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Earbuds with built-in microphone?

Michael4000Michael4000 Posts: 699STREAMING PRO
I hope I can explain this correctly. When I'm singing at home, doing scales or doing a song, I like to wear one or two earbuds to hear my voice as it sounds outside of my head. All the equipment I have at home like a microphone and mixer and wires makes this easy. I'd like to be able to do the same thing if I'm away from home for example singing in the car or anywhere else. What I'd like is to have headphones plugged into my phone with Ken's scales coming through and also my voice being picked up externally and being fed right back into the earbuds at the same time. Does such a technology exist? I looked on Amazon and I saw earbuds with built-in microphones but I'm not sure if they would achieve what I'm looking for. It looks like they're designed for video gamers looking to chat with people they are playing with online.


  • highmtnhighmtn Posts: 14,464Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro
    edited January 5
    I have a device that is kind of old that is very much like that. It outputs to a set of earbuds with a boom mic attached. The boom mic inputs on the device. It was made by BOSS and called the HA-5 PLAY BUS. About the size of an old SONY Walkman cassette player. It can be run by a power adapter or by batteries. In some ways it is similar to the old Tom Scholz ROCKMAN devices. I think the idea with this was for several people to have these and wire them up together on a single, shared line and hear everyone through the bus.

    It has slide faders on the side for mic volume, music volume, and effects (chorus and delay/echo). It has inputs for a guitar, and / or a CD player or mp3 player. So you can play music into it, and mix that with your voice, and add effects. If you play guitar or keyboards, you can practice with it and get a little private rock jam going.

    You might be able to find one of these on eBay. They are from another time.

    The mic that came with this setup had pretty good quality for singing and the headset had decent sound as well.
  • Michael4000Michael4000 Posts: 699STREAMING PRO
    Thanks Bob I'll look into that. @videoace any thoughts? This seems to be right up your alley
  • To be honest with you, The only thing close to that I've ever used was a com system in a television studio, or on a location shoot.

    I really Don't have that much knowledge with phone technology, or accessories. I never use my phone for things like that. I don't even play video games that use the headsets.

    I wish I could help you out.

  • Michael4000Michael4000 Posts: 699STREAMING PRO
    edited January 5
    @videoace what if we took the phone out of the equation? That could just be playing in the background. I realized that I could just plug a headset mic into the saramonic smartmixer I just bought (battery powered and portable) and plug earbuds into it. Unless there exists a set of earbuds with a built in microphone, thus no mixer required. Would this be possible though since there would be no power source? I think the earbuds would have to be powered somehow.
  • You can buy headset mics, but I don't think I've ever seen the earbud/mic combo for anything to be used for good sound. You can get them, but the quality is probably garbage. Most of the mics that go in them are cheap lavalier mics which is a small condenser mic used for speaking, and not singing.

  • Michael4000Michael4000 Posts: 699STREAMING PRO
    thanks @videoace. I'll look into that but it's kind of expensive. I ordered one on amazon for 15 bucks that is coming in a day or 2. It's probably not great but I'm mostly just using it for scales when I'm away from home. I'll let you know how it works out
  • highmtnhighmtn Posts: 14,464Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro
    edited January 7
    I have a Crown CM-311A headset mic. It doesn't have headphones, but I can wear it along with a set of headphones or earbuds.

    It's a very good condenser mic, has great sound. I've used it plenty of times, playing drums and singing, but you lose the ability to vary the distance and angle of the head to the mic. So when you use these, you have to manipulate your air differently than when you can move your head relative to the mic.

    I like it for playing piano and singing, but again, you can't vary the distance to the mic.

    I have a momentary footswitch that I plug it through, because at a gig you may need to yell at another band member to get their attention and you have this mic right in front of your mouth. Also, if you have to COUGH, watch out. The switchbox is called a "Cough Drop" box. If I have to cough, I have to take my foot off the hi hat pedal and stomp on the Cough Drop until that moment has passed.

    The mic has its uses, but losing the ability to position the head relative to the mic is something I don't consider to be worth the tradeoff. It makes singing more of a chore to compensate for the loss of proximity variations.
  • @highmtn Bob, I didn't know you played piano (the plot thickens). What other instruments do you play as well?

  • highmtnhighmtn Posts: 14,464Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro
    I'm only self-taught on piano, bass, and guitar. But that allows me to play chords and sing to work out new songs. I have a piano at my workstation desk, a couple of mixers, headphones, etc.

    I like to play guitar chords or piano chords when I do my exercises. That allows me to take a lot of side trips, and to know where I'm at when I get off the beaten path.

    So when I listen to people's lah scales, I often will keep track of which scale they are on, to see where they go into head voice, how high they go, etc.

    I got my piano as a tool to help me learn to sing better.
  • That's how I look at all of my instruments. As tools, and to me if those tools aren't being used they are just furniture at that point.

    I have a few musician friends that literally have rooms full of equipment that never gets touched. They don't even bother to keep it covered. To me, that's furniture lol It takes all of my strength to walk by an instrument and not at least touch it lol.

    That's cool though. I never thought of using my instruments to follow the others with when listening to scales.

