Built-in Microphone Only Works When Dictation&speech Open

novus111

Registered
Hi, I have a problem on the following system:
Macbook Pro Retina 15" with Mac OS X 10.9.5

My internal microphone suddenly only picked up tapping noises but not my voice. I say "suddenly" because it worked perfectly fine a couple hours ago. I haven't moved or hit my laptop since then.
When I go to System Preferences/Sound/Input my Internal Microphone is selected and on full volume. The noise reduction checkbox doesn't affect the problem.
The weird part is the microphone works again perfectly as soon as I open System Preferences/Dictation&Speech. As soon as I go back to Show All or if I quit System Preferences the microphone doesn't pick up my voice anymore (only when I scream at it..).

A lot of people seem to have the "low input" problem with their internal microphones, but I haven't found any thread that is related to Dictation&Speech.

Thanks a lot for your help!
 
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Cheryl

Rosie Moderator
Staff member
Mod
Check your system preferences>sound to make sure you have internal microphone selected. If you have (perchance) an external mic, plug it in and see if that corrects the problem.
Another suggestion - restart the MacBook. Usually a restart will correct the problem as it refreshes the software running the various components.
 

novus111

Registered
Hi Cheryl, thanks for your reply.

The internal microphone is selected. Unfortunately I don't have an external mic to test. I restarted the system a couple times now, which doesn't help. I also rebootet the coreaudio with the Acitivity Monitor, no result. I'm pretty sure this is a software issue..
 

Cheryl

Rosie Moderator
Staff member
Mod
Next step: download and install the 10.9.x combo update. It could be that one of the components of your sound was corrupt when you downloaded the last update.

The install will not hurt any of your files.
 

novus111

Registered
Ok, did that. No change, the microphone still only works properly when Dictation&Speech is open.
 

Cheryl

Rosie Moderator
Staff member
Mod
Time to borrow a microphone. That will determine if it is just the internal mic that has gone south.
 

novus111

Registered
Thank you for all your help! The problem solved by itself after the most recent reboot of the system. The microphone works normally again. Unfortunately I can't tell what exactly solved the problem.
 

Petr Jiricka

Registered
I have the same problem. No idea how to fix it, but at least there is a workaround - just leave the dictation preferences open - then the mic works with Skype etc.

BTW, I checked with an external headset, and sound input works fine (even without the dictation preferences open).
 

ALD

Registered
Just entering this for posterity

tl;dr version
- you're screwed. If you really want it fixed it, your macbook will have to be serviced (or just keep Dictate & Speech to get some internal mic functionality)

Long version:

I have this problem. Internal mic generally doesn't work but it works for some apps (but not great) and for apps in which it doesn't work (e.g. skype, Photo Booth) having "Dictate & Speech" up at the same time kinda fixes it (the sound isn't very good).

As my macbook was still under warranty, I called tech support then to senior tech support and then, for good measure, to the store during which they tried booting up under every weird boot the mac has, logged in as a different user, created a blank partition with a new OS, and finally the obligatory complete reformat with new OS; nada. Only sacrificing chickens and reading their entrails were not tried. The look on the apple techs faces at the store was priceless (I used Photo Booth to record videos so they could hear working vs not working sound recordings)

I could have sent it in right there but I didn't want to be without my mac for 5 days (the estimated time to fix and get it back to me). I could not get a free loaner. I could have bought a new one and returned it (an ersatz loaner) but I decided not to. I'll wait until I go on vacation. Until then I'll use the Dictate & Speech trick.

On the bright side, as a new mac user, I am very impressed with how fast using the migration assistant to have a complete Time Machine restore worked.
 
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