How To Use Headphones As A Mic

Headphone and Mic Similarities

Headphones and microphones are actually very similar. Both headphones and microphones contain a diaphragm. Both devices trade in vibrations, it’s just that headphones vibrate the diaphragm to create sound while microphones monitor vibrations from sound in order to record it.

Tips For Using Headphones As A Mic

To use your headphones as a mic plug your headphones into the mic input of the mixer. Make sure the mic levels are turned all the way down, talk into the mic and bring up the levels as needed. If the mixer/controller has EQ controls turn down the lows to reduce the boominess of your voice and increase the highs. One other important thing to watch out for is feedback (that high pitched squeal from the mic picking up the signal) Headphones have a larger surface area which makes it really easy to pick up feedback. Turn off the booth monitors so it doesn’t pick up the music or your own voice. Make your announcement, turn off the mic, then unplug your headphones. Easy as that.

Need help choosing a microphone?

Review: Four Great Budget Microphones for DJs

 

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  • Simon

    Can doing this possibly cause damage to headphones? I just accidentally connected my headphones to a Tascam audio recorder via a 3.5mm cable with XLR adapter to the XLR mic input. Now the headphones sound distorted plus they won’t charge and the Bluetooth won’t work. I’m worried I might have caused damage to the headphones.

  • Idestroyeddisco

    Do not do this unless you don’t have any other choice. It will just piss the engineer off and it sounds like pure Shiite.

  • Luke Kyriazis

    I saw afrojack at ultra 2012, the house blew on the left side and he didn’t have a mic or something, so he picked up his headphones and talked away, been doing this for a while after seeing that

  • Clay Ford

    This is an old school trick. I remember learning this in the 90’s

  • DJ Dlux

    Great trick and interacting with your crowd through a mic is just as important (and an art) as picking the right song. Imagine a Z-Trip set where he didn’t talk to his crowd.

  • CUSP

    IEMs don’t work well for this, and normally only one side will work, which is really easy to figure out.

  • Unreallystic

    When I first started rapping back in 96, my friend and I would record on his parent’s computer…using the speakers as our mic. Come a LONG way from that haha.

  • ThDr

    Every loudspeaker is a poor-quality microphone.
    Every microphone is a poor-quality loudspeaker.

    vibration > signal > vibration

    It comes down to polarity and materials/construction (and whether or not it is mounted as a harmonic oscillator attached by an inclined plane, driven helically around an axis)

  • BreakNek

    I remember when I discovered this as a kid with my cassette player. My mind was blown! Great trick when you really need it!

  • That Guy

    Please review headphones for best DJ microphone sound making. Also please tell me what microphone make best headphone if I fogret my ear device listen for music.

    • jimmyv

      WTF? There will never be reviews of this…. This is only recommended as a last ditch effort. Plus you would look like an idiot holding a microphone to your ear trying to cue your next song…. Might as well use the sync button to mix your songs without cueing.

      • my name jeff

        Lol this guy didn’t get the joke ^

        • jimmyv

          I was hoping it was a joke, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he was serious.

  • Marco Hooghuis

    Speakers and mic’s are in essence the same thing. Did none you guys ever hooked up two speakers and then used them to communicate with your friend in the other room when you were kids? That stuff should be mandatory at school.

  • Oddie O'Phyle

    I figured this trick out in the 80’s with my Sony walkman that had a line in and record. Always figured it for a dirty fix. 3 things on my check list for my gig bag are a Sennheiser e835, 3 foot XLR and a hi to lo 1/4″ adapter… it all fits in the bag that comes with the Mic.

  • deejae snafu

    any speaker can be turned into a microphone… spy stuff

  • Tim

    O_o Wow… I always thought you’d need a headphone with a build in mic….