  • Klaus_TKlaus_T Posts: 5172.0 PRO
    edited January 9
    Hi @Michael4000 , do you have a field recorder? like a tascam,or zoom, or similar device? some other brands do them, too. you can get them for relatively cheap (compared to the shure headset anyway). if I understood your question correctly, you just want to hear yourself and the exercises in the headphones? that would definitely work for your case, plus the mics would be much better quality than any cheap headset (the shure will be good quality no doubt). you could then also record yourself onto the device (depending on the model, it would also be possible to record both you and Ken/the piano track on separate tracks, that is a settings/feature thing, how the signals are handled and mixed). I can elaborate further if you are interested in checking out that route. I have a tascam dr-40, and have used it for the scales. on the dr-40, you can actually also have the soundfiles of the workout stored and playing back, so you don't need the phone for playback (it has 4 tracks total and can overdub). I am not affiliated with tascam by any means, I just found that this device is pretty cool and does what it is meant to do. i already owned it long before the course, so using it like this is just a bonus for me. I primarily use the recorder to record band practice, and the bandmates, who are mostly audio engineers like myself, were impressed with the sound quality. maybe you will also find uses beyond the KTVA exercises :) if it is above your budget, I can also help you find cheaper solutions along those lines, there is new stuff coming out all the time which I might not be aware of.

    @highmtn going the extra mile playing along to the endless LAHs, good to know you are there for us!!! thank you
  • Michael4000Michael4000 Posts: 699STREAMING PRO
    edited January 10
    @Klaus_T thanks for helping. I don't necessarily need to hear the exercises in the headphones. Just myself so I can self-monitor my singing in real time. The exercises can be playing in the background. But I do need a headset mic because this will primarily be used for scales while I'm driving.
  • Michael4000Michael4000 Posts: 699STREAMING PRO
    @Klaus_T unless you think those recording devices will pick up my voice sufficiently in a car while not right next to my mouth like on the seat next to me or something. What do you think
  • Klaus_TKlaus_T Posts: 5172.0 PRO
    edited January 10
    @Michael4000 , alright, got it! that does make a difference. if you want your voice to be picked up properly, you'd either have to go with a directional mic and place it somewhere in front of you (tricky and potentially dangerous in a car), or with an omnidirectional mic (spherical pickup pattern), but that would also pick up and amplify all the car noise, which would be undesirable. I had another look into your original plan, and I think what you need is a headset/earbud with a mic on it, as you suggested in the first post, and a recording app on the phone. I know you don't want to record, but that way, you can route the mic signal back into the headset I believe. Well, normally, a recording app lets you monitor the input (meaning, making it available on the output, i.e. the earbuds). There might be a solution that just lets the signal go through without the need for a recording app, but I'd imagine the recording apps to be more commonplace, and easier available (maybe even for free). Unless there is a routing app that let'S you distribute the inputs/outputs. I do not own a smartphone (can you believe it?!), so I am a bit out of my zone there, but if you let me know which OS you are using, I guess I could have a browse again. I am not sure if it will at the same time be possible to play back the drills on the same device, do you plan on using a car stereo or something for it? Do you have audio clips of the drills, or are they videos? If they are audio, you can probably just play them off a track in the recording app, whilst having the mic track armed and monitoring the input.

    Just out of curiosity: I always play the drills on speakers and am singing without mic/headphones, unless recording for evaluation. but even then, I prefer to hear myself in the room, and only put the headphone on one ear. why are you monitoring on headphones? did you notice any benefit?
  • Klaus_TKlaus_T Posts: 5172.0 PRO

    I didn't read the whole thing but maybe it would be useful?
  • Michael4000Michael4000 Posts: 699STREAMING PRO
    thanks @Klaus_T. The headphone jack on the phone is where the microphone would go into, and there is only one jack on the phone. So there would have to be another mixer or something unless the headset had is built in.

    sometimes I monitor on headphones, sometimes I don't. It's good to hear it both ways I think. Two different perspectives on your sound. This was recommended to me by @highmtn a while ago and I think it is good advice
  • Klaus_TKlaus_T Posts: 5172.0 PRO
    @Michael4000 , alright, thanks, I will try that too if Bob suggested it :)

    OK, then I would think with the earbuds with built-in mic plus the recording / routing app, you should be fine. i'd say that should work as you expect. what you need is a program that let's you assign the microphone's output to be routed to the earbuds, so you can hear it. I hope someone else on this forum might read this and be able to test it for you, I am sure someone would have such a headphone...
  • victortangvictortang Posts: 5662.0 PRO
    @Michael4000 Michael, This sounds a bit funny, but when I want to hear myself, I go to my bathroom! It's the best! But I understand that is not what you want.
  • Im pretty sure it cannot be done on a mobile phone. I have searched forever for the same but from what ive read and understood, this issue would be for the output being split between playback and live monitoring. Closest i got to being half happy was finding a decent easy to use 4 track app. I can use the earbuds with built in mic with this or headphones using the phone mic.
    My daughter said you might be able to achieve it by using an ipad running garageband. Import the excersise track and select earphones/earbuds for both monitor and mic.
    Might be worth checking with apple support though first 👍
    Hope that is of some use !
  • Michael4000Michael4000 Posts: 699STREAMING PRO
    edited January 30
    @Gary_Williamson1971 thanks for this. I actually have it going through a zoom h4n Pro recorder now.
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