Having an external microphone can significantly improve and upgrade your computer’s audio input. Whether you’re using your microphone for chatting, recording your songs or for making your YouTube videos in the comforts of your home, you definitely need to know how to connect a recording microphone to your computer. Read on to know how to set-up basic PC microphones and professional mics. If you’re not sure which microphone to go for yet, have a read of our article on finding the right mic for recording.
Connecting Ordinary Computer Microphones
1. Check what kind of jack your microphone has.
Typically, ordinary computer mic jacks either support an eight-inch TRS jack or a flat USB connector (for USB microphones), the same jack your external drive or mouse probably have. Either way, most computers support these two.
2. Find your computer’s mic port.
All PCs have easy to access mic ports at the back and the front of the processor tower. Mic ports are pink in color and have an embedded mic symbol over or under it. In laptops, you can usually find it either to the left or right side beside the head/earphone If you have a one eight-inch TRS jack, just insert it into the port.
For USB jacks, just plug it in one of the USB ports located on the front or at the PC’s back. Some laptops are often built with an internal microphone so that’s why you wouldn’t see a mic port.
Once you successfully connect the mic to the computer, you will hear a sound indicating that something is plugged in the system. If you can observe at the far right side of the taskbar near the date, a pop-up balloon will notify you that you have successfully connected your device.
3. Test the mic with recording software you’ve installed.
A quick and easy way to check the volume levels and input levels are to go directly to your sound options once your device is recognized by the PC. For computers running under Windows, simply go to the built-in Sound Recorder software; for a Mac, simply go to Garage Band or QuickTime.
Connecting Professional Microphones to Computer
Professional microphones are usually high-quality music mics or condenser mics used for recording professional music. Most need adapters or converters before plugging into a computer. These are a bit pricey, but the quality of the recording is at its highest, and no ordinary mic can compare to these.
1. Determine what kind of jack the professional mic has on the end.
External Line Return or XLR Mic
If you look at your mic’s end and you notice three prongs in a triangle shape, it’s an XLR mic. To be able to connect this to a computer, you’ll need a cable that can convert this to a one-eighth-inch port or a USB. You can also invest in a mixing board with USB output to achieve good sound quality.
Quarter inch jack
If you’re going to connect a guitar to the computer, you need an adapter that can convert it to USB or the usual eighth-inch mic port. These adapters are pretty common and inexpensive to buy in any electronics store, whether online or not.
2. Test the mic with recording software once the computer recognizes it.
After plugging it in, simply go to the sound options; select your device once it becomes visible. Open recording software of your choice and try tweaking the microphone levels to check if it’s working.
Troubleshooting Recording Microphones in Computer
If you have plugged your ordinary computer mic or professional mic to your computer and the system still doesn’t recognize it, you can do the following;
Go to sound input settings
Select the right device and see if its input levels are just right. If they are moving as you speak, this means the computer’s picking up sound through your mic. But if it remains stagnant, it is not. Ensure that the one moving is not the internal computer mic.
On a Windows PC, you can easily find it in the Windows Control Panel. You can find your microphone, usually named whatever brand it is, in the “Headphones and Sounds.” Just right-click your mic device and choose “Use Device.”
Check the mic connection
Maybe you forgot to switch the mic on, or the cable is not correctly plugged in. Read the manual for professional mics that may need some buttons pushed first before it can connect to a computer. Some professional condenser mics have toggle settings, so test if it makes a difference once you switch between them.
Restart your computer
A lot of times, you will have to reboot the computer so it can easily recognize the new device plugged into it. If it still does not work, use another mic to connect, or connect your new mic to another computer. This way, you can deduce whether the mic or the computer is at fault.
Sometimes, compatibility issues may arise when you’re learning how to connect recording a microphone to the computer. But with trial and error, you’ll definitely get the knack of it. Hope you learned a lot in this article. Kindly share this with your friends.
Best Studio Mics was started by a husband and wife team who love the sound and the technicals behind recording it. Both are professional theatre artists, one with a stage management background and one more on stage. One also has experience in film and television work and the different audio requirements of that arena.