Can laptop speakers become a microphone?

I got a Dell Latitude D600 laptop from work, and when I travel I usually use Skype to call home, since it is way cheaper than using the hotel’s long distance service. I usually carry a headset with me for the microphone, but I found out that my headset’s mic isn’t working anymore. I was frustrated.

I tested my laptop with Skype’s echo service anyway, and sure enough,  I didn’t get any sound sent, so I was sure my laptop didn’t have an integrated mic. However, yesterday a co-worker told me that he used Yahoo! messenger to chat with his wife, and that he had no troubles using the laptop’s mic. I said ‘what mic? there’s no mic on the laptop’, but he swears he didn’t connect any mic (and we have the same laptop models). Was he lucky and got a laptop configuration that included a mic?

So, last night I ran Yahoo! messenger and guess what? Now my laptop suddenly has a mic included! I even got to use Skype after the test and now I can talk! no mic attached! I’ve checked everywhere on the dell site about my laptop model, and they don’t mention anything about an integrated mic (although there’s a weird hole just above the power button). I’ve read the service manuals, the user’s guide, and short of opening my laptop to check what’s inside, I’m almost sure it doesn’t have a mic.

So what’s going on? is Yahoo! messenger doing some weird software emulation of a microphone using the speakers? I knew that some speaker types (piezoelectric, I think) can be used as microphones, but I didn’t know you could accomplish that through software. Nowhere on Yahoo’s site mentions this functionality, but I’m almost sure that they’re doing it. Also, whenever I speak, I can hear a delay of about a second from the time I speak to the time I listen to my voice, so there’s definitely some processing going on.

Has anyone else encountered this feature? Can anyone else confirm/deny this? Am I going crazy?

67 thoughts on “Can laptop speakers become a microphone?

  1. Not that I have any info on your particular case, but in the 80’s I used to use my stereo speakers as microphones, by plugging the speakers into the microphone outlet, all the time. Worked alright at the time. 😉

  2. I have had the exact same experience.
    People that I talk to with Yahoo Messenger say that I sound fine.
    I have a Dell Inspiron 8500. I have no idea where the mic is. It’s some kind of voodoo.

  3. I have a D800.

    That “weird hole” is indeed the microphone hole.

    You can prove this by performing the same test with Yahoo or Skype with your thumb pressed tightly against the hole.

  4. Yes, this works fine. Mics and speakers are the same type of equiment.

    I’ve done it for Skype a number of times.

  5. Well, the reason I doubted about the mic was that skype would not record any sound before I ran Yahoo! Messenger. And I tried lots of configurations and hardware testings (both inside Skype and from the Control Panel) to no avail.

    Maybe the ‘magic’ is in Yahoo! correctly configuring the mic.

  6. normal speakers can act as a microphone (although not a very good one) – the principles behing a dynamic microphone and regular speaker are the same just in reverse.

    however the little pin hole is the microphone on the laptop.

  7. Well I’m 99.99% sure that your laptop has a mic. If you are using WinXp you can test it with the simple soundrecorder app that ships with the OS. It has nothing to do with Skype or Yahoo.

  8. I recently purchased a Dell Inspiron 710M. I am unable to use yahoo voice messenger since it appears to me that the laptop does not have an integrated microphone. Is this correct? Am I missing something. Please advise.

  9. my laptop mic does’t work in the window xp mode . but it works before coming to logon screen

  10. I have found out that whenever the mic isn’t working, I need to go to the volume control, Microphone->Advanced and then select and de-select ‘Alternate Microphone’ and ‘Microphone Boost’. After that, the microphone works.

  11. I tried that, but couldn’t find the microphone advanced key, i have a dell 6000 inspiron..
    but i ran the test and notied it only picked up the sound when the plug was in only semi inn, or half inn.
    How can i demostrate..Like when you can only stick you penis into your girlfriends vagina half or inn or just the tip..
    If fully inn it wasn’t picking up sound.
    It worked enough for me to make 3 calls on skype to my best freind, my girlfreind and boss .letting them know my charge was left at work and my cell phone would be down until the morning.
    Thanks javageek!
    ~Paris Hernandez

  12. iam using dell 6000 i have tried all the things checking my volume properties and browsed dell site.. everything is fine but if i tried to record my voice in soundrecorder unable to hear the sound. Can someone suggest me what to do

  13. I just purchased an Inspiron E1505 and I found it hard that it doesn’t come with integrated microphone. Dell rep confirmed it.

