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#1020006 - 05/06/06 10:03 AM help needed from you recording experts
Laura D Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/15/05
Posts: 176
Loc: Pennsylvania
My husband got a laptop, and I have some hopes of being able to use it to record. But he got it for business use only, in other words no fancy sound card or anything, and I don't know how to tell where I might be able to plug in a microphone (I have your basic $10 type if that helps). There are two little 1/8" jack places beside each other--one has a little picture of headphones, and the other one has a little picture that looks like it could be a microphone. Is that what I want? I keep remembering people saying you can blow your sound card if you plug a microphone into the wrong place. Thanks for any help!

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#1020007 - 05/06/06 11:33 AM Re: help needed from you recording experts
Euan Morrison Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/01/05
Posts: 1588
Loc: Edinburgh
When I tried a laptop recording a couple on months ago, I put it into the one with the microphone on it.

I'm under the impression that this socket is quite dangerous, so it cannot be emphasised enough that you should start with volume on 0 and slowly move it up until levels are good.

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#1020008 - 05/06/06 11:43 AM Re: help needed from you recording experts
Laura D Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/15/05
Posts: 176
Loc: Pennsylvania
Where do I set the volume?

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#1020009 - 05/06/06 12:45 PM Re: help needed from you recording experts
Bob Muir Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/01/03
Posts: 2653
Loc: Lakewood, WA, USA
 Quote:
Where do I set the volume?
Hi Laura, Euan was talking about if you plugged your keyboard directly into the mic jack - then you'd want to have the volume of the keyboard turned all the way down to prevent blowing out the sound card.

If you're using a dynamic microphone, then you don't need to worry about that because the mic jack was designed for such a mic. You can control the record level of the microphone, either from within your recording application or from the control panel applet.

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#1020010 - 05/06/06 12:57 PM Re: help needed from you recording experts
s54mo827 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/12/05
Posts: 1231
Loc: New York
 Quote:
Originally posted by Laura D:
My husband got a laptop, and I have some hopes of being able to use it to record. But he got it for business use only, in other words no fancy sound card or anything, and I don't know how to tell where I might be able to plug in a microphone (I have your basic $10 type if that helps). There are two little 1/8" jack places beside each other--one has a little picture of headphones, and the other one has a little picture that looks like it could be a microphone. Is that what I want? I keep remembering people saying you can blow your sound card if you plug a microphone into the wrong place. Thanks for any help!
Hi Laura.
You may want to purchase Voyetra sound program. You upload the program on your laptop and following the instruction. Voyetra comes with all the necessary plugs and instructions. Then you can download Anvil Studio onto the laptop as well. It's a bit of a process. I don't know how the mic fits into the picture (I would like to find that out for myself), but you get you started at least recording, I would purchase a recording package, such as Voyetra (at Radioshack or J&R Music & Computer World). Hope that helps. Good luck.!
_________________________
~Sharon

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cv7-qjprix4

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#1020011 - 05/06/06 04:43 PM Re: help needed from you recording experts
Kam Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/13/06
Posts: 184
Loc: Canada
There are 2 different types of sound card: intergrated and dedicated. The formal comes with all computers and usually weak compared to dedicated cards. The little microphone jack is a place where u plug ur mic to the onboard (integrated) sound card. The latter only comes with the computer if u pay extra $$$. Those "fancy" (dedicated) sound cards improves a lot in processing sound info and supports higher resolution in recording. You can choose which to use between integrated and dedicated if u have a dedicated card such Sound Blaster.

In your case, you are using a onboard sound card, so u just need to plug ur mic into the mic jack.

Are u seeing a S/PDIF and a microphone jack?

I can help better if u can give a picture of ur laptop with the 2 little jacks u mentioned.
_________________________
"Bass creates motion" - David Lanz

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#1020012 - 05/07/06 12:36 AM Re: help needed from you recording experts
Laura D Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/15/05
Posts: 176
Loc: Pennsylvania
 Quote:
You may want to purchase Voyetra sound program.
How is that different from Audacity?

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#1020013 - 05/09/06 02:06 AM Re: help needed from you recording experts
Riggi Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/11/06
Posts: 23
Loc: Sydney
If you already have Audacity that will be fine for recording (as will a number of other free audio recording apps).

Depends what type of recording you want to do...

If it's just for your own reference to see what your playing is like it probably doesn't matter too much about the quality.

In which case the inbuilt mic socket and pre-amp might be ok.

If you want to produce decent quality recordings and put them on cd or post them on the net then you most likely would be better off getting a better soundcard than the inbuilt one.
And possibly a mic pre-amp to go with it (or a mixer with mic preamps built in).

The fact that you say you have a $10 mic suggests that the inbuilt mic socket and preamp in the laptop will be ok for your purposes.

