How to Make Headphones Into a Mic

By Stephen A. Powell

Headphones are little more than miniature speakers. Speakers and microphones are both electroacoustic transducers and are crafted using the same wiring principle. Speakers are optimized for output. Microphones are optimized for input. Because of such similar wiring, speakers and microphones can usually perform each other's functions on a base level.

Things You'll Need

  • Dual-channel headphones
  • Computer or recording device
  • TRS connector/input type converter (if necessary)

Step 1

Acquire a set of dual-channel headphones. They do not have to be expensive. In this sense, dual channel refers to a device that splits an incoming signal for a left and right earpiece. Single earpiece devices may not work.

Step 2

Locate the microphone input port if using a computer. It is usually next to the headphone input port. The ports should be readily discernible by color and logo.

Step 3

Insert your headset's TRS connector or input into the microphone input port on your computer or recording device. Most headsets feature 1/8-inch TRS connectors. Most computers will have a 1/8-inch input. If your headset's input is not compatible with the desired recording device's input port, you must use a converter.

Step 4

Make certain at least one of your headset's two earpieces have recording capability. While recording or using a record preview, test both earpieces alternately by talking or directing speaker playback into them. The earpiece providing the loudest and clearest signal is your microphone.

Tips & Warnings

  • Consult instruction manuals for both your headset and computer or recording device before attempting to use your headset as a microphone. Be mindful of device compatibility. Be sure to follow all device-specific safety precautions.Not all headphones are wired to receive sound well.
  • Always remove and insert cables from the base. Never remove by pulling from cord.