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Thread: Why won't my PC recognize my mic?

  1. #1
    achasse is offline Newbie
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    I know relatively little about microphones and computer hardware.... I cannot get my Shure SM-57LC to work through my PC (I want to record using Cakewalk 9), Is it a sound card driver problem? Is there something more I need to do besides plugging the mic cable into my PC (using a 1/8" adapter)? I desperately need advice!!!!

    Thanks,
    ARC

  2. #2
    Emeric is offline - - - - - -
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    You should be plugging into the line in, not mic in. However, the preamps in most soundcards don't provide enough gain to get a usable signal. Is the level up in the windows sound mixer - double click the volume icon and check that out.

    I use to use an unbalanced XLR to 1/4" and then adapt to 1/8" into the line in on a Multisound Pinnacle soundcard. This sorta worked, but the level was not quite what it could be.

    The ultimate solution for you would be to either invest in a mixer, or if you don't require that many inputs and outputs, invest in a single preamp box - Art Tube MP ($99), bellari, etc. This way you can use a balanced line, and then adapt from 1/4" to 1/8".

    Are you getting any level at all? Some more details may help.



  3. #3
    Spray is offline Newbie
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    Why should he plug into the line in?
    If he has not enough level using the mic in he will get even less level using the line in. Maybe the problem is just the adapter. It should be one that converst XLR>TRS 1/8"(three segs on the pin).
    Also its better to use only one adapter to avoid the loss of signal.

  4. #4
    achasse is offline Newbie
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    Thanx for the feedback... as coinicidence would have it, I got the advice RE the preamp from the music store, and everything seems OK now. Follow-up question though (which I'll also post on its own).... everything sounds great through my headphones now, but when it's recorded, the sound is awful.... I have to assume that it's a sound card issue (I have the ES1869 which came with my PC, which I understand is not the greatest card). Is this the correct diagnosis? If so, any recommendations on decent (yet affordable) cards?

    ARC

  5. #5
    Spray is offline Newbie
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    What do you mean by awful?
    Clicking, Crackling, Noise...?

  6. #6
    achasse is offline Newbie
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    Sorry, I guess that would help... by "awful" I mean the playback has lots of hiss, cracking, the volume itself is very low (almost inaudible) and muffled.... almost like recording using one of those old tape decks with condenser mics. My sound card is fine when playing back MP3s, and it seems to pick up the signal just fine through the preamp when I play live into the mic.... but my guess is that the card can't handle the sound data that's being presented through the line, and therefore Cakewalk can't record it. I want to note that my levels are fine before and while I record.

    Any advice?

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    You cannot record with an ES1869...nor an ES1868. ESS chipsets are horrible. I've tried recording with both, and got the same results as you.

    I would recommend, as a very CHEAP alternative, an Ensoniq AudioPCI or a Soundblaster PCI128. You'll be much happier. You can find these cards anywhere for under $30.

    Emeric was right though about using a preamp into the line in port on your soundcard too. The mic input on a PC soundcard is not intended to take the signal from a "real" dynamic mic.

    Slackmaster 2000

  8. #8
    Spray is offline Newbie
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    Do you know the specs of a standard mic in?
    Whats the problem using a real mic with your mic in?
    Im not talking about sound but pure functionality.

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    Not easily convinced are ya.

    There's a decent little article at Shure's website:

    "Typical dynamic microphones will not supply the signal level required by the input of these sound cards. A microphone pre-amplifier (often called a booster) will be necessary. A pre-amp with 40 to 50dB of gain is recommended. Note that too much gain will result in overloading of the input of the sound card. For this reason we recommend pre-amps with adjustable gain control. "

    That's at http://www.shure.com/support/technot...ecomputer.html and also includes specs for standard soundcards.

    Unfortunately they kind of skip over the fact that when using a preamp, you should really be going to the LINE IN port on the soundcard. Why?

    - The preamplification on the mic in port is dirty, and can't be turned off. Why would you use it if you're already using a preamp anyway?
    - It's not stereo. "Yes it is!" No it's not. It really isn't and I suggest you play around a bit to prove it to yourself.
    - The sole purpose of the mic port on the soundcard is to cater to small, crappy, high output computer microphones. It supplies 5V DC Bias on the ring connector, and has an input sensitivity of -20dBV typically.

    You might also try THIS site for more information: http://homerecording.com/sound_card_basics.html

    If you are recording with your mic input, and can't tell the difference between it and the line in, then fine, trust your ears. If you've never tried a preamp to line in, then you're probably sacrificing quality and you aught to give it a shot. Regardless, the stereo issue alone should be convincing enough as it allows you to record two mics or two instruments or any sort of stereo signal (the output of your POD or keyboard).

    The ONLY time I use the mic input on my soundcard is when I'm using voice chat software, or something that requires the mic input be active.

    Slackmaster 2000

  10. #10
    Spray is offline Newbie
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    Thanks.
    Just wanted to know, cause I never tried it myself.

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