How to connect a microphone to a computer

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Where you connect a microphone to a computer depends on the connector the microphone utilizes. Generally speaking, there are two types of connectors used with microphones: the mini-plug and USB. Both types can connect to nearly any computer as most machines (including some laptops and Chromebooks) have both. To proceed, you can look at the images below to determine which type of connector your microphone uses and then follow the directions in that section. Or, if you know which connector your microphone utilizes, select the appropriate section from the list below and follow the instructions.

USB microphone
Mini-plug microphone
How to see if microphone is detected

Usb cable and portUSB Microphone

First, locate any available USB port and plug the microphone into it. Once connected, the computer should automatically detect the microphone and install the drivers for it. After the software is installed, you can verify the microphone is ready for use by accessing the Sound settings window and looking through the options.

What if the mic isn’t detected automatically?

First, if you are plugging a USB microphone into the top or front of the computer try connecting it to the back of the computer. In some situations, it may only work if connected to the back of the computer.

If the computer still does not automatically detect your microphone and you’ve installed the software, you may need to download the drivers yourself. Fortunately, we have pages with these instructions, which are listed below:

Mini-plug Microphone

An image of three sound card ports.Many microphones utilize a mini-plug connector, similar to that which you would find on your mobile phone, tablet, or iPod. On a desktop computer, the microphone jack is usually located on the back and is denoted by a pink in color, as you can see in the image to the right. However, microphone jacks may also be located on the top or front of the computer case.

Many laptop computers and Chromebooks have a microphone built into them. If not, the microphone jack is usually located on the front edge, or near the front left or right side.

What if the mic isn’t detected automatically?

If the computer does not automatically detect your microphone and install the software, you may need to download the drivers yourself. Fortunately, we have pages with these instructions, which are listed below:

How to see if the microphone is detected

  1. Open the Windows Control Panel, or press the Windows key, type Control Panel, and then press Enter.
  2. Under Adjust your computer’s settings, click Hardware and Sound.
  3. Click the Sound icon to open the Sound Settings window.
  4. In the Sound settings window, click on the Recording tab to view the available microphones.
  5. Check if the microphone you plugged in is listed on the Recording tab and that it says Ready or Default Device underneath it.

Tip: You can select the microphone in this list and click the Properties button to change microphone settings, including the volume level for recording. Click the OK button to save any changes to the settings.





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