Installing an external microphone on a computer will make your voice clearer and more intelligible. Often times the internal microphone in your laptop computer sounds tinny and lacks depth. If you add a wireless headset or lavalier microphone you can walk around the office or classroom without the worry of people not hearing you. External microphones also help from straining your voice. It will make your recordings, webinars, and video conference calls more professional. Adding a microphone is an excellent option for Zoom, Google Meetup, Skype, or any web conference system. Whether it is a fixed or wireless microphone, adding an external mic is easy to do and can make interfacing with clients or students more effective.
Installing an External Microphone
We will look at two methods of setting up an external microphone for a computer. One is using the computer’s 3.5mm jack and the other is using a USB connection. Each method is a good option and both setups are easy.
3.5mm Mini Jack
Most laptops and standalone computers have a universal 3.5mm audio jack that allows you to plug an external mic. On a laptop, it is generally located on the side of the computer next to the headphone jack. It’s the one labeled with a picture of a small microphone. Some laptops only have one 3.5 mm jack that doubles as both a headphone jack and mic jack (see pictures above).
Installing a 3.5mm Microphone
Installing the 3.5 mm external microphone is as easy as plugging it into the computer’s audio jack and selecting the proper input. The setup will depend on the software or application you plan on using with the mic. If it is for video conferencing go to, the settings tab. Then look for the audio option and make sure you select the external mic and not the internal laptop mic.
Installing a USB Connected Microphone
Many external microphones can be installed using the USB connection on your computer. Most of these types of mics are plug-and-play. This means it plugs in without any additional drivers or software for it to work.
Installing Using Bluetooth
The last option is to use Bluetooth. Bluetooth is a wireless connection to the computer and the microphone. Most newer computers are equipped with Bluetooth. There are also USB adapters that can be inserted into your computer to add on Bluetooth capability. Just be aware that Bluetooth operates in the 2.4 GHz frequency range and can interfere with your wireless internet. It can decrease your internet speeds. Connecting to a 5 GHz wireless network will alleviate the problem.
Recommended External Microphones
There are several options for a computer or laptop microphone. Depending on your needs determines what type of mic will work best. Let’s look at some options.
Wired microphones are great if you plan on staying at your computer. It offers excellent sound and comes with a stand that allows for proper positioning. This particular microphone uses the computer’s USB connection to work.
A wireless headset microphone is a good option if you need to move around. It is an excellent option for teachers to teach in front of a whiteboard or flipchart. The benefit of using a headset mic is you can listen to a video conference through the headset speaker. This helps if you are in a noisy environment. Plus, the microphone is in the headset and can be positioned for the best performance. This headset uses Bluetooth to connect to your device or computer.
Wireless Lavalier Microphone
The last option is a wireless lavalier microphone. The beauty of this type of mic is you can clip it on and present from anywhere in the room. This particular microphone system comes with several options. It can be used as a headset, lav, or handheld mic. Just plug it into your computer’s 3.5mm mic jack.
Having the flexibility of an external microphone can help make your video conferences and recordings sound more professional. As you can see, there are many choices depending on your needs. Hopefully, this article will help you make an informed decision with your microphone purchase.