How Do I Connect My Microphone To A Speaker?

So, you want to amplify your voice, but all you’ve got is a microphone, a cable and a speaker. Can it be done, you ask? While it certainly can, you’re going to need a suitable microphone and speaker, although some cases leave a little room for a creative solution. As always, read on to learn more!

Vocal amplification can be very straightforward, as long as your setup contains the right ingredients. Below, you can find out which components we’re talking about and what you should keep in mind.

Connecting a microphone directly to a speaker

  1. If you want to connect your microphone directly to your speaker, you need to make sure that it’s an active speaker. (If you’ve got a passive speaker, chances are you already own a separate, external amplifier or a powered mixer.)
  2. You’ll also need a speaker with a microphone input. These can be identified by an input label reading ‘mic’, or a tiny depiction of a microphone. If nothing of the sort can be found near the inputs on your speaker, it’s likely that it can’t take a microphone signal and a (simple) mixer will be required. For more on this, check out the last part of this blog.

How Do I Connect My Microphone To A Speaker?

What kind of cable do I need?

Speakers with an XLR Socket

Plenty of speakers come with the widely used female XLR connector, as seen on the left-most image above. If your mic has a 3-pin male XLR connector, then any standard XLR cable will do the the trick. For your information, a regular XLR cable always has three pins on one end and three insert holes on the other (see image below).

  • It might also be the case that your microphone has been fitted with a jack plug. If you spot two black rings or stripes on the metal part of the plug, go for a female TRS jack to XLR male adapter and make sure that the plug has three pins, not three holes. If you can only see a single black ring or stripe, it’s going to be difficult to find a fitting adapter and you’re best off trying the TRS version.

Speakers with a Jack Input

Some speakers have a jack input (seen in the middle image above) and its matching 6.3 mm (or ¼”) plug is likely familiar to most, as they’re usually used in headphones.

  • If your microphone has an XLR plug, then you’ll need a female XLR to male TRS jack adapter cable.
  • TRS means there are two black rings (stripes) on the metal part of the jack plug instead of a single one (TS jack).
  • In rare cases, your speaker might refuse to reproduce music when a TRS plug is connected. In this case, try an XLR to TS jack adapter (cable).

Speakers with a XLR/Jack Combo Input

More often than not, you’ll find speakers with so-called combo inputs. These will take both jack plugs and XLR connectors. In the pictures above, you can see a jack/XLR combo input all the way on the right.

Microphones with a Mini-Jack Input

Microphone jack plugs sometimes come in the 3.5 mm (or ⅛”) mini version. You’ll probably recognise it as the kind of plug used to connected a set of headphones to a smartphone or laptop. If your mic packs one of these, then – depending on the connector on your speaker – you’ll need one of the following adapters or cables. Please keep in mind that we can’t guarantee you that it’ll work, mainly because microphones haven’t been designed for these kinds of applications.

  • If the mini-jack plug of your mic only has a single black ring (TS), go for a TS mini-jack – TS jack adapter/cable. Make sure you pick one with a small (3.5 mm) insert and a large (6.3 mm) plug.
  • The same goes for a mini-jack plug with two black rings (TRS) but in this case, you’ll need a TRS version. By the way, these can also be found in the form of an XLR version (remember to choose the mini-jack insert to 3-pin XLR).
  • If it’s a mic with a mini-jack plug with three black rings (TRRS) as seen in the image below, we’re going to have to disappoint you. You can be almost certain that his will not work.

Other Connectors

It’s very well possible that your microphone has a connector that we haven’t discussed. Feel free to take a look and browse through our Audio Adapter Plugs & Cables. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, don’t be afraid to contact us or leave a question in the comments below.
How Do I Connect My Microphone To A Speaker?

What Kind of Microphone Do I Need?

Next up, I’ll share a little advice on which type of microphone you should get, provided that you haven’t got one yet. If you do have one but aren’t sure what type it is, you can refer to the user manual or hit up the internet for more information. Here are the two most important types:

Dynamic Microphones

While microphones come in all kinds of shapes and sizes, dynamic microphones are most often used to amplify speech and vocals. They’re easy to use, don’t require external power, aren’t too sensitive and rarely ever give up the ghost.

Condenser Microphones

Condensers are great for studio recordings and sometimes even stage use. These sensitive, highly natural sounding models come in different shapes such as handhelds, lavaliers and headsets. The latter two are usually combined with a wireless system but can also be plugged directly into a mixing desk or active speaker when coupled with the proper adapter.

  • Please note: condenser microphones require a power supply. While some models are battery-powered, most get their juice via phantom power supplied by the device the microphone is connected to. Mixers often feature phantom power, which can be identified by a ‘phantom’ or ‘48v’ indication printed on the control panel or found in the specifications or manual. Unfortunately, active speakers with a microphone input generally aren’t able to provide phantom power, which leaves you with the only solution being a simple, little mixer with (preferably +48V) phantom power.

How About USB Microphones?

USB microphones, no matter whether it’s a condenser or a dynamic model, should really only ever be connected to a computer. If you want to hear their amplified sound, simply connect the speaker to your computer. You can check out our blog on how to connect speakers to audio equipment here.
How Do I Connect My Microphone To A Speaker?

When Do I Need a Mixer?

If you’ve got one microphone, there’s very little to mix up. The easiest thing to do would be to directly connect your microphone to an active speaker. If, on the other hand, you’re looking to amplify two or more mics, or if your active speaker doesn’t have a mic input, a mixing desk offers the perfect solution. A mixer allows you to combine multiple sound sources and features individual volume controls or faders per channel. This way, you can carefully and accurately define the optimal volume balance between each of the mics and/or instruments that are connected. Keep in mind that the most important thing to consider when you’re buying a mixer is the number of mic inputs that you think you’ll need.

  • Most mixers aren’t equipped with on-board amplification. Always use a mixer in combination with active speakers OR a set of passive speakers hooked up to an external amplifier.

How Do I Connect My Microphone To A Speaker?
If you feel like we’ve left out any crucial bits and pieces, or if you have any burning questions, please let us know in the comment section below!

» Blog – How To Connect Your Speakers To Your Audio Equipment
» Blog – How To Connect Studio Monitors
» Blog – The Difference Between Active And Passive Speakers
» Blog – Recording And Amplifying Vocals For Beginners
» Buyer’s Guide – Studio Microphones
» Buyer’s Guide – USB Microphones
» Audio Cables
» Microphones
» Speakers
» Mixers

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