How to Turn a Speaker Into a Microphone

By David Medairos

Although they look very different, speakers and microphones use the very same principle and components to turn electrical signals into sound and back again. A speaker cone can act like a giant microphone diaphragm, and when connected to a recording device or amplifier can be used to capture sound. With very little modification you can make a "speaker mic" to use in your recording and live audio applications.

Things You'll Need

  • Microphone cable
  • Wire stripper/cutter tool
  • Electrical tape
  • Amplifier or recording device

Step 1

Cut the microphone connector off of a mic cable using a wire cutter. Leave the output connector intact at the other end.

Step 2

Strip several inches of the cable shielding from the cut end of the mic cable with the wire stripper. This will expose the three inner wires.

Step 3

Strip 1/2 inch of shielding from the red and black inner wires. Tape off the white wire with electrical tape; this wire will not be used in this application.

Step 4

Connect the red wire to the positive terminal of your speaker, and the black wire to the negative terminal.

Step 5

Connect the microphone cable to your recording device or amplifier. Adjust the input volume of your device while tapping on the speaker cone to verify that the speaker is capturing sound. The output of a speaker microphone will typically be much less than that of a purpose-built microphone.

Tips & Warnings

  • Try using your speaker microphone to capture low frequencies. Because of its large speaker cone, this type of microphone can be used to record bass drums and bass guitars very efficiently.