So, you play keyboard and you’d like to sing along. But is it even possible to plug a microphone directly into your keyboard? That depends entirely on your keyboard, but even if it does have a microphone input there are still a few things to bear in mind or look out for.

How to Connect a Microphone to a Keyboard

Vocals Via Your Keyboard

There are quite a few keyboards on the market that come fitted with a microphone input, which can usually be found clearly indicated round the back. It’ll say either ‘mic’ or ‘microphone’ or there might be a little microphone icon next to the socket. If you can’t find it, double-check the manual or the product specifications to see if your keyboard features a mic input. If it does and it’s a cheaper model keyboard, don’t be surprised if the volume and vocal clarity don’t live up to your expectations. The output capacity of the built-in speakers simply isn’t powerful enough to cover your vocals and keyboard at the same time, resulting in poor sound quality or crackling noises. In other words, the internal amplifier can’t work up enough power. If you use headphones instead of the built-in speakers however, you’re less likely to run into this problem. Either way, it’s worth mentioning that keyboards in higher price ranges are usually better equipped to handle microphones, featuring more powerful internal components and often even vocal effects like reverb.

Recording Samples

Another option that some keyboards offer includes using a microphone to record samples. This way, you can assign ‘custom’ sounds to keys. Always check the user manual or product specifications of any keyboard to see exactly which features and functions it has to offer to prevent disappointment.

How to Connect a Microphone to a Keyboard

What About Line Inputs?

It may be the case that your keyboard only has a line input. Unfortunately, we can’t recommend plugging a microphone into a line input since microphone signals differ from signals sent out by other gear. A ‘real’ microphone input comes with in-built preamplification, something standard line inputs lack.

The Simple Solution

Ok, so your keyboard hasn’t got a microphone input or a built-in amp that’s powerful enough to blast both the keyboard sound and your vocals through the integrated speakers at the same time. The easiest solution then is to pick up a purpose-made keyboard amplifier. These stand-alone amps generally pack more power than their built-in counterparts and often feature a separate microphone input. Any amp with a power capacity of roughly 20 Watts or more should do for vocals-plus-keyboard but bear in mind that even the most powerful keyboard amps aren’t built for live gigs. You might be able to find one that’ll get you through more intimate shows at smaller venues, but bigger stages generally require an actual speaker system. Again, whatever you do, always check the specifications of any keyboard amp you’re thinking of buying to see if it has a line input as well as a microphone input.

Connecting Everything Up

To accompany yourself on stage, you’re going to need a dynamic vocal microphone, which will almost always come with an XLR port that can be directly connected to most amps. Keyboards, on the other hand, usually have a jack input. This means you’ll need a female XLR to mono jack adapter cable. If you’ve picked up a keyboard amp equipped with an XLR microphone input, grab a standard XLR cable. Hook up your microphone and your keyboard, and remember that you’ll need two mono jack cables if your instrument has separate line outputs for the left and right channel. If it doesn’t have any line outputs whatsoever, just use the headphone jack. Depending on whether it’s a mini-jack or a full-size jack, you’ll need a stereo to 2x mono jack cable or a stereo mini-jack to 2x mono cable. Also, while you’re at it, it might be wise to invest in a boom microphone stand so you can position your mic any way you want and sing in full comfort.

We hope this article has been helpful. If you have any questions, feel free to let us know in the comments!

See Also

» What is the best keyboard for me?
» What’s the Best Speech or Vocal Microphone for Me?
» How Can I Connect a Guitar to a Computer?

» Keyboards
» Dynamic Vocal Microphones
» Keyboard Amplifiers
» Speaker Systems

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