    I am just upset since my 6 year old Inspiron 8100 has it.

    Dell is just being too cheap to not include a microphone in Inspiron E1505.

    Beware of this since the web site doesn’t say anything about. I was misled!

  14. I was just thinking to buy that…glad that you confirmed there is no inbuilt mic in this E1505.

    Does anyone have an idea which model has a built-in mic?

  15. anyone elso out there having trouble configuring an Inspiron 6000 for use with Skype? I can’t seem to configure the audio settings so the other person can hear me– I feel like I’m going nuts too trying to figure out whether there’s an integrated mic or not. Should I go out and buy an attachable mic?

  16. I also have an Inspiron 6000 and have encountered the same trouble attempting to use Skype. By chatting with a tech at Dell, I just learned this model and several others do not have integrated mics. The tech said Dell’s customers have preferred adding their own external mics. Hence, I just ordered a USB mic for this purpose. Good luck with your travails.

  17. I have the exact same computer as you and have been dealing with the same EXACT problem as you….I can hear people on Skype through my computers speakers, but they cant hear me.  I have been troubleshooting for days, and still have come up with nothing that seems to help solve the problem.  Let me know if you did!

  18. I have spent H O U R S talking to DELL support trying to get a Logitec small desktop MIC to work as Voice Over when playing tunes on WMP.  The last DELL "helper" was working with the ASSIST controlling my computer; had  the volume turned up so high coming out of the speakers I thought he blew out the speakers.  W H Y are the official DELL techs not aware that there is apparently a PROBLEM with microphones with the curent drivers.  SOMEBODY  at DELL is NOT doing their job! 

  19. Upon chatting with a Dell technician, I learned my Inspiron 6000 does NOT have an integrated mic onboard. He said Dell’s customers have preferred to add their own external mics. I just ordered a USB mic for that purpose.

  20. I have a Inspiron 1200 with no built in mic so I use my bluetooth usb dongle and a bluetooth headset for when using voip.

  21. Hello, Any thoughts on comunicating with skype on a inspiron 6400?
    I can’t find my mic, can’t get it to work … maybe I don’t have one??

  22. I recenttly purchased DELL Inspiron E 1505. I knew there was no integrated mic. however when I tried using an external mic for Google chat, I am unable to have audio on the receiving end. Has anybody had this problem?

  23. This guys at dell are out – of – their – mind !!

    Building laptops without built in microphones. what are they thinking????

    I am sending this one back or either throwing it out the window. Imagine hooking up an external mic draging a mile of wire. Someone at dell needs to get a job.

  24. My INSPON 6000 computer was sent to dell depot for repair and lost finally. So a 1505 comptuter was sent to me for replace a few days ago. And I found that the external micophne does not work. Do anyone have this problem solved?

  25. i am havin the exact same problem..i can hear the person on skype and yahoo msgr, but they cant hear me!!plus my display has gone bad now..i have an e 1505 dell laptop!! i m disappointed!!

  26. Hi….read all the prev. comments on this– here’s my dilemma. I have an Insp. 1100, which does not have a mic, I know, but this thing about having speakers function as a mic is news to me. You mean, just by plugging in external speakers they act as a mic & Skype will work? I speak into the speakers??? Sorry to be such an idiot about this…but Im in a village on the coast in Mex. (with internet…)& finding a mic will likely be a challenge– but I can find speakers. Thx… 🙂

  27. Hi Bud..If your using vista just download the new vista driver for sound card. uninstall the old drivers first and delete old driver installation folder aswell….Good Luck..

  28. I use D600 and here are the steps to turn on the microphone in Window XP:
    – In Volume Control,click Option>Properties.
    – In Adjust Volume for, click Recording, stick Microphone and press OK. Then you can see Recording Control window.
    – Click Advanced and chose Microphone Boost and the microphone is turned on.

