So, for a couple years, I’ve been using a 70’s-era turntable to record vinyl, through the turntable’s headphone port, to my laptop via Audacity. The cable I’ve been using has one of those 1/4" adapters on one end in order to plug into the turntable’s headphone port. For clarity’s sake, my set-up is as follows: 70’s turntable > 1/4" headphone jack adapter > mini-stereo cable > mini-headphone port on laptop running Audacity.
This always worked fine. Now, when I plug my adapter-wearing stereo cable, it causes a lot of static in Audacity. Like, a ridiculous amount of static. Using noise removal would be futile. That could mean a couple things.
First, I thought, hey, maybe this stereo cable is bad. So I took the adapter off of it, and plugged it into my iPod. Then I played a song on my iPod and tried to record that through Audacity. It was crystal clear. Not only did this tell me that the cable was fine, but it also made me think that my sound card is fine too. If my sound card was fried, it wouldn’t discriminate between recording off an iPod and recording off a turntable, right?
Second, I checked to see if the adapter was working. I popped it on my earphones, and plugged it into the headphone port on the turntable. It sounded fine. It had the distinctive crackle that vinyl provides, but there was nothing like the overwhelming static that Audacity was picking up. For good measure, I tried the adapter again on some headphones. I got the same result.
Thirdly, I plugged the adapter back on the original stereo cable, but instead of plugging the adapted end into the turntable, I left it out in open air and started recording. The static wasn’t happening. It was dead quiet, as one would expect, with little pops and cracks as I tapped the end of the adapter. Y’know. For fun.
Once I plugged it into the turntable’s headphone port, however, the static started again.
So. To recap. My adapted stereo cables hisses when it’s plugged into my laptop. When I adapt headphones with the very same adapter, I hear no hissing. When I record with the adapter outside of my turntable, there is, again, no hissing. Finally, when I record from something that isn’t the turntable, but while using the same stereo cable, there’s no hissing. It’s like God is angry with me, but only enough to annoy me.
What’s the problem, my lieges?