Adding a microphone to your computer makes it possible to participate in voice chats, voice over Internet phone calls, add personalized voice messages to various files, and do voice narration of slide shows and video files. In a pinch, a microphone will allow you to copy music from a radio broadcast or a cassette tape. If your computer can play sound, it is easy to add a microphone through the installed sound card on the machine.
Locate the sound card input jacks on your computer. On desktops, these are generally located on the back of the machine. If your computer has external speakers, they are plugged into this card making it easy to locate. On laptops, look at the lower body sides and back to locate the input plug-ins.
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Plug the jack of the microphone into the proper in-put plug-in. On some systems, this is clearly marked or color-coded, while on others you may have to do a little trial and error to find the right plug-in.
Test to make sure that the microphone works. In Windows this is a simple process. Click on your "Start" button and choose all programs. Under the "Accessories" menu, click on "Entertainment" and then "Sound Recorder."
Push the red dot button on the sound recorder screen. Speak into the microphone holding your mouth several inches away. Click on the black square button to stop recording.
Click the single sideways triangle button to test the recording.
Go to your control panel and click on "Sound and Audio Devices" if the microphone did not record your voice. Click the "Voice" tab and make sure that a voice recording device is selected. If not, choose from one of the available options in the drop down box.
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Many laptops come with a built in microphone. Check your owner's manual or the help file that came pre-installed on your machine to determine how to use the device. Some modems allow for a microphone to be attached through the modem card.
Microphones can be either stand alone models that are hand held or in a desktop base or may be attached to headphones for hands free use.