Learn what to look for in a quality pair of earbuds with great microphones.
As earbuds are small and can fit snugly inside the ear, they are perfect for just about any situation. You can use them while working out, on your daily commute to work, or even on a lazy day at home. Plus, the best earbuds with mic allow for easier, hands-free communication.
However, not all earbuds’ microphone (mic) is of great quality and some can be downright crappy. The mic feature is mostly an afterthought for most manufacturers – a good-to-have.
With this guide, we gather some of the best earbuds that are not just great for music but also deliver great call quality. You will also learn:
- How does a mic work?
- What are the different types of mic?
- How do multiple mics work hand-in-hand to reduce noise?
|Earbud Name||Mic Noise Reduction||Mic Position||Form Factor||Price|
|Jabra Elite Active 75t Editor's Pick 🏆||Jabra Noise Blackout™||On Earbuds||True Wireless||BUY|
|Anker SoundCore Life P2 Runner-Up 💪||cVc 8.0||On Earbuds||True Wireless||BUY|
|Taotronics SoundElite 72 Budget Pick #1 💰||cVc 8.0||Inline||Wireless||BUY|
|Taotronics SoundLiberty 79 Budget Pick #2 💰||Smart AI Noise Reduction||On Earbuds||True Wireless||BUY|
|Samsung Galaxy Buds Live Best for Samsung 🤖||VPU Jawbone Detection||On Earbuds||True Wireless||BUY|
|Airpods Pro Best for Apple 🍎||Apple H1 chip||On Earbuds||True Wireless||BUY|
|1More Quad Driver Best for Music 🎵||-||Inline||Wired||BUY|
|Mee Audio M6 Pro 2nd Generation Best Wired ➰||-||Inline||Wired||BUY|
|Powerbeats Pro||Apple H1 chip||On Earbuds||True Wireless||BUY|
Use these quick links to quickly navigate around the article.
11 Best Earbuds with Microphone
Here are our picks for the best earbuds with microphone that are great for calls:
Jabra Elite Active 75t
- Enhanced 4-microphone call technology
- Ergonomic shape and smaller form factor
- 4th generation true wireless connection
- Active noise cancellation
- Up to 24 hours of battery time with ANC on
- IP57 waterproof rating
- 2-year warranty
Other earbuds focus on enhancing the audio quality and forget about yet another important factor – call quality. But the Jabra Elite Active 75t goes and proves you can have the best of both worlds. You certainly won’t go wrong for switching to this pair from the older Jabra Elite Active 65t. It has Active Noise Cancellation (ANC), a better battery, and an upgraded design.
Jabra Elite Active 75t’s Mic Test
Great call quality with little to no dropouts
Jabra has always been known for its great microphones and the Jabra Elite Active 75t even exceeds expectations. Its 4-mic setup enables clear conversations no matter where you are. Two of the four microphones are dedicated to block ambient noise, while the rest are focused on amplifying your voice. So even when you’re outdoors, there’ll be little to no wind distortion.
Another common concern with true wireless earbuds is their connectivity. No one likes it when their calls get dropped mid-convo or when they’re watching videos and they suddenly get disconnected. That won’t be a problem with the Jabra Elite Active 75t as the brand promises a stable connection with Bluetooth 5.0.
With these qualities, it’s no surprise that Jabra Elite Active 75t turn out to be the best earbuds with mic.
Ideal for most ear types
Every person has their own ear size and shape. And while most earbuds follow a standard sizing, not everyone will appreciate this one-size-fits-all approach. But Jabra isn’t just aware of this; they aimed to address this.
That’s why Jabra Elite Active 75t boasts of being engineered to ensure a cozy fit. Its smaller, more compact, and lighter design than 65t and ergonomic shape fits most ear types. So being able to comfortably put them in place won’t be an issue.
On top of that, fitting ear types don’t just end with the physical attributes. Just like the shapes and sizes, people also have unique hearing profiles and tastes in music. That’s why Jabra developed MySound. This innovative feature customizes the sound quality to your specific hearing profile. You just need to take a short hearing test, and you’re good to go!
