Audio from HDTV (SIRIUS) to laptop mic input

So I downloaded Audacity, plugged one end of the cable (2 plugs) into the RCA left/right outputs on the TV, tuned in SIRIUS Deep Tracks on the TV, plugged the other end of the cable into the 1/8 inch “mic” port on my Acer netbook running XP OS. Adjusted preferences to 44,100 Hz, 32 bit float, 2 (stereo) channel, on the Realtek HD Audio input and began recording.

I did get 2 signals but can’t confirm if they were different or not so I don’t know that I was actually recording in stereo. I had to slide the input all the way down to 0.1 to prevent “clipping” but when I played the recording back from my laptop through my amp system it was terribly distorted.

I have several CDs I recorded on my laptop using iTunes and they play great through that same amp system using the same RCA/1/8 inch pin cable from the laptop (mic) to the amp left/right input and I’m pretty sure I’m getting stereo.

I have scoured the posts on this site and from what I have read the problem is most likely the mic input on my laptop. I have of course USB ports and a 15 pin RGB/VGA port on my laptop.

Soooooo… finally here’s my question:
If in fact my distortion problem is from the mic port is there any way around it or can I get around the problem by using either the USB or RGB/VGA port?
If I can use the USB or RGB/VGA port, are cables available for that kind of a hook up?

Oh yeah, there is an RGB PC port and 1/8 inch audio port in the “blue area” on the back of the HDTV.

<<<I’m pretty sure I’m getting stereo.>>>

The overwhelming chance is you’re not. The Mic-In on a laptop is usually expecting a very tiny, delicate, wispy mono microphone signal. You are applying a powerful, line-level, Stereo signal. So you’re listening to “Left” only and smashing overload. Most computers like to automatically copy that mono signal to left and right since most people are expecting a stereo performance no matter what.

Good microphone amplifiers have very sensitive, quiet amplifiers before the volume control, so they overload and you can’t stop it.

You might be able to get around this with a USB UCA 202 or something like it.


Thanks Koz,

After I posted I went back and looked at the left/right signals generated and as you said, I’m getting I’m getting 2 “monos” since they both look very much the same.

<I’m pretty sure I’m getting stereo> was in reference to my amp system and the CD recordings using the same cable for playback as I am using for recording.

are you saying that there is an amp in my laptop that connects to the mic input that is causing the problem? Not that it matters at this point I guess.

I looked at the USB UCA 202 and that just might be the ticket.

Thanks for the suggestion and the education!

Entertainment sound systems produce line-level stereo sound signals easily a thousand times louder than a microphone. That’s the -56dB specification if you’re keeping score. You can’t easily cross them without something really bad happening.