How To Connect An External Microphone To A Chromebook


Chromebooks are slowly gaining popularity these days as a cheaper and lighter alternative to a Windows or Mac computer. Chromebooks are lightweight devices that support Chrome OS, Android, and Linux. They are not as feature-heavy as a normal PC, but they can get the basic jobs done.

How do I connect an external microphone to a Chromebook? A microphone can be connected to a Chromebook via the USB port or the headphone jack. “Plug and play” mics (those that do not require drivers) are preferred since some drivers are incompatible with Chromebooks. Once connected physically, set the mic as the input audio source in the Audio Settings.

Whether you are into media consumption, web browsing, or basic gaming, a Chromebook can be your device. When it comes to audio and content creation, a Chromebook might be a good secondary device.

Its Linux support means you can download programs such as the well-known open-source digital audio workstation Audacity. Aside from Linux, you can also download different audio apps on the Google Play Store.

A Chromebook can be a good device for listening to music, editing songs, and creating podcasts. If recording audio is something you find interesting, a Chromebook may work for you. Here is a guide on how to use an external microphone on your Chromebook.

Related articles:
How To Connect A Microphone To A Computer (A Detailed Guide)
How To Connect A Wireless Microphone To A Computer (+ Bluetooth Mics)
How To Connect An External Microphone To A Smartphone


How To Connect An External Microphone To A Chromebook

These days, most Chromebooks come with a selection of ports. Usually, they can either have a USB port or a headphone jack. Most of the time, Chromebooks come with both.

Microphones that come with a USB or a 3.5 mm jack can be easily plugged into a Chromebook. There should be no drivers necessary for the microphone to work. The step-by-step process of connecting your external microphone onto your Chromebook goes as follow:

  1. Turn your device on and log into your Chromebook.
  2. Plug your microphone through the appropriate port. Your Chromebook will give you a notification in the bottom right-hand corner.
  3. Click on your settings panel.
  4. Click the arrow next to your volume. It should take you to audio settings.
  5. You will find your microphone in the input section of the audio settings. You can choose between using your internal microphone or your external microphone. Clicking your external microphone will give you a check sign.

You have now successfully connected your external microphone onto your Chromebook.


How To Use Your Microphone In Google Chrome

You can use your external microphones for websites such as Skype, Messenger, and Google Hangout. Whether you are sending voice messages or are going on a conference call, you can use your external microphone with Google Chrome.

Websites ask permission before you can use cameras or microphones by default. You can change this through the website’s settings.

  • Open Chrome and go to the website.
  • Open the lock icon on the navigation bar. It should take you to the site information.
  • On the drop-down menu, you will see an option to allow or block microphone usage. Choose to allow if you want to use your microphone. You can also turn this option off later.

How To Use Your Microphone In Different Programs

You can record your voice using different programs on your Chromebook. You can easily download these through the Linux terminal or the Play Store. Once you have set up your microphone, it will usually default as the audio recording device for Android apps. Just speak through your microphone, and you should be able to record your own voice.

For programs such as Audacity, you might have to adjust some settings. You can set your microphone on the program’s main menu. Underneath the record button, you should see an icon of a microphone and a drop-down menu. Clicking on it will allow you to choose which microphone you want to use.


Which Microphone Is The Best For Chromebook?

Choosing the right microphone is important if you want to get quality results. Some microphones may not work with Chromebooks. But generally speaking, anything with a USB should be able to connect with a Chrome device.

Be cautious of devices that require drivers. Drivers are mostly reserved for Windows and Mac and will not work on Chromebooks. If you are buying a microphone for specifically a Chromebook, it’s highly advised that you use something plug and play.

Buying a microphone for your Chromebook can be tricky, but some articles can help you make a good purchase. Try to look for products that come with a “Works With Chromebook” logo.

There are plenty of headphones that include built-in microphones that connect via 3.5mm TRRS connections (headphone jacks). These are fairly good options for improving the audio quality over the built-in Chromebook microphones.

However, I’d personally recommend going with a USB microphone if at all possible. These mics are generally designed with decent electret condenser capsules (rather than the tiny unbalanced ones used in headphones) and are better suited to convert sound waves into analogous audio signals. As an added bonus, USB mics will also often have built-in headphone amplifiers that will help to improve headphone quality in addition to microphone quality.

Related articles:
How Do USB Microphones Work And How To Use Them
How Do Headphone Jacks And Plugs Work? (+ Wiring Diagrams)
The Complete Guide To Electret Condenser Microphones
What Is A Headphone Amplifier & Are Headphone Amps Worth It?

