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: April 15, 2022

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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?".

How To Connect a Microphone to Your Computer or Laptop

If you want to record vocal, it is best to invest in a good quality microphone. There are many different types of microphones available on the market, so it is important to do your research in order to find the best microphone for vocal recording. Once you have purchased a microphone, you will need to connect it to your computer or laptop.

Most laptops and computers have a mic input port, so this should not be too difficult. 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.

If you want to get the best results for your vocal recording, you should connect your microphone to your computer through an audio interface. This will ensure that the sound quality of your recordings is excellent. Additionally, using an audio interface will allow you to control the levels of your recordings and add effects if desired. The audio interface ill also provide you with phantom power, which is may necessary in order to use a microphone.

Follow our guide bellow to prepare and connect your microphone to the computer correctly.

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 XLR microphone + audio interface.
  4. More extra inputs will be useful for synthesizers and other equipment.

Prepare The Microphone Input And Output

How To Connect A Microphone To Laptop Or Computer For Recording

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."

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.

Connect a XLR Mircrophone to your Computer or Laptop Using Audio Interface

There is a bit more complicated when setting up the connection of XLR mic vs USB mic.  If you want to connect a XLR microphone to your computer, you will need to use an audio interface. The audio interface will provide the necessary power for the microphone and also convert the analog signal from the microphone into a digital signal that can be used by your computer.

To connect a XLR microphone using an audio interface, first make sure that the audio interface is turned off.

Then, connect the XLR cable from the microphone to the XLR input on the audio interface. Next, connect the audio interface to the computer using a USB or Thunderbolt cable.

Finally, turn on the audio interface. The XLR microphone is now connected to the computer and ready to use.

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.

But what if you don't have an audio interface? Can you still use an XLR microphone with your computer?

The answer is yes, but you'll need to use an XLR-to-USB adapter. These adapters come in a variety of prices, but they all essentially perform the same function: they allow you to connect an XLR microphone to a USB port. Once you've connected the adapter, you'll be able to use the microphone with any recording software that supports USB microphones.

FAQs

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.

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.

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.

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