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Mic input to a PC

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lpress
Mic input to a PC
on Oct 13, 2005 at 8:22:53 am

I purchased a wireless mic in order to record classroom lectures. I figured I would just plug it into my portable and record using Audacity.

But, the signal coming from the mic is way too low -- the Audacity recordings are barely audible. I assumed the levels coming from mics were standard, but I guess I was wrong. Can anyone point me to a tutorial on microphone output standards? Can I purchase an amplifier to place between the mic and the sound card input?

Larry Press


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Matte
Re: Mic input to a PC
on Oct 13, 2005 at 7:39:27 pm

From your description, the mic is outputting (oddly enough) a mic-level (low) signal.
(Some wireless mics have a switch to determine whether it outputs Mic-level or Line-level. Are you sure yours does not?)

The computer input is obviously Line-level (which is much "hotter" [louder] than Mic-level.)
(Some computers have a software adjustment to determine whether it inputs Mic-level or Line-level. Are you sure yours does not?)

If you have no way to switch either device, you need to buy a small "Mic-level" input device for the computer.

http://www.camcor.com/cgi-bin/cat/id=1050334494

This is a reliable inexpensive unit.
You can Google for others.




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Jake Tolbert
Re: Mic input to a PC
on Oct 27, 2005 at 3:24:06 am

Larry,

Matte is correct, sound cards typically accept line level, some 'consumer' sound cards can accept mic level, but the components are typically very cheap.

Be leary of inexpensive solutions, you get what you pay for.

The amplifier between the mic and the sound card is exactly that, a Mic Preamp to be exact. There are stand alone mic pre's available, but the simplest and most cost effect way to get audio from a mic into the computer is a more professional audio interface or 'sound card' with a built in Mic Pre...

Check out these companies...

http://www.m-audio.com
http://www.edirol.com

http://www.m-audio.com/products/en_us/FastTrackPro-main.html

Jake Tolbert
PFS Multimedia
Steinberg Audio Tools &
Audio Professionals
Forum Leader


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lpress
Re: Mic input to a PC
on Oct 27, 2005 at 6:41:20 am

Jake,

Do you think the amplifier Matte suggested -- the iMic -- would be sufficient if I am recording speech, not music.

Larry


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Matte
Re: Mic input to a PC
on Oct 27, 2005 at 12:43:16 pm

Hi Jake and lpress.

Here's a cut from the original question:
[lpress] "I purchased a wireless mic in order to record classroom lectures. I figured I would just plug it into my portable and record using Audacity."

My response was directly to "fixing" this "small" problem:

[Matte] "...need to buy a small "Mic-level" input device for the computer.

http://www.camcor.com/cgi-bin/cat/id=1050334494

This is a reliable inexpensive unit.
You can Google for others."


Then you correctly said:

[Jake Tolbert] "Be leary of inexpensive solutions, you get what you pay for."

Now, here's where this goes a little off-track.
If we were attempting to record a professional-quality voice-over where low-noise, broad frequency response and very low distortion were an issue, then spending $250 (and up) for a better sound card would be a great idea.
However, I was just offering a VERY GOOD solution (and the iMic is very good) to the presenting problem... recording a classroom lecture to a PC for note-taking.
I assumed (and I might be wrong) that the poster might not want to invest a few hundred dollars more in a device that he may not have further need of.

[lpress] "Do you think the amplifier Matte suggested -- the iMic -- would be sufficient if I am recording speech, not music."

MY answer to this (and that's why I suggested it in the first place) is "Yes. It will work very well."

What do you think, Jake?

Sometimes its hard for professionals to remember that there are those who may not make their living by recording, who can actually derive benefit from using the lower-priced gear if it suits the purpose needed.



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Jake Tolbert
Re: Mic input to a PC
on Nov 23, 2005 at 4:56:53 am

[MATTE] Sometimes its hard for professionals to remember that there are those who may not make their living by recording, who can actually derive benefit from using the lower-priced gear if it suits the purpose needed.

very true, good point. I do tend to 'over-engineer' some solutions. But, I've seen so many try to do things on the cheap, only to spend more cash down the road to fix what should have been done right to begin with. For that reason I tend to tip people towards good solid solutions, that may indeed cost several hundred dollars.

I gave up on consumer grade components years ago, so for anything less than a couple of hundred, which is not much in the pro market, I'm not the guy to ask.

Jake Tolbert
PFS Multimedia
Steinberg Audio Tools &
Audio Professionals
Forum Leader


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