Access multiple functions with a few clicks
Jabra’s very own Jabra Sound + app makes your experience with the Elite Active 75t even better. With this app, you can:
- Turn the Active Noise Cancellation On/Off
- Customize the HearThrough feature to adjust how much background noise can mix with your music
- Assign alternative functions on your earbuds’ touch controls
- Manually adjust sound EQ levels.
Aside from the quick charge feature, you can also make charging much more convenient with their wireless charging variant. You can simply use any Qi-enabled charging pad you have and say goodbye to messy wires.
While the Jabra Elite Active 75t offers top-of-the-line features, these only support AAC and SBC codecs. So you won’t get to experience the higher-quality codecs like aptX, aptX-LL, and aptX-HD.
Also, this pair can connect with multiple devices simultaneously. However, switching between them can sometimes take more time than it should.
- Excellent call quality
- Stable connection
- Decent noise cancellation with ambient mode
- Fits most ear shapes and sizes
- Customizable touch controls
- Adjustable EQ levels
- Has a wireless charging variant
- No aptX support
- Switching between devices takes time
Anker SoundCore Life P2
- 4 microphones and cVc 8.0 technology
- Graphene drivers for a wider soundstage
- BassUp technology
- 40-hour playtime
- Fast charge (10 minutes of charge for 1 hour of playback)
- IPX7 waterproof
- Fast automated pairing with PUSH AND GO technology
For top-notch features at a more affordable price, the Anker SoundCore Life P2 is no doubt a steal. Its great sound clarity, cVc 8.0 technology, quick charge feature, and durability, put this pair of earbuds with mic on top of this list.
Hear and be heard clearly
The 2 microphones per earbud ensure that you are heard clearly during a call. These microphones are also strategically placed at the bottom tip of the earbuds. This makes them closer to the user’s mouth for better voice pick-up.
Additionally, thanks to the cVc 8.0 technology, background noises are reduced significantly. Traffic and train noises won’t be a problem!
For your end of the call, these earbuds are powered by Graphene Drivers. These result in clear and accurate sounds and a noticeably wider soundstage. Plus, it also has BassUp Technology that increases the bass by up to 43 percent. For calls, this tech also boosts vocal frequencies so you’ll hear the person on the other line better.
Suitable for outdoor use
These earbuds may not be the most premium looking with their all-plastic build. But they’re pretty up there when it comes to durability. With an IPX7 waterproof rating, you won’t have to worry when you’re suddenly caught in the rain. They can even be submerged in water for up to 30 minutes!
Enjoy fast and convenient setups
Once the earbuds are paired to your devices, using them again is so much easier. All thanks to its Push and Go technology. Every time you take these out of the case, the earbuds will automatically connect with the device they were last paired with.
Moreover, you can also enjoy these for around 7 hours of straight playback. While it’s not the best on the list, it extends for up to 40 hours with the charging case.
Despite looking a bit bulky, the Anker SoundCore Life P2 is actually very lightweight. However, we can’t really praise them for their comfortability because of the physical buttons. These buttons tend to press against the users’ outer ears, causing pain and irritation. They also require a bit more force to press, which could be unfavorable to some.
- With noise reduction fo rmic inputs
- Good sound quality for music and calls
- Automatic pairing
- Above-average battery life
- Issues with the physical buttons
Taotronics SoundElite 72
- Noise-canceling mic with cVc 8.0 technology
- 3 EQ Settings (Normal, Bass & Treble)
- Splash-proof earbuds with an IPX6 rating
- Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity
- Secure fit with different sized hooks and tips
Taotronics specializes in reasonably priced electronics but the SOUNDELITE 72 wireless earbuds could stand up to higher-end earbuds with mic on this list. It features a “better-than-CD” sound output thanks to its aptX HD codec technology, which is designed to deliver uncompromised sound performance and exceptional clarity.
