How to Connect a Microphone to a Home Receiver so Sound Comes Through the Speakers

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Connecting a microphone to a home receiver so sound comes through the speakers involves a moderate investment in additional equipment and connection cables. Using an auxiliary channel and corresponding input jack -- intended primarily for connection of CD, MP3 and tape players -- any sound-emitting device can be connected to the receiver. Although it is possible to connect the microphone directly with the proper cable, sound output from the speakers will be lower than normal because of the difference between mic and line levels. Line level devices, such as the aforementioned music players, are higher than mic levels, necessitating the purchase of a microphone preamp or sound mixer to boost the microphone's electrical signal to usable volume levels.

Things You'll Need

  • Home receiver with auxiliary channel(s)
  • Microphone with matching cable
  • Microphone mixer or preamp
  • Mixer or preamp to receiver connection cable

Inspect the System and Purchase the Necessities

  1. Inspect the front of your home receiver to ensure it includes an auxiliary input channel. You'll be able to tell by looking at the "source" or "input" switch at the front of the receiver. The auxiliary channel will be labeled as "AUX," "TAPE" or "CD."

  2. Inspect the back of the receiver to determine the existence and type of input jack. Most every home receiver employs RCA-type jacks for all input devices.

  3. Purchase a microphone of the best quality you can afford from a local music or electronics retailer. "High-impedance" mics are on the lower end of the price scale and are used primarily for home karaoke and other amateur use. "Low-impedance" mics are on the higher end and used for professional audio and recording applications. Microphones are usually sold with matching cables.

  4. Purchase a small microphone mixer or microphone preamp at a local music or electronics retailer. Microphone mixers are compatible with both high-and low-impedance mics and offer more sound quality control than preamps. If you opt for a microphone preamp, ensure that it matches the impedance of your microphone.

  5. Purchase a cable to connect the output of the mixer or preamp to the input of the receiver. Mixer outputs usually require 1/4-inch male plugs, while preamps may require either RCA-type or 1/4-inch male plugs. Music or electronics retailer personnel can offer advice and choices for your particular set-up. The opposite end of the cable will include male RCA-type plugs for the receiver input.

Connecting the Gear to the Receiver

  1. Ensure that power to all devices is turned to the "off" position.

  2. Turn the receiver selector switch to the channel you wish to use.

  3. Plug the RCA-type end of the mixer/preamp cable into the receiver input corresponding with the channel you've chosen. The inputs will be clearly marked.

  4. Plug the opposite end of the mixer/preamp cable (RCA-type or 1/4-inch plug) into the main output of the mixer or preamp. Depending on the complexity and layout of your unit, consult the owner's manual if the output locations are not evident.

  5. Plug one end of the microphone cable into the microphone -- unless an integrated cable has been supplied -- and the other end into the input of the mixer or preamp. The owner's manual will offer guidance if you are not sure of the input location.

Making it All Work

  1. Turn the volume level of the mixer/preamp and receiver all the way down and turn the power switches of both devices on.

  2. Turn the main volume level of the receiver about halfway, do the same for the master or main volume control of the mixer or preamp and slowly turn the microphone channel volume control up until you begin to hear sound. Note that some preamps and mixers of simple design will only include microphone channel volume controls and will contain no master volume.

  3. Adjust the microphone volume to preference. If a mixer is used, it will contain other controls to further enhance the sound. A thorough read of the owner's manual will provide information on the use of other controls and features.

Tips & Warnings

  • If your mixer or preamp is equipped with a master volume and separate mic channel volume, ensure that the master is always set above the level of the channel volume to reduce distortion.
  • Point the microphone away from speakers at all times to avoid annoying feedback (squealing).
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  • Photo Credit Hemera Technologies/ Images

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