Monitor Gain Level and Mic Setup

Sorry guys im a newb, and i just bought a 3.5mm Microphone which im planing to record using Audacity.

-First Question, is how do i make sure that Audacity records through the plugged in microphone and not the onboard sound card/mic?

-Then i want to ask how can i set the gain level, because i want to capture loud noises, and there will be a lot of clipping if i dont set the gain levels correctly.

If you are using the latest version of Audacity there is an Audio Setup button where you can select your recording device. Sometimes the names/descriptions aren’t clear so scratch the microphone with your fingernail to make sure you’ve got the right one. On the older versions, click the microphone icon to select your recording device.

Also on the new version you’ll see an Extra menu at the too. Select that, then Mixer, then Recording Volume. If you’re recording a rock concert or gunshots, or something super-loud there is a possibility of the microphone clipping. In that case you’ll have to muffle the sound with a pillow or something like that. (Audacity won’t know if the mic is clipping so you may have to zoom-in and look at the waveform.)

There are 2 kinds of 3.5mm connections. Most newer laptops have a single mic-headphone combo jack and these need a 4-contact TRRS plug to make the microphone connection. If you have a mis-match you’ll need an adapter. (The headphone connections are interchangeable and don’t need an adapter.)

Most newer laptops have a single mic-headphone combo jack and these need a 4-contact TRRS plug to make the microphone connection.

That’s my question. Does yours have that? Dig in your machine instructions.

If not, you will have to use an adapter or preamplifier and digital adapter. Also, again depending on your machine, you may not have legacy USB connections.

There’s a note here that the first thing the microphone hits—the preamp—determines overload or clipping damage. You can’t fix it later digitally.


Ok so first things first. I got an HP Laptop 430G3 and an old Chuwi Hi8 Pro Tablet

My laptop shows a sign for both mic and headphone on the 3.5mm so i guess it supports it.
My tablet im not really sure. On the website it says 3.5mm headphone support but on the general specs it says mic supported (maybe it means internal mic)

Ok so i tried the mic and it worked on both systems. I tapped it and it showed that sound is recorded from there.

If its from the 3.5" input the device name remains the same since i gues the actual device is the sound card and not the mic itself, so the system switched from internal mic to the plugged in one.

Ok so im trying to record my motorcycle ride and capture the engines and exhaust sound but the result seems pretty poor so far. Since the input levels are loud i tried lowering recording level to 75% but still sound is not clear and crisp.

Could it be due to the included sound card or the mic is not good enough? How much of a difference does the computer systems sound card actually make?

I’d be mostly worried about wind noise…

Can you get a better result with the mic behind the bike when it’s not moving?

I don’t think it’s the “quality” of the mic or soundcard but you might be overloading it. A cheap mic might have poor frequency response and a soundcard can be (slightly) noisy. Frequency response is important with music, and noise is a problem if you’re trying to record something like a violin or an audiobook where the quiet parts need to be silent. With loud sounds, the sound drowns-out the (electrical) noise. (Of course you will have wind noise and other mechanical-acoustic noises.)

Audacity can “show red” for digital [u]clipping[/u] (the digital level “trying” to go over 0dB. View → [u]Show Clipping[/u].

If the mic itself is clipping the only way to know is to zoom-in on the loud parts of the waveform to see if it looks clipped or “limited”.

You might try adjusting sound with the Equalizer effect after recording.

My laptop shows a sign for both mic and headphone on the 3.5mm so i guess it supports it.

It seems like you’ve confirmed the mic is working but it should have a connector like [u]this[/u] with the extra microphone contact.

I didnt actually take my bike for a ride until i can confirm the setup to be accepted. I just recorded near the exhaust while the bike was stationary and was idling.

My mic is Called Puluz PU424 and it has a deadcat on, and i plan on setting it under the drivers seat.

Of course it was clipping and that is why i set the recording level to 75%. Im a newb and i dont know the basics of audio recording so what do you suggest i can do besides that to avoid clipping due to the loudness of the things i want to record?

Since its working why should have to buy a separete adapter and have the mic plugged in there?

Since its working why should have to buy a separete adapter and have the mic plugged in there?

Your mic has the correct connector so you don’t need an adapter.
I’m not sure what you can do (easily) about the clipping if turning-down the recording volume doesn’t help. You can try packing something around the mic to muffle the sound but that will tend to muffle the high frequencies more than the lows so you might still get clipping. (You can use EQ to re-boost the highs.)

Looking at the specs the mic does seem to have high sensitivity which is good for quiet sounds but it’s more likely to clip with loud sounds.

You could use a dynamic mic (which have no internal electronics) but I don’t know of any dynamic “computer mics” and you still could clip the soundcard’s input. The most famous microphone of all time, the Shure SM57/58 is virtually impossible to clip. Then you’d need a USB audio interface with a stage/studio mic input (a balanced XLR microphone connection). Then if the interface clips you could get an inline XLR attenuator. Or some interfaces have switchable mic/line inputs to bypass the microphone preamp and that can work if you have a dynamic mic and super-loud sound.

But… You still might not get the sound you’re looking for… Recorded sounds through speakers or headphones rarely sound like the real thing. And most people don’t have speakers that can put-out the volume of a loud motorcycle! :wink:

lavalier mics are not designed to record motorcycle engine/exhaust a few inches away.
I think you’d have to wrap the lavalier in thick foam/cloth, (rather than the dead-cat, to desensitize it).

Even if you have mic gain control on your phone app recorder it may still be necessary to desensitize the lavalier with wrapping to obtain a recording which is not extremely distorted.

Headphones & earbuds can be used as insensitive dynamic microphones,
e.g. …

Besides the Deadcat it has this foam in the package that you are saying. So perhaps it is better to use this 1st one instead you say?

AFAIK youtubers that are moto Vloggers are using LAv mics, its not like you can use other kind of mic while riding a bike in high speeds. So if its not better to have it under the seat which is closer to the engine and the exhaust, maybe if i put it under my helmet? But while it capture the sounds clearly then or will they be muffled or muted out…

Have you tried recording directly to your phone ?