use as well. As to whether it would work (or worse) if plugged into my pc's 3.5mm socket got less clear. So that plus the microphone mounted volume control on the USB one from Amazon today, decided my choice.  A FIFINE 669B  https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B06XQ39XCY

A nice solid metal microphone with much better output than the built in one on the webcam.  The volume control does what you expect.  It works well on the webcamtests.com website, so should be good for WebEx on Tuesday.
Simon Barker
803 Posts
I was looking at the issue of microphones recently.  It is rather complicated.

Stereo headphones mostly use a 3.5mm TRS (tip, ring, sleeve) plug these days, though some still come with the 1/4" plug.

Microphones intended to plug into a camera also use a TRS plug. Headsets with a built-in boom mic come with a TRRS plug.  Most phones and modern laptops with a 3.5mm socket expect you to plug in either headphones (TRS plug) or a headset with a TRRS plug.

If you just want a microphone, there are adaptors to convert a TRS plug to a TRRS one, but because your gadget thinks you have plugged in headphones, you end up getting no sound out.  Alternatively, there are adaptors that let you plug headphones and a microphone into a single TRRS socket.
I find that a separate headset to the Webcam works well also.
I use a Plantronics Bluetooth headset (Plantronics Legend) and a separate webcam. Nice part about this is you are free to move around and still have good quality sound (Bluetooth operating upto circa 10mtrs depending on walls etc). Also headset mic is noise cancelling so background noise gets reduced and gives better quality.
You should be able to select the mic and cam separately as per previous posts here.
Hope you find a solution.
62 Posts
I have had a similar experience adding a webcam to my desktop PC and ended up buying a separate desk microphone.  The bendy stalk is still a bit short so I stand it on something so it ends up just under my chin about 10cm from my mouth.  The sound level and quality is now good. With just the webcam mic, I sounded like I was over the other side of the room!


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