What Is Mic Monitoring? [Beginner-Friendly Guide]

Deyan Georgiev
Deyan Georgiev

Updated · Jul 19, 2022

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You start an online conversation with a friend. Every time you say a word, you hear your own voice.

Is your mind playing tricks? Is this government wiretapping gone wrong? Are there some sinister, extraplanar forces at work?

Well, before you pick up your phone to contact a doctor or an exorcist, make sure you have turned-off mic monitoring. 

But what is mic monitoring?

What Is Mic Monitoring

In short, mic monitoring (also known as voice monitoring) is the practice of listening to your microphone’s recordings in real-time. The technology could be supplied by your OS, software, or it could be integrated into your system’s periphery.

First, we will cover the advantages and disadvantages of listening to yourself.

Pros and Cons

Overall, it can be really helpful. But it’s not all sunshine and rainbows.

The Human Element

The human element of online communication comes with various potential irritants, most of which could be circumvented through the use of voice monitoring.

Say goodbye to the annoying chewing sounds!

The Technical Aspect

Sometimes there could be an echo, a buzzing, etc. that the human ear can’t pick up, or the mind is too busy to notice. Voice monitoring software, however, can.

This can help you discover problems and elimitate them.

Professional Work

If you are a musician, a singer, or a podcast journalist, you know how important the recording quality is. The possibility of listening to it as it is made, significantly increases the quality of your work. It also decreases work time, as any problems are immediately noticed.

When Can Mic Monitoring Be a Problem?

If you are an interpreter or your work relies on you to answer to auditory cues, then hearing your voice could prove quite the hindrance. 

In such cases, it is advisable to keep the suitable software on for the initial technical set-up. Best to turn it off during your work.

How to Enable/Disable Mic Monitoring on Different Platforms

How the next big question is how to enable mic monitoring.

Here are a few simple steps:

Windows 10 Mic Monitoring (Same for Windows 7):

Following these steps you will get Windows 10 mic monitoring going:

  • From Start Menu search for Sound Manager.
  • You’ll see menu on the right-hand side - pick Sound Control Panel.
  • Open the Recording tab.
  • Highlight your preferred recording device with a left-click and choose properties.
  • From the device properties window open the Listen tab.
  • Check Listen to this device to activate and uncheck it to deactivate it.

No-Delay Alternative for Windows 10:

If your microphone or headset has the feature, you can:

  • From Start Menu search for Sound Manager.
  • Pick Sound Control Panel.
  • Choose Device Properties.
  • From the menu on the right-hand side choose Additional Device Properties.
  • From the newly opened window choose open the Levels tab.
  • Enable the microphone by clicking the speaker icon next to the Balance button.
  • Adjust the volume.

MacOS Mic Monitoring:

The following steps will help you run monitoring on MacOS without specialized mic monitoring software:

  • Start Quicktime Player.
  • Click File menu, tap on New Audio Recording.
  • From the drop-down menu next to the record button choose USB PnP Audio Device.

Alternative for MacOS Users:

Following these steps you will be able to get specialized voice monitoring software running:

  • Download AudioMonitor.
  • From “Input” choose your preferred recording device.
  • From “Output” choose your preferred playback device.
  • You are now ready to test your microphone.

Linux Mic Monitoring (Ubuntu):

Following these steps you will get microphone monitoring on Ubuntu:

  • Install PulseAudio Volume Control - command: sudo apt install pavucontrol
  • To route your microphone to the speakers use command: pactl load-module module-loopback latency_msec=1
  • From the PulseAudio recording tab choose the desired microphone.
  • To stop monitoring use command: pactl unload-module module-loopback

Alternative for Linux Users (Ubuntu):

An alternative method without the software:

  • Use command: arecord -f cd - | aplay -
  • To save use command: arecord -f cd - | tee output.wav | aplay -

On gaming consoles, mic monitoring is only accessible when using compatible headphones. Check if a headset supports this function on your console before buying.

PS5 Mic Monitoring (Sidetone):

If you want to get the PS5 mic monitoring running, we’ve got you.

Go to Settings, choose Sound. Tap on Audio Output. If the compatible headsed is attached, you’ll see Sidetone.

Mic Monitoring PS4 (Sidetone):

The stps to get the PS4 mic monitoring running are similar.

Go to Settings. Choose Devices, then Audio Devices. You should see Sidetone.

Mic Monitoring XBOX One (One X/S):

Following these steps you will get XBOX One mic monitoring running:

  • Connect your headset to the controller.
  • Press the “XBOX“ button on the controller.
  • Find the “System” tab on the right-hand side of the screen.
  • Select “Audio”.
  • Adjust the settings from the available sliders.

Mic Monitoring Software

Here are your options:

Audacity

Audacity is arguably the most popular sound-editing freeware program on the web. Even though it cannot compete with high-end paid options, its lean interface makes it a good choice for personal work and small projects. 

Here are the steps to enable the feature:

  • Open Audacity.
  • From the menu choose Edit → Preferences → Recording.
  • On the top of the newly opened window should be a couple of checkboxes.
  • Check Software Play through: Listen while recording or monitoring new track.

Sound Forge

Sound Forge has left a considerable legacy among hobbyists and professional music producers. It’s close relationship with the music industry has made microphone monitoring an invaluable feature.

Follow these steps:

  • Open Sound Forge.
  • Go to Options.
  • Choose Audio.
  • Check Monitor audio input while recording from the menu.

FL Studio

FL Studio is one of the most-common software choices among starting music producers. That is because it has an intuitive interface, a large collection of plugins, and an equally vast array of available instruments and loops.

Unlike the rest of the software on this list, it has monitoring enabled by default.

In case you don’t need it, here’s how to turn it off:

  • Open FL Studio.
  • Look at the channels on the mixer which by default stays on the bottom-left.
  • One of the channels is responsible for mic input.
  • On the bottom left-hand corner there should be a small button with a green outline.
  • Clicking the button should solve the issue.

Wrap Up

Congrats!

Now you know what mic monitoring is. You’re also armed with the knowledge of how to improve your audio recordings. It doesn’t matter if you’re a professional or a hobbyist - clear sound is always improtant.

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Deyan Georgiev

Deyan Georgiev

Deyan has been fascinated by technology his whole life. From the first Tetris game all the way to Falcon Heavy. Working for TechJury is like a dream come true, combining both his passions – writing and technology. In his free time (which is pretty scarce, thanks to his three kids), Deyan enjoys traveling and exploring new places. Always with a few chargers and a couple of gadgets in the backpack. He makes mean dizzying Island Paradise cocktails too.

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