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Issue 9913: Expose an API for Mic Gain Control
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Reported by, Jul 20, 2010
It would be UBER helpful if the gain (aka Volume) control could be exposed to developers.

Jul 20, 2010
Jul 21, 2010
#2 olivier.guilyardi
100 % agreed. I have a lot of musicians, including pro and teachers who use my app. I did add a simple software gain, but there's absolutely no way to lower the input level, which cause clipping in loud conditions.

Having access to the hardware mixer, and thus the ability to decrease the input level would be very important for all my users who enjoy and need to have a high quality pocket recorder in their pocket.

I received a real lot of user requests about this issue.
Jul 26, 2010
Better control over the gain, especially being able to lower it would be revolutionary, like inventing the wheel.
Jul 30, 2010
I agree with all postings above. Apple enjoys a marketing advantage with their recorder. I bought my HTC Evo so I could acquire a good recording app. This has been a let down and leaves me, the customer, wanting better quality. 
Sep 5, 2010
I totally agree.
There is a great app, but i can´t use it for my main goal, to record my band during rehearsal!
We are simply too loud!
It can´t be to difficult to decrease the gain.....
Sep 12, 2010
I totally agree!
Sep 24, 2010
Just put a little piece of electrical tape over the mic before you record and turn the input volume all the way down.  Works like a charm.  I have a piece I just leave stuck to the back of my phone.  when I need it, it's there. 
Sep 25, 2010
The entire point of this issue is that you cannot turn the input volume down. What device do you have exactly?
Sep 25, 2010
sorry, i  meant turn down input gain so it's not boosted 
Sep 25, 2010
Or put It on auto input gain.   gain control appears as little slider box on my Evo but turning it all the way down simply means no boost. Input gain control is actually a boost feature, not true level control. Tape on mic is only way to reduce input sensitivity. It works great w/ no impact on quality of recording. This app is fabulous. Not sure why mp3 isn't supported tho.  

Can it rec ph calls? I haven't tried.
Sep 27, 2010
#11 olivier.guilyardi
@writethismusic: I think that you are talking about TapeMachine, which includes a software gain slider (amplification only).

But the present issue is not app-specific, it is about getting access to the hardware input level control in Android, to reduce the level, which is not feasible right now. Therefore, it affects all apps. This issue has to be fixed in Android itself. 

Thank you though for mentioning how this problem affects you as an app user.
Oct 1, 2010
sorry...I'd just gotten an email with a link about this very issue using tapemachine and I got the two forum discussions confused. You people must have been wondering what the ___I was talking about. 
May 7, 2011
I'm totally supporting this request!! Don't see any reason to block input gain control.
Any news on which android version might be offering it?
May 7, 2011
I'm going to google io. Is anyone interested in discussing this issue there?
May 7, 2011
Excellent discussion. Lets see how this gets
 fleshed out at the G-IO.
May 19, 2011
yes..make it so #1

Jul 7, 2011
Jul 7, 2011

Jul 8, 2011
#19 olivier.guilyardi
Just a side note, the guys at the Voodoo project now provide support for lowering the input level on a fair range of devices. I haven't tested that but it looks promising: 

When upstream Android devs don't care, the ROM developers are here, working underground. 
Oct 3, 2012
3 years have passed and nothing yet. The audio record is a crap!
Oct 11, 2012
well, I have to vote for this.
The mic sensitivity is just set too high at default for some devices
Dec 13, 2012
This is a big problem with the Nexus 4 too. Even affects VoIP apps.
Dec 14, 2012
I would also like to see this improved.  I have tried using several apps to record band jams and it always comes out horrible and distorted.  So called "gain" controls in apps only seem to control the amplitude of the resultant recording, they don't affect the microphone gain at the input stage, so you just get quiet, clipped recordings.  Absolutely useless, and very disappointing considering the at times astonishing quality recordings that iPhone users can achieve.

