hp mininote and audacity

I have worked through quite a lot of advice on input selection without sorting this one. I guess my problem is specific to my hardware/software package, so have just posted the following on an HP forum. Repeating it here in hope …

I’ve got an HP 2133 Mininote with Vista Home Basic, which is rather pretty but sadly underused over the years because of being, whisper it, a bit slow. I want to use it with my hi-fi system to make MP3 files. Got Audacity and connected the headphone socket of a portable minidisk player into the microphone socket of the Mininote, which seems to be the only audio-in option?

Well, I’ve tried all day and I’ve troubleshooted all night and I can’t get the chosen minidisk to play either through the machine speakers or in Audacity. The cable and plugs work okay plugged into my Brennan MP3 deck. I guess it’s something to do with selecting for line input rather than mike input but I’ve tried everything I can think of without success. I can find references to people using Mininotes for audio recording so there must be a simple solution. Tried downloading a new audio driver. Tried a dozen FAQ lists. Anybody been here and knows the way out?

Having a quick look at the mini-note specification, it seems that the microphone socket is what it says - a “microphone” socket, thus not suitable for connecting a headphone output to it. Even if you do manage to get it working with the mic socket I’d not be surprised if the recording quality was (whisper it - crap). Probably the best solution would be to get an inexpensive USB sound card. The Mini-note seems to only two USB ports (one each side), so you could still use one other USB device if necessary (USB audio devices should not generally be connected via a USB hub).

I can’t guarantee this will work, but even if it doesn’t you could still use the USB device on a different computer. I use a Behringer UCA 202 (about $30) which I have no hesitation recommending - it’s done me good service for many years and the sound quality is exceptionally good for such a cheap device.

Thanks Steve. A new sound card would be wild frontier for me and I guess I’ve then got to somehow link it to the software to get it recognised … but I’ll look it up if it’s the only solution. Actually, I think at some point in the past I did get a recording of sorts doing it my way, before I got various functions stripped out to slim the whole thing down, but as you guess, it was a bit crap.

Many USB audio devices work fine with generic Windows drivers (the UCA 202 does), so it should be “plug and play”.

It’s possible that you may have stripped out something that you shouldn’t have.

Just a thought, since this is a relatively low powered machine - do you have access to a Windows XP installation disk? You would probably find that XP (up to service pack 2) runs a lot faster than Vista, and if it’s not going on the Internet you don’t need to worry about firewalls, anti-virus or many of the other security issues.

Alternatively, have you ever used Linux? Apparently the Mini-Note’s were originally released with an option for using Linux as the OS. There are several lightweight “distributions” (versions) of Linux that are well suited to old or low powered machines.

Thanks - I might well try a new operating system.