Wireless microphones are fantastic because they’re incredibly convenient and offer a wide range of uses. Connecting a wireless microphone to a computer only widens those possibilities further.
You can make digital recordings, add effects, or even stream a live performance to the entire world. Of course, none of this is possible without the correct knowledge. As well as the equipment you need to connect your wireless microphone to a computer.
Therefore I decided to create this guide to give you a better understanding, making this process as smooth and easy as possible. Then you can enjoy all the advantages. So, let’s find out How to Connect a Wireless Microphone to a Computer…
I’ll start by covering Bluetooth microphones. Technically, a Bluetooth microphone is a wireless microphone. However, this isn’t what most professionals refer to as a wireless microphone.
The type of microphone they are referring to is an analog microphone that comes in all different varieties. These can include, but are not limited, to lavalier, headsets, and handheld. Bluetooth microphones are simple to set up and connect to a computer. So, here are the steps for connecting a Bluetooth microphone to Windows and Mac computers…
Connecting a Bluetooth microphone to a Windows PC
- Click on the [Windows] icon in the bottom left of your screen.
- Select [Settings] from the menu that pops up. (The gear icon).
- Click on [Devices] in the window that opens up.
- Select your microphone from the list of devices and click on [Connect].
Connecting a Bluetooth microphone to a MacOS PC
- Click on the [Apple] icon in the top right corner of your screen.
- In the drop-down menu, select [System Preferences].
- Click on [Bluetooth] in the window that opens.
- Select your microphone from the list of devices and click [Connect].
No matter if you’re using a Windows or macOS operating system, your microphone will need to be in “Pairing Mode.” This will differ between microphones. So, refer to the instructions or the manufacturer’s website for more information.
Connecting an Analog Microphone to a Computer
Now that I’ve covered Bluetooth microphones, it’s time to take a look at analog microphones. This is what audio and film professionals will have in mind when talking about a wireless microphone.
With wireless analog microphones, besides the microphone, there are two main components. These are a transmitter and receiver. The transmitter is what connects to the microphone, and the receiver is what connects to the computer. Knowing the function of each component will help you understand how to connect a wireless microphone to a computer.
Understanding the components…
The process for connecting a wireless microphone to a computer is almost identical to connecting a wired microphone. Instead of connecting the microphone directly to the computer, you connect the receiver in the same way.
Wireless microphones produce an analog audio signal, which the transmitter converts into radio waves. Those radio waves are sent wirelessly to the receiver, which then converts them back into an analog audio signal.
Analog and digital…
Computers can only read digital signals. Yet, the signal received from the microphone is analog. This means that an ADC (Analog-To-Digital Converter) is required so your computer can understand the microphone’s signal.
ADCs can be found in many different varieties, including being built into the receiver or computer itself. Most commonly, though, an ADC will be a separate audio interface. Once the audio signal is converted from analog to digital, the microphone can then communicate with the computer.
Transmitters, Receivers, and Audio Interfaces
Understanding the signal components in more detail can be hugely beneficial should any troubleshooting be required. So, let’s take a closer look at how the signal travels from the microphone to the transmitter and then into the receiver.
Microphone to the transmitter…
A microphone needs to physically connect to the transmitter. Depending on the type of microphone, this can vary. Generally, most handheld microphones will have the transmitter built into the handle.
Lavalier microphones are the tiny ones you might have noticed clipped onto someone’s shirt during news broadcasts. These often have a belt pack connected using a wire. There are also standalone receivers that can turn almost any analog microphone into a wireless microphone.
Transmitter to the receiver…
We already know that the transmitter converts the audio signal into radio waves and send them to the receiver. There are two different methods, which could be analog or digital. For analog, the audio signal is simply added to the radio wave.
A digital transmitter uses an in-built ADC to change the signal from analog to digital. This signal is embedded into a radio signal ready to be accepted by the receiver. As mentioned, depending on the receiver, the output could be either digital or analog.
