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How to Use an XLR Dynamic Microphone on a PC

Updated February 21, 2017

XLR dynamic microphones contain filters that help capture audio, eliminate background noise and deliver clear and professional audio. The microphones, used in both studio and non-studio settings, also come in a variety of sizes and styles. An XLR dynamic microphone can be connected to your computer and used in place of your computer's built-in microphone. The connection is made through your system's sound card/built-in microphone jack via an adaptor or a preamp to process the audio signals.

Close any open programs. Click “Start,” “Turn Off Computer,” “Turn Off” to turn off your computer.

Plug one end of an XLR to 1/4-inch cable into the bottom of the XLR dynamic microphone.

Plug the other end of the XLR to 1/4-inch cable into the 1/4-inch end of a 1/4- to 1/8-inch adaptor.

Plug the 1/8-inch end of the 1/4- to 1/8-inch adaptor into the “Mic” jack on your computer's sound card or into the “Mic” jack on the side/back of your laptop.

Turn on the XLR dynamic microphone by pressing the “ON/OFF” switch on the side or bottom of the microphone. If the microphone requires batteries, install them now. The battery door is on the bottom of the microphone.

Turn on your computer to use the microphone.

Close any open programs. Click “Start,” “Turn Off Computer,” “Turn Off” to turn off your computer.

Plug one end of an XLR to 1/4-inch cable into the bottom of the XLR dynamic microphone.

Plug the other end of the XLR to 1/4-inch cable into the “XLR In” jack on the back of a stand-alone preamp.

Plug one end of a XLR cable into the “XLR Out” jack on the back or front of the stand-alone preamp.

Plug the other end the XLR cable into the 1/4-inch end of a 1/4- to 1/8-inch adaptor.

Plug the 1/8-inch end of the 1/4- to 1/8-inch adaptor into the “Mic” jack on your computer's sound card or into the “Mic” jack on the side/back of your laptop.

Plug the preamp's power cord into a electrical socket.

Turn on the XLR dynamic microphone by pressing the “ON/OFF” switch on the side or bottom of the microphone. If the microphone requires batteries, install them now. The battery door is on the bottom of the microphone.

Turn on the preamp by pressing the power button on the front or back of the device. Turn on your computer to use the microphone.

Tip

Your computer's audio program may or may not auto select the external XLR microphone. You may have to manually select the external microphone by clicking on the microphone icon within the program and selecting “External Microphone” or “Line Mic.”

Things You'll Need

  • XLR to 1/4-inch cable
  • XLR dynamic microphone
  • 1/4-inch to 1/8-inch adaptor
  • OR
  • XLR cable
  • Stand-alone preamp with power supply
  • XLR to 1/4-inch cable
  • 1/4-inch to 1/8-inch adaptor
  • Batteries
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About the Author

Nick Davis is a freelance writer specializing in technical, travel and entertainment articles. He holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Memphis and an associate degree in computer information systems from the State Technical Institute at Memphis. His work has appeared in "Elite Memphis" and "The Daily Helmsman" in Memphis, Tenn. He is currently living in Albuquerque, N.M.