How to Use Headphones As a Microphone


Need a microphone to record an audio note or to talk to somebody over the internet but not got one to hand? Not to worry, you can use good old fashioned headphones as a microphone. Yes you heard right, headphones will do a more than capable job as a mic, one of the many benefits of having a good set of cans.

How to Use Headphones As a Microphone

  1. Plug your headphones into a microphone jack, they won’t work in a normal headphone jack as they won’t know you plan to use them to record.
  2. Check that the headphones are recognized, you can do this via the control panel and look at the audio devices on your computer or mac.
  3. Head over to your recording or speaking program of choice, most computers have an audio recording program installed when you buy them but if not I recommend something like audacity for beginners (it’s free you know).
  4. Check that the sound is working and speak/record away to your hearts delight. It’s that easy!

How does it work?

Don’t worry I’m not going to go all scientific on you, but basically speaking both headphones and microphones do the same thing backwards. Both trade in vibrations, and as well as being able to amplify the vibrations of music and other sounds, headphones are able to monitor those vibrations and submit them the other way up the cable to be recorded on your computer. Unfortunately Microphones only have the technology to record, so you can’t use your microphone as speakers if you get really stuck for a listening device!

How Does it Sound?

Really this is just a party trick or a way to still be able to record if you’re stuck for a mic, and you shouldn’t expect to see commercially released tracks being recorded on a set of iPhone headphones but it’s great for skype or other such things. The manufacturer and make of headphones will have a big impact on how good the sound quality is as they are more accurate and will be better at monitoring the frequencies you’re recording. An expensive set of headphones will be a lot better at recording than cheap earbuds (earbuds are tough to record on, too).

So there you go, that’s how you can use your headphones or earbuds as a microphone. You will have either already known that you could do so or your mind is now blown! Either way, happy recording.

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