Over the Top: Hack a Hard Drive into a Working Microphone

Over the Top: Hack a Hard Drive into a Working Microphone


So you need a microphone. You could always buy one, or in a pinch I’ve seen headphones used for this purpose. If, however, you want something truly unique, you could build your own using parts from a hard drive and an old paper speaker like “Rulof Maker” did.

I’m not sure what the inspiration was for this, but the end result looks great. After the hard drive was opened up, he disassembled and sawed into the base of the hard drive. This left a portion where the arm can be mounted and set upright.


He disassembled the paper cone off of an old speaker (saving the copper wire) then attached it to the end of the arm using a metal section, a circular piece of rubber, and a strip of metal. A section of the copper wire was sanded and attached to each terminal on the hard drive arm, then the arm was attached to the sectioned base using the original magnet.

This assembly was then attached to a wooden base, and springs and paper clips were used to keep the hard drive microphone arm suspended in the middle. Wires from a normal stereo connector were soldered into the copper wires, and a microphone was born!

If you’re wondering, yes, this contraption did work, as seen in the video below around 4:00. He explains why it is recording lower frequencies a few seconds into his “Hard drive-powered” monologue, but ironically, I can’t really make out what he’s saying. This is definitely one of the more unique projects I’ve featured here, although I wouldn’t want to record a podcast using one!

YouTube player

This is a neat build, however Rulof also built another version found here. Unfortunately for me, it is not in English (Italian maybe?). Of course, if building a microphone out of an old hard drive has no appeal to you, don’t forget that they are an excellent source of rare earth magnets, and the platters are interesting to engrave (maybe for a clock?).

[via Hackaday]

1 thought on “Over the Top: Hack a Hard Drive into a Working Microphone

  1. Michael Black says:

    But why?
    A speaker will work as a microphone, low impedance and likely low output voltage. A dynamic microphone uses the same principal, but a smaller diaphram. And if you really need a microphone, electret capsules can be had in all kinds of electronic junk.
    Making a microphone out of razor blades and a carbon rod shows you the basics of a microphone. Talking into a speaker shows how sound pressure can be converted to electricity, and like a motor used as a generator, shows how the same device can be used in two ways.
    Even making your own electret microphone (Popular Electronics showed how to do this about 1968) shows how those work. Taking an electret capsule apart, they are cheap enough, shows you a bit, though mostly the fet buffer. Or do the reverse, make an electrostatic speaker with some high voltage and aluminum foil. Same principal, but the electret is given a charge when being made so it doesn’t need high voltage during operation (which electrostatics do need). I’m sure one could make an electret speaker of sorts, but I’ve never seen an article about it.

Comments are closed.

Discuss this article with the rest of the community on our Discord server!

Jeremy is an engineer with 10 years experience at his full-time profession, and has a BSME from Clemson University. Outside of work he’s an avid maker and experimenter, building anything that comes into his mind!

View more articles by Jeremy S Cook


Maker Faire Bay Area 2023 - Mare Island, CA

Escape to an island of imagination + innovation as Maker Faire Bay Area returns for its 15th iteration!

Buy Tickets today! SAVE 15% and lock-in your preferred date(s).