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Poor Recording Issue? Please Help!

Discussion in 'Recording' started by VinceL, Dec 21, 2011.

  1. VinceL

    VinceL Active Member


    I do a little bit of recording using a condenser mic, mixer and my laptop. I use a cable that connects the 2 RCA ports of the mixer to the 3.5mm mic jack in my laptop, which worked fine. When I tried this with my new laptop (which has a combined mic/speaker jack), the audio I recorded had a lot of crackling/white noise.

    What can I do to fix this?
    Could I use a RCA to USB cable to record instead?

    Thanks in advance!
  2. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    What's the make and model number of your new laptop?
  3. VinceL

    VinceL Active Member

    My laptop's a Lenovo T420. If this helps, the mixer I'm using is a Behringer Xenyx 802.
  4. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    You are not going to have much luck using the combo audio jack on the Lenovo Thinkpad. It has stereo headphone out but only a mono mic-level input. Using a splitter adaptor, you would separate out the stereo headphone, but still only get access to the mono mic input.

    I would look at getting a low-cost USB audio input adaptor. Most of the very low-cost ones have only mono mic inputs like your laptop, but ones like this do stereo both in and out. Check that any you choose will accept domestic-level line inputs (-10dBV) via a 1/8" jack. You won't need a particularly high-quality unit if you are running the audio through a Xenyx series mixer.
  5. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    Yup, what Boswell said. My HP laptop is similar in that respect although, it will accept a stereo input that's too sensitive and totally crummy. And even the ones that have separate line level inputs are generally totally crummy with clocking noise and such. That's why I really enjoy my portable Edirol UA 1EX with its goldplated RCA input/output along with optical output and it even includes a crappy multimedia headset style 1/8 inch microphone input. In a pinch, I once plugged in a SM58 into a simple XLR balanced to 1/4 inch output through a 1/4 inch input to 1/8 inch output to that. That made it slightly less than completely horrible since the transformer adapter also gives you a free 10 DB boost of gain, free amplification so the preamp can be run at a slightly lower level resulting in less noise by 10 DB. And that's appreciable. It's probably the same microphone preamp circuitry utilized in their slightly more costly XLR input USB adapters on a silly little IC chip that surface mounted. But going from your mixer output to the RCA inputs will be a much better way to go with the UA 1EX which lists for around $80 US. The same for my M-Audio Transit which really doesn't work as well as the UA 1EX because of its strictly 1/8 inch input/output. Yuck! So with that, I must always use goldplated 1/8 inch adapters otherwise you get intermittent problems pretty quickly. I only purchased that unit so I could run ProTools M-Powered without my abysmal Digi-design M-Blotch 2. The unfortunate part of that scenario is that I cannot have both working on the same computer with 2 different loads of ProTools. And 2 different loads of ProTools, one Digi & one M-ProTools as they are totally incompatible with one another. Pretty funny coming from a company that makes both of those. Yeah that was brilliant thinking & another reason why I say SCREW AVID/DIGI/M-Audio. That would be like only being able to use Ampex tape on a Ampex machine without the ability to utilize Scotch recording tape on an Ampex. Or Scotch recording tape on a Scully with the inability to utilize Ampex recording tape on a Scully. That's totally stupid crap! I hate that kind of crap. So I really think there is nothing terribly smart about Pro Fools/Avid/Digi unless somebody is paying you to use it. Or for those folks that need to rely on specific features because they are recording crap musicians that can't get their crap together in tune or in beat. And to me, that's computer games and I don't play any computer games. I utilize useful tools when it comes to software and their associated uniformity of operations upon different computers. So smart and talented engineers don't need Pro Fools because it's only for the Pro Fools.

    I am Pro-Cool and I think I passed the Audition in Vegas.
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  6. VinceL

    VinceL Active Member

    Alright thanks a lot for all the help!

    Just to be clear, if I got a splitter adapter, I would be able to record the same mono audio that I did with my original set up?
  7. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    That choice is generally left to the software. So you wouldn't need any adapter. He was simply plug your microphone into Channel 1 or into Channel 2. In the software you can select whether you want to record a stereo track or a mono track. And if you select a mono track, you can select to record that from either your left or right input. If for instance, you want to add some kind of stereo effect, you can print that stereo effect to another pair of tracks. This way your microphone track (singular, mono) would be centered at 12 o'clock. While the effect will come back in stereo. This is how most vocal recordings are accomplished. It's understanding the software that takes some getting used to. Most are similar but all are different in the way you enact that selection. It gets downright goofy sometimes. I love utilizing my Adobe Audition because that selection process is highly simple & straightforward. Sometimes you may have reason to take a single mono vocal track and convert that to a dual mono vocal track in both left & right channels of a stereo track. That's usually another software selection that one can make after you have recorded the single vocal track. It really depends on who's multitrack software package you are using. Some make this process easy others don't. This is where the auxiliary bus would be utilized on a hardware console or in programs such as ProTools. The mono vocal track, stays mono on a single track. When you are mixing, you would utilize an auxiliary send of that vocal track to a stereo reverb or effect. That reverb and/or effect then dumps out to the stereo mix bus where it is heard in stereo. This would give your vocal depth even though it's still at the 12 o'clock position. Not all software allows for that. So sometimes you have to put the effect on to the vocal track. If it's a single vocal track a.k.a. Mono, the effect will be as mono as the vocal track. That's why you might need to convert the mono vocal track to a pair of mono channels creating a dual mono stereo track. Then when you add the stereo reverb or effect, it will appear in stereo while the vocal still appears in the 12 o'clock position & voilĂ . Sometimes mono effects can be very useful such as making them sound like they are in a telephone booth and not a concert hall. But all of this hinges on a genre of music & production you are doing. In fact it can vary so widely, no one in their right mind can even suggest to you what to do. That's what audio engineering is all about. I can't tell you that eating your hamburger utilizing your left hand will make it taste better than utilizing your right hand. My grandfather once told me I shouldn't put ketchup on my hamburger but instead, put the ketchup on the plate and smear my hamburger in the ketchup. I told him he was out of his mind! But what did I know? I was only 13 years old and he was a lawyer. So I lost my case but enjoyed my hamburger my way.

    Grandfathers don't know jack about ketchup
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  8. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Only if you like overloaded mono. It's a mic input and is not designed to take the domestic line level outputs from your mixer.

    Put the money you save by not buying the splitter cable towards a USB adaptor.

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