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Solved: microphone jack not the same as "Line-in" connecting to a synth?

Discussion in 'Multimedia' started by chueh, Jun 24, 2010.

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  1. chueh

    chueh Thread Starter

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    I connected the output of my synthesizer to the microphone jack of my laptop. It is not picking up anything signals. I know that there is a difference between the microphone and "line-in," yet I remember that someone was talking about more noises produced when using the microphone jack than line-in. It makes me think that then either one of them would work. The only difference is one making more noise than the other.

    So.... my laptop only has a microphone and a headphone jacks. Is there an alternative to make it work?

    Thanks
     
  2. cwwozniak

    cwwozniak Chuck Trusted Advisor

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    A typical microphone jack is mono only (left channel if you are using a typical mini-plug stereo cable) and is also a lot more sensitive than a line input jack. The contact on the jack that would be the right channel is used as a DC power source for microphones that need it.

    You would probably need to keep the source output level very low in order not to overdrive the mic input and cause distortion. The low level mic input would also be very sensitive to electronic noise being picked up by the patch cable.

    It is possible that some audio controllers in some computers may have a software option to run the jack as a stereo line input. You would need to check you computer's technical specs to see if it can do that.

    There are USB based external audio controllers that offer different choices of analog and digital input and outputs. Some may have better performance specs than the typical controllers built into the computer while others may be worse.
     
  3. chueh

    chueh Thread Starter

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    Thanks, Chuck. I did check the user's manual, but there wasn't anything said about the options at all.

    I did go to Dell Forum. Someone told me to make the pop-ups shown, since I would be asked to choose the option. I was told that the microphone connector of the computer acts dual functions for both microphone and line input. However, I did not understand where Sigmatel is. The poster said "Start/Control Panel/Sigmatel" and to choose "allow pop-ups." However, isn't the pop-ups option only for internet?
     
  4. cwwozniak

    cwwozniak Chuck Trusted Advisor

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    No. In this case the Sigmatel software, with the pop-up enabled, would detect that something is plugged into the microphone jack and then have a pop-up screen asking how you want the jack to be configured.

    I found a discussion about the Sigmatel pop-up about half way down this page on a Dell forum:
    http://en.community.dell.com/support-forums/laptop/f/3517/t/18541424.aspx
     
  5. chueh

    chueh Thread Starter

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    I got this laptop back in 2006. I am not sure what audio system it has. This year, I installed Windows 7. That's probably why I did not have any pop-up window to ask me to choose the options. I checked the device manager. It was not telling me much about the audio system. It only says "High Definition Audio Device." There is no manufacturer's or maker's name listed at all.

    So... I just downloaded and installed Sigmatel STAC 92xx High Definition Audio Driver. Now I have the pop-up window to ask me to choose Microphone, Line-in, or else. I chose Line-in and tried recording it. Nothing is received.... Still not communicating...
     
  6. cwwozniak

    cwwozniak Chuck Trusted Advisor

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    What recording software are you using? Does it have any kind of input muting or input level adjustments?

    Have you confirmed that the synth output has signals? A set of headphones or amplified speakers should work for the test.
     
  7. Jack Hackett

    Jack Hackett

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  8. chueh

    chueh Thread Starter

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    Both replying to Jack and cwwoz, This is the first time I am using the stereo output connecting to the laptop. I was using another set, which is the mono output. However, I will test to see if the stereo output is working at the mean time.

    The software I am using does have the volume adjustments, which i have tried adjusted each time. The wave has been completely straight across while recording. I tried using Microsoft Sound Recorder too, yet no green bar line is showing at all.

    I tried Midi-USB, but the midi voices are not the true voices from the Synth. The computer's sound card alters everything. I gave up on Midi-USB method.
     
  9. chueh

    chueh Thread Starter

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    OK now..... Thanks to you guys... The simplest thing was always overlooked!!! Yes, cwwoz, you are right. The output of the synth I have been connecting to the laptop is not working!!!

    It works with the Microsoft Sound Recorder, when I use another set of the output. It is, however, not working with the recording software. Now, I would have to ask the people who invented the software....

    Thank you so very much.............................
     
  10. cwwozniak

    cwwozniak Chuck Trusted Advisor

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    You're welcome. Glad to hear that you at least figured out that the original problem was the output.
     
  11. chueh

    chueh Thread Starter

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    Without your input, I would probably blame the company who sold me the cable, spend a lot of money on other ways to try to make it work, or burn the laptop, LOL
     
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