I have attached a very short example of a recording with RecForge - an app that has a "gain" control which only governs the amplitude of the resultant file because Android does not permit developers to access the actual microphone gain.  The audio is well within the boundaries but it is just a quiet version of the horribly clipped input signal.  Have a look at it in a wave editor (Audacity or whatever) - it's just awful.
1.1 MB   Download
Dec 14, 2012
Oh, forgot to mention, this is on a Motorola RAZR i - Android 4.0.4
Jan 19, 2013
I agree. But in contrast to most others here my problem is inverse.
With the Nexus 4 the microphone sensitivity for external (headset) 
microphones is by far to low.

Jan 19, 2013
Is it not possible for the low-level APIs to pass in floats? They wouldn't even need to expose input gain if they did that...
Jan 26, 2013
I agree
Jan 28, 2013
I'm not a developer, but I am a power user and an amateur musician/recording enthusiast. Currently, the microphone in my Nexus 4 is waaay too hot for any kind of recording, both audio only, as well as in video. If I simply talk in a normal voice, it starts to clip, and so the resulting recordings are terrible. I use my phone in developer mode, so adding in some extra gain control there would be good, but I think the mic has just been calibrated wrong in the first place. It seems that this could be fixed fairly easily... I'm surprised that this issue hasn't been voted up higher. Perhaps not enough folks have tried recording a live concert on their new N4's yet?
Feb 10, 2013
Developers please review the gain of the volume on Nexus 4 add it is impossible to record any loss events e.g. concerts, parties... The output is so distorted that you can't even use these videos anywhere
Feb 13, 2013
very noisy when i use wechat.please help fix.
Feb 14, 2013
Using Skype, the sound is so distorted that it is nigh impossible for the callee to discern what is being said. This needs fixing or I'm going back to my unlocked iPhone.
Feb 21, 2013
Makes me sad, love this phone, but if im not able to make a regular phonecall, which i do from time to time, its a real bummer. Its impossible for the other end of the line to understand me most of the time, even with an headset pluged in. 
Feb 22, 2013
Feb 23, 2013
Another Vote!
Feb 24, 2013
I'm a musician and I use my phone to capture musical ideas. This worked fine on my Nexus One but on the Nexus 4 all I get is distorted garbage, recording with the same app, Virtual Recorder. I love the phone but this is one of my most common uses and if I can't get it to work I'll just dump the phone on Cragislist and get something that does.
Feb 24, 2013
The distortion of the sound of Nexus 4 is very serious issue and affects different people whether you are musician recording the music or just someone who wants to record the video of the party with the music playing in the background. This issue affects us in the same way which is distorts the recorded sound to the state where it is unusable. Even though more and more people recognise this issue this doesn't mean that all of them will be reporting it to the developers here. Therefore, we would ask Google developers to take a serious look into this problem and advise people if this issue can be fixed at all or we have to move to other devices that don't have this issue. We as customers have to know where we stand with this issue.
Feb 24, 2013
For those of you with the Nexus 4, there might be a way to lower the sensitivity of the mic by rooting and using something like Voodoo to manage the input gain. My friend was able to do this with his Galaxy S phone with amazing results. Unfortunately, Android still does not allow us app developers to affect the microphone's sensitivity. I just put an auto tune app on the market a few days ago, and I was forced to put some type of feedback in the recording screen due to this problem. I suggest getting more people you know to star this issue, and to find something like Voodoo that would work for that phone.
Mar 3, 2013
This is really a big problem for a lot of apps!

I try to record some audio and use the source
and if I talk loud it is totally distorted ...

However, in voice calls I never noticed clipping - so it must work somehow with the same hardware?
Has anyone a tip for this?
Because this makes all recordings useless ...

Thanks a lot!
Mar 5, 2013
Just another voice from a non-developer.

