What is Mic Monitoring and How to Use It

Gaming has come a long way since the 70s of the 20th century. It has changed from being a trivial pastime into life in itself where players have an alternate world interacting with each other and living the gaming experience to its fullest. Today we’re going to talk about mic monitoring, one of the most important aspects of last decade’s gaming. What is mic monitoring, what it is good for, and how to switch it on and off are all questions we’re going to answer in the following lines.

First of all, for those who aren’t much into gaming, and those who are old-school gamers the term “mic monitoring” may not be familiar. So, here are some details to explain it.

What is Mic Monitoring?

Mic monitoring, also known as sidetone or loopback, is a feature that allows users to hear their voices in real-time through their headsets or speakers. This serves multiple purposes:

  1. Real-time feedback: By hearing their own voice, users can quickly adjust their speaking volume and quality to ensure clear communication with their teammates or audience.
  2. Improved communication: Mic monitoring helps users avoid shouting or speaking too softly during gameplay, leading to a better overall gaming experience.
  3. Preventing audio issues: It can help users identify and resolve potential audio problems, such as background noise or poor microphone positioning before they affect the gaming or streaming experience.
  4. Enhanced immersive experience: Hearing one’s own voice during gameplay or streaming can make the experience feel more authentic and engaging.

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How Mic Monitoring Works

At a basic level, mic monitoring involves routing the user’s voice from the microphone input back to the headset or speaker output. There are two main types of mic monitoring:

  1. Built-in mic monitoring in gaming headsets: Many gaming headsets come with an integrated mic monitoring feature that can be enabled or adjusted through the headset’s settings or companion software.
  2. External devices and software solutions: For those without built-in mic monitoring, external devices like mixers or dedicated software can be used to achieve a similar effect.

Mic monitoring is compatible with various platforms and devices, including PCs, consoles, and mobile devices. Popular gaming and streaming software, such as OBS, XSplit, and Discord, also support mic monitoring.

What does Mic Monitoring do?

Mic monitoring allows users to hear their own voice through their headsets or speakers in real-time, providing instant feedback on speech volume and quality. This feature helps users adjust their speaking level for clear communication and prevents shouting or speaking too softly during gaming or streaming sessions.

Reasons why Mic Monitoring is essential

Mic monitoring is essential because it:

  • Improves communication by allowing users to adjust their voice volume and quality.
  • Prevents audio issues by enabling users to identify and resolve problems such as background noise or poor microphone positioning.
  • Enhances the immersive experience of gaming or streaming by allowing users to hear their own voices.

How to Use the Mic Monitoring Feature

We have already said that mic monitoring is commonly used while gaming. However, different gaming platforms and devices have different methods for switching on mic monitoring. We’ll see now how to use it for different platforms.

Using Mic Monitoring on Windows 10

  • Sometimes switching on mic monitoring on windows is a bit of an issue because it is not really a default setting. Here’s how to enable it on your computer.
  • Connect your headphones – wired or wireless – to your windows 10 computer. Make sure they are connected and functional.
  • Access the control panel (click the windows key on your keyboard and type “control panel”) and then access the sound settings by clicking the “sound” icon.
  • Among the options available in the window that has popped up, choose the tab called “recording”.
  • Double-click the “default mic” option.
  • A new window will pop up with tabs. Among them, you’ll find “listen”. Click on it.
  • An option will be available for you to “listen to this device”. Choose it.
  • Then, choose “playback through this device”. A listing of audio devices will be presented to you, choose the one you have and affirm your choice by clicking “ok”.
  • Test the microphone; talk a bit and listen to your own voice in the speakers.

Read also: Tozo t10 Bluetooth 5.0 wireless earbuds review

How to hear yourself on Mic?

To hear yourself on a mic, you need to enable mic monitoring (also known as sidetone or loopback) on your device. The process varies depending on the device you’re using:

  1. Gaming headset: Check the headset’s user manual or companion software for instructions on enabling mic monitoring.
  2. Windows PC:
    • Right-click the speaker icon in the system tray and select “Open Sound settings.”
    • In the “Input” section, select your microphone and click “Device properties.”
    • Click “Additional device properties” under “Related Settings.”
    • Navigate to the “Listen” tab, check “Listen to this device,” and click “OK.”
  3. Mac:
    • Open “Audio MIDI Setup” (found in Applications > Utilities).
    • Select your input device (microphone) from the list.
    • Click the “Enable” button under “Thru” to enable mic monitoring.

Using Mic Monitoring on PS4

Mic monitoring choice is also accessible on PS4. However, it’s called “sidetone”. Pair a pair of headphones that enables mic monitoring to your PS4 to be able to use this feature. Mic monitoring is a default setting in PS4. So, you won’t have problems using it.

 However, if you like to adjust the volume, here are the steps to do so:

  • After turning on your PS4, access settings.
  • You will find the option that is called “devices”, it is used to control attached devices.
  • Naturally, you’ll need to access “audio devices” to adjust the mic monitoring audio. 
  • Find the “sidetone volume” in the list of settings. Adjust the volume to your liking.

Using Mic Monitoring on Xbox

Enabling mic monitoring on Xbox is a bit different than enabling it on other platforms and devices. Here’s what to do:

  • You have to have a headset suitable for your Xbox, for example, an Xbox One Chat headset. 
  • Connect the Xbox One Chat Headset with your Xbox through the wired connector and the 3.5mm jack.
  • By default, mic monitoring is turned on in your Xbox. However, if you find the volume is not much to your liking, you can also adjust it through the settings.
  • To adjust your volume in mic monitoring, go to the home screen in Xbox and choose the gear icon shown on the right edge of the screen.
  • Choose the “audio” settings. This will give you access to three sliders for volume control. The last one is for controlling your volume in mic monitoring.
  • Adjust your volume on mic monitoring according to your preferences.