Basically it all comes down to how much you want to spend and how much time and effort you want to put into the recording (do you want to edit it, add effects, make it sound more like a more "professional" recording).

You will be able to do basic editing in Audacity but if you want to produce a more professional sounding recording you might want to look at some other recording packages that let you apply effects etc.

If you want to spend some time and effort getting the recording to sound good you might want to check out www.audiominds.com.

Rich

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#1020014 - 05/09/06 11:42 AM Re: help needed from you recording experts
Bob Muir Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/01/03
Posts: 2653
Loc: Lakewood, WA, USA
For the purposes of practicing and the recital, Audacity and the $10 mic will do just fine.

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#1020015 - 05/09/06 12:26 PM Re: help needed from you recording experts
Laura D Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/15/05
Posts: 176
Loc: Pennsylvania
Bob,
Thanks for the reassurance! That is what I am going to do. Maybe someday when my playing is more beautiful, I will get better equipment. Right now that is the least of my worries!

We did get the laptop to at least *record* this morning. Then my husband took it off to work with him so that was that. Of course, I need to be working on this prom dress for my daughter for Friday...amazing how piano takes over all my priorities and everything else gets put off!

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#1020016 - 05/09/06 07:57 PM Re: help needed from you recording experts
Arjen Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/24/05
Posts: 173
Loc: Groningen, Netherlands
Actually, spending a fortune on a professional soundcard and high-end audio programs is absolutely pointless unless you also invest in high quality mics and an audio-technician course. Miccing a piano is a very complex thing to do and I doubt most of us could make us of high quality equipment.

So just place the mic near the piano, make sure the volume ain't too high on the mic (you can't really damage your hardware but too high volumes can irrevirsibly ruin your recordings!) and just play.

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#1020017 - 05/10/06 12:46 AM Re: help needed from you recording experts
sarabande Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/18/05
Posts: 1597
Loc: Mo.
As far as recording software like the Voyetra mentioned, I got a Voyetra software kit for making recordings and it won't allow me to make cd's from the recordings without upgrading so be careful if you buy recording software, that it will allow recording onto cd. I like the software, except was dissapointed to find I can't put my recordings onto cd from it.

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#1020018 - 05/10/06 04:06 AM Re: help needed from you recording experts
FogVilleLad Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/02/05
Posts: 4680
Loc: San Francisco
If you're using a PC, you may already have an application such as Record Now loaded onto your computer. Record Now can be used to create music cd's. Do you have the documentation for your computer?

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#1020019 - 05/10/06 06:38 AM Re: help needed from you recording experts
rocky Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/12/05
Posts: 1456
Loc: Louisville, KY
Windows Media Player has the option to "Burn" CD's
_________________________
When I reach the place I'm going, I will surely know my way.

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#1020020 - 05/10/06 09:08 AM Re: help needed from you recording experts
Laura D Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/15/05
Posts: 176
Loc: Pennsylvania
Ok, I need more help. I can record into Audacity just fine, but the recording line (waveform) comes out almost flat, meaning it is very quiet. I have the recording volume set to max in the Mixer Toolbar. If I turn the computer speakers up full blast the recording sounds ok, but everything else would be way too loud. If I move the gain slider to the right, or use Amplify on the Effect menu, it gets louder, but there is lots of white noise.

So, is there some other setting I am missing? Or do I just need more and/or better equipment? I could probably spend $50 or so if that would help.

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#1020021 - 05/10/06 09:13 AM Re: help needed from you recording experts
Monica K. Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012


Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 17699
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
Hi Laura, go to your control panel on Windows, click on audio devices, click on audio devices again, and then look for the volume setting for your microphone. It turns out that you have to adjust both volume settings (your mic on control panel, and the mic setting in audacity). Try setting both at the halfway position to start, but you might have to experiment with different values until you get a good recording.
_________________________
Mason & Hamlin A -- 91997
My YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/pianomonica

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#1020022 - 05/10/06 09:15 AM Re: help needed from you recording experts
Monica K. Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012


Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 17699
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
If you download Lame (available as a link through the audacity site), you can use audacity to convert your recording to an mp3 that you can then either upload on savefile or e-mail to Bob...that saves you the trouble of putting it on a CD and physically mailing it.
_________________________
Mason & Hamlin A -- 91997
My YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/pianomonica

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#1020023 - 05/10/06 09:37 AM Re: help needed from you recording experts
Laura D Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/15/05
Posts: 176
Loc: Pennsylvania
Monica,
I had/have both places set to maximum.

Do I need some sort of preamp? Not that I understand the hardware. Also, if I do, where then do I plug into the laptop, as it has no line in, only microphone in.

