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suthnuh24
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Inspiron 14R 5437 No apparent microphone installed

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I cannot record any sound on my laptop. Headphones work through the jack that's supposed to be for both playback and mic in, but no microphone. Does this jack only work with hybrid mics belonging to headsets that happen to have a 2-way sound in-out plug? The built in webcam is also not recording any sound and no microphone, internal or otherwise shows in control panel under Dell Audio/Microphone.

If I plug a mic in and select "Mic in" it doesn't recognize anything's been plugged in.

The Audio Controller is Realtek ALC3223. According to all update attempts, all my audio related drivers are up to date. The laptop was originally Windows 8.1 and was upgraded to Windows 10. I don't remember if I ever recorded, or tried to record sound on it before.

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Jim Coates
6 Gallium

RE: Inspiron 14R 5437 No apparent microphone installed

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Does this jack only work with hybrid mics belonging to headsets that happen to have a 2-way sound in-out plug?

Hello. The headset jack (aka "combo" jack) on Dell laptops will work with the headphone part of any headset, but will work with the mic part of the headset only if the headset has a single plug that combines both the headphones and mic into one plug ( a combo plug). This type of plug is found on smart phone headsets. They have 4 segments (TRRS), which is different from a regular stereo plug, which has 3 segments (TRS).

in control panel under Dell Audio/Microphone.

Instead of looking at the Dell Audio software, go directly to the Windows sound properties and see if the mic is listed under the Recording tab. There is some variation depending on driver version, but most models with Realtek will look something like this, with "Microphone" and "Stereo Mix" being the only 2 items in the list.

You can right click on the white area under the device names and check "show disabled and disconnected" devices to make sure that everything possible will appear in the list.

There is only one listing for mic. When it is selected as the default device, then the mic array in the webcam is the mic, until you plug in an external mic, at which time that becomes the default mic (if Windows is able to recognize that a mic has been plugged in). So unplug the headset and see if you can get the mic array working. If you do not see Microphone at all in the list of Recording devices, then there might be a hardware issue.

The laptop was originally Windows 8.1 and was upgraded to Windows 10.

People seem to be having more audio issues after installing Win10. It handles audio differently than other operating systems and seems to be less audio-friendly.

all my audio related drivers are up to date.

You can test the audio driver by switching between the Realtek driver and the Windows native audio driver.

1. Open the Device Manager (find it in the Control Panel, or type device manager into the Windows search box).
2. Expand the "Sound, video & game controllers" and right click on "Realtek High Definition Audio".
3. Select to "Update Driver Software".
4. Click on "Browse my computer for driver software".
5. Click "Let me pick from a list of drivers on my computer".
6. Put a check in the box "Show compatible hardware" if not already checked.
7. In the list of devices, click "High Definition Audio" (the native driver).
8. Click "Next".
9. On the Update Driver Warning box, click "Yes" (install the driver).
10. Restart the laptop if prompted. If not prompted, sometimes you have to restart, sometimes not.
[To get back to the Realtek driver, do it again but reverse the names in steps 2 and 7.]

When testing, keep the headset unplugged and only attempt to use the mic array. The external mic jack probably will not work with the native driver.

If you only have the symptoms with one of the drivers, then the other is at fault. If you have the same symptoms with both audio drivers, then it is very probably not a driver issue.

Jim Coates -- 15 years on the Dell Laptop Audio boards -- since 2/6/04 

suthnuh24
1 Nickel

RE: Inspiron 14R 5437 No apparent microphone installed

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Jim, Dang if you didn't at least get me one working mike. The Realtek driver was killing the webcam's mike. When I swapped out the driver as you advised, the webcam mike sprang to life.

So what are my alternatives now for using the external port? Just swap the drivers back and forth as needed?

The PC microphone I just bought (no headset), will that work via the port if I plug it into the mic-in side of a dual mic-in/headset out cable adapter? I also own an older 2 cable headset, same question, is it likely to work with one of those adapters? Or am I limited to having to get a single plug headset?

Thanks so much for such a quick response.

suthnuh24
1 Nickel

RE: Inspiron 14R 5437 No apparent microphone installed

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Actually, unless I want to use a headset for whatever reason, I don't even need the external mic now that the internal works, so long as I don't need to revert to the Realtek driver for anything else unforeseen. I see the internal mic is now working for Skype too. Thanks again.

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Jim Coates
6 Gallium

RE: Inspiron 14R 5437 No apparent microphone installed

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The PC microphone I just bought (no headset), will that work via the port if I plug it into the mic-in side of a dual mic-in/headset out cable adapter?

In theory, yes. But we have received mixed reports about the adapters, with a lot of people having no luck with them.

An alternative to an adapter is a usb audio jack. Usb audio devices have their own DAC and ADC, and so bypass the Realtek motherboard hardware. In other words it's a separate audio system, even though it only costs a few $. There are several different brands on Amazon, but I don't have a recommendation or guarantee any particular one will work..

Jim Coates -- 15 years on the Dell Laptop Audio boards -- since 2/6/04 

suthnuh24
1 Nickel

RE: Inspiron 14R 5437 No apparent microphone installed

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Thanks Jim. I'm going to buy one of those. Thanks again for the help!

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