Receiver to the audio interface…
Depending on the type of receiver, you will most likely require an audio interface. Some will output a digital signal, and if this is the case, you can connect directly to the computer. Most audio interfaces will output an analog signal, though.
Connecting a transmitter to an audio interface will be the same as how you would ordinarily connect to an amplifier, speaker, or mixer. The most common connection types are either via XLR, RCA, or 6.35mm TRS.
You will most likely discover that wireless microphone receivers output an analog audio signal. This is why you need an audio interface. Consider it as a hub for connecting audio sources to your computer.
There are many different audio interfaces available with various levels of quality and connection options. This can also allow you to connect multiple microphones, along with other audio sources, to your computer. I have included my recommendation for one of the best audio interfaces on the market, which is the…
This is one of the most popular audio interfaces due to its high quality and ease of use. It also includes industry-standard professional Pro Tools software. The audio quality is output up to an impressive 24-bit/192Khz and can support up to two microphone inputs. For more information, check out our in-depth Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 Studio 3rd Gen Review.
Wireless USB Microphones
With technology improving all the time, there is now an affordable range of wireless USB microphones. These have an ADC built-in. So, the receiver connects directly to your computer’s USB port.
Although the audio quality won’t be as high as a standalone audio interface, it’s fine for most applications. Another thing to consider is that these microphones usually rely on the busy 2.4GHz radio frequency, and some interference is likely. So, here are my recommendations for some great wireless USB microphones…
The Alvoxcon wireless handheld microphone can operate at a range of up to 130 feet (40 meters). The receiver can be used as both digital and analog via either USB or with a 3.5mm auxiliary cable. It is compatible with computers, wireless speakers, smartphones, and more.
Furthermore, 20 preset UHF frequencies help reduce radio frequency interference. It is easy to set up using the Plug-and-Play operation. And you only need AA batteries to power the mic.
Samson’s XPD2 wireless USB lavalier microphone offers great quality audio at an affordable price. Additionally, the USB receiver works with both Windows and macOS computers. And even Android or iOS with an adapter.
The belt transmitter pack offers up to 20 hours of use from two AA batteries. The audio signal is sent using the 2.4GHz radiofrequency. Also, you have the option of connecting to monitoring headphones or an external speaker using the 3.5mm audio output.
Connecting to the Computer
Depending on your device, the connection method is usually the same. No matter if you have a standalone audio interface, or ADC built into your microphone or computer, it’s simple and straightforward.
You will most likely connect either the receiver or audio interface to your computer using a USB cable. Most products these days are what’s known as “Plug-and-Play.” Meaning as soon as you plug them in, they’re ready to go.
Software and drivers…
If you’re not using a Plug-and-Play device, you might need to install some software or a driver. Fortunately, you can usually find these on the manufacturer’s website. And the instructions are simple to follow.
Looking for a Great Microphone?
Then we have a nice selection of reviews to help you make the perfect choice. So, check out our in-depth reviews of the Best Wireless Microphones, the Best Microphones for YouTube, the Best USB Microphones, the Best Lavalier Microphones, the Best iOS Microphones, the Best Computer Microphones, and the Best USB Microphones you can buy in 2021.
Also, have a look at our comprehensive reviews of the Best Dynamic Microphones, the Best Microphones for Recording Electric Guitar, the Best Microphones for Recording Rap Vocal, the Best Vocal Mics, the Best Condenser Microphones, the Best XLR Microphones, and the Best External Android Microphones currently on the market.
How to Connect a Wireless Microphone to a Computer – Final Thoughts
Hopefully, you have a much better understanding of how you can connect a wireless microphone to a computer. However, the exact method you use will depend on the equipment you are using.
But no matter which method you use, connecting a wireless microphone o your computer opens up an entire range of possibilities. Especially when combined with some of the fantastic software options available.
But that’s an entirely new discussion for another time. Until then, enjoy combining the world of analog and digital.
Until next time, make yourself heard.