Now you know how to use mic monitoring on computers, Xbox and PS4. However, if you get too tired of hearing your voice, you can turn off mic monitoring easily. Here is how to do it on each platform.

How to Turn off Mic Monitoring on Windows 10

  • Access “the control panel (you already know how), then the sound icon.
  • Access the recording option and then choose the default mic device.
  • A window will pop up with the” listen” choice.
  • The box next to the option “listen to this device” is checked. Uncheck it.
  • Affirm your choice by clicking “ok”.

How can you enable Mic Monitoring on your Mac?

To enable mic monitoring on a Mac:

  • Open “Audio MIDI Setup” (found in Applications > Utilities).
  • Select your input device (microphone) from the list.
  • Click the “Enable” button under “Thru” to enable mic monitoring.

How can you disable Mic Monitoring on your Mac?

To disable mic monitoring on a Mac, follow the same steps as enabling it but click the “Disable” button under “Thru.”

How to Turn off Mic Monitoring on Xbox.

  • Just reapply the steps we have formerly mentioned for accessing mic monitoring volume options.
  • Get to the sliders in mic monitoring options. Push them all the way to the left to mute your sound.

How to Turn off Mic Monitoring on PS4.

  • Again follow the former steps you had applied to access the “sidetone volume” (mic monitoring) options. Settings > Devices > Audio Devices > Sidetone Volume.
  • Slide the Sidetone volume lever all the way to the left to disable mic monitoring.

How does Mic Monitoring work on a camera?

Mic monitoring on a camera works by providing real-time audio feedback through the camera’s built-in speaker or an attached external speaker. This helps users monitor the quality of the recorded audio during filming.

How do you enable Mic Monitoring on your phone?

Mic monitoring on a phone is usually app-dependent. Some recording or streaming apps may offer a mic monitoring feature within their settings. Check the app’s documentation or settings for instructions on enabling mic monitoring.

Does Mic Monitoring cause an echo when used with Xbox?

Mic monitoring can cause an echo if the headset volume is too high or if there is poor isolation between the microphone and the headset speakers. To prevent echo during mic monitoring on Xbox, try the following:

  • Adjust the mic monitoring level to find the right balance between game sounds, voice chat, and your own voice.
  • Lower the overall headset volume.
  • Make sure the microphone is positioned correctly, facing away from the headset speakers.
  • Use a noise-canceling microphone or headset designed to minimize echo and background noise.
  • If you are using a third-party headset, ensure it is compatible with Xbox and supports mic monitoring.

Tips for Setting Up and Adjusting Mic Monitoring

Proper setup is crucial for an optimal mic monitoring experience. Here are some steps to enable and adjust mic monitoring on different platforms:

  1. Check your headset’s user manual or companion software for instructions on enabling mic monitoring.
  2. For external devices or software, consult their respective documentation for setup guidelines.
  3. Adjust mic monitoring levels to find the right balance between game sounds, voice chat, and your own voice.

Troubleshooting common issues may involve checking your device settings, updating firmware or drivers, and ensuring proper connections.

Best Gaming Headsets and Devices with Mic Monitoring

When selecting a gaming headset or device with mic monitoring, consider factors like comfort, sound quality, and compatibility. Some popular gaming headsets with mic monitoring include:

  1. Astro A40 TR
  2. HyperX Cloud II
  3. SteelSeries Arctis 7

External devices and software for mic monitoring can range from affordable mixers to professional-grade equipment. Prices vary, and products can be purchased from local electronics stores or online retailers.

Etiquette and Best Practices for Using Mic Monitoring

To make the most of mic monitoring, keep these tips in mind:

  1. Balance game sounds and voice chat to avoid overpowering your teammates or viewers.
  2. Prevent echo and feedback loops by adjusting your mic monitoring levels and headset volume.
  3. Mute your mic when not speaking to minimize background noise and distractions.
  4. Adapt your mic monitoring settings to different gaming and streaming scenarios, ensuring an optimal experience for you and your audience.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should you have mic monitoring on?

Using mic monitoring is a personal preference. It can help improve communication and prevent audio issues during gaming or streaming sessions. If you find it beneficial, keep it enabled; if not, you can turn it off.

Does mic monitoring make you louder?

Mic monitoring doesn’t directly make you louder. Instead, it allows you to hear your own voice through your headset or speakers, giving you real-time feedback on your speech volume and quality. By hearing your voice, you can adjust your speaking volume to ensure clear communication with your teammates or audience, preventing you from being too loud or too soft.

Why can I hear myself through my Xbox mic?

If you can hear yourself through your Xbox mic, it’s likely because mic monitoring is enabled. To disable it, go to Settings > Volume & audio output > Headset mic monitoring, and reduce the level to the minimum or adjust it to your preference.

Wrapping up

Mic monitoring is an essential tool for gamers and streamers, as it enables real-time feedback, improved communication, and prevention of audio issues. By understanding how mic monitoring works and investing in the right equipment, you can greatly enhance your gaming and streaming experience.

If you haven’t already, consider trying out mic monitoring and optimizing it to suit your needs. It could make a significant difference in the quality of your communication and the enjoyment of your gaming sessions or streaming broadcasts. So, don’t hesitate to explore the world of mic monitoring and elevate your audio experience to new heights.

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