Where Is The Microphone On Earbuds?

So you’ve just picked up a new pair of earbuds but don’t know if it has a microphone? Where is the microphone located? Read this article to learn more!

Apple Airpods Pro with red cover

Earbuds are an innovative technology that offers more flexibility when performing your daily activities. Some have a built-in microphone, making it easier to make phone calls and record audio.

Most wireless earbuds come with a microphone as standard. The microphone on true wireless earbuds is usually in the right earpiece. Wireless earbuds usually have their microphone in the mini case placed in the wire connecting the right earpiece to the left one.

Read on to learn more about microphone earbuds. You’ll soon discover how to tell whether your earbuds have a microphone and where to find it.

Where Is The Microphone On The Earbuds?

Knowing where the microphone is on your earbuds is important to ensure better communication with the person on the other end. For true wireless earbuds, the microphone is usually in the right earpiece.

On the other hand, wireless earbuds usually have their microphone in the mini case placed in the wire connecting the right earpiece to the left one.

The microphone in both earbud types has the shape of a tiny opening like rice grain. Some high-end earbuds have multiple microphones in each earpiece.

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Close up of black true wireless earbuds

True Wireless Earbuds Vs Wireless Earbuds

If you are on the market for new earbuds, you’ll need to choose between two main types: wireless and true wireless. While these earbuds do a similar job and sound the same, wireless and true wireless earbuds have these differences:

  • Wireless earbuds: These earbuds feature a wire connecting the earpieces. Wireless earbuds often use the typical wire to charge instead of batteries. These earbuds also feature a small casing in the middle of the wire with volume buttons and a microphone. Lastly, wireless earbuds usually connect to the audio source using Bluetooth.
  • True wireless earbuds: These earbuds do not have any wires. The earpieces and the audio source connect using radiofrequency. True wireless earbuds offer more flexibility and mobility than their wireless counterparts.

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True wireless earbuds vs wired earbuds

Types Of Headphones

When it comes to purchasing wireless or true wireless earbuds, neither type will necessarily be more expensive. The price depends mainly on the brand.

We can also differentiate headphones by the shape of the earpiece. The different types include:

  • In-ear buds: These earbud types go directly into your ear. Their tip, usually made of silicone, goes into the auditory canal. Many people prefer in-ear buds because of their better sound quality, small size, and more comfort. They also block outside noises more effectively than others.
  • On-ear headphones: These earbuds sit gently on your ear, not in the auditory canal. While they are not as invasive as other types, they tend to fall off when you make vigorous movements.
  • Over-the-ear headphones: These types cover virtually all of your ear, but any part of it goes into your auditory canal. They feature ear hooks to hold earpieces against your ears, preventing them from falling. They block outside noise better than their on-ear counterparts.

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How To Tell If Your Earbuds Have A Microphone

Whether you have wired or true wireless earbuds, you may wonder about the location of their microphones. It’s worth noting that not all earbuds have built-in microphones. However, it is not difficult to determine if your earbuds have a microphone.

Here are three simple ways to check whether your earbuds have a microphone and where to find it:

  • Check the earbud jack plug: Wired earbuds usually have black or white rings on their connector plug. If you see only two rings on your earbuds connector plug with three metal sections, they are regular stereo earbuds. If your earbuds connector plug has three rings with four metal sections, they have a microphone.
  • Check the cables: Wired earbuds have their microphone built into the cables (in-line microphones). Regular earbuds have a casing around the cable containing the mic. The casing on higher-end models also contains track control and volume control buttons.
  • Check the connector band or casing: True wireless earbuds have their microphone in the casing. Wireless earbuds with connector bands usually have their microphone on the connector band. You can easily notice it as with in-line microphones.
Wired earbuds

What Are The Different Types Of Earbud Microphones?

There are two main types of earbud microphones:

  • Electret Condenser Microphones (ECM)
  • Micro-Electro-Mechanical System (MEMS)

Both microphone technologies have a diaphragm that converts the sound waves generated when it vibrates into electrical signals. These signals produce audio signals.

However, MEMs can convert and encode variations in the host system. ECMs come in various sizes while MEMS are smaller with higher performance density. ECMs are ideal for numerous devices as they are generally more cost-effective. On the other hand, MEMs work best for true wireless earbuds because of their small size.

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What To Look For When Choosing Microphone Earbuds

Sound quality and microphone quality are top considerations when shopping for earbuds with a microphone. Noise isolation, mic position, and general comfort are usually secondary factors.

Let’s explore the top features to look for when shopping for microphone earbuds:

  • Noise-filtering capability: Inefficient noise filtering can adversely affect the performance of the earbud microphone by introducing background noise and static during calls and audio recordings. Noise filtering helps isolate your voice, allowing the recipient to hear your voice clearly. Earbuds with MEMS microphones offer better noise isolation than their ECM counterparts. You might even consider choosing earbuds with an Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) microphone for the best experience.
  • Voice assistant support: If you need more practical earbuds, consider choosing those with integrated voice assistant features. You can access your device’s voice-controlled personal assistants such as Siri, Alexa, and Cortana with such earbuds. With voice assistance, you won’t need to touch your phone while performing other activities, like driving or cooking.
  • Voice pick-up: You need earbuds with excellent sensitivity and frequency range to pick up your voice with better volume and quality. Such earbuds also promote better communication with your voice assistant. If the earbuds have a highly sensitive microphone, ensure they have noise filtering to avoid capturing unwanted voice.
  • Microphone position: The microphone’s position in the earbud can also affect its performance. The closer the mic is to the mouth, the better the voice pick-up. The further the mic is from the mouth, the more the ambient noise.
  • Overall comfort: Comfort and fit are important considerations if you wear the earbuds for prolonged periods. Poorly designed earbuds are often uncomfortable to wear for long hours and tend to slip out. You should choose earbuds that fit nicely and cause no discomfort when worn for prolonged periods.

Apple AirPods Pro are among the earbuds with the most high-quality microphones on the market today.

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Catching a pair of earbuds

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Talk With Wireless Earbuds?

If your earbuds have an integrated mic, you can talk wherever and whenever.

What Is The Quality Of Earbud Microphones?

The quality of earbud microphones usually varies depending on the technology, model, and price. A cheaper model can work well for simple phone calls. If you want to record professional-quality audio, you should invest in a higher-end model with ANC technology.

Is There A Sound Difference Between Wireless And True Wireless Earbuds?

The sound quality is virtually the same in wireless and true wireless earbuds. However, a difference in sound exists between the two types due to audio compression before the main device transmits to the earbuds.

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Why Is My Microphone Not Working?

Check your device’s call or media volume to ensure it is not low or muted. You can then increase the volume to check your mic isn’t faulty.

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Final Thoughts

Whether you have wired, wireless, or true wireless earbuds, you need to know whether they have a microphone. You should also determine the microphone’s location to ensure better communication.

The microphone is often in the right earpiece of true wireless earbuds. However, wireless earbuds often have the mic placed in the connecting band casing.

We hope this article answers all your questions about earbud microphones!

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