What is Mic Monitoring and How to Use it for Gaming

what is mic monitoring

If you regularly play video games online and communicate using a headset, you will almost certainly have encountered the issue of a player speaking too loudly. This can be unpleasant to listen to and can make understanding that player difficult. 

In the worst cases, it can fundamentally ruin the entire gaming experience. One of the reasons it is so common is because players often have no idea they are doing it.

Taking this to the next logical point, have you ever wondered whether you may be doing this yourself? This is where the concept of microphone monitoring comes in. When used effectively, mic monitoring can help you to get a better sense of how other players are hearing you. If everyone used it, the technology would likely eliminate this problem. 

So what is mic monitoring, what does mic monitoring do, and how can you use it for gaming?

What Does Mic Monitoring Mean?

Many modern wireless headphones and gaming headsets include a built-in microphone, and this allows you to communicate with other people. For example, when using wireless headphones with your mobile phone, you can speak through the microphone and hear the person on the other end of the phone through the headset. 

The same is also true for online gaming, allowing communication between players, which is especially useful when playing co-op games.

mic monitoring gaming

Microphone monitoring, or mic monitoring for short, is a feature that is available on many headsets, as well as many devices that are compatible with these headsets, including games consoles and personal computers. 

Mic monitoring allows you to speak into the microphone on the headset and hear your own voice through the earpiece. A headset that offers this feature may be described as a mic monitoring headset.

Microphone monitoring may or may not be enabled by default on these headsets, or on compatible devices. Later in this article, we will cover exactly how to enable it on various different gaming platforms. First, it is important to understand exactly why microphone monitoring has become such a desirable feature.

Why Do You Need Microphone Monitoring?

If you are using a headset, you want to make sure your attempts to communicate are clear and you also want to avoid situations where your voice is too loud for everyone else in your gaming session. 

At the same time, you also want to make sure your voice is loud enough for people to hear you without needing to raise your voice. It is here that microphone monitoring becomes so valuable because it allows you to clearly hear what others will hear from you.

Once you are able to hear your own voice through your headset, you can make any necessary adjustments to the volume of your microphone. So if your voice is too loud, you can lower the volume, and if your voice is too quiet, you can increase the volume. Setting the volume at the right level will make for a better experience for everyone.

Beyond this, a mic monitoring headset will also allow you to conduct real-time troubleshooting. For instance, if there is a problem with your microphone, or if it is picking up too much background noise, you will be able to hear this. Once you know the nature of the problem, it becomes much easier to find a solution.

Setting Up Mic Monitoring on PlayStation 4 or PlayStation 5

To make use of microphone monitoring on your PlayStation 4 or PlayStation 5 console, you will need a mic monitoring headset. Most of the best gaming headsets offer this feature, including the official headset from Sony.

Within the PlayStation user interface, microphone monitoring is referred to as ‘sidetone’. Mic monitoring should be enabled by default, but you may need to manually adjust the setting on your actual headset. 

Once this is done, you can control the volume for your mic monitoring from your PlayStation console by doing the following:

  1. Go to ‘Settings’, then select ‘Devices’.
  2. Go to ‘Audio Devices’.
  3. You should see an option labeled ‘Sidetone’, with a slider. Move this slider up and down to adjust the volume. Once you have set the slider where you want it, simply leave the settings menu.

Setting Up Mic Monitoring on Xbox One or Xbox Series X|S

Unlike with the PlayStation, the Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S consoles refer to microphone monitoring as ‘mic monitoring’, making the setting easier to find. To adjust this, you will need a compatible headset. Assuming you have one, you can enable mic monitoring by following these simple steps:

  1. From the main ‘Home’ screen, press the ‘Xbox’ button on your controller.
  2. Scroll to ‘System’ and then find the option for ‘Audio’.
  3. Go to the slider labeled ‘Mic Monitoring’ and move the slider up and down to adjust the volume. When you have the slider where you want it and your voice is at the required level, leave the settings menu.

Setting Up Mic Monitoring on Microsoft Windows 10 for PC

If you are using a PC with Windows 10, the process for setting up mic monitoring may seem slightly more complex, but it is still relatively straightforward. Simply follow these steps to enable mic monitoring for your connected headset:

  1. Open the ‘Control Panel’ and then click the ‘Sound’ icon.
  2. When the window pops up, click on the tab labeled ‘Recording’, then double click on the device you want to hear.
  3. On the next window that is displayed, click ‘Listen’, then make sure ‘Listen to This Device’ is enabled. Once you have done so, you should be able to hear your own voice through your headset when you speak.

How to Turn Mic Monitoring Off Again

Mic monitoring is best used as a way to check the level of your voice and make any necessary adjustments before you begin playing. Although you can continue to play with microphone monitoring enabled, it is unlikely to produce the best gaming experience and you may find that in-game sounds, including music, dialogue, sound effects and other players’ voices, are all drowned out by the sound of your own voice.

You can use mic monitoring to know if you are too close to your microphone or to see if it is picking up excess background noise. Once you have done this and are satisfied, it is recommended to turn it off again.


The precise method for doing this will depend on the system you are using, but generally, it will be a case of either turning down the ‘Mic Monitoring’ or ‘Sidetone’ slider on your console, or disabling the ‘Listen to This Device’ option on your Windows 10 PC. You may also be able to disable it directly from your headset.

Once you have successfully disabled mic monitoring, you should no longer hear your own voice through the headset, but you will have a better appreciation of how others are going to hear you.

Final Thoughts

Mic monitoring is a valuable tool for online gaming, allowing you to get a sense of how your voice will sound to other players. This can be vital for ensuring clear communication is possible and for avoiding situations where your voice sounds too loud or too quiet, which can potentially ruin the experience for others. 

A mic monitoring headset is a valuable piece of gaming equipment, and enabling and disabling mic monitoring is simple on PCs and consoles.

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