I'm not sure if this is possible, I've been browsing for the last few hours trying to figure out why my microphone input is so low. I talk a lot with people on skype, and I have the persistent problem that people can't hear me, unless I set microphone boost to maximum, and some other boost-thing in creative's software, called smart volume.
After browsing a bit some dude suggested that maybe the microphone isn't getting enough power. That gave me the idea that maybe I can make my sound card give the mic more power? Is this possible? Or am I off my rockers?
For reference, I have a Creative Sound Blaster Z, and running Windows 7 ultimate.
As a sidequestion, why does microsoft and creative think I need 3 separate sliders, located in different places in the system, to control microphone volume?
The dude who suggested getting more power to your mic is wrong, even if you are using a studio mic that does actually use power, which you probably aren't.
The answer to your second question is that whether or not you are off your rocker has nothing to do with your microphone.
The answer to the third is that they don't care about audio quality. Every digital slider reduces quality. I run my outputs on full, full, full - into a decent amp which controls the volume.
Can you borrow a mic that works well for someone else and see if it does better? For Skype, I personally use a USB webcam with a built-in mic and my deaf (hearing aid and implant) daughter can understand me. So it might be the mic. Alternatively, try the same mic in the motherboard input i/s/o the SoundBlaster input.
The last thing that I can think of is a bad impedance mismatch, but that is so unlikely with mics.