Another endearing feature of the Taotronics SOUNDELITE 72 is the 3 EQ settings — normal, bass, and treble — which let you customize your in-ear sound experience. It’s sleek magnetic build design also lets you attach the earbuds together and comfortably hang them around your neck when not in use.
cVc 8.0 Noise Canceling Mic
The Taotronics SOUNDELITE 72 wireless earbuds come with a built-in microphone and advanced cVc 8.0 noise cancellation technology so you can enjoy clear hands-free calls on the go. cVc technology is responsible for suppressing background noise and enhancing your voice clarity for the person on the other end of the line.
Microphone located closer to the mouth
The microphone of the Taotronics SOUNDELITE 72 is located along the cable connecting both earbuds. This gives it an edge over some true wireless earbuds since it means the mic is closer to the mouth, which in turn, allows for clearer calls.
There are consumers who complain about the comfort level of the SOUNDELITE 72 earbuds, especially with the ear hook section, which may feel like it’s digging into the ear after prolonged use. However, Taotronics has provided 2 extra ear hooks of different sizes, so it’s a matter of changing them to the ones that feel most comfortable.
- Built-In microphone with noise cancellation
- Above-average sound quality with 3 EQ settings
- IPX6 water protection
- Up to 14hr Playtime
- The design is not the most comfortable
- The mic sensitivity could be better
Taotronics SoundLiberty 79
- Smart AI Noise Reduction Technology
- Stable Bluetooth Connection
- Great bass
- 40hrs playback time
Another affordable option with superb quality is the Taotronics SoundLiberty 79. Other than the stable Bluetooth connectivity and great bass reproduction, the IEM comes with “Smart AI Noise Reduction” technology that is great at picking up your voice among the background noises.
Taotronics SoundLiberty 79’s Mic Test
From the demo, you can hear that the voice is being picked up and amplified. Even in a noisy environment, the voice clarity is still maintained.
High sweatproof rating – IPX7
At IPX7, the SoundLiberty 79 is highly sweatproof. To give you a better perspective, IPX8-rated headphones allow you to swim with it!
Great for workout
With a great bass, stable Bluetooth connection, and being sweatproof, the SoundLiberty 79 is a triple threat as a workout headphones.
At less than $50, this pair of true wireless earbuds is a steal for the number of features that it includes.
To me, the “Smart AI Noise Reduction” seems to work better at picking up voice than reducing background sound. From the demo, you can still hear the background noise, especially in a noisy setting. So if you are in a very loud environment, your voice might be clear but it might be distracted by the background noise. I will recommend the SoundLiberty 79 if your background environment is not overwhelmingly noisy.
- 40 hrs of playback time
- Portable case
- Comfortable with good fit
- Stable Bluetooth connection
- Easy switch from mono to normal usage
- Decent voice pick up from mic
- Good bass
- Terrible earbuds UX
- Cannot switch earbuds off without inserting into case
- No touch feedback
Samsung Galaxy Buds Live
- Jawbone Detection for voice pick-up
- Tuned by AKG
- Six EQ Presets and Gaming Mode
- Active Noise Cancellation (ANC)
- Unique and comfortable design
- Wireless charging
- Direct voice access to Bixby
- Direct Spotify Access
The Samsung Galaxy Buds Live has a rather unique look. These “beans”, as dubbed by many users, are surprisingly comfy and secure when worn. More importantly, they bear Samsung’s best microphone system to date. So this pair definitely sits on top, compared to the previous Galaxy Buds and Buds Plus.
Samsung Galaxy Buds Live’s Mic Test
Experience clear calls with less noise
The Galaxy Buds Live have the best microphone setup Samsung has to offer, yet. Each bud has three microphones. Two of which are beam-forming while the third one faces inwards.
But what makes this stand out more, is that the third mic uses bone conduction technology.
This means they translate your jawbone’s vibrations into audio signals. The technology results in clear voice transmissions minus the bothersome background noise.
Choose from a variety of EQ Presets
You can expect studio-quality sound with the Galaxy Buds Live. These are equipped with high-quality 12mm drivers by AKG, bass duct, and air vents. Together, they produce good sound clarity with punchy bass, and a wider, more natural soundstage.
And if you don’t find the out-of-the-box sound quality satisfying, you can also use different EQ presets on the Galaxy Wearables app. This lets you choose from the following sound modes:
- Bass Boost
- Treble Boost
You can also access the experimental Galaxy Labs on the app. This feature lets you switch to Gaming mode for zero sound delays, Ambient Mode to relieve air pressure.
