Smartphones truly are one of the most versatile tools we have around. With their wide range of sensors and hardware capabilities, they can do a lot of things for us, as long as we take advantage of it. One of those uses that you don’t see mentioned very often is their recording capabilities. Modern smartphones carry quality microphones, generally with hardware noise cancellation and all other sorts of enhancements that make the microphone actually worth using for more than just phone calls. So, why not use those capabilities outside of your phone? Today, we’ll show you how to do that by teaching you how you can use your Android device as a dedicated microphone on your computer!
As we mentioned, the microphones on modern smartphones are fairly good. They will obviously not replace a dedicated mic setup with a pop filter and a mixer, but they can do the job in a pinch, and the quality is often comparable to some expensive headsets. Of course, the microphone quality also varies from phone to phone, so you need to take that into consideration. With that being said, let’s get this working.
The first thing you’ll want to do is enable the Developer Options on you phone. If you don’t know how to do this, find out how by clicking here:
Okay, once you have Developer Settings unlocked, you can proceed. For today’s lesson, we’ll be using the app “WO Mic”. Start by clicking here to download the app on your device. Once you’ve done that, you’ll also need to click here to download the app for your computer. It’s available for both Windows and Mac, so pick your platform to download the appropriate version. If you’re using Windows, you’ll also need to download the driver, which you can find on the same page:
If you’ve done everything correctly, you should have the app installed on your phone and computer, and if running Windows, the driver should also be installed. Keep in mind that, as the website says, if you’re using Windows 8 and up, you’ll probably need to disable driver signature enforcement, as described here. Anyway, once you have everything you need, it’s time to set things up. The first thing you’ll need to do is head over to the Developer Options and enable Android Debugging:
Now, connect the device’s USB cable and plug it in your computer. A notification should appear on your phone:
At this point, you’ll also need ADB properly installed on your computer. This can be a bit of a pain, but often times it will just work if you installed the drivers that came with your device. To test if it’s working, once you connect your Android device to the computer with Android Debugging enabled in the Developer Options, go to the Device Manager on your computer (search for it on the Start Menu) , and something like this should appear:
If instead you have something like this:
Then you have a problem. To fix this, you can install this Universal ADB driver and reboot. Then, connect your device again and the exclamation mark should go away in the Device Manager, and you’ll have ADB working. Now that ADB is enabled, you can start using the app. So, open the app on your phone, and you will see this screen:
Make sure your USB cable is connected and USB debugging is enabled, then press the “Start” button. Now, on the computer, open up the WO Mic client:
If successful, the “Connected” message should appear at the bottom:
You can test the microphone at this point by enabling the “Play in Speaker” option in “Options”. You should hear back the audio from the microphone on your speakers!
So, as you can hear, at this point you are using your Android device as a microphone. To make sure that everything is working correctly, you’ll also want to head over to the Device Manager yet again, and check under the Audio section if a device like “WO Mic Device” shows up and is working correctly:
If everything checks out, then congratulations! As you can see, by using the USB cable, the audio quality is actually quite nice and there is almost no latency! And since you installed the drivers correctly, you can use the device as a microphone on any application you want, for example, Skype:
And that’s about it for today’s lesson. It may seem a little bit complicated to follow all the steps, but the biggest hurdle is making sure that Windows actually installs all the drivers correctly, since the actual installation of the app is fairly simple. In return for your trouble, you get a really nice microphone that you can set up whenever you want in mere seconds and that you can use for any purpose, just as if it was a regular mic! Any questions or issues? Let us know in the comment section below!