How to Use a Headphone Jack for a Microphone

How To Use A Headphone Jack For A Microphone

It is indeed hazardous to use different wires for work. What if you can use a headphone jack for a microphone? Sounds amazing, right? Yes, I am going to discuss “How to use a headphone jack for a microphone” precisely in this article.

Some people think that using headphones on a laptop or a computer is all about inserting them into the device. They fall in trouble when they want to use their headphone jacks for a microphone.

Since, they have a headphone with two jacks and only one jack in the laptop or computer. Moreover, most modern laptops or Macs offer only a combo jack instead of separate jacks. This is really puzzling, especially when you have emergency work.

Therefore, in this article, I am going to discuss “How to use a headphone jack for a microphone.”Besides, you will get to know how the headphone jack works and answers to some of the frequently asked questions. So, let’s start.

What is a headphone jack?

A headphone jack is an electrical socket where people insert their headphone’s plug to get audio signals. People generally use them for analog audio signals. 

But some headphone jacks can receive digital audio signals as well. The Google Chromecast is such a headphone jack.

Headphone jacks come in different sizes. While cellphones and smartphones use 2.5 and 3.5mm jacks, home theater devices offer a 6.3mm socket. However, 3.5 mm TRS jacks are the most common among them.

Different Types of Headphone jacks:

There are two kinds of headset jacks: the single headphone jack and the dual headphone jack.

  • Single Jack: This headset has only one cable that receives the sound and redirects the audio signals to the device via the speaker.
  • Dual Jack: This type of headphone has two jacks for receiving and sending audio signals. This type of jack is suitable for older computers.

Headphone jacks have another type of category based on conductor plugs. These are TS, TRS, TRRS, and TRRRS. 

  • TS: People use Tip Sleeve plugs for unbalanced, mono audio signals. It has two wires: one tip and one sleeve. One wire transfers signals and another receives signals.
  • TRS: Tip Ring Sleeve plug is the most used chord. People use TRS jack for mono, balanced as well as stereo signals. It has one tip, one sleeve, and two rings which work as a conductor. Most of the laptops with single jacks use a TRS cord.
  • TRRS: It has four conductors and four poles. Most gaming devices use this TRRS plug to simultaneously support a microphone and stereo sound. One can find this in many smartphones as well.

It is important to note that Headphones generally use TRS 3.5mm conductors. But if you want headphones with a microphone, then you will need a TRRS 3.5mm jack.

  • TRRRS: Tip Ring Sleeve plug total 5 conductors: one tip, one sleeve, and 3 rings. It is mostly used for stereo audio signals, by which different types of sounds can be created.

How Do Headphone Jacks Work?

Headphones are dual transducers that are connected with a headphone jack via a wire. The transducers receive current, which is later converted into sound waves. The headphone jack completes this procedure by linking your computer’s current source or computer with the transducers. Therefore, the headphone jack mainly functions to create the final sound output.

A headphone jack transmits audio signals in two ways:

  • It conveys signals from the headphones to the computer
  • It conveys signals from the computer to the headphones, if the headphone can work as a microphone

How to Use a Headphone jack for Microphone 

This section will explain how to Use a Headphone jack for a Microphone on two types of devices: PC and Mac. Because most people face difficulties with these two types of devices.

How to Use a Headphone jack for Microphone on PC

Nowadays, almost all modern laptops and computers possess a single audio jack for greater convenience that users can use for headphones and microphones. But sometimes, users face difficulty while using headphones and microphones on a PC simultaneously. So, here is the process one can follow to use a headphone jack for a microphone on a PC: 

  1. Plug your headphone into the microphone jack
  2. Go to the Windows menu and select ‘Settings’. You will find the Windows menu at the bottom-left corner of your screen.
  3. Select ‘System’ in the ‘Settings’ 
  4. Another window will open at this time. In the new window, click “Sound” from the left side.
  5. Now select “input” from the sound window. Here you will get a box named “Choose your input device.” Select your device in this box to make it your default input device.
  6. Check the microphone now. You can also change the volume in the “device properties.”

You are all done using the headphone jack for the microphone on the PC.

How to Use a Headphone jack for Microphone on Mac

Many Macs nowadays offer only a headphone jack. So, if you have a Mac and want to use the headphone jack for the microphone, follow the process described below:

  1. Plug your headphone into the headphones jack
  2. Tap on the Apple icon on the top-left side of your screen
  3. Go to system preference and tap on the ‘Sound’ option.
  4. Now click the ‘Input’ in the sound window.
  5. Under the input option, you will get the option “select a device for sound input.” Select your device in the box. 
  6. Adjust the sound level and test the microphone. One can check this by the gray bars in the “setting for the selected device.”

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q1. Can you use a microphone through a headphone jack? 

ANs: Yes, you can. Most of the modern headphones use TRS plugs. These TRS plugs come in various sizes. But the most common one for headphones is the 3.5mm plug. People can use TRS plugs either for microphone input or stereo sound input. Often they are distinguished by pink and green color to identify audio and microphone input.

Q2. Can you turn your headphone jack into a microphone jack?

Ans: Though microphone jacks and headphone jacks look similar and sometimes use similar connectors, they are not the same. Generally, microphone jacks are xlr output, and headphone jacks are mixed output. Therefore, both microphones and headphones are output devices. You cannot use a headphone jack as a microphone jack.

Q3. How to use a headphone jack as microphone input?

Ans: Sometimes, laptops or Macs do not offer any microphone jack and have only a headphone jack. But one can use this jack as a microphone as well by following the described steps:

  • hold down the option key
  • tap on the volume button on the upper right side and
  • select input
  • now your headphone jack will function as an input jack

Q4. Can one plug a TRS headphone jack into a TRRS Jack

Ans: Yes, you can. It is completely okay to plug a TRS headphone plug into a TRRS one. But, in this case, your microphone will not work.

Final Verdict:

Modern technologies have facilitated the usage of technology by reducing complexities. Nowadays, devices offer a single option for doing various tasks. Such as those laptops, Mac books, or computers that offer only a headphone jack for both microphone and headphone. You just need to know the process to fix things.

In this article, I have discussed “How to use a headphone jack for a microphone” precisely for those people who are in a puzzling condition with their headphone jacks. I hope you have found this article useful and comprehensive.

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