    Have fun.

  29. I have Dell Latitude D610. I have tried these steps and find that the settings are exactly as mentioned above. But still I can’t seem to be able to use the Microphone. This is quite annoying, and to think I spent money on signing up for the Phoneout service on Yahoo Msngr!! Can comeone help?

  30. Hello, I have different problem. When I use yahoo mess or skype, my bluettooth headset mic and laptop onboard mic both works together and getting lot of echo, How I can stop the onboard default mic.

  31. Thanks for this, I have a Dell Inspiron 510m, and have not been able to use my microphone for some unknown reason.  I was about to take it in for some expensive repair but have just downloaded Yahoo Messenger, and magically I can now use the mic!

  32. hey..i have a dell latitude d800.  I talked to a dell rep and they told me there was no built in mic.  However, I found the same thing in that the sound recorder would pick up my voice, and it appeared to be the little hole above the power button.  I haven’t tried it in a while though, and I got on to talk on yahoo messenger, but couldn’t get the mic to pick up my voice. Does anyone know of anything I can do to get it to work? Any help would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks!

  33. I have a Toshiba…My friends say their microphone works on theirs and they have the same computer as me…Any Ideas on how to get it to work?

  34. i have a toshiba laptop which i was surprised that i chat with my sister in law thru skype and yahoo which i know have no microphone installed.  I thought  maybe my new laptop has a built in microphone. 

    But now the "built-in mic" is not working anymore. I’m going and looked crazy by shouting at my laptop to see if the microphone configuration will work again.

    Can someone help me to change it back?

  35. I am disgusted with Dell.  I have a new Inspiron 9400.  The speakers were dead and there was no microphone.  They replace my motherboard.  I then had speakers and a microphone working.
    The tech and I even recorded our voices for playback. 

    Then I discovered that the ethernet plug was dead later that week as I had used wireless at first.  They send a new tech out to replace the motherboard again.  This time there was no microphone working and it has not worked since.

     All the Indian Phone support would say is that Dell did not have a microphone on that model.  Wellllll, we know that is a crock.  Dell has something wrong and will not admit it. 

    I have a Dell Inspiron 8600 that has a microphone and it works.  From the messages on this board, we know Dell does not care and will not admit that a microphone exists and should work.

    I am going to HP or Alianware ffor my next laptop.  Mobile VOIP is critical and no microphone is a travesty in todays world.

  36. To access the microphone control on your laptop do the following. On the bottom right of the windows task bar look for the speaker icon and double click it and the four slider volume control window will pop up,  In the volume control window click on options and then click on properties within that drop down menu and the properties window will pop up. In the properties window click on recording   Make sure the microphone box is checked then click on OK and then the recording control window will pop up  Click on advanced and the advanced controls for Microphone window will pop up,  then check the microphone boost box and then click on close.  Now adjust the microphone slider for the volume leve you would like… a good way to do this is to use the sound recorder which is found under start-programs-accessories-entertainment.  Record a few words, stop, and then play back and then file-new to start a new recording.  Adjust microphone so that playback is not to quiet, but not distorted.  Hope this helps.

  37. i have a compaq evon600c and i found out that i can use the laptops speakers as a microphone when recording my using this method now until i get me a real microphone to record with i think it will of better quality but its fine for right yes u can use the speakers as a microphone.try it!

  38. To those who have laptops without microphones, check out Ebuyer, they have webcams with built-in microphones that will clip onto the rim of your laptop for £6 (about $12). They also have tiny clip-in microphones for even less.

  39. i have a dell inspiron 1150 and i can’t figure out the mic situation; if there is or if there isn’t and i need to get one in order to skype.

    if anyone knows i’d appreciate it.

  40. Just a quick addon!  My new Dell Inspiron 6400 doesn’t have a built-in mike either and all the audio settings don’t point to the laptop having one!  I guess the only choice is to go buy an external microphone/headset?

