Many people do not know that in order to go live on a gig, you will require a wireless microphone with a mobile Pro-tools rig connected to a computer system. In this article, we will try to resolve these doubts among those engaged in recording work.
So, how does one connect a computer to a wireless microphone and vice versa?
As a first step, you should know what type of transmitters are present in the wireless mic system that you are connecting to the computer.
Step two is to connect the computer to the receiver, which will collect signals from the wireless microphone transmitter.
Now, you would know that the connection between the wireless mic and the computer requires an interface that could transfer audio signals. However, this needs a converter that can convert analog signals to digital.
In the article below, we have shared the process for how the computer and the wireless mics are to be connected. If you are trying to understand the functioning of Bluetooth and Wireless microphones, you should read this in detail.
Wireless Microphone and Bluetooth Microphones
If a microphone can transmit audio signals without the aid of wires, it gets classified as a wireless microphone.
Bluetooth microphones naturally fall under that category as they transmit wirelessly. You must understand the fact that all Bluetooth microphones are wireless microphones, but the opposite is not true. That is, a wireless microphone might or might not have Bluetooth connectivity.
How To Connect Your Bluetooth and Computer?
Here are the steps on how to do that with the different operating systems (OS).
Connecting to a System Working on Windows OS
You can connect your Bluetooth to your computer running on a Windows OS with the help of the following steps:
- Access the Control Panel option
- Open up “Network and Internet”
- Select the ‘connect to Bluetooth’ devices option
- Tap on the microphone button
- The computer will search for your Bluetooth microphone. Make sure that your mic’s Bluetooth is on and searchable.
- And you are connected.
Connecting to a System Working on macOS
To connect your Bluetooth microphones to a system working on macOS, you must follow the steps mentioned below:
- Go to “System preferences.”
- Click on the Bluetooth option
- Select the microphone option present under the devices option
- Again, the computer will try to locate your mic. Make sure your device is on and searchable.
- And you are connected.
Bluetooth is a faraway thought when professionals belonging to the film or audio field engage with wireless microphones. They mostly think about headsets, handheld microphones, and top-quality analog lavalier used in videos and live performances. See our How Do Wireless Microphones Work? article for more on this.
These microphones use radio transmission technology instead of transmitting signals over wires, thus giving the same effect as a wired microphone.
In the section below, we will discuss how the Bluetooth microphones get connected to your computer.
How To Connect the Wireless Microphones and Your Computer?
The process for this is similar to that of getting your wired microphones connected. As we already know, audio signals are produced by wireless microphones.
There is a transmitter that sends signals carried by the radio waves. These signals are sent wireless to the receiver of the computer. The receiver, in turn, converts the radio signals that it has received back into audio signals (albeit in digital form). Thus, the receiver output plays the same role as the output of a wired microphone.
You must understand that the analog signal needs to get converted into a digital one, and the requirement for such a converter is essential. The converter could either be inbuilt into the computer or be a separate device.
With the audio signal automatically converted into a digital signal, the communication between the computer and the wireless microphones is quick and smooth. Let’s take a more detailed look at the route through which the computer and the wireless microphones get connected.
The route is as follows:
- It comes first from the microphones
- Then it goes to the transmitter
- From the transmitter, it goes to the receiver
- From the receiver, it goes to the Audio interface.
- From the audio receivers, it goes to the computer.
Microphone and Transmitter: Physical Connection
One needs to first establish a physical connection with the transmitter that is wireless. Now we have a wireless microphone.
In the case of the handheld microphone, they get converted into wireless due to the transmitters available on their handle.
For lavaliers-type microphones, a belt pack receiver is a typical option for making a physical connection.
Any microphone can get converted into wireless due to the abundant availability of standalone transmitters in the market.
Transmitter and Receiver: Wireless Connection
The general process is that the connected mic transports the signal and places it in the radio waves. The embedded radio frequency emits it wirelessly across the air.
The radio wave can be either analog or digital. Both use radio signals for transmitting. Yet, there is a difference in how the signals get sent.
In the case of Analog, It is the audio signal itself that gets converted into a radio signal. This is done by modulating the radio signals and embedding the analog output to them.
In a digital system, the wireless microphone first converts all the audio signals into digital. Such digital audio joins the stream of radio signals once embedded.
Digital audio does not need to modulate the radio wave. Instead, it uses a technique known as Pulse Cod Modulation, where the receiver samples the radio wave in uniform intervals, and each sample is taken either as a zero or a one.
Receivers and Audio interface: Physical Connection
Once the wireless mic receiver is tuned to the correct frequency, it is ready to receive the radio signals which get emitted by the transmitter.
It does not matter if the signal is analog or digital. The receiver converts both to the respective audio signals.
Note that receivers will usually emit analog audio signals. The format of the wireless transmission should not be confused with the output of the receiver.
Audio interface and Computer: Physical Connection
Firstly, if your receiver directly converts the audio signals in digital format, you will not need an audio interface.
However, as mentioned above, most receivers will output analog signals. If this is the case, or else you want to connect multiple mics to your computer, then you should get an audio interface.
- An audio interface converts analog audio signals to digital audio signals that the computer can process
- Audio interfaces can typically connect multiple devices simultaneously.
- Most audio interfaces come off the shelf and are not part of the computer per se. However, a 3.5mm port will typically have an audio interface built-in.
- Typically USB wireless mics also have an audio interface built into their receiver itself. Let’s discuss this further.
Wireless Microphones USB
Similar to wired microphones, wireless mics also have built-in audio interfaces. These are wireless USB microphones.
A perfect example is the Samson SWXPD2. It is a wireless mic system and comes with three options. They are the:
These are new products and have just hit the stands and are customer grade. Each of these has its own working principle and is suitable for different recording purposes. You can take your pick from the range of products available that meets your requirement.
Here’s our article on Setting Up A Wireless Microphone System, which may come in handy when you come to setting it all up.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the steps to add a mic to a computer?
The audio interface is necessary when you wish to add and use more than a single microphone simultaneously on your computer. If you are trying to connect a single mic, then you can follow these steps:
For Bluetooth: Ensure both the computer and the mic have their Bluetooth on, then go to control panel> network and internet> Bluetooth and search for your device.
For Non-BT wireless mics: a physical receiver is necessary, such as a 3.5mm jack or USB.
How does a Wireless Mic system work?
To understand the working of a wireless mic, you must know how it gets connected. The microphone embeds its audio signal into the radio signal transmitted by an in-built transmitter.
Next, the radio signal gets transmitted into the air and is received by the receiver. The receiver decodes the audio portion of the radio signal. The audio convertor then converts it in machine-readable digital form so that your computer can record it.
Getting The Right Drivers
We now know how to convert analog into digital audio with a wireless microphone when we connect to the computer.
The subject does not end here as you require drivers to derive the best communication with the computer system.
The drivers do download automatically at times, or you can download them manually. They are generally available at the website which releases such drivers.
We have tried to give you a brief idea of the different steps to follow while connecting your microphones to your computer systems. We hope this instructive guide was useful. If you face additional problems, please leave us your query in the comments section, and we will get back to you.