There are plenty of USB microphones on the market. For Chromebooks, I’d recommend the following 3 options (none of which require drivers):

Rode NT-USB

The Rode NT-USB (link to check the price at Sweetwater) is a top performer in the family of USB microphones. This small-diaphragm side-address condenser mic sounds great, is easy to use, and has a zero-latency headphone output.

Rode NT-USB
  • Sample rate: 48 kHz
  • Bit-depth: 16-bit
  • Monitoring: Zero-latency monitoring headphone output
  • Connector: USB-B to USB-A
  • Frequency response: 20 Hz – 20,000 Hz

Rode is featured in the following My New Microphone articles:
Top 11 Best Microphone Brands You Should Know And Use
Top 11 Best Microphone Boom Pole Brands On The Market

Audio-Technica AT2020USB+

The Audio-Technica AT2020USB+ (link to check the price on Amazon) is a very popular USB microphone for a good reason. It sounds great on a variety of sources and makes for an excellent introductory microphone.

Audio-Technica AT2020USB+
  • Sample rate: 44.1 or 48 kHz
  • Bit-depth: 16-bit
  • Monitoring: Zero-latency headphone output
  • Connector: USB-B to USB-A
  • Frequency response: 20 Hz – 20,000 Hz

Audio-Technica is featured in the following My New Microphone articles:
Top 13 Best Headphone Brands In The World
Top 11 Best Microphone Brands You Should Know And Use
Top 11 Best Turntable/Record Player Brands In The World
Top 11 Best Phono Cartridge Brands In The World

Blue Yeti

The Blue Yeti (link to check the price at Blue Microphones) is arguably the flagship microphone of Blue Microphones and is certainly one of, if not the most, popular USB mics on the market.

Blue Yeti
  • Sample rate: 48 kHz
  • Bit-depth: 16-bit
  • Monitoring: Internal headphone output
  • Connector: Micro-USB to USB-A
  • Frequency response: 20 Hz – 20,000 Hz

Blue Microphones is featured in My New Microphone’s Top 11 Best Microphone Brands You Should Know And Use.

These 3 USB mics and 6 more are featured in My New Microphone’s Top 9 Best USB Microphones (Streaming, PC Audio, Etc.).


Troubleshooting

You might run into issues when using your microphone with a Chromebook. Microphones that are plugged through the headphone jack may or may not work, depending on the program. Cheaper microphones may also sound bad when paired to a Chromebook.

And as mentioned earlier, some microphones might not work without a driver. If yours isn’t working with your Chromebook, you might have to install a driver for it. That’s why it’s highly advised to research your products before buying.

If recording audio is the main reason you want to use an external microphone, Android apps are the best option for Chromebooks. Linux is currently still in beta for Chromebook, so there might be some bugs and glitches when using desktop programs. Android apps run smoother with Chromebook because they are relatively easy to use and require little processing power.

Some Android apps work better than others. Some apps only work as voice recorders, while others are full-blown audio editors. I recommend checking out the Lexis Audio Editor and Music Maker JAM as they offer more functionality than most.


Tips For Using Your Microphone With Your Chromebook

  • Read your microphone’s requirement. Some microphones might need the latest update of Chrome OS to work. It’s also a good idea to read your microphone’s instructions.
  • Use your microphone in a quiet room for the best quality audio. Don’t speak too close or too far from your device.
  • If your Chromebook does not recognize your microphone, a simple reset can fix it. Alternatively, you can unplug and re-plug your microphone.
  • Keep your microphone clean and store it in the appropriate place.
  • Finally, if your microphone is incompatible with a program (even after troubleshooting), try using a different program. There are different apps and programs online that you can use.

Conclusion

Chromebooks have gotten better and more efficient than they were years ago. These days, you can easily plug most accessories into your Chromebook, and it will work.

You can now find different microphones that can work with your Chromebook seamlessly. Plug and play microphones are the best options if you want to broadcast and record audio through your Chrome device.

Microphones are easy to use with Chromebooks. You can simply plug them into your device and start working. External microphones can work on almost all websites, programs, and apps, as long as they are compatible.


Choosing the right microphone(s) for your applications and budget can be a challenging task. For this reason, I’ve created My New Microphone’s Comprehensive Microphone Buyer’s Guide. Check it out for help in determining your next microphone purchase.


This article has been approved in accordance with the My New Microphone Editorial Policy.

Arthur

Arthur is the owner of Fox Media Tech and author of My New Microphone. He's an audio engineer by trade and works on contract in his home country of Canada. When not blogging on MNM, he's likely hiking outdoors and blogging at Hikers' Movement (hikersmovement.com) or composing music for media. Check out his Pond5 and AudioJungle accounts.

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