Understanding My iMac - Audio Input?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by lorenwade, Sep 24, 2009.

  1. lorenwade macrumors 68000


    Aug 27, 2008
    I have an early 2008 iMac, 20" 2.4ghz Aluminum.


    The back looks exactly like this 2009 model.

    What I do not understand is my "audio input" as depicted in the picture. I've tried searching to find a simple answer.

    I just want to know if normal headsets (that come with two 3.5mm plugs for input/output) will work just like a PC. I have read in some places that it does, and others that it doesn't or requires a preamp of some sort?

    Any definitive answer?
  2. iBookG4user macrumors 604


    Jun 27, 2006
    Seattle, WA
    I do believe that is the port that you would plug a microphone into. Because the headphones would be outputting audio so it goes in the audio out port, the audio in would be inputting audio such as using a microphone. :)
  3. lorenwade thread starter macrumors 68000


    Aug 27, 2008
    I assumed this as well... but,

    1) I don't have a mic to test it yet.

    2) I've read threads with people having an issue with it.

    3) I've read that it requires a preamp.

    4) It doesn't have an ordinary mic input symbol, seems to be optical as well?
  4. Rampant.A.I. macrumors 6502a

    Sep 25, 2009
    The short answer is: No.

    You would think you could plug a Mic into Mic port, and it would work, right?

    The only Mic you can use with your Mac is a Line Level Mic. Most of the Mics sold are not line-level. On a Mac, the mic has to be powered or amplified before it'll work.

    So, you can either buy a $50.00 adapter that will power a $20.00 mic headset, or you can just get a $29.00 USB headset.

    Hope this helps. I went through a lot of frustration and returned headsets figuring it out. :D
  5. appledyl macrumors regular


    Apr 20, 2009
    A good preamp is the iMic. It plugs in via USB and only costs approximately $30. You can also get cheap microphones online that cost WAY less than $20. As for line-level input, you could just get a line-level mic from Apple for much cheaper.
  6. lorenwade thread starter macrumors 68000


    Aug 27, 2008
    Exactly the answer I needed. Thank you!

    Thanks for the input. Will check them out.
  7. MacDootB macrumors newbie

    Dec 23, 2009
    2.5mm phone headset-to-3.5mm MacBook adaptor?

    I think this is the same issue as addressed previously in this thread, with slightly different parameters...

    I use a Plantronics headset with a 2.5mm plug for my cordless phone, & would prefer to find an adaptor that will allow me to use it in the 3.5mm jack in my MacBook Pro, rather than buy a whole new headset for the laptop.

    I was all set to purchase the Headset Buddy online (http://www.theheadsetbuddy.com/Phone-Headset-to-PC-Adapter-25mm-to-Dual-35mm-01-PH25-PC35.htm) when I noted the caution to "Mac users: because many mac computers need an amplified microphone source (such as an iMic), you will need both this adapter and our PC Headset to USB adapter."

    So I looked instead at the Griffin iMic USB Audio Interface (http://store.apple.com/us/product/TX532ZM/A) & thought it looked great (for 3x the price of the $10 Headset Buddy!) -- til I realized that both input & output jacks are 3.5mm, & my Plantronics plug is 2.5mm.

    I own a Boostaroo, which I thought I could use to amplify the signal--but it, too, has 3.5mm input jacks and output plugs.

    This all started because I'm considering using Skype video, & they recommend a headset instead of the laptop's built-in mic...

    Help! Am I missing something? There's got to be an easier solution to this...

    • MacBook Pro 15", with 3.5mm jacks for audio out & mic in, & 1 extra USB port
    • Plantronics headset for cordless phone, 2.5mm male plug
    What adaptor or device exists to get them to work together? Or will it really end up cheaper & easier to spend $30 for a computer/Skype headset?
    Any suggestions greatly appreciated, thanks!
  8. gnerfin macrumors newbie

    May 13, 2011
    Some Mac computers support the iPhone headset, Headset Buddy will work

    Some Macs do support the iPhone headset -- including the microphone signal. You can plug one of these into the headphone jack and the system will recognize that you have a microphone there as well. It will replace the built-in microphone in the Input part of the Sound panel of System Preferences if it's recognized. The current line of Mac Book Pros and the 2010 ones do support this and this is documented. Some 2009 models did too, but it was actually undocumented. I don't know about iMacs.

    For the models that do support an iPhone headset, you can use a Headset Buddy adapter to plug a normal PC-type headset (Plantronics, Logitech, etc.) into your Mac and it will work. (This is not a rumor: it works for me with both a 2009 and a 2010 MBP.)

    If you don't have one of these models, though, beware: a simple pre-amp will NOT be sufficient to use a PC headset with your audio input jack. A PC's microphone input supplies a 5-volt bias charge to the microphone, which is necessary for condenser microphones. This is similar to the 48-volt "phantom power" that professional microphones use. I bought a little guitar pre-amp that didn't work with PC headsets before I found out about this.

    The Griffin iMic is indeed a very good alternative; it connects to the USB port, not the audio in port.

    Also, you may find a different Headset Buddy or another adapter to go from 2.5mm to 3.5mm. This might do the trick: http://www.theheadsetbuddy.com/25mm...iPhone-Blackberry-Smartphone-01-PH25-PH35.htm .
  9. liamgchris macrumors newbie

    Feb 16, 2013
    St Paul, MN
    I also found this:


    Which Apple computers work with the microphone and volume controls that are included with the Apple Earphones with Remote and Mic?

    Any computer that displays "External microphone" in the System Profiler will work with the Apple Earphones with Remote and Mic. To confirm that External microphone is in your System Profiler, choose About This Mac from the Apple () menu and then click More Info. Select Audio (Built In) under the Hardware section.

    Is there a way to tell that my system detects my earphones?

    Yes. From the Apple () menu, choose System Preferences. From the View menu, choose Sound. While your earphones are connected, click the Output tab; Headphones should be listed as the output device. Click the Input tab to confirm External microphone is selected as the input device.

    Is there a way to tell that my system can use the external microphone?

    Yes. From the Apple () menu, choose System Preferences. From the View menu, choose Sound. If there is an "External microphone" listed in the Input tab, your computer can use the microphone included with Apple Earphones with Remote and Mic.

    Do I have do something special to enable all the features offered with these earphones?

    No, just plug them in. The audio out to your earphones and the audio in to the microphone will switch automatically when your computer detects them.

    Sometimes the volume controls or microphone don't seem to work after I've plugged them in to my computer. How can I change this?

    You might have held down the volume control switch while plugging them in. This can cause the volume controls or microphone to function in unexpected ways. Unplug the earphones from the computer and plug them in again, taking care not to press the volume control switch while doing so.

    This info does not address your 2.5 to 3.5mm issue but it may help understanding how the mac stereo/mic jacks work.

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8 September 24, 2009