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Use headphones as a microphone on some Macs System
I used my bud headphones from my third generation iPod. Plugged them into a late model eMac's sound-in port, opened the Amadeus application, and was able to record audio with decent quality.

This is a good solution if you just need to record something, but don't have a microphone. I don't believe this works with every computer - audio port - headphone combo. I think that it doesn't work on computers that have that "other" microphone port (a little deeper, I think?). There are two sizes, I don't know what the terms for those are.

[robg adds: This didn't work on either of my machines, a 12" PowerBook and a first generation Dual G5.]
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Use headphones as a microphone on some Macs
Authored by: bradleyd1971 on Mar 30, '06 07:29:46AM

Don't eMacs have a built in mic? I think that is probably what was picking up the audio for you.



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Use headphones as a microphone on some Macs
Authored by: pardthemonster on Mar 30, '06 07:33:17AM

"Don't eMacs have a built in mic? I think that is probably what was picking up the audio for you."

This is exactly what I first thought to. My question is why would Apple make headphones with a builtin mic in them?



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Use headphones as a microphone on some Macs
Authored by: EddEdmondson on Mar 30, '06 07:50:41AM

They don't make them with a built in microphone. Headphones and microphones are physically very similar though and work on the same principles but one in the reverse of the other, basically.

Headphones are designed to reproduce sound well at the sorts of volumes that are appropriate for them, and microphones are designed to be sensitive to sounds, so they're each best at what they're intended. Headphones are able to pick up sounds though, but the signal will probably not be as strong or clear as you'd get from a microphone.

I'd *not* want to try using a microphone as a speaker. You'd probably damage it seriously.



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Use headphones as a microphone on some Macs
Authored by: pwagenet on Mar 30, '06 07:48:21AM

Headphones ane microphones are actually very similar. Simply put speakers are nearly microphones in reverse. Both use a transducer for conversion between electrical signals and sound waves. Since microphones are usually single channel mono jacks the left channel of a pair of headphones plugged into a mic jack should work in any situation though not as well as an actual mic.

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-Peter



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Use headphones as a microphone on some Macs
Authored by: darken9999 on Mar 30, '06 07:49:43AM

It probably was the built-in microphone in this case, but I used to do the same thing when I was a kid. Headphones will work as a poor quality microphone.



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Use headphones as a microphone on some Macs
Authored by: norcalscan on Mar 30, '06 07:56:37AM

Ha! I did this too ever since the PowerMac 52xx series came out. Plug the headphones into the mic jack and wear them sideways so one headphone was over the mouth and the other behind me. Then I could record things, although the quality wasn't the greatest (too close to mouth). I could get great quality by holding it away, but the sensitivity was gone by then so it had to be turned up to hear the quality.
This is true of any unbalanced mic jack. I used an old stereo as a cheap karaoke machine once too.



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Use headphones as a microphone on some Macs
Authored by: sig eigei on Mar 30, '06 07:59:13AM

Rob,

I don't know about the imac but all powerbooks produced after the venerable pismo only had a LINE input for audio meaning that it was unpowered. In order to use it to input sound (like with a pair of cheap PC style headphone/mic combo) you have to have a power supply like the USB audio adapter made by Griffin which costs around 35usd...until now - only today I found a no-brand usb audio interface (here in shanghai where I am for a few days) costing only 7usd! It works fine and it's small, even if ugly and blue.

Incidentally a lot of people make the mistake of plugging in a cheap pc headset combo into the headphone jack and sound line-in and think they are speaking inteo their new mic when in fact the sound is actually being registered in their mac's internal microphone.



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Use headphones as a microphone on some Macs
Authored by: SpankyG4 on Mar 30, '06 08:09:40AM

Well tried this on my G4 Dual 867 (Mirrored Doors) and works like a charm, thanx for the hint.



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Use headphones as a microphone on some Macs
Authored by: pwagenet on Mar 30, '06 10:46:52AM

I've used a cheap $5 mic on my TiBook for a while and it works fine. I can assure you that it is not powered. The jack on the TiBook is the same as that on virtually every other Mac or PC. The mini mic jacks are never powered. You'll only find powered jacks with phantom power on pro audio equipment.

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-Peter



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Use headphones as a microphone on some Macs
Authored by: acous on Mar 30, '06 08:58:23PM

You are correct that only pro audio equipment provides power (but only over XLR, not jacks as far as I know). I think the original poster is getting confused by the term "line level". Many computers have a port specifically for microphones but they're not powered, they just have a built in pre amp to bring the low output from the mic up to the correct level.

I'm not sure about TiBooks but my AlBook definitely only has a line input. Mics work but don't really provide a loud enough signal to be usable. Headphones seem even less sensitive and are pretty much useless.



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Good Lord I did this 30 years ago.
Authored by: bdkennedy1 on Mar 30, '06 01:34:27PM

Good Lord I did this 30 years ago with headphones and a tape recorder.



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Good Lord I did this 30 years ago.
Authored by: Detrius on Apr 12, '06 12:34:16AM

Me too. Headphones and microphones are the same thing: magnets and electromagnets. They are arranged for different purposes, but any speaker based on these principles should also work as a crude microphone--on any audio system (not just computers).



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Use headphones as a microphone on some Macs
Authored by: bdog on Mar 30, '06 03:31:20PM
I did not record with the built-in mic. In the sound prefpane, you can only choose one input (and I chose "Line In") and I also tested it, after turning up the gain, by tapping the headphones with my finger (that definitely wouldn't trigger the built in mic). bdkennedy1, Haha! So old school. :-)

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Use headphones as a microphone on some Macs
Authored by: ezcnvrt on Apr 22, '06 10:09:11AM

There is no reason that this shouldn't work on any computer.

A headphone diaphragm is identical to that of your more common-variety passive microphones. They are both transducers which means both devices turn a physical wave to an electronic signal and vice-versa.

The best type of headphones to use for this are those with wide diaphragms such as sony wrap-arounds but not studio "cans" which may be too heavy for you to push with your voice therefore producing a higher noise to sound ratio than what would be acceptable. And it goes without saying that this is really only acceptable for close range recording.

If you have a pre amp, or go out and build one (it's not difficult), you can use any style headphone.



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