For people on the go
Despite their very unique design, these kidney bean-shaped earbuds actually provide a snug fit. They’re stable enough for you to even do some exercises or run a few miles and comfortable enough to be worn for hours.
These earbuds also allow all-day voice access to Samsung’s smart assistant, Bixby. This means you can book your schedule, make calls, or ask for anything Bixby can do, anytime without pressing any button.
Lastly, if you’re one who wants easy access to your Spotify playlists, then you’ll definitely find the Galaxy Buds Live extra useful. Simply touch and hold the earbuds, and you can access all your playlists on Spotify or listen to your favorite podcasts.
While the Active Noise Cancellation is a good addition, they still can’t compare with earbuds with more advanced ANC. The ANC on Galaxy Buds Live can only reduce low frequencies and not higher ones. These also don’t have ear tips so they don’t seal the ears as much as others would. Therefore, there’s no passive noise isolation. Enabling the ANC will only lessen the noise but not completely mute them.
- Clear voice pick up
- Firmware can be updated via app
- Studio-quality sound
- Multiple sound preset options
- Comfortable and stable fit
- Wireless and USB-C fast charging
- Smart Bixby and Spotify integration
- ANC needs improvement
- No passive noise isolation
- 2 microphones in each earbud
- Active noise cancellation for immersive sound
- Quick access to voice assistant (Siri)
- Adaptive EQ
- Sweat and water resistance
- Transparency mode for hearing and connecting with the world around you
The previous AirPods were a smashing success with their true wireless form factor and seamless connectivity, but the AirPods Pro takes the entire experience up a notch. For one, the AirPods Pro comes with a new vent system designed to equalize pressure and minimize discomfort. They also feature a new in-ear design with silicone tips that allow for a more snug fit.
Add the IPX4 water and sweat resistance rating and the adaptive EQ feature designed to automatically tune music to the shape of your ear and deliver balanced sound output whether you’re listening to hip hop, R&B, classical, rock, pop, or podcasts.
Active noise cancellation technology
Each earbud has two microphones — the one outside detects incoming noise and cancels it out with the anti-noise feature, while the one inside also filters outside noise as well as analyses how your music is responding to your ear geometry and adjusts it accordingly.
Plus, the shorter, curvy stems of the earbuds aim the microphone a bit more squarely at the mouth for improved voice pick up and overall call quality.
AirPod Pros come with a built-in Transparency mode that you can turn on even with Active Noise Cancellation. Essentially, this lets you enjoy your music while still hearing the ambient environment around you.
The Apple AirPods Pro earbuds have only been on the market for a couple of weeks and users have been quick to compare them against the Sony WH-1000XM3 since they’re both in a similar price range. The most common drawbacks noted for the AirPods Pro have been the somewhat bland sound quality for its price and medium battery life at around 4.5 hours.
- Good active noise suppression
- Supports wireless charging
- Refined design for a comfortable and secure fit
- Hands-free voice assistant
- IPX4 water resistance
- Adaptive EQ
- Sound could be better for its price
- Battery life could be better
- Limited features when paired with Android devices or Windows PC
1More Quad Driver
- In-line MEMS Microphone
- Four drivers in each earbud for unsurpassed dynamic power and definition
- Comfortable ergonomic design with noise isolation
- Expertly tuned by Luca Bignardi, a Grammy award-winning sound engineer
- Frequency Range: 20-40,000 Hz
The 1More Quad Driver makes a compelling case to stick with wired earbuds in a world gradually being taken over by its wireless and true wireless counterparts. Featuring an elegant design and 45° oblique angled ear fittings, the Quad Driver is set to take on earbuds on the higher end of the market.
Like its name suggests, the Quad Driver features four drivers, equivalent to four speakers,(1 carbon dynamic driver + 3 balanced armatures) in each earbud, designed to deliver unmatched dynamic power and definition.
