When using my Mac on various apps (Zoom, Quicktime audio recorder, Skype etc.), the input from all microphones is extremely quiet and voices become inaudible.

This occurs for the inbuilt microphone, for Bluetooth headphones, and for AUX headphones.

The input volume is turned up to max (see pic below)

enter image description here

But very strangely, when I open the Dictation Preference Pane (pic below), the microphone then works normally in all apps.

Dictation Preference Pane

Anyone have any ideas why this might be occuring? And how I can fix it so that the microphone input works normally all the time?

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