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Many would negatively reply when asked whether it is viable to connect a mic to a speaker directly. The reason is that the usual setup when using a mic is to let the microphone level signal pass through a preamplifier to make it audible. The microphone preamplifier, of course, can supply the microphone level signal with gain. Take note that the mic level signal is the microphone output’s nominal level. It ranges between -60 dBV to -20 dBV.
On the other hand, the line-level signal refers to the professional standard for mixing or recording audio signals, and it has a nominal level of around +4dBu (1.78 dBV). The microphone preamp takes the mic signal and applies a suitable amount of gain to amplify the signals to a line-level output.
Can You Plug a Microphone into a Speaker Directly?
Let’s switch gears for a while as we answer the abovementioned question. The preamp must apply a gain of around 60 dB to bring the low-level microphone signals to line-level signals.
It is easy to see that the mic signals have to pass through multiple devices and various gain stages before the Speaker can project the initial signals from the microphone.
Of course, ordinary mic users will find it hard to imagine a mic connected to a speaker. Nevertheless, it is indeed possible to directly connect a mic to a speaker. However, certain conditions need to be present before you can make a mic work when plugged directly into a speaker, and here are these conditions:
The Microphone That You Would Use Must Be A Dynamic Microphone
The dynamic mic doesn’t need external power, while the condenser mic necessitates external power (+48V). The condenser mic gets this power from the mixing console. For this reason, you need to connect the condenser mic to a mixing console, for it will not make any sound without the required external power.
The Speaker You Would Use Has XLR Input
You can never connect a dynamic mic to a speaker without the XLR input. You can find this input at the rear side of the Speaker.
Your Speaker Should Be Self-powered
Most speakers nowadays are not self-powered. Self-powered speakers mean that it has an in-built power amp. You can check your Speaker to ensure if it comes with a power cable. If it has, then it is a self-powered speaker. You can also find speakers that are powered by an external amplifier.
Your Speaker Has A Built-in Preamp
Some speakers have preamps, and since the mic’s output is not strong enough to drive your speakers, speakers need to compensate by having a preamp. If your Speaker has Mic/Line switch at the back, then it might be that the Speaker has a built-in preamp. You can set the switch to Mic to enable the mic to have a better volume.
You Won’t Need Any EQ
When using a mic, you usually have the option of EQ. You lose this chance to control the EQ if you are plugging the mic directly onto the Speaker. Yet, without EQ, you may experience feedback.
Steps on Connecting Your Microphone to a Speaker
Several decades back, it would have been impossible to connect a microphone directly to a speaker. However, nowadays, you can find many powered speakers with a microphone interface. This microphone interface is usually a 6.5 interface or a 3.5 interface. The trick is you need to select a microphone that can fit well with these interfaces. The following are the simple steps you can to connect your microphone to a speaker:
- You should insert the cable into the receiver’s output hole.
- Then, you should hook the other end to the Speaker’s audio port.
- Afterward, get the power cord and plug it onto the wireless receiver.
- Plug the other end to the power source likewise.
- Install the mic’s battery.
- Turn on the receiver’s power. Turn on the wireless receiver’s power likewise.
- Then, turn on the switch and check if the status is connected. You can adjust the mic’s frequency and configure the corresponding response frequency.
Important Notes to Remember
You can follow the abovementioned steps if the Speaker has an internal amplifier, which simplifies everything for you. Moreover, you don’t need to boost the mic’s level signal using a dedicated amplifier if the Speaker has an internal amp.
The microphone inputs are generally XLR, and the loudspeakers’ micro-inputs are also XLR, which facilitates the selection process for the right cable. Thus, to connect a mic to a speaker with preamp, you would only need an XLR cable.
However, although the XLR input is the most viable way to connect the Speaker and mic, you can likewise use a 1/4″ TRS link. You would also need an Aux In for the output one with RCA linking connectors.
The abovementioned method might be your best recourse to connect a mic to a speaker. Yet, in some instances, this method isn’t viable.
Why Connecting a Mic to a Speaker Directly Becomes Not Viable?
Reasons do abound as to why you won’t connect a mic to a speaker directly. Some of these reasons include the following:
If the Speakers are Passive Loudspeakers
If the speakers are passive loudspeakers, you can never connect a mic to it directly. The reason is the passive loudspeakers don’t come with amplifiers. Hence, they don’t have the internal mechanism to add gain to the microphone level signals. In such a case, the mic level signal will be too low to drive the Speaker.
Powered loudspeakers come with built-in amplifiers. They need the built-in amps to function well. With the built-in amps, speakers can raise a low line-level signal to a high-level speaker signal. With an internal amp, they won’t need a separate external amp.
On the other hand, passive loudspeakers don’t come with built-in amplifiers. They don’t need external power to operate. Yet, they need an external amp to provide sufficient gain to the microphone level signals.
If the Microphone is an Active Microphone
As you dig deeper into the microphone world, you will soon discover that there are passive and active microphones. Passive microphones do not necessitate external power. Examples of passive mics are dynamic moving-coil microphones and many dynamic ribbon mics.
On the other hand, active microphones need an external power like phantom power to work. Examples of active microphones include all types of condenser mics and USB microphones. They usually come with vacuum tubes and FETs.
The viability of connecting a mic directly is never an issue if you have a dedicated external amplifier. You can simply hook the mic to the amp before routing the amp’s signals to the Speaker. Nevertheless, if you are adamant about achieving such a mic-to-speaker direct connection, you can follow the steps mentioned above.
Of course, having a direct mic-to-speaker setup would save you the hassle of buying a separate amp and extra cables. Moreover, it simplifies the setup and does away with a dedicated external amplifier. Such a mic-to-speaker technology has not yet fully blossomed, so the mic-amp-speaker setup is still the most viable setup to have in most instances.