Apparently, the Quad Drive design is so sophisticated that together with its deluxe accessories, it would actually make for an amazing gift. Featuring a luxurious Gift Box, 9 ear tip sizes, matching shirt clip, airline adaptors, and leather traveling case, it sure deserves a spot on your Christmas gifting list.
1More Quad Driver’s Mic Test
The Quad Driver comes with a MEMS microphone and a built-in chip that automatically identifies your device’s operating system so you can easily make clear calls, adjust the volume and skip between tracks. The microphone is also conveniently located near the mouth for easier voice pick up and clarity.
1More claims the acoustic quality of the Quad Driver is so crisp and clear that you can hear musical elements you’ve never heard before, like a singer’s breath during a song or the delicate shimmer of a cymbal.
Seeing as the Quad Driver was rolled out following the success of the 1More Triple Driver, most people expected the Quad Driver to be every bit an upgrade of its predecessor. However, at half the price, it would seem the Triple Drive provides more value as there isn’t much difference in sound quality.
- Good build quality
- Mic close to the mouth
- Amazing deluxe accessories
- Slightly lower sound leak compared to most average in-ear headphones
- Good soundstage
- Comfortable fit
- Bass can be a tad overwhelming sometimes
- Foam tips are sometimes difficult to fit
- The Triple Value earphones are better value
Mee Audio M6 Pro 2nd Generation
- M6 PRO customizer to design your own M6 Pro earphones
- Improved sound with ultrathin 5µm driver diaphragm and aluminum voice coil
- Built-in ECM microphone
- Noise-isolating design
- Sweat-resistant build with detachable, replaceable cables
- Frequency response: 20 Hz to 20 kHz
As the only set of headphones being exclusively promoted as in-ear monitors (IEMs) on this list, the Mee Audio M6 Pro 2nd Gen. deserves special consideration. Designed for improved sound with revised tuning, these wired headphones may yet hold their own in today’s saturated IEM market.
One of the most endearing features of the M6 Pro 2nd Gen. is that you have the ability to customize them. Choose from different earpiece colors, faceplate designs, custom eartips and accessories to design your perfect IEM earphones.
M6 Pro 2nd Gen’s Mic Test
Detachable cable with ECM mic
This is actually an awesome idea. Basically, the headset cable is detachable from the earpieces, so you can easily replace them should any trouble arise. Also, it means you can easily switch to a single-ear monitoring mode, by simply detaching the stock stereo cable and attaching the earpieces with a stereo-to-mono cable.
While the M6 Pro already has a sturdy body and cool design, Mee Audio takes the customer experience further by offering lifetime replacements. If your M6 Pro gets damaged or lost, you can simply contact Mee Audio and they’ll send you a new pair at half the price. Visit MEEaudio.com/LRP to learn more.
While the M6 Pro 2nd Generation IEM did get some quality sound upgrades for smoother, more natural treble, it seems a tad too much. A sharp treble may require more bass to balance things out, and the M6 Pro could definitely do with some more bass. Still, at its budget price, the M6 Pro 2nd Generation delivers value.
- Good sound quality for its price
- Lifetime replacement
- Detachable cable with ECM mic close to mouth
- Sweat-resistant IPX5
- Slightly sharp treble
- Basic design
- Dual beam-forming microphones for enhanced phone call performance
- Balanced sound with noise isolation
- Auto play/pause whenever you remove or put on the earbuds
- Fast charging (5-minute charge can deliver 1hr+ playtime)
- Reinforced design for sweat & water resistance
The Powerbeats Pro earbuds represent the next logical step for Apple’s series of true wireless premium workout earbuds. Featuring Apple’s proprietary H1 Chip, these earbuds are designed to deliver a faster and more stable wireless connection from a distance.
In addition to providing protection against sweat and water, the Powerbeats Pro comes with adjustable, secure-fit ear hooks to stay on even during vigorous workouts.
Powerbeats Pro’s Mic Test
Activate Siri on the go with a simple “Hey Siri” voice command. For non-Apple devices, you’ll need to tap the button on the earbud to activate your voice assistant. Still, the voice pickup is pretty good
Dual beam-forming microphones
The downward-facing microphone in either earbud of the Powerbeats Pro is surprisingly good for a set of true wireless earphones. This Reddit user even rated the mic quality over that of the Sony WF-1000XM3. Of course, that’s only an opinion, but it is a testament to Powerbeats Pro mic quality.