I too am a professional musician and, partly for reasons of budget, bought a Nexus 4. It is a superb phone but this is a massive issue for me. There are excellent audio apps available for Android but this makes recording rehearsals etc. impossible. Suggestions to use gaffer tape on a premium phone to reduce the mic gain are not welcome ;-)

I encountered this problem with my previous phone (a Galaxy S) but naïvely assumed that this would have been sorted out in the intervening few years, especially given the direct updates from Google.

This is really basic stuff, Google, at least from the end user's point of view!
Mar 8, 2013
Totally agree! Concert video's with my Nexus 4 are completly useless due to distorted audio...
Mar 8, 2013
Stop emailing me.
 On Jan 19, 2013 2:05 PM, <> wrote:
Mar 18, 2013
i'd like this problem to be fixed too please. :)
Mar 18, 2013
This is horrible. But I tested it with an Apple headphone-mic and is was clearly better but too quiet. Please fix that or some developer could edit a kernel Ort smth.

Mar 18, 2013
Totally agreed! Because i love to record many things with my Nexus 4 but everytime i tried i got some distortion when recording something with a loud sound. At first i guess i could change the preferences by editing the build.prop like what i did with my image quality, but i have no idea how to adjust the gain control like what you said before. 
Mar 19, 2013
Totally agree!
Mar 19, 2013
Yeah, I can't even use the device as intended.  Perhaps I should return it!
Mar 19, 2013
I would like to remind (once again) that this is NOT solely a Nexus 4 problem, but a gerneral Android issue, I've been experiencing these problems for years now on various devices.
Mar 20, 2013
Recording louder music / concerts is impossible. Sound is extremely distorted. 
People on the other end of my in-car BT conversations also say they don't hear me well AT ALL! Could this be the microphone / gain issue as well? My old iPhone 5 had no issue on the same BT system
Mar 20, 2013
I'm a dj and tried using the nexus 4 to record video at my karaoke venue..The sound quality is really distorted and muffled.Even recording behind the speakers and 10ft away sounds awful..In the past ive used an xperia mini pro and xperia s (both android)in the same environment and never had a problem with sound quality.
Nexus 4 is a great phone but this issue really lets it down.
Mar 21, 2013
Yesterday I tried recording some music with me singing over it. What sounded great on my Xperia T came out as a mess on the N4. I'm quite disappointed with it, really. I'm not saying the Nexus 4 is a bad phone, in fact I love it, but basic things like this shouldn't be left out when manufacturers decide to launch a new phone.
Mar 21, 2013

And something needs to be done to noise cancellation - it is way to strong. Quiet conversations (at night) are almost impossible. I have tested this with 2 nexus 4 phones and the cancellation on both just cuts half of the words.
Mar 24, 2013
For those with Nexus 4's and some other phones, faux123 added mic gain to his kernel. You need this app

Kernel here:

See also this thread for N4 specific problems with mic gain:
Mar 25, 2013
Using push to talk apps picks up way too much background noise if I'm driving down the road/highway. But as soon as I am at a stop, the ptt recorded message sounds much better.
Apr 5, 2013
It's impossible to record any kind of music with my Nexus 4. I was going to take it as my only camera on a trip, but I need to be able to record decent sound. Any noise above normal voice level is clipped and impossible to listen to.
Apr 13, 2013
+1. Audio recordings of any slightly louder sound are totally distorted on my Nexus 4...
Apr 17, 2013
Since a year I'm an Android developer of audio applications. Because
many of my customers consistently complain about too sensitive
microphones with good reason (e.g. band rehearsals are usually
clipped), I am investigating the web, again, to find any software
solution for lowering the microphone gain. I just discovered this
thread and it makes me just plain sad.

Actually, Google's guidelines to the OEMs are quite ok
so I suspect the OEMs' implementations of audio preprocessing
(including AGC and echo cancellation) are the main source of the
problem. But having missed to implement a possibility in the Android
API to lower the gain of the hardware microphone amplifier for at
least THREE years (as this thread proves) is such an incredible
neglect that I am running out of words.

