Gaming has come a long way over the decades. Those old consoles were fun, and so were the computer games that eventually followed. Before we all knew it, instead of chat, we had the capacity to interact in-game via mic.
But with mic usage comes some interesting drama. After all, who hasn’t shouted with joy at a victory right into the mic? Or conversely, had their eardrums blasted from an enthusiastic team or raid member themselves. Thus, the concept of mic monitoring was born.
What is mic monitoring?
Mic monitoring is available in most headphones. This feature permits you to listen to your voice in the headset. A critical necessity for online gaming, it enables a better gaming experience through voice and volume control, allowing the user to get real-time feedback on their own voice volume.
This is what mic monitoring does:
- You can hear your own voice in your headphones
- It helps you see how loudly you’re speaking
- Mic monitoring helps you keep your voice to a proper level
- This creates maximum enjoyment for all gamers involved in the game
Before mic monitoring, I certainly recall the days of feeling confused by not being able to hear myself talk. I know I’m not alone. None of us were, for if it weren’t such a problem, that mic monitoring feature would have never been introduced.
When you can’t hear yourself talking, you compensate by talking even louder. Try it in a noisy, crowded place sometime. It’s roughly the same experience.
But with video games, there’s a whole new level of excitement. We shout when we’re triumphant. We shout when we’ve lost. And we tend to gabble on and on. Without mic monitoring, we’re all creating a loud and unpleasant gaming experience for our fellow users. Memes exist about this for a specific reason… it’s a problem.
So mic monitoring has saved the day for gamers. It’s also allowed us to troubleshoot and detect mic problems, making gaming even more fun that it already was. Now that we have this feature, it’s kind of hard to go back to the before time. It’s really quite the game-changer, pardon the pun.
How important is mic monitoring?
Mic monitoring is an important feature because it allows users more control and awareness in the game. It creates a harmonized user experience that gives you real-time feedback on the sound you’re putting out there without ruining your gaming experience.
As someone who’s lived in the BEFORE time, I can tell you, mic monitoring is so important. My reasons for that sentiment:
- Talking and not being able to hear yourself is weird
- I mean, am I saying real words, or is it just sounds?
- Seriously though, I can’t tell if I’m speaking up enough to be heard or shouting everyone’s eardrums out
- You should check with certain gaming systems that may accidentally bypass the feature though
- Mic monitoring allows for consistency throughout the game
- With VR, you definitely need this mic monitoring feature
How to turn on mic monitoring?
Each platform for gaming has a different way to activate mic monitoring. The steps are easy to follow, and most devices can be used with the mic monitoring feature. For computers, it is not often a default setting; however, each device, in turn, can be synced to work with it.
Today, it’s really easy to get your device to work with mic monitoring settings. You can easily change the volume and the input along with it. On computers, it’s not usually a default setting. So, if you’ve been left confused, you’re not alone. Other devices and platforms have different ways to set it up too.
Your PC tech friend might not know off-hand how to get your Xbox One set up with mic monitoring but can get your PC into mic monitoring mode. That’s fine because I’m going to make this super-simple for all of you gamers no matter what platform you’re into. Keep reading to check that out.
Enabling Mic Monitoring On A Computer
Let’s start with your PC. The very first thing that needs to be done to get mic monitoring enabled is to take your headphones and microphone and connect them to it.
Since Windows 10 is the most common OS right now, here’s the next things you’ll need to do to get it set up:
- Find your Control Panel. The left part of your sidebar can help you find it if you’ve got no idea. Just type it in there, and when it appears, click on the Sound icon.
- Aha! A small window should come up now, and when it does, you’ll see it has a second tab on the top. That tab, labeled “Recording” is the one you want.
- In the Recording tab, you’ll want to double-click on the default mic.
- You’ll be greeted with yet another window. The second tab on the top of it will say, “Listen.” Get in there.
- In that Listen tab, you’ll see “Listen to this device” which is what you want to click
- Now, you’ll look for “Playback through this device.” When you see it, select the playback device that you want to listen to the output of your mic and click “OK.”
Test it out, and you will be able to hear yourself through your mic in your headphones. Sweet!
Enabling mic monitoring on Xbox
Whether you also have an Xbox or it’s your chosen platform, you’re about to see the enabling mic monitoring here is a bit different.
On your Xbox One, there’s a 3.5mm jack. In this jack, you can pair it with the 3.5mm Xbox One Chat Headset, but of course, it’s not just plug and play here. You’ll have to confirm your headphones have a mic monitoring feature.
The good news, though, is that mic monitoring is a default setting on Xbox. The volume can be changed too. It might not be the same for every headphone set out there, and it might help to take a look at the user manual on yours to see what differences you’ll find.
Still, you’ll find that there are a few steps to follow when you want to turn up or turn down your volume for mic monitoring on Xbox.
- Go to the Xbox One home screen
- Now press the Xbox button on the controller
- You’ll see a “System” tab, which is that gear icon on the far right
- In that icon, you’ll want to choose “Audio”
- If all has gone well thus far, you will see 3 different sliders
- The last slider is for mic monitoring
- Now just adjust that slider to the volume you want
See? It’s that simple.
Enabling mic monitoring on PlayStation 4
Daring to be different, PS4 calls mic monitoring ‘sidetone.’ As with an Xbox One, if you have PS4, you need to be sure your headphones are equipped with a mic monitoring feature. It’s a default enabling here too, but you can fix the volume to your liking.
And doing so is one of the simplest things you can do.
- Find “Settings”
- Select the tab that says “Devices”
- You’ll see “Audio Devices” after that so choose it
- Then “Sidetone Volume” will be an option
- Head there and you can control your mic monitoring volume to a higher or lower setting
How to Disable Mic Monitoring?
When you want to disable mic monitoring on any device, it is even easier than setting it up in the first place. I’ll cover how to do that for each of the 3 devices I just discussed previously.
Disabling mic monitoring on PC
As before, your PC involves the most steps for disabling mic monitoring, but it’s not a total pain. Here’s what you’ll do:
- Go to your Control Panel again
- And yes, you’ll click the Sound icon again
- You’ll see that familiar small window come up with a second tab at top of “Recording”
- Double-click on your default mic device
- And yes, another window comes again with a second tab for “Listen”
- Simply uncheck where it says “Listen to this device”
- Confirm it with a click to the “OK”
You’ll know you’ve got it right when you don’t hear yourself in your headphones anymore.
Disabling mic monitoring on Xbox
Even easier, turning of mic monitoring on your Xbox is a piece of cake. You just need to lower the volume all the way down to nothing. You’ll basically reverse all your steps from enabling the mic monitoring and slide each slider all the way to the left. When you want to hear yourself again, slide it to the right. Gaming made simplified!
Disabling mic monitoring on PS4
And finally, your PlayStation4 is also easy to disable mic monitoring though arguably not as effortless as Xbox.
- Visit “Settings”
- Select “Devices”
- Then choose “Audio Devices”
- Look for “Sidetone Volume”
- And then just slide that bar all the way left
Mic monitoring is one of the handiest options we have today for playing games in groups. We can control our own spoken volume without drawing ire from our fellow gamers, and we can turn down their volume too to keep from being overly distracted on our missions.
Because of gaming popularity, expect more headphones to have mic monitoring included and for even more effortless adjustment and connections in the future of gaming.