One of the first things you’ll notice about the Powerbeats Pro is its chunky charging case, which weighs at around 4.58 ounces. You’d also expect workout earbuds from Apple to have higher protection against dust and water, but alas, they’re only IPX4 rated.
- Secure, comfy fit
- Enjoyable sound
- Good mic quality
- Long battery life (9 hours with 24 hours in charging case)
- Different colors available
- Bulky charging case
- Noise isolation could be better
- Doesn’t support wireless charging
Click on the title to see full reviews.
Jabra Elite Active 65t
- Snug and secure fit
- 4 MEMS mic
- Wide frequency range in mic (100 Hz to 10 kHz)
- Wind noise protection
- Solid connectivity with integrated Bluetooth 5.0
- Long battery life (up to 15 hours with charging case)
- Voice command ability
The Jabra Elite Active 65t true wireless earbuds blazes the trail with its sleek design and array of features engineered for a truly wireless experience. With an IP56-rated design and a 2-year warranty against damage from sweat and dust, it is perfect for people with an active lifestyle.
Whether for listening to music or making calls, or even for getting your phone to execute your voice commands, Jabra Elite Active 65t makes for a solid pair of earbuds with mic.
Jabra Elite Active 65t’s Mic Test
Multiple mics for better ANC
The more the mics in the earbuds, the better the noise pickup and subsequent suppression. Jabra Elite Active 65t is equipped with 4 MEMS mics, allowing for better voice pickup and active noise canceling during calls or voice commands. It also features an acoustic open chamber design for wind noise protection.
EarGels™ for a snug fit
EarGels increase comfort and provide the secure fitting and dependable in-ear stability needed for when you’re on the move. With three sets of EarGels available in different sizes, you get to choose the size that best ensures great sound quality wherever you go.
Personalize your sound experience with the Jabra Sound+ app
Download the Jabra Sound+ app from your Google Play or Apple App Store and customize the way your earbuds transmit and receive sound to suit your surroundings. Want to enhance your music experience, use the app’s advanced equalizer to listen to your music the way you want to hear it. You can also modify your call settings from the app for a more superior calling experience.
Voice commands made easy
Connect instantly to Siri®, Google Assistant™ or Alexa and get things done on the go. Whether you need to search a new location on the map, get a traffic update, or even have messages in your inbox read back to you, enjoy a seamless connection from your Elite Active 65t earbuds to your smartphone with Bluetooth 5.0.
The Elite Active 65t isn’t the most affordable earbuds with microphone on the market. But for the features that Jabra has packed into this true wireless earbuds, you can say it is worth the price tag.
- Excellent noise isolation
- Truly wireless with no annoying cables to tangle
- In-app sound customization
- Integrated motion sensor
- Two microphones in each earpiece for a great calling experience
- Decent battery life at 5 hours with 10 hours more in the charging case
- Dust and water protection
- Sleek design with three different color variations
- Earbuds may lose secure fitting during sweaty workouts
- HearThrough can’t be disabled while tracking runs
- Short charging cable
- Topology Diaphragm Technology for more natural and detailed sound quality
- Frequency response: 20Hz to 20kHz
- Voice command ability
- Extra-long battery life
- Long-range transmission distance for clear communication at 490 feet (150 meters)
HIFIMAN stakes its claim in the True Wireless market with the TWS600 HiFi Earbuds. Featuring its proprietary Topology Diaphragm driver which comes with a unique nano-coating to manipulate the sound signature and characteristics, to achieve specific sound outputs.
This diaphragm requires a burn-in period for the earbuds, so it’s best to let them run for a couple of hours before evaluating its sound performance.
HIFIMAN TWS600’s Mic Test
Up to 490 feet (150 m) communication distance
The mic quality of the TWS600 delivers crisp clarity even over long distances. HIFIMAN even made a video showcasing its long-range Bluetooth connectivity and clear communication.
