How To Connect A Microphone To Laptop Or Computer For Recording - Complete Guide For Beginners

We will teach you how to connect a Microphone to laptop or computer for recording easily. Let's take a look!

by Derrick Reeves | Updated: June 24, 2021

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It seems simple, but this is one of the most common questions for home studio novices.

Our articles will introduce you to some simple methods that you can apply to combine the microphone with your technology devices to solve this question: "How to connect a microphone to laptop or computer for recording?".

About The Combination Of Microphone With Computer

Nowadays, most laptops and computers have their mic input port, so that it is possible to combine them with your microphone.

However, if you connect a microphone to your computer directly through a headphone port, the quality of the record may not make you feel satisfied.

A small notice in case you have a condenser microphone is that you need 48V phantom power. For any people who want more high-quality sounds, two more complicated ways below may be helpful!

Instructions For Connecting The Microphone

List Of Needed Devices

  1. At least one XLR cable, two or three for more recording requirements. If not, use phantom power for condenser mics because it will not require any external power.
  2. Suitable digital port such as USB 2.0, Firewire, and Thunderbolt. Make sure they are compatible with your laptop or computer.
  3. USB microphone or audio interface.
  4. More extra inputs will be useful for synthesizers and other equipment.

Prepare The Microphone Input And Output

Prepare The Microphone Input And Output

The first and foremost step is setting the microphone input on your laptop or computer. Let's check whether the audio interface or USB microphone is your computer's input and output devices or not. If not, select them in device settings.

Secondly, on most audio interfaces, users can find a volume control knob for the microphone. Besides, looking for the headphone port helps you hear your voice and adjust the volume during the recording process.

How can you check the input setting on your computer screen if you do not see the signals? Here is the guide for you:

  1. Go to "Settings," click on "System," and "Sounds."
  2. Go to "Input," you will see and select the microphone or any recording device. If you do not see any green tick, go to properties and change the option you want.

On a Mac, all you need to do is go to "System Settings," click on "Sound," and select "Input."

Ways To Connect A Microphone To Your Laptop Or Computer

Connect a USB microphone to your laptop or computer

The USB microphone is the simplest one-stop solution for recording audio onto your laptop or computer. Because it does not need any help from additional hardware, you can plug it directly into the USB port, make some settings, and be ready for your recording.

Connect a USB microphone to your laptop or computer

With a USB microphone, you are able to improve the audio quality when compared with plugging the microphone directly into your computer's sound card.

It is better for recording vocals such as your singing, voiceovers, or musical instruments. Some types of USB microphones allow you to listen and track your voice when you are recording.

The USB microphone is compatible with both PC and Mac and easy to use, so it is very popular. It is an upgrade over built-in or mini-plug microphones. However, the biggest limitation of this method is that you can only use one microphone. That is not spared for anyone who wants to record two or more voices at a time.

Use Audio Interface

If you want to record with more than one microphone, you should consider the audio interface. Many interfaces provide you with a mic preamp and instrument that is very helpful for a perfect record.

The first thing to care about is whether your USB Audio interface can be compatible with one or more mics. That interface has the necessary software that can deliver users high-quality recording on your laptop or computer. Remember, when you want to connect the microphone to your computer, you will need the XLR cable.

Your audio interface needs an external power supply to activate so that you will plug that via a USB, a thunderbolt, or a firewire port. Next, connect the XLR cable with the microphone, and plug the cable's input port on the audio interface.

Secondly, when it comes to an interface with phantom resources, make sure that you choose the virtual switch interface. Otherwise, you have to buy a power supply separately.


1. When we use phantom power?

Condenser microphones usually require the maintenance of electrical charge inside. As a result, you will need phantom power to operate your devices. Most audio interfaces will show 48V or P48 that is compatible with phantom power.

2. What are some types of microphones?

Choosing a suitable microphone is also important. There are some common types that you should know, such as dynamics microphone, condenser microphone, USB microphone, and more.

While recording, your mics may picking up brackground noise, this guide will help you reduce wanted noise and improve audio quality quality.

3. Which digital interface is best suited for you?

USB 2.0 may be the most common interface that can add peripherals for Windows and Macintosh. Its bandwidth is fast enough to process small and medium sizes of interface.

Firewire is quite out-dated, so we do not recommend it for new devices.

Although thunderbolt is a fast protocol, it is only useful for the Macintosh platform. Besides, it is quite expensive compared with other interfaces.


Final Words

That is what you do to connect a microphone to laptop or computer. Both USB microphone and Audio interface can deliver you good quality records. However, the latter is more convenient in case you want to record more than one voice.

We hope you can find a way to combine the microphone with your computer and have the best recordings.