hissing sound/low volume

I am using Audacity version 2.0.3 with Windows 8. I am recording an acoustic guitar directly into my laptop mic input using a small Aiwa stereo mic. On playback I hear a loud hissing sound and the volume of the instrument is very low. I have used this same configuration on one Windows XP machine and had no problems. I usedit on another machine with Windows XP and had this same problem. Is there any resolution to this problem? Thanks.

Most laptop PCs have very poor quality built in recording. Very occasionally we come across a laptop where microphone recording is not too bad, but that is very much the exception. I’d not be at all surprised if this is just a limitation of the built-in microphone input.

There is a huge topic here about recording acoustic guitar: https://forum.audacityteam.org/t/budget-usb-mic-for-classical-guitar-recording-needed/12367/1

I am recording an acoustic guitar directly into my laptop mic input using a small Aiwa stereo mic.

Is that a “computer mic”?

You can try the [u]Windows Microphone Boost[/u].

If you are using a desktop computer, make sure you are using the mic input (usually pink), not the line-input (usually blue).

The mic input on some computers/soundcards is mono.

The microphone preamp on most consumer soundcards is poor quality, and it’s the wrong interface for any studio/performance mic which will have a low-impedance balanced connection with an XLR connector. For good-quality recording, you generally need a good microphone and an audio interface with an XLR connection ([u]example[/u]), or a preamp or mixer with an XLR connection into your soundcard’s line-in. (The line-input is more-often acceptable.)

Another option is a “studio style” USB mic (not a communications or gaming mic). A USB mic will bypass the computer’s soundcard. Usually, that’s more economical than buying a separate mic & interface. There are a few stereo USB mics available. (USB mics are not good for multi-tracking or live performance.)

For acoustic guitar, a condenser mic is usually the best choice. Good acoustics and mic position are also important!