If you want audio recording or streaming that has better quality than your computer’s built-in mic can produce, then you will need a dedicated audio connection.
What if you have already used all of your computer’s audio inputs, or if your computer only has USB input ports? Can you use a USB port as an audio input?
Using a USB audio interface is the best and most reliable way to use a USB port as an audio interface. Using USB-Audio converters work well too, and so do USB microphones. Be sure to set external devices as audio inputs in your computer settings, install the necessary drivers, and they will work well.
USB ports are the most common cable ports on modern computers. Whether your MacBook only has USB-C inputs or your Windows PC does not have a high-quality audio input, using a USB port may be your only option for audio input. Let’s learn how to use a USB port for audio safely and reliably.
Let’s take a closer look at the ways you can use a USB port as an audio input.
Can You Use A USB Port For Audio?
You can use a USB port for audio input, and there are several reasons you might want to do so:
- you have run out of available audio inputs (having used them for other devices already)
- your audio input is not functioning (broken due to age or misuse)
- all you have is a USB (no other port types available)
Fortunately, it is possible to use a USB port for audio input, and there are several ways to do so. Some ways are better than others, and some methods are better suited for particular applications, so how you go about using a USB port for audio input depends on what you want to do with it.
There are simple ways to achieve this, and there are more complicated methods as well, but the end of it is that it is usually possible to use a USB port for audio if you know how and if you have some external hardware.
Bear in mind that the solution here is for the use of regular USB ports, not for soundcards with built-in USB connectivity. If your computer has a soundcard with a built-in USB, simply plug your audio device into the soundcard, and it will function well.
The methods for using a USB port for audio here are for those who require the use of a standard USB port for audio input and how to do it well without causing any damage to hardware.
Now that we know that it is possible let’s explore the best ways to use a USB port as an audio input.
How To Use A USB Port As An Audio Input
As we have already mentioned, there are several ways to successfully use a USB port for audio input, but it usually requires some external hardware and a little technical know-how.
All of the methods here for this function are simple to do, and they are designed to be as straightforward as possible without causing any damage to any hardware components. These methods are also so simple that they can be used for any application and by any person, regardless of how musical or tech-savvy you are.
These are the three best ways to use a USB port for audio input.
Use An External USB Audio Interface
The best way to use a USB port for audio is to use an external USB audio interface.
This method is ideal for all forms of audio requirements, including recording instruments and voices, streaming audio, importing audio from external devices such as cameras, and even simply using an external microphone for virtual conference calls or virtual hangouts with friends.
Using a USB audio interface will convert any USB port into multi-functional audio input. Using a device like this allows you to use a microphone, instruments, headphones, and even external speakers or studio monitors as your setup as well.
If you choose this method to use a USB port as audio input, your steps will look something like this:
- Purchase an affordable USB interface (such as the Scarlett Solo or the Scarlett 2i2 from Focusrite).
- Connect the interface to a USB port.
- Install the software drivers.
- Connect whatever audio devices you want to use to the interface (such as microphones, instruments, or any other devices that create audio).
This method is ideal for all audio requirements and is the most reliable, safest, and most straightforward way to use a USB port for audio input. An interface will also produce high-quality audio for recording and will easily boost your audio, making your audio easily audible for any requirements.
Using an interface is the best option for any audio requirements, but if you are looking for something a little more simple, then there are other options as well.
Use A USB-Audio Converter
If all you need to do is simply connect a headset to a USB port or plug in a simple microphone, then the simplest option is to use a USB-Audio converter. These very simple devices are often the size of a USB flash drive, and they have a USB connector on one end and audio inputs on the other.
There are several options available that include single audio inputs, headset inputs that have both a simple mic input and audio out, and many other variations. There is sure to be converted that will suit your requirements easily available.
These devices are very limited, but they do work well for certain simple applications.
Use A USB Microphone
A good USB microphone is a great way to use your USB ports for audio input as they can be used in a wide range of ways and applications. If you want to use the audio input for speaking, singing, or recording voices and acoustic instruments, then using a USB microphone is an ideal option.
This method is very simple. Find a good USB microphone that is designed for your specific use-case, plug it into a USB port, set your computer to use eth microphone as an audio input, and it will work easily and quickly every time you need it.
There is a myriad of USB microphones available on the market right now at all types of price ranges, quality levels, and levels of functionality. Take the time to find the right mic for you, and it will function reliably every time.
At the end of it all, there are several ways to use a USB port for audio input. Some methods are simple, others are more complicated, but there is a method to suit your requirements regardless of what you may need it for.
Using an external USB interface is the best way to accomplish this, but taking a look around at various options and exploring the world of USB audio input devices will reveal the best option for you and your purposes.