Press for two seconds to wake up the voice assistant
The TWS600 supports most voice assistants, including Siri, Cortana, Alexa, and Google Voice Assistant. It also features a single-channel option so you can use only one earbud for calls, listening to music and other related functions.
The TWS600 loses points for the bulkiness of its charging case and an apparent dearth in of sub-bass presence in the sound output.
- IPX4-rated for Resistance to Sweat & Dirt
- Easy controls on either earbud
- Good mic quality
- Stable Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity
- 38.5 hours battery life (5.5 hours in earbuds and 33 hours in charging case)
- Bulky charging case
- Less bass-heavy and bass-centric compared to other earphones within the same price range
- Doesn’t support wireless charging
How to Pick the Best Earbuds with Mic
Obviously, the quality of the mic is a determining factor in choosing the best earbuds with microphone. So if you’re looking to get a new pair of in-ear headphones with mic, here’s a brief breakdown of what to look for in a mic that makes your buying worth it.
Ask yourself these key questions to help you make an informed choice:
- How does a mic work?
- What makes a good mic?
- Do the earbuds come with noise-canceling technology in the mic?
- Where is the mic located and how far is it away from the mouth?
- Are the earbuds a good snug fit in your ear?
How Does a Mic Work?
A microphone works by converting sound waves (acoustic energy) into audio signals. This conversion process may vary based on the type of microphone, but they all have one common feature — the diaphragm, a thin membrane that vibrates in reaction to external sound waves.
Without it, the microphone cannot fulfill its function as a transducer — converting converts energy from one form to another. The vibration from the diaphragm causes the other microphone components to vibrate, which are then converted into electrical currents that become the audio signal.
The loudspeaker at the other end of the audio chain is also a transducer — converting the audio signal’s electrical currents back into acoustical energy, which is the sound coming from the earbuds.
A microphone’s diaphragm picks up sounds and converts them into electrical currents, similar to how we use our diaphragm to sing
Types of Mics Used in Earbuds
There are two most popular technologies used for constructing the microphones used for earbuds —
- Electret Condenser Microphones (ECM)
- Micro-Electro-Mechanical System (MEMS).
Both operate by causing a shift in electrical properties through the deflection of the diaphragm, which acts as a capacitor plate. The converted energy is then amplified to deliver an audio signal which is picked up by the host system. In the case of MEMS microphones, however, the variation is converted and encoded.
Difference Between ECM and MEMS
Despite the operational similarities, ECM and MEMS technologies are actually quite different.
- MEMS microphones are newer to the market and come in smaller package sizes, making them ideal for smaller devices. This feature is also what enables true wireless earbuds to have internal mics.
- They also feature relatively lower output impedance, which makes them the ideal choice in electrically noisy environments.
- That said, ECMs remain a practical choice since their larger sizes make it easier to facilitate design upgrades and source solutions for dust and moisture protection.
MEMS microphones have more advantages, which is why they are used across several products today, such as smartphones, headphones, tablets, hearing aids, and cars among others.
What Makes a Good Earbuds Mic?
There are a few things as frustrating as having to repeat yourself over and over because the other person on the phone can’t hear what you. That’s why it’s important to understand the factors that define a good mic. These include:
This refers to the microphone’s ability to pick up voice with appropriate volume and clarity. Some higher-end earbuds come with an integrated voice assistant option that lets you talk to your phone’s voice-controlled personal assistant (Siri, Cortana, or Alexa), without actually using the phone.
The voice assistant picks up your voice when you utter a set of voice commands and executes them without you having to touch or swipe anything on your phone. This makes it ideal for driving, working out, cooking, and just about any activity that requires you to work with your hands a lot.
The frequency range and sensitivity of the microphone are crucial in determining the quality of the voice pickup. If you frequently need to “talk” to your voice assistant during the course of your day, then you’ll want to go for a mic that is sensitive and had a wide frequency range.
Having a noise-filtering mic is a definite must, especially if you need to use it in a noisy environment. In addition to filtering out the background noise, it should also isolate your voice, allowing the receiver to hear you clearly without you having to talk out loud.
