PC mic level to line level or XLR

Hi all,

I’ve read the topic here, and while it is similar to my situation it didn’t provide me with the answers I’m looking for.

Basically, I have a Behringer Xenyx 502 mixer that can accept a mic via an XLR input, as well is line-in inputs. I want to use my PC headset (Sennheiser PC-161) as a microphone input to the mixer. I brought my mixer and headset to my local music shop and we tried a standard 1/8 to XLR adapter but even with the gains cranked all the way up on the mixer you couldn’t really hear the mic input unless you blew on the mic and then you could hear it a tiny bit.

If I connect a 1/8 (M) to 1/8 (M) cable from my PC line out into my mixer (with a 1/8 to 1/4 adapter) then the audio comes through loud and clear.

I saw in the other thread (listed above) that the best way to get the 1/8 into a usable XLR input is to fabricate a converter box with parts from Radio Shack. Seeing as I have a line level input on my mixer, is it possible to purchase a basic mic level to line level preamp/converter that would work for a PC microphone?

I do already have a relatively cheap Apex 435 condenser microphone that works very well, but it picks up EVERY single noise in my room which is far from a sealed studio environment. The purpose of this setup is to do live video game commentary and the condenser picks up every squeek of my chair, every tap on my keyboard/mouse, even people rummaging around in the kitchen down the hall. This is why I want to use my PC headset that is better at isolating my voice from the environment.

Thanks for any tips you can provide!

I’ve never seen such a device sold anywhere. As described in the other thread, PC microphones require a low voltage supply to work - this voltage is supplied by the microphone socket on PCs. Mixing desks do not provide a suitable voltage. This is why the other thread went into details about making a suitable power supply.

I understand perfectly why you would want your headset microphone to work. It’s the simplest solution to the noisy “studio.”


It’s not a problem of “converting” the headset microphone to a XLR to get it to work.


Scroll down to the second illustration. The headset microphone in almost all cases is a “computer” microphone. It’s married to the computer sound card when it works. The microphone sends its tiny voice signal to the computer, but the computer sends 5 volt battery back up to the headset to make the microphone work. This type of microphone needs a battery somewhere to make it work.

What the Radio Shack parts did Most Likely was provide the battery to run the microphone even though there’s no computer around. The adapter then passes the voice signal on to the mixer.

The Apex microphone takes battery, too, but it gets its 48 volts from the Phantom Power system in the mixer.

So that’s what the Radio Shack parts do. You must do something of that sort to make the headset work outside of the computer.

And never blow into a microphone. That’s a good way to reduce a microphone to trash. If talking loudly doesn’t work, tap or scratch it with your finger

<<<is it possible to purchase a basic mic level to line level preamp/converter that would work for a PC microphone?>>>

I’ve never seen one. It’s a very basic mismatch. Somebody goes through all the effort to create a microphone preamplifier (not the easiest thing to do) and market it so that someone can connect a $3 computer microphone to it. I know your headset was more than that, but that’s the marketing campaign for that product.


That’s because it’s a communications microphone not an entertainment microphone. In communications, high quality is a complete waste of time and sometimes gets in the way. Directionality and intelligibility are a big deal.

So that’s why it doesn’t work. I don’t know of any good way out without building an adapter. I’ve built four so far. Two for me and two for work.


Thanks guys!

I looked around for a mic to line converter earlier and it was all pretty greek to me so I figured I’d ask some folks with experience if such a beast existed. I guess I’ll stick with my Apex and see how it goes, maybe I’ll have to invest in some sound deadening barricades or something!

Edit: I do remember seeing somewhere on another forum that a guy used an old computer as a converter - he plugged his mic into the computer and output the sound via line-out to his mixer. Definitely a viable alternative for anyone with an old computer lying around (as long as it doesn’t put a bunch of noise on the line like my X-Fi does).

Possibly some sort of home-made acoustic shield fitted to the headset mic to attenuate the sound from the keyboard,
e.g. plastic jar lid(s), or bottle top(s), with a large measure of foam (bathroom sponge), i.e. make the mic less omnidirectional.

<<<Possibly some sort of home-made acoustic shield fitted to the headset mic to attenuate the sound from the keyboard,>>>

He can’t get the headset mic to work at all. It’s the Apex 435 theatrical microphone that picks up all the room trash.

The Apex is a cardioid microphone. It has a front and a back. Are you sure you’re speaking into the right side?
Picture 1.png

Yeah, I’m definitely talking into the correct side. I’m talking into the side that the guy that sold it to me said to speak into. The speaking side also has a logo on it that represents the front of the mic. Of course when I set it up I turned it around backwards just to see what would happen when I talked into the back of it, and it was very strange to hear more echo than voice!

When using a microphone with a cardioid pick-up pattern, echoes can often be significantly reduced by placing sound absorbing materials directly behind the microphone. Suitable materials include things like heavy blankets. There are purpose made devices specifically for this:


Not a bad solution but the noise comes from behind me (my back is to the door) and goes directly into the mic.

Hang heavy blankets, curtains, coats or similar in front or over the door.

Hasn’t anyone ever confused one of those with a fancy public toilet? They might in Amsterdam :stuck_out_tongue:

(sorry for the off-topic joke but I couldn’t resist :mrgreen:)

Nobody realizes how loud and obnoxious their environment is until the first time they try to make a recording. Hearing your world and your voice coming out of a speaker is a revelation.

Have you gone through the list yet – trying to identify where all the noises are coming from? If you have one steady noise like an air conditioner, you might be able to use the Noise Removal tools. If it’s dogs barking, people’s voices, or traffic noises, you’re dead.

I built simple wooden frames and clipped moving blankets to them to make a “studio” in a particularly difficult recording. One of our musicians fully outfitted his broom closet with quilts and blankets for recording.

It’s not unusual to have two problems: noises inside and outside the room and echoes. Echoes will drive you nuts. Clap your hands and count how many seconds it takes for the clap to die out. This is the recording in a bathroom problem.

Both are deadly for recording.


<<<a fancy public toilet?>>>

How soundproof are they?


Naiant Studios makes an adapter: http://www.naiant.com/naiant/inlinedevices.html


The PFA seems to be the answer, but I can’t get quite enough information to be sure. It starts talking about channels and needing both XLRs to have Broadcast Phantom Power to get a stereo show to work. But the illustration is for one mono microphone… ?