Most professional-quality microphones use an XLR port to connect to recording equipment. Most home stereo equipment and consumer-level computer sound cards, however, use a 1/4-inch or 1/8-inch mini plug jack for the microphone input. XLR-to-mini plug adaptors are readily available. However, wiring your own XLR-to-mini plug connector is an inexpensive and relatively uncomplicated electronics project. One you've wired the XLR plug to the mini plug, you'll be able to use your high-end microphone with nearly any type of recording hardware.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Challenging
Things you need
- 22-gauge wire
- Wire cutters
- Soldering iron
- Electrical tape
Turn the XLR plug so that the pins face toward you. Rotate the plug so that the tab is on the left-hand side of the plug. Take note of the pins' position: The pin on the bottom is "Pin 1," "Pin 2" is at the top of the plug and "Pin 3" is on the right-hand side.
Cut two equal lengths of wire. Solder one end of the first piece of wire to "Pin 2" on the XLR connector. Solder the other end of this wire to the shortest tab on the mini plug.
Solder the second piece of wire to "Pin 3" on the XLR plug. Solder the other end of this wire to the second-longest tab on the mini plug.
Wrap the wires and plugs with the electrical tape to protect the connection.
Tips and warnings
- Use heat-shrink tubing instead of electrical tape for a more professional appearance.
- Recording with a mini plug connection usually produces lower-quality audio than recording into an XLR port.
- Always solder in a well-ventilated location.
- Use caution when operating a hot soldering iron.
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