Noise filtering at the chip level
At the chip level, the type of mic in the microphone can (ECM or MEMS) help out with noise filtering. As previously mentioned, the relatively lower output impedance of MEMS microphones allows for better noise filtering than ECM microphones.
Active Noise Cancellation Mic
Before we go any further into how Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) works, you should know this feature is usually used misleading in the product specifications.
Sometimes manufacturers will advertise their headphones as active noise canceling headphones and state that it has cVc noise-cancellation technology. Is that true? No.
cVc is the mic’s ANC technology. It specifically deals with the noise coming through the mic and also the voice clarity.
How Does ANC Work?
ANC technology works based on the concept of Digital Signal Processing (DSP), which involves analyzing and modifying real-world signals like voice, audio, and video to optimize their efficiency. For ANC to work, the earbuds need to have multiple mics receiving sounds at a different distance.
The mic closest to your mouth picks up your voice while others pick up on the surrounding noise and filter it out through DSP, leaving just your voice. This is done through special converters that take analog signals and digitizes them to produce a higher quality signal than the original. A good example is the Jabra Elite Active 65t wireless earbuds, which feature a 4-mic system for more efficient ANC.
You can read more about DSP here.
Some examples of ANC technology include:
- Clear Voice Capture (cVc) by Qualcomm — cVc’s technology works on the transmission and receiving path of voice calls for optimum noise suppression and voice quality across wireless communications.
- Jabra Noise Blackout™ — Jabra products use their own proprietary tech to ensure a crystal clear and noise-free quality of the uplink of the audio on their wireless headsets. It leverages DSP to optimize their digital transmission systems for greater noise reduction on digitized audio signals.
Position of the Mic
This varies with the design of the earbuds. The premise here is pretty straightforward — the closer the distance of the mic to the mouth, the clearer the voice pickup would be and the lesser the ambient noise from the environment. Some earbuds have mics that are positioned inline on the cable, which might be too far away from the mouth and resulting in poor voice transmission.
Comfort and Fit
If you are looking for in-ear headphones with mic, chances are you’ll be wearing them for long, so you’ll want to choose those that are comfortable and fit snugly for easy calling. Use the earbuds and test the mic for about 10 to 20 minutes before deciding about comfort.
Consider the design and weight as well. For instance, if you’re using wired earbuds with mic on your morning jog, then you’ll have to be wary about entangling the cable with your movements. In terms of the weight; ideally, the lighter the comfier.
Earbuds with a great fit usually provide a better seal, which allows the listener to hear and communicate clearly.
Is there a microphone on earbuds?
There sure are! True wireless earbuds like the Jabra Elite Active 75t and the Apple AirPods Pro even come with multiple microphones in each earbud which are then used for calls and voice commands.
How do I use my earphones as a mic?
Microphones and earphones both operate on the principle of the vibrating diaphragms in reaction to external soundwaves, which then convert sound into electrical signals and back to sound again. This means you can use your earphones as a mic. That being said, the audio quality from your earphone-turned-mic will be nowhere near the quality if you used an actual microphone.
How does the microphone on earbuds work?
A microphone is basically a transducer — a device that converts energy into a different form. In this case, it converts acoustic energy from your voice into audio signals which are then transmitted to the person on the other end of the line.
Now the loudspeaker through which that person hears your voice is also a transducer, converting the transmitted audio signal back into acoustic energy. This conversion happens rapidly so it just seems like you’re hearing each other’s voices, which in fact a series of ultra-fast conversions are taking place in real-time.
How can I test my earphone mic?
There’s different ways to test the mic on your earphones. The simplest way is to connect it to your phone and make a call. If the other person on the end of the line can hear you clearly, then you’re all set. You can also test the mic on your computer or use this online mic test to confirm that your mic has been set up properly.
Choosing the best earbuds with microphone is no cakewalk as there’s just so many considerations between you and an informed choice. Nevertheless, we hope this guide has been informative and insightful enough to at least help you narrow your options and decide on the perfect earbuds with mic for you.
Need more information about a particular set of earbuds? Please do let us know in the comments section below and we’ll be sure to help out in any way we can.