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Is it safe or dangerous to connect my battery mic into the 3,5 mm line-in jacket of my computer?

Discussion in 'Recording' started by Basserz, Dec 29, 2014.

  1. Basserz

    Basserz Guest

    Hi!

    I've got a Audio-Technica AT822, which is a battery driven stereo microphone. I have a XLR to 3,5 mm mini plug adapter so I can plug the microphone into a 3,5mm miniplug input. Is it possible to connect the microphone to my built in soundcard through the 3,5mm mini plug line in (The light blue connector in the computer is supposed to be a line in port according to wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PC_System_Design_Guide). Does the line-in port provide ANY power that may damage this battery driven microphone if I connect it? Or is it safe? I have searched for anwers, but haven't find any clarification in this matter.

    Thank you for your upcoming answers:)

    Best regards

    Basserz
     
  2. paulears

    paulears Well-Known Member

    Nope - it's fine, the 3.5mm output carries both channels with no DC component, and will happily feed your computer - the port, however, as I think you already are concerned about, expects line level - this is not hard and fast, however, some computers have the level switchable from mic to line - have a search in the audio software for a setting. At worst, it just won't record anything! Have a fiddle and see. Most computers are designed for people to use headsets for gaming purposes, so it's a pretty common requirement to be able to accept a mic level input. Give it a go - nothing to wreck or damage.
     
  3. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    The AT literature on this mic doesn't say a lot, but it does, not surprisingly, warn against plugging it into an input that may have 48V phantom power on it. Whether it's tolerant of plug-in power (3-9V) that may be present on a computer motherboard jack, the literature does not say. My guess would be that it would be tolerant, but you may not feel like risking it.

    Independent of powering, a greater factor is whether it would work in a satisfactory manner when plugged into a line input jack on a computer motherboard. There are several things to consider:
    (a) does the motherboard line input have enough gain for a microphone?
    (b) is the inherent noise on the input circuit at a level you could tolerate?
    (c) is your motherboard one of the types that when switched to "microphone" levels also switches to mono rather than stereo?

    I think you should be looking at a simple external two-channel interface unit with a USB connection that would circumvent these problems. Be aware that the AT822 has a non-standard output that uses a conventional 3-pin XLR connector but with left and right channel outputs unbalanced on pins 2 and 3 respectively with ground on pin 1. This means that standard microphone cabling will not work and you would either have to get an audio interface that could accept the 1/8" jack lead that you already have, or else connect it using jack adaptors or a specially-wired cable. We can make recommendations of what to consider and what to avoid if you want to go this audio interface route.
     
  4. BastarB

    BastarB Active Member

    Thanks for your for your professional answers!:)

    Yes, I don't want to damage my microphone, and I'm glad I didn't try it out in my computer before posting here first. After reading your post, I also think it's best to go the audio interface route to accomplish my little project, that is to record a song for a little late christmas competition. I only have one week to go, so I would be really greatful for some nice advices of a nice audio interface, I'm willing to pay like 200$ or so for this. I have this kind of cable already that I think I can use: http://www.swamp.net.au/xlr-to-trs-y-cable-female.html

    I also have a condenser microphone, a AKG C426 B, and it would be nice that the audio interface is good for this microphone also and what to think about before purchase. Thanks in advance!:)

    EDIT: Sorry for confusing you, I did the first post as a guest under the nickname Basserz, and then I made a account and now I'm using the nickname BastarB, that's why it's different names on the posts
     
  5. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Are you sure you, an AKG C426B owner, are the same person who posted the question about the AT822? Just joking, but those two microphones are many leagues apart. One common factor is that they are both stereo condensers that do not require 48V phantom power from the pre-amp, since they both have their own (very different) sources of power.

    You are not going to get an audio interface in the $200 bracket that would do justice to the C426B. Fortunately, there is one that comes close and would work for both the AT822 (with your XLR-jack plugs cable) and the C426B (with its power/pattern unit), and that is the Focusrite Scarlett 2i4. There are others, of course, but from all that I have used, the Scarlett series offers high audio quality for the money.
     
  6. BastarB

    BastarB Active Member

    Hi, thanks for your informative answer and for the recomendation! Yes, I'm aware that the AKG C426 B is in a totally different class than the Audio-Technica AT822. Yeah I was a little afraid that 200 bucks wouldnt be enough for doing this microphone justice. How much money would I need to invest in an audio interface to match this mic nicely? My father bought the microphone some years ago, and it's rarely been used, so it would be nice to start doing recordings with it, it's just a waste to not using it.
     

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