Mic jack overload


I’ve been using the built in mic jack on my laptop for recording (mostly guitar and voice), and now it seems to be broken. Audacity still shows big spikes of noise when I pull the plug out while recording, which I would assume means the jack is still recording something, but apart from that it only records static noise. To be honest it always took some patience to get it to work properly, often requiring pulling the plug out and putting it back in, twisting it around a bit, that kind of stuff, but now it seems genuinely dead. I found some information about mic jacks and overloading, but don’t know if it causes actual damage or just ruins the recording. Is it possible to permanently damage the jack by recording at too high levels? And if so, is there a cheap alternative to using the mic jack? I’m willing to spend some money, but not much more than 30-40 €/$

Thanks in advance.

Microphone and guitar are different, and I don’t mean in the obvious way. Direct guitar signals, particularly if you like head-banging, screaming playing are really large and they will overload the Mic-In of your computer. It’s best to use an interface with a connection for guitars, or, failing that, use a high-level Line-In connection rather than a Mic-In.

Depending on the type of microphone you have, that should have worked. The connection on most sound cards has power going up the cable to run computer microphones or headsets…


…and it does that pretty well. You can make up an adapter so the connection will work with regular microphones, too. If you’ve been doing this for a while, you may have permanently damaged the jack. Sound cards are cheap and easily damaged with constant use.

The problem will be to replace it. We recommend the Behringer UCA-202 for stereo Line In and Line-Out…


…and that will handle the guitar, but it doesn’t have any microphone abilities. We’ll see what the other elves have to say. How do you have the guitar connected? Direct or through a microphone?