I have been working in a Arduino project lately which requires human voice input to Arduino with some processing Arduino need to perform specific task. Simple sampling of incoming signal and calculating average amplitude from it nothing complex.

My problem is I have tried using electret microphone to receive human voice input but failed since the Elec Mic is not sensitive to detect the voice even though i hooked up with LM386 amplifier circuit. So that option is out of the picture. Then i intend to use Android mobile headphones (TRRS) to receive the human voice which will provide great sensitivity for our voice.

Starting through simple internet searches i bought a product 3.5mm breakout module from Ebay. But am unsure of how to connect them to Arduino. Different sources in internet giving different information i couldn't figure out how to connect the headphone to arduino and read it's Mic output from headphone.

Seeing the pin out of TRRS headphones TRRS headphone jack connection i can't understand how could i possibly power my headphones with only GND pin available. I tried several wiring connections given in the internet to read the Mic output of my headphones through Analog pin A0 of Arduino but no luck so far. So my question is

1) How do i power the TRRS headphone using Arduino?
2) How can i read the MIC output of my headphone using Arduino? Is it even possible?
3) I have read somewhere the audio out from headphones will be of FSK modulated is it true?

Any help will be much appreciated. Please do provide if you have any links that might answer my questions.

Thanks in advance.

  • 1
    No.... Just that: no.
    – Majenko
    Commented Apr 17, 2017 at 12:27
  • You were seriously ripped off with that breakout. That's about 10p worth of components they sold you for about £4.
    – Majenko
    Commented Apr 17, 2017 at 13:10
  • You "power" the left and right channels of the headphones the same way you "power" a pair of speakers: send an audio-frequency signal of sufficient amplitude to them. This is, for example, what a headphone amplifier or the audio amplifier in your stereo system does.
    – cjs
    Commented Apr 17, 2017 at 13:10
  • Welcome to Arduino SE. You can take the tour at arduino.stackexchange.com/Tour
    – SDsolar
    Commented Apr 17, 2017 at 15:32
  • @Majenko That's a real shame and i regret for buying it. Commented Apr 17, 2017 at 17:03

2 Answers 2


TRRS relates to the style of the jack plug used: Tip Ring Ring Sleeve. You still need to amplify the signal with a microphone preamp the same as your electret (in fact it will be an electret in there anyway).

And then the Arduino cannot process human speech. You may be able to use a voice recognition module to get it to respond to specific commands, but the Arduino by itself has no hope of even thinking about it.

  • Check PID library for signal processing possibilities
    – mico
    Commented Apr 17, 2017 at 14:56
  • @mico How on earth can the PID library process audio?
    – Majenko
    Commented Apr 17, 2017 at 14:57
  • I meant to tell some basic signal processing library, first I found was PID. It did not do what I wanted on closer look. Supposedly there is some low pass filtering, noise reduction and or echo controls available? Or are they all circuits on this scale? Not libraries?
    – mico
    Commented Apr 17, 2017 at 15:24
  • @mico The Arduino lacks the resources to do much in the way of audio processing. The quantity of data and speed of processing required is too much. You can do low-pass filtering (averaging) on small sample sets (a few hundreds of samples - fractions of a second), and just about run an integer FFT on a similarly tiny sample set. Anything like voice recognition is impossible without dedicated hardware.
    – Majenko
    Commented Apr 17, 2017 at 15:26
  • I missed the need for recognizing voice. Signal sampling can maybe detect sound level in general, quite much not more, so it is not good fit.
    – mico
    Commented Apr 17, 2017 at 15:43

It sounds to me as if your project is really more about what you do with the audio once you're sampling it into the Arduino and this whole "how do I get a usable signal out of a microphone" thing is not your main interest. In that case, I suggest just going with something like this MEMS microphone breakout board which includes the microphone and all the circuitry necessary to get a proper signal to an analog input on the Arduino.

  • Looks like pretty thing to use for my project will consider buying it. But before that let me try again with my headphones with all suggestions. Am trying to make it look like more of DIY setup so hoping my headphone setup should work Commented Apr 19, 2017 at 2:58

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