  41. I have E1505. I don’t think i have internal invisible mic built in. I can’t even get the external mic work on both windowsXP and ubuntu. What’s up? Does sigmatel just invented mic technology ?? I am stuck with the laptop with no mic availability.

    Note: In windowsXP, i can get the mic and recording both work the same time in the Hardware Test session, once it is done, the mic goes mute.

  42. ok, hi everyone,

    i have friends and families abroad and all of us know how much it costs to call long distance, i am talking a different continent.

    i don’t want to carry a microphone with wires, i want a more convenient way, if any body can help me,  i want to know which laptop has microphone installed in it? if not, is there any way that the speakers can be used as microphone, or any other way beside carrying a microphone, i want to know if there is a microphone installed in any brand laptops?

  43. can anyone offer me any info regarding my dell inspiron 1520 i carnt seem to access the intergrated mic if indeed it has one

  44. Yes, Even Dell D 520 has an integrated microphone. Problem is there with Yahoo messanger. while doing the call setup, it identifies only external mics by default. You need to manually select the internal mic as default from Control Panel –> Audio settings. after then it will work fine…

  45. I am having trouble using my laptop speaking to family. I have inbuilt microphone which works alright but I would have to speak very loudly or come very close to the microphone. So I decided to buy a ‘Voip’ microphone. But when using this microphone, I can’t hear the person I called but they can hear me clearly. What do I do? Do I disable the inbuilt microphone? I tried looking for the disable and enable button but could not find it. Please help.

  46. I found more difficult to use a speaker as mic, it looses the hight sounds. I recomend you to use the (left?) earphone from your discman/ipod.

  47. I have a Lenovo T61p. Although it is not listed  anywhere that the laptop has a internal mic, it seems that the chipset used in Inter HDA has a inbuilt mic. If i enable the docking mic channel (Ubuntu), i can hear the sounds made by hard disk spindle through the headphones.

  48. ok well i have a dell inspiron 6400 for some reason my mike stoped working i used to be able to talk to others on skype but now its saying no mic is found? i havent updated anything for my laptop can anyone help?

  49. Can anyone give a definitive answer as to whether the Dell Inspiron 6400 has a built in microphone? 

  50. I have a dell vostro 1000 i dont believe it has a built in mic. Do you know where I could buy one to talk to my friend on yahoo messenger

  51. Same deal, I have a Dell Latitude E5500, Skype has been working fine, so I know it has a mic, but  recently and quite suddenly, the mic has stopped working, I can hear incoming but nobody can hear me. If I plug in headphones it works, but, with headphones, the conversation cannot be shared.

    Does anybody know if there is an on-off switch, how can I bring the mic back to life or can the mic break down, like any other piece of equipment?


  52. I just bought an Acer Aspire 5517-1208. Has a built-in Webcam, (and it says for chatting), but in device manager as well as in SOUNDS it does not show a mic and Skype does not pickup any sound.

    Very stupid!!!  Having to add an external microphone to a laptop TOTALLY defeats the purpose of having a built-in WEBCAM.  I might as well have gotten a model with neither, then just added a good webcam, (which would have a mic built into it).

    Anyone know of a "tiny" ext mic one could buy.  I’m thinking it would have just the plug and a small head on the end of the plug which would be the mic itself.

  53. Is it only the particular Dell models that have the mic?I have a Sony Vaio Laptop (the new one with the built in Blue-ray player). It comes with every god damn feature but lacks a simple mic, anyone know?

  54. (1) Double click on the volume control
    (2) Click on Options
    (3) Select Properties
    (4) Select “Adjust colume for” as Recording
    (5) Check MicroPhone and Internal Mic ON and click OK
    (6) It opens “Recording control”, Click Options>Advanced Controls
    (7) Now check checkbox under “Internal Mic” section.

  55. Thank you so much! I have been looking for a straightforward answer like this for hours. You are a life saver!

  56. I too find it incredibly dissappointing that Dell would not publicize their faulty design to their customers.

    all people should be able to chat with their loved ones from afar.


  57. Hola, so I have a Dell Inspiron Mini and im not sure if i have a mic on it, does it have a mic and if so where is it???

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