MacBook Pro 13" 2016 Touch Bar version

Whenever I plug an external microphone it's really quiet, what's more changing the input volume in the Sound settings doesn't affect it at all - It's still very quiet but hearable at 0 Volume and exactly the same at full volume.


Is there any way for me to increase the volume of the external microphone?

PS. It's the same regardless of the device, all 3 different headphone pairs behaved the same

  • I was using Google meet in Chrome to test my sound. I noticed using Safari somehow solves the problem. Feb 22, 2021 at 18:51

2 Answers 2


The command to set your microphone levels all the way up is this:

sudo osascript -e "set volume input volume 100"

Also check your microphones for dust in the mic hole and if there is a power source on the device you may need to plug it in. It may need the built in mic amp.

If that doesn't help possibly a 3rd party free app like Soundsource that gives you sliders to toggle Speaker/Microphone levels from the menu bar. I've never used it but found it referenced in the apple forums.

  • 1
    Both set the input volume as if I was changing it in the settings, but didn't affect the actual volume. It cannot be dust, the headphones are brand new and it behaved the same with all the other pairs Aug 17, 2018 at 22:41
  • How are you testing the mic volume? Are you relying on a piece of software? Did you check the MIC works on other computers(incase of a manufacturer defect)? Some programs have noise cancelling and volume auto-adjust as a feature like skype or google hangouts. Are you relying on them? Aug 30, 2018 at 15:12

I'm a bit late to the party, but I had a similar issue and found a solution that worked for me.

There is a product from rogueamoeba.com called 'Audio Hijack' that lets you take audio from any input (or directly from individual apps), perform processing and send it to an output or record it. It's worth considering getting Loopback at the same time as there is a deal on getting both. Both have free trial modes where it starts adding noise after 20 minutes or so but you can restart the apps for another 20 mins testing.

There is a 'Built-In Effects' block called 'Volume' that allows you to alter the volume and it has 'Overdrive' options to increase the volume by up to four times. Seems to work well for my Aftershokz OpenComm headset that's too quiet for me even at 100%.

If the volume from the mic is really low though, it might be expecting to be powered by what it's connected to, so it might be worth considering a preamp or an alternative mic that outputs at line level.

I hope this helps.

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