basic recording setup for acoustic guitar?


I’m a beginner with a question: I want to use Audacity to record acoustic guitar and voice. I have an old professional-quality Sure mic. What is the best way to hook the mic up to my computer?

I have an adaptor that allows me to hook a 1/4" jack on the microphone connector (I think the mic’s connector is an XLR connector—does that make sense?). But the 1/4" jack obviously won’t connect to the computer. So I guess the question is, what kind of adaptor or interface do I need in order to plug a 1/4" jack or an XLR connector into the computer.

I’m basically looking for a cheap or mid-priced approach that will give me decent recording quality. I don’t know if this helps, but I do have a firewire port on the computer.

Thanks in advance for any help.

Ben C.

You got dangerously close to telling us what kind of computer you have.


Ah, right, the computer. It’s a Dell PC. It’s got a 1/8" microphone port, and I think it has a line-in port that also accepts a 1/8" jack.

Basically my question is: I’ve got a Sure mic with what I think is an XLR connector. Should I try to get an adaptor that will allow me to plug the mic directly into a 1/8" port on the computer? Or do I need some sort of mixer or other interface between the mic and the computer? If so, what’s a cheap option?

Thanks to anyone who can throw me a bone.


So it has three gold male pins like this, right?

The Correct way to do this is amplify the microphone signal in a microphone mixer or preamplifier to a much higher level. The high level signal is then applied to the Line-In of your sound card in the computer. This one and a Mac computer does it for me allthough your mileage may vary.

The Digital Split gives us USB microphones which come out of the box and plug right into your computer USB port. The down side is you can never get any further away from your computer than one USB cable–which generally, can’t be extended.

There are microphone mixers that have analog inputs and USB outputs.

Those last two options work for most people, but I can’t unconditionally recommend them because Audacity sometimes has troubles with USB audio.

I bought a little StarTech USB to Audio adapter [icusbaudio] and when I can get it to work, it’s quite nice, but USB Audio services are a pain.

You can certainly plug your XLR microphone into the Mic-In of your computer with enough adapters, but you may not be able to get enough volume out of the performance without amplifying it in post production. Also there’s the mechanical problem of all that weight hanging off one little 1/8" connector."&kw=1%2F4+to+1%2F8&parentPage=search


Missed a step.

The Mic-In of your computer is fundamentally different from the Line-In. Line-In is stereo and Mic-In is mono and the connectors may look the same, but they’re not.

All this is in addition to the Line signal being 1000 times bigger than the Mic.


Thanks for the reply. That’s very helpful. I think I’ll shop around for a cheap preamp.