Actually, I think it is too late now for slight improvements of the
audio API because 100% of the smartphones presently in use will not
profit and it will take another year to see a significant amount
(say 30%) of updated smartphones

The solution would have been so easy: just bypass the raw amplified
microphone signal directly (without AGC, DRC, VAD, EC, NS, ...) to the
application software when the MediaRecorder.AudioSource of the Android
was invented with API 7 and explicitly defined to NOT do ANY signal
processing. However, the OEMs didn't care and nobody checked if they

All this makes me sad. So, I now develop a work-around to compensate
this weakness and hope that it will have the intended effect also on
the customers' smartphones which I can't directly test.

Apr 22, 2013
Please, release it! I am a drummer and it's impossible to record any piece of music cause of the distorted sound captured by the mic. 
Apr 23, 2013
Yes, please make possible the mic gain control, like Voodoo Sound, or recforge, but in camera app directly or in the overall of the system, would be excellent, because record video and audio separately causes micro cuts in video...
Apr 27, 2013
microphone input gain level ...please
May 2, 2013
I have waited since the first Droid for Google to treat musicians and other creative professionals the way Apple does. Why don't you as a company want this market of key influencers to work on your platform? Please begin by removing the latency issues at the OS level. But you can start by simply giving us mic gain control. Thanks very much.
May 3, 2013
May 3, 2013
May 4, 2013
As a user: please do so soon!
May 6, 2013
it's a shame, really! why in iOS it has been fixed initialy, so people doesn't need to even think about, but in android it's the only thing i have to worry?(  temporarily i'm using stweaks, but it's not quite effective. so +1 to all above!
May 6, 2013
I vote for a Nexus 4 fix, would like to record videos without the sound quality being bad
May 7, 2013
please fix it!
May 7, 2013
Wow how is there no fuggin solution... Android has been released for ages.
May 9, 2013
Same issue here with my nexus 4! Any solution already out there?

May 9, 2013
I have the same problem when i try to record a bit loud sounds/videos and concerts are full distorted.

First i had a Galaxy Nexus which had the same issue with the mic gain.
After the Galaxy Nexus i got a Galaxy Note which did not have this issue.
On the galaxy note all the audio recording even on concerts came out crystal clear.
Now i sold the note and got a N4 and i have the same issue like before with the distortion while audio/video recording.

Please google fix the gain control or add auto gain on the mic.
Its impossible to record audio now.
May 23, 2013
No microphone input gain adjustment control?! That's like having tires or air shocks that don't let you adjust the air pressure. Rather impossible to get the full benefit. Please fix this mistake. Thanks.
May 26, 2013
I'm a singer and musician and I'd like to use my android device to record ideas with my android device and with some apps I purchased but developers can't do nothing about gain level...and so it is impossible to record, it clips all the time...PLEASE ALLOW THEM TO ACCESS THE HARDWARE MIXER!!
May 27, 2013
PLEASE FIX THIS. when we use push-to-talk messaging systems like wechat, or line, our voices are completely distorted... Is this because of mic gain? OR are both mics on the device being used causing the distortion? Regardless, this issue should have been fixed by now
May 27, 2013
I hope everyone who has posted an angry "me too" message (which I'm willing to bet no-one involved with the getting stuff done actually reads) also has been starring the issue.  Get it up the list!
May 27, 2013
Also: faux' Kernel mic-setting helps with the distortion, but the soundquality is still awful. :(
May 28, 2013
please do something in the 4.3 release, its an old issue, but VERY important
May 28, 2013
Sorry to be pessimistic, but I don't think the community should hold its collective breath for a solution. Google surely must be aware of this issue; it is surely inconceivable that one of the top brass hasn't tried using the video camera on their own company's flagship handset?
This issue has been in existence from the very beginning, and has been flagged for nearly as long.
May 28, 2013
I would like to use my Galaxy Nexus to record concerts, but this way it's impossible :\
Jun 6, 2014
Project Member #84
 Issue 6554  has been merged into this issue.
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