Sometimes abbreviated as mic, a microphone is a hardware peripheral and input device originally invented by Emile Berliner in 1877. A microphone allows computer users to input audio into their computers. The picture is an example of Blue Microphone's Yeti USB microphone - Silver Edition and an example of a high-quality computer microphone.
What is a microphone used for on a computer?
Below is a short list of all the different uses for a microphone on a computer.
- Audio for a video
- Voice recorder
- Voice recognition
- Computer gaming
- Online chatting
- Recording voice for dictation, singing, and podcasts.
- Recording musical instruments
Where is the microphone plugged into a computer?
The microphone is plugged into the back of desktop computers into the computer sound card microphone port and depending on your computer case may also have a port on the front. On a laptop computer, the microphone is plugged into the microphone port found on the front or side of the laptop.
Note: More advanced microphones like the Yeti microphone pictured above connect to the computer using USB.
Tip: In all situations, the port should have a symbol that represents a microphone, like that shown in the symbol picture to the right, and may say "mic" next to the port. If the port connections are color coded, it is typically the pink connection. See our sound card page for further information about these ports for desktop computers.
How does a microphone input data into a computer?
Because the microphone sends information to the computer, it is considered an input device. For example, when a microphone is used to record a voice or music, the information it records can be stored on the computer and played back later. Another great example of how a microphone is an input device is with voice recognition, which uses your voice to command the computer at what task to perform.