Mic/Line vs. High Gain/ Low Gain

I have been looking for some information for four days and decided that surely someone here could help me.

I have been using Audacity for a couple of years with a Dell laptop, Behringer preamp/mixer (non-USB), and some Shure and Behringer condensor mics. My Dell has a single audio input and it must be internally configured for mic or line input.

Now to my issue…the Acer Aspire One. I would buy one within the hour if I knew that Audacity and the preamp/mixer would work with it. There are fellows saying they have Audacity going good on their XP OS and their Aspires, but no where can I find information about the single audio input.

Acer talks about “high-gain” and “low-gain” mic inputs. Is this just their way of saying that “low gain” is for a line input expecting a volt or so, and “high-gain” is for the low outputs of mics? This seems intuitive but when I am spending money, I will use good information; not intuition.

I can handle the computer business if the capabilites are there to start with.

Thanks, fellows, for your comments.

Ken C.

We miss a setting that the earlier microphone channels had – that 20dB Boost thing. That was frequently the difference between getting a microphone to work with your computer and not. That could be High and Low microphone.

But you’re right, that’s not the difference between Line -In (0dBv) and Mic-In (-60dBv). Some thousand to one difference.

While you’re trying to decide, borrow somebody’s Mac. They all have world-class stereo high level Line-In connections and interface with a mixer beautifully (but have no idea what to do with a microphone).


Koz, a Mac might be a good idea, but can I get a Mac with a 9" screen the size of the Acer Aspire One…and for less than $300? There are some digital stereo, solid-memory recorders, but the good ones are near this price and they won’t let me go on line or keep up with business on the road.

My Dell is great but it is strange to say that I now consider the laptop too large.

Ken C.

Doesn’t your phone have a Line-In? Isn’t there an App for that?


Koz, I am sorry but I do not understand the question. The (micro)phones are SM57 and SM58, and the Berhringer, a B-1… no “line” values about them. They go into my Berhringer preamp/mixer and that thing’s line output goes to the only audio input the Dell has.

I have a switch box plugged into the Dell earphone output, and the mixer earphone output, and this lets me monitor the recording with a good headset and then I can hear the play-back over the same headset.

Are you suggesting connecting the earphone output from the preamp/mixer into the audio input of the Aspire?

Ken C.

<<<Koz, I am sorry but I do not understand the question. >>>

That’s a take-off on the iPhone having an application for everything. I want to [fill in the job]. There’s an App for that!

I don’t know why you’re carrying around a heavy NetBook. Record it all on your iPhone.

But down here on Earth, you still don’t need the NetBook. I may be the only person you know that doesn’t use a Zoom personal recorder. Excellent voice and sound tracks, external microphone connections, and it fits in the other pocket from your iPhone. Transfer the sound files to the computer of your choice and edit your brains out.

One of things that got significantly short-changed in the NetBooks is I/O. Just not as many connections as there used to be, and in the case of Windows machines, there weren’t that many to begin with.


Thanks, Koz.

I can’t get interested in iPhones.

Yes, I have been looking at the Zoom type recorders. I play around and I have gotten a little tired of all the going back and forth people are doing recording open mics. It seems to take forever changing mics around and then with all that equipment, the recordings still do not materialize.

I guess I will forget the Aspire unless I can get my hands on one to test. I am also considering a small solid memory video recorder. I saw one at a recent show and I was impressed with how well it worked.

But the Aspire sure is cute.

Ken C.

Yes there are some great little gadgets around these days at quite reasonable prices, but the sound quality is one thing that tends to let them down, particularly for music. They invariably use “Automatic Gain Control” which makes a complete mess of the music.

<<<They invariably use “Automatic Gain Control” which makes a complete mess of the music.>>>

Which may be one of the reasons the Zoom is so popular. You can turn all that auto stuff off.


Better than that - it’s off by default (with an option to turn on AGC if you specifically want it for some reason).