Smart & Connected Life Headphones & Ear Buds 73 73 people found this article helpful What is the In-Line Mic on Headphones? That's the mic embedded in your headphone cable by Lisa Johnston Writer Lisa Johnston is a former Lifewire writer and an editor who covers computer peripherals and other consumer electronics since 2004. our editorial process LinkedIn Lisa Johnston Updated on November 19, 2019 The Ultimate Headphones Buying Guide The Ultimate Headphones Buying Guide Introduction Headphone Basics Types of Headphones What Is the In-Line Mic? Determining Comfort & Fit Measuring Noise-Cancelation Open vs Closed Back Best Headphones by Type Best For Noise-Canceling Best On-Ear Headphones Best Open-Back Headphones Best Closed-Back Headphones Best Over-Ear Headphones Best Bass Headphones Best Headphones by Brand Best JBL Headphones Best Sony Headphones Best Audio-Technica Headphones Best Beats Headphones Best Bose Headphones Best AKG Headphones Best Plantronics Headphones Best Sennheiser Headphones Best Skullcandy Headphones Best Headphones by Price Best Headphones for Under $50 Best Headphones for Under $100 Best Headphones for Under $200 Best Headphones by Lifestyle Best Headphones for Music Lovers Best DJ Headphones Best Headphones for Sleeping Best Headphones for Gaming Best Headphones for Kids Best Headphones for Mixing Headphone Reviews TaoTronics TT-EP01 Noise Canceling Microsoft Surface Headphones Senso ActivBuds Wireless Jaybird X4 Wireless Sport AUKEY Wireless Bose 700 Noise Cancelling Bose SoundSport Wireless Jabra Elite 65t Sennheiser HD1 Free Sennheiser HD 650 Sennheiser PXC 550 Sony MDR-RF995RK Sony WH-1000XM3 Sony WH-XB900N Bose Soundsport Pulse Tweet Share Email While shopping for new headphones or earbuds, you might have come across a company boasting that its product has an "in-line mic". This means that the device features a microphone that is built into the cable of the headphones, allowing you to answer calls from your smartphone or to use voice commands without removing your headphones. Headsets that have a microphone that swings out in front of your mouth are not considered to have an in-line microphone. Wireless headphones and earbuds may have an inline microphone embedded in the casing or connector band. Controls for In-Line Microphones In-line mics also typically come with in-line controls that let you adjust the volume, answer and end calls, mute the audio, or skip tracks on your music player or smartphone. If you have a choice, the type of controls and ease of use can be an important factor in deciding which to buy. The mute button may mute the microphone or the audio from your phone or music player, or both. Be sure to read the instructions to understand whether your voice is still being picked up by the microphone when you use the mute. Ezra Bailey/Getty Images Often the volume control is done with a sliding tab or wheel, but it can be done with presses of a button to increment volume up and volume down. The volume control may only affect the incoming audio rather than the microphone output. You may have to adjust the volume of your voice going out by moving the microphone closer to your mouth or speaking louder. The in-line controls may also have features specific for answering incoming calls from your phone, By pressing a button you can answer the call, which usually will pause or end playback from your music or another audio app for the duration of the call. You may be able to mute the microphone during the call, which is useful for conference calls. You can also end the call using an end call button. Often, designs have only a couple of buttons which take on different functions depending on whether being used for playback or when you are using the microphone. Compatibility Issues of Line In Microphones Whether or not you can take advantage of all of the functions listed for the in-line microphone will depend on the type of device you have and the type of headphones you are buying. If you use an Android phone, for example, and the headphones you're looking at are made for iPhone, the microphone will likely work but the volume controls may not. This can vary from model to model, so read the fine print first. Features of In-Line Microphones Omnidirectional or 360-degree microphones will capture sound from any direction. The location of the microphone on the cord may have an effect on how well it picks up your voice or too much ambient sound. Some in-line microphones are better than others for screening out noise other than your voice. In general, in-line mics are not of the highest quality and may not be suitable for sound recording.