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#1020024 - 05/10/06 09:43 AM Re: help needed from you recording experts
Monica K. Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012


Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 17699
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
Well, I'm stumped, Laura. One of the reasons I got the mic I did (a Samson USB) is that it stated explicitly that it didn't require a pre-amp, which leads me to believe that many basic microphones do. Or could it be that your $10 mic just doesn't hack it for recording music?

Good luck...
_________________________
Mason & Hamlin A -- 91997
My YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/pianomonica

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#1020025 - 05/10/06 10:31 AM Re: help needed from you recording experts
Bob Muir Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/01/03
Posts: 2653
Loc: Lakewood, WA, USA
Laura, are you sure that the microphone is turned on? There may be a switch somewhere on the mic itself to turn it on. Make sure it's on.

Other than that, it should work well. A $10 mic should not require a pre-amp. There should be the word "dynamic" on the box it came in which indicates that it generates its own electricity and doesn't need a pre-amp.

Make sure the mic is plugged into the mic jack and not the line-in jack. The mic jack usually is pink in color and it has a small pictograph of a microphone next to it while the line-in jack has a bulls-eye with an arrow pointing to the center.

You can always buy a $30 dynamic mic from Radio Shack to see if it makes a difference and if it doesn't, you can take it back for a refund.

Make sure the mic is close to the piano.

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#1020026 - 05/10/06 12:00 PM Re: help needed from you recording experts
Laura D Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/15/05
Posts: 176
Loc: Pennsylvania
Yes, the mic is close to the piano. And yes, it is turned on. If it is not turned on, it does not record at all. One of the first hurdles I overcame! Ok, I will try borrowing a better microphone and see if that helps. Thanks.

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#1020027 - 05/10/06 07:25 PM Re: help needed from you recording experts
Riggi Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/11/06
Posts: 23
Loc: Sydney
Another thing to check... most inbuilt soundcards have a check box in the sound card properties/mixer to add a 10 or 20dB boost to the mic signal.

Designed specifically for use with the type of basic stick microphone it sounds like you are using.

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#1020028 - 05/11/06 10:22 AM Re: help needed from you recording experts
Starting Over Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 1290
Loc: Toronto
Laura, I have the same problem exactly. Using my work laptop with Adobe Audition 2 and an inexpensive stick microphone I get a lot of hiss and noise with my recordings. No level adjustments in Audition or Windows seem to help.

I'm putting it down to a definciency in the microphone or the sound card.

I believe the solution is going to be more $$$.

Oh well...
_________________________
Buy some good stock and hold it till it goes up, then sell it. If it don't go up, don't buy it.
Will Rogers


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#1020029 - 05/11/06 01:27 PM Re: help needed from you recording experts
Laura D Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/15/05
Posts: 176
Loc: Pennsylvania
Riggi and Bob,
Thanks! I tried a better ($40 Radio Shack) microphone, and the recording was still quiet. I found the check box to boost the mic, and that fixed it. I borrowed the microphone from my piano teacher, and while I was there, played through my sonatina program on her 7 ft Schimmel, figuring that her piano would sound better than mine, and besides I need to get in some practice time on her piano before the audition. Ugh, what a lot of mistakes! Plus I just had the microphone sitting on the piano, and it picked up lots of the mechanism noise, thunk thunk. Anyway, I will have something to submit for the recital if I look for a short bit with minimal mistakes, just in case I can't get a better recording at home tomorrow. I definitely need to get these pieces more secure. What an eye-opener!

Anyway, thanks again for all the help from everybody!

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#1020030 - 05/11/06 07:45 PM Re: help needed from you recording experts
Riggi Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/11/06
Posts: 23
Loc: Sydney
Glad to hear you have got the recording working.

I wouldn't sit the mic on the piano as it will pick up both vibrations from the piano transfered through the mic body as well as possibly some mechanical noise from the piano.

Place the mic a bit of a distance away (it really will be a case of trial and error and then remembering the position that sounds good so you can use that each time).

If you walk around the room whilst someone plays you will maybe find a spot that sounds better than others. Try there.

You don't listen to the piano with your ear pressed against it, so if you place the mic there it will probably not sound like the piano sound you are used to.

HTH,
Rich

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#1020031 - 05/12/06 11:20 AM Re: help needed from you recording experts
Laura D Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/15/05
Posts: 176
Loc: Pennsylvania
I have a camera tripod set up with the microphone dangling from a rubber band. Pretty low-tech but should minimize vibration pickup. No idea where to place it other than near the piano. My ear isn't that good, I think.

I ended up going and buying a microphone like my teacher's. I looked at them a year ago and they were $40, but Radio Shack has discontinued that moddel (had to spell it wrong to get the word allowed!) and are selling them for $15. Pretty good deal! At least better than the $10 blister pack from WalMart.

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