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1/8th Inch Laptop Mic Input, Also Stereo Line In?

Discussion in 'Affordable Recording Forum' started by arnieguitar, Dec 7, 2009.

  1. arnieguitar


    Dec 31, 2006
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    SE Wisconsin
    When I bought my old laptop 7 years ago(Hp Pavilion ze5170), I was surprised to find out that the 1/8th inch Mic Input was stereo...When I would use a stereo source, like the headphone out from a multi effects unit like a Pod or Digitech Genesis 3, the laptop would record stereo on one track, just like a line in jack, very cool.

    Are all laptop Mic Inputs like this? I'm considering a new laptop and am wondering if I'll find the same thing on a new one. I know I could use an interface for this purpose, but just when I'm sitting around and want to capture an idea, it's a neat feature.
  2. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Moderator

    Mar 20, 2008
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    currently Billings
    Home Page:
    Some mic inputs for laptops are indeed stereo though not balanced audio. Whether they double as a "line in" jack is dependent on the bios and audio driver and the jack itself. In essence, if in line in mode the jack is attenuated differently than if it were a mic input. Most desktop mic jacks are in fact just tip and sleeve (TS) and not tip ring and sleeve (TRS).

    Now, that being said, you cannot convert a standard XLR into an 1/8" TRS wire for wire and have it work as a mic because the jack is again NOT balanced audio in mic mode. It is designed for a laptop mic like this by intent at it's best.

    In any case, this will not be an ideal situation for recording anything important or of great quality. The design is just not adequate to the task.
  3. RemyRAD


    Sep 26, 2005
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    Washington DC Virginia suburbs
    Home Page:
    Really, you would do well by investing $50 to $150 for a external USB 1.1 audio interface with XLR microphone inputs. In that price bracket they are all pretty much the same in quality. Which ain't bad. Modern chips gives you modern performance capabilities. Which is totally adequate for your purposes. It might even be time to upgrade that laptop soon?

    HP Pavilion DV 8339us I'm using with numerous external interfaces.
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  4. jammster


    Nov 30, 2008
    Likes Received:
    Lake Ki-Chi-Saga, Minnesota USA
    You may also consider that the internal "sound card" in your laptop may have more latency than you prefer.

    Then again, if your using it to just get ideas roughly recorded I can understand where your coming from, I like to do the same thing once and a while when brainstorming for lyrical ideas.

    Any recordings for quality I would do what Remy suggests.
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