We have all been there.
You need to record something, talk to a friend on Skype, or make an announcement but you're without a mic.
You've likely heard of people being able to use headphones as a microphone and wondered how it works.
Well, headphones and microphones are very similar in construction. They both have a diaphragm and deal with sound in different ways by how they utilize sound vibrations.
A microphone takes vibrations from an input source and captures them to them be recorded or broadcast. Headphones vibrate the diaphragm to create sound to be heard by a listener.
In a pinch, headphones can be used a microphone if you know how to make them work.
How To Get Your Headphones Picked Up As a Mic
For a PC, plug your headphones into the mic input jack. From here, open up your computer preferences and select "manage audio devices". Click on the recording tab and tap or blow into your headphones to see if it picks up the input.
If it does, you're good to go! You can set the headphone "mic" as default for your machine and you'll be able to use your headphones as a microphone.
Optimizing The Sound
Obviously, headphones and microphones are optimized for their respective jobs. Your headphones won't be an ideal mic, so you may have to adjust some volume and EQ settings to get the best experience.
To adjust the overall input volume, select "Sound" in your control panel. Here, you can give your improvised mic a volume boost. However, it's worth noting that if you overdo it here, you can expect clipping and sound leakage.
If you have the option with your setup, you want to adjust the EQ as well. Depending on your computer and installed programs, you may be able to add a high pass filter to remove some of the low-frequency humming you can expect due to the way headphones are made. If you can, drown out all the super low frequencies, and boost the high. This will give you the best overall sound with headphones.
Wrapping It All Up
If you're in a pinch, headphones can work as a makeshift microphone, but you can't expect high-quality audio. You will be able to conduct skype calls, make announcements, and do some low-quality recording.
Have you used headphones as a mic before? Let us know your experience in the comments section below!