Why can microphones and speakers be used interchangeably?



Even if the hardware is similar won’t they have a different software interface when connected to the device

In: Technology

Not all microphones and speakers can be used interchangably, though there are certainly ports that can do both. However, a microphone is basically a reverse speaker, in the sense that, unlike a speaker, where you use electric current to move a magnet to create sound, you instead use soundwaves to create current by moving the magnet. As long as a software is aware that an incoming signal means it’s a microphone and a signal going out means it’s a speaker, i don’t see why the same algorithm used to encode one signal is capable of decoding the other, as long as any encoding that may happen along the way is compatible.

Not only is there different software but you need different hardware to record and generate sound signals. However the microphone and speakers themselves does not contain any of this hardware or software. The normal analog audio signals that is transferred through the standard audio jacks is exactly the same for microphones and speakers. The only difference is which device generates those signals. But as you points out a lot of microphones and speakers are very similar to each other in construction and can work interchangebly.