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mic muted, click record, lots of background noise!

Discussion in 'Recording' started by Ramiel, Apr 7, 2006.

  1. Ramiel

    Ramiel Guest

    Hello,

    This is my first post here... I'm trying to slowly build up a recording system that I can move around with me so we can record some hand drum, string, and vocal. At present I'm trying to get just one mic to work properly with my laptop or desktop.

    I bought a directional mic from radio shack which is 14Khz. I had to get a converter for the plug to make it smaller to go into my computer.

    However, when I put my laptop's recording source to Mic, and leave mic unplugged, or plug-in mic with mute on the mic... either way when I record there is a very faint beeping sound in the background. I think this is from the circuitry of the laptop. I disabled the wireless, bluetooth, and anything else I could disable including screen savers, virus scanners, and everything. Still same problem. My laptop is a high end new laptop, IBM ThinkPad Z60t

    I moved to my Sony desktop station. It's a very multimedia oriented new box... don't have model with me. It has even fiber optic audio input and things like that. I have even worse problem recording on this system, if I leave mic unplugged, or put mic on mute and hit record, I get plenty of the pffffff kind of noise. I have mic volume on the windows XP volume thing at the highest level, but the mic boost disabled, if I enable mic boost it gets even worse.

    If I try to record on each system, on the laptop I get good quality recording except for the beeps, but not much noise -- same mic. On the desktop no beeps, but way too much of the pfff back ground noise.

    I'm using the opensource software called Audacity at present. http://audacity.sourceforge.net/

    ...

    My ideal would be to get some kind of digital recording system that I could plug 1, 2, or 3 mic's into it and be able to carry it around easily so we can record when we are sitting together and record. Generally we are sitting in a small room so there isn't much background noise.

    Any guidance is greatly appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Ramiel
     
  2. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    I've noticed you had no responses to your problem. A new questions here are in order.

    The microphone you purchased from radio shaft, does the microphone itself have a 3 pin "XLR" type connector at the end of the microphone? I'm not talking about the cord here, just the microphone. Is the microphone a condenser type that requires a battery? Or is it a dynamic type that requires no battery?

    It may not be good enough to plug your microphone into the microphone input jack on either of your computers. Because this particular type of microphone jack already has some DC current in the jack that powers really cheap multimedia style computer microphones. This sounds you're describing sound like your adapter that you are using is shorting out the direct current in the microphone connection within both computers.

    Generally if you want to use a better type of microphone with your computer you'll also need to purchase a decent entry-level microphone preamplifier that will be external to both of your computer's. The external microphone preamplifier must be plugged into the computers "line input", NOT the microphone input.

    If either one of your computers does not have a line input jack, you will need to purchase a USB audio interface that will also be external to the computer. A USB audio interface generally only has line level inputs on RCA jacks. I haven't seen any low-cost, entry-level, USB audio interfaces with microphone inputs that are $100 or less.

    So you are looking at an additional 100 to $200 investment just to use a better microphone with your computer. If you want to record more than 1 microphone, you will need an entry-level microphone mixer made by companies like Mackie, Beringer, Sound Craft and others. So you are then looking at an additional 100 to $300 investment for a small mixer.

    Sorry that's how it goes and it has nothing to do with the quality level of your computer.

    Computers have bad microphone inputs.
    Ms. Remy Ann David
     
  3. Ramiel

    Ramiel Guest

    Hi Ms. Remy,

    Thanks for your response. The mic doesn't have any unusual connector. The cable just runs from the mic straigt down for 9 feet to a 1/2" (guess) connector, then I put that into a converter that makes it into 1/4" to get into my computer. The mic also doesn't have any power input, or battery space.

    But the problem I'm having is not related the mic. Since if I leave the MIC unplugged (as if I have no mic what so ever) and then set my recording source to mic input, with volume up, then I click reload I get full of pffff sounding noise, it's very consistant sound, it has no crackles in it. If I increase the db's then it just becomes a boooom base sound. The same with my laptop, if i leave the mic unplugged, I get the silent beeps.

    I tried what you suggested and plugged the mic into my line in. I put the line in recording volume to max, turned on the mic, and I really have to almost scream to get some audio that I can hear on playback. So it seems clear that if I use the line-in I will need these mic amps you are recommending.

    Do you happen to know if there is any stand alone, even portable device that can be used to plug mic(s) into it and record? I guess it would record to? That would be the most ideal so then I can carry it home and import into the computer and edit it. I guess something like an iPOD might do something like this, but that's not designed for recording; and I highly doubt it would have any good quality on it.

    For my notes:

    Equipment 1: decent entry-level microphone preamplifier that will be external to both of your computer's. The external microphone preamplifier must be plugged into the computers "line input", NOT the microphone input.

    Equiptment 2: USB audio interface that will also be external to the computer. A USB audio interface generally only has line level inputs on RCA jacks. I haven't seen any low-cost, entry-level, USB audio interfaces with microphone inputs that are $100 or less.

    Equiptment 3: entry-level microphone mixer made by companies like Mackie, Beringer, Sound Craft and others. So you are then looking at an additional 100 to $300 investment for a small mixer.



    The above 3 things seem feasble for me to get. But I'm thinking if a portable recording device to replace the computer would be best. Then I would get that portable device + mic mixer + mic(s) (and one preamp per mic).

    Any specific brand/model recommedations would be appreciated.

    Thanks again for taking the time to write a response.

    Regards,
    Ramiel
     
  4. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    Microphone inputs should never be left turned up without anything plug into them.

    Again, I'm not clear on your microphone cord? 1/2" as in 3 pin XLR to 1/4" adapter and another one from 1/4" to 1/8" adapter into the microphone input on your computer? And from your description appears to be a dynamic microphone like an imitation Shure SM58?

    It sounds to me like you should not have any microphone inputs turned up if you do not have any microphones connected. Microphone inputs that are not terminated by a microphone will generally induce quite a bit of noise on their own.

    You cannot power a line input from a microphone source! You must have a preamplifier first.

    If you are looking for a " Notebook studio", there are many available from companies like Roland, Teac, Fostex, Yamaha, which should definitely give you a better education with a more responsive device in a very compact manner. Many include various and sundry effects, CD burning and nonlinear track building capabilities. Once you become proficient with one of those, you may be ready to step up to the more modular and component oriented recording systems that most of us use here.

    I hope this gives you yet a little better insight?
    Ms. Remy Ann David
     

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