In This Article
What is Microphone?
A microphone (mic for short) is an electronic device that converts audio waves into electronic signals, which is then taken by the computer as an input.
- A microphone is a peripheral device in a desktop connected separately which converts audio waves to electric signals as the input for the computer.
- In a laptop computer it is in-built and is usually located beside the camera on the top bezel of the screen.
- The microphone serves different purposes such as in video chatting, voice calls, gaming, streaming, sound engineering, music production, and audio recording.
- Different types of microphones are available such as dynamic, condenser, and ribbon with different connectors such as TS, TRS, and TRRS.
Understanding Microphone in Computer
Microphones are just one of those devices that use some of the basic theories of physics and electronics. We the users rely on them for both long and short distance communications.
Microphones are what make a meeting of any kind, music creation or video calling with your loved ones successful. There are many components like this that we use daily but go unnoticed.
However, we will be limiting our discussion to the microphones related to the computers only. So let us give special attention to a microphone in this presentation.
In desktops, it’s much like any other peripheral device and is usually connected separately. Now laptops have inbuilt microphones that may not be as professional, but for any average user, they serve the purpose.
It is usually present near the camera, on the bezels of the laptop screen. You could easily identify one by looking for two small openings very close to the webcam usually.
Now microphones aren’t extremely necessary, but you would need it for any kind of communication, not only with other people but also with the PC itself.
Yes, you guessed it right, a mic is also necessary for voice recognition. There are many more uses of a microphone as you will soon know.
Uses of Microphone
- Audio recording: This is the most common use of a microphone, and we needn’t specify what for what purpose one records audio. It could be a recitation you need to memorize or some song that you hear. The creators at radio stations, video platforms like Youtube also find this particular use much helpful.
- Gaming and Streaming: A good headset and mic are the best friends of a gamer. Some gamers prefer a separate mic, while others have those in their headsets. These give a good audio output, but their uses are limited.
- Music production and sound engineering: This is another field where clear audio is a must, and hence high-quality microphones are used. Both artists and producers themselves use these to create the songs that you love to hear every day.
- Voice and video chatting: Calling, be it with or without video will not be possible without microphones. A mic thus supports your webcam and headphones every time you are calling a distant relative, a colleague at your workplace or a friend, and pretty much everyone else.
There are a few other uses for microphones as well, but they aren’t related to the topic here. But having only a microphone would not give desirable results.
For that, one requires a speaker as well that does just the opposite of what a microphone does. It converts electrical signals into audio output, and hence you get to hear whatever is being produced by the speaker.
Types of Microphone
- Dynamic Microphones
The most used and the basic kind of microphone is the dynamic type. The main advantage of using these is the cheap price and the overall performance that one gets.
The way it works is by the process of electromagnetic induction and has a moving coil magnetic diaphragm that produces audio waves.
These can handle large sound pressure levels while producing amplified audio and are immune to usual slips and falls.
- Condenser Microphones
The condenser microphones are the sensitive type that is used less commonly. These come handy in music production and are used to record vocals, guitar audio and instruments mainly.
But these require a power source to function, unlike the dynamic ones which do not. The Condenser microphones promise far better audio and are most suitable for the use of singers and performers.
- Ribbon Microphone
This is a sub-kind of dynamic microphones. Their main parts include two small magnets, divided by an extremely thin conductive surface (like aluminum) called the ribbon.
These are extremely sensitive, so much that they can be damaged by even blowing into them too hard. These are quite small in size and can be used with audio equipment.
These are the oldest and simple microphones and work in the principle of the ribbon moving back and forth in the magnetic field, producing sound waves.
How Does One Connect a Mic to the Computer?
We said that the desktops don’t have inbuilt mic like laptops, but one thing they both have in common are ports that you can use to connect external microphones.
In most cases, the mic and headphone jacks are the same, while some PCs have separate ports for both.
Connecting a microphone is easy, just insert the jack into the relevant port and you can use it. But you must use the right type of connector.
However, you won’t get the connector separately, and these would come with a cable as well. Following are the main type of microphone connectors:
The TS stands for Tip and Sleeve. This kind of connector records on a single channel and the sound produced is generally through the left speaker.
Thus, the TS connector is used with audio recorders and cameras when one needs a mono output. These can come in both 6.35 and 3.5 mm sizes.
The TRS or Tip Ring Sleeve jack can produce stereo output as the sound is produced through both the speakers.
These can be used with any device that has a microphone port. They too have two different sizes that you can use as per your preference.
The TRRS has two rings and is very much like the TRS type. These are the ones that headphones and earphones commonly use, and you can easily use one with your smartphone as well.
But these work with only such devices that have the same port for mic and earphones.
The microphones are a vast subject, although we have attempted to touch the important points regarding it.
In this era of digital communication, one does need to acknowledge the importance of components like a microphone.