I am new to audacity. I’m trying to record vinyl, using a analog preamp-out and an adapter cable (to 3.5mm) to the computer (Win 7). When I try to record, the level is barely controlable, either all or nothing, practically. For trouble shooting, I’ve tried to plug this jack into another analog input, and it works fine. The next thing I can try is to use a iPod or music from my phone with a 3.5mm cable into the computer. Here’s the kicker: The input jack on the computer is a “hybrid jack”, both for a microphone, and stereo input. Blue/pink input. I does have the latest driver though. I can try another computer (load audacity, move the turnable, and preamp, etc), but that’s the last thing I want to do, because the whole process is time consuming, and I won’t be able to leave it set up that way. I have about 8 hours into this and I’m getting frustrated. Any help will be much appreciated. Thanks!
The input jack on the computer is a “hybrid jack”, both for a microphone, and stereo input. Blue/pink input.
Do you have a link to your computer specs? Is that a laptop or desktop/tower?
The combo jack should take a 4-conductor [u]TRRS plug[/u] for a mono microphone input and headphone output. A regular 3-conductor TRS plug will work for headphones but you need the special one to make the microphone connection. Cell phones also use a TRRS connector.
The blue connection on a regular soundcard is stereo line-in and that’s the one you want. A line level signal (the output from a preamp, etc.) is about 100 times stronger than a microphone signal.
If you don’t actually have a line-input, you’ll need a USB interface with line inputs. There are a couple of suggestions on [u]this page[/u]. Don’t buy a regular “USB soundcard” because they are like laptops with only mic-in and headphone-out.)
Okay, the computer is a Dell Optiplex 980, mini-tower. So, question, which will produce the better sound: a proper soundcard with the blue line-in jack, or a USB A to D converter from the turntable pre-amp? I’m thinking I won’t be able to find the four conductor jack you’ve referred to. Thanks.
I found some documentation for your computer and it’s a little “odd”. So, I don’t know how that mic/line connector works. I think it’s a regular 3-conductor connector that gets configured for microphone or line-input with software/drivers. is there an audio configuration utility, or does it ask, “What did you plug in?”
Since it’s color coded blue (line in) and pink (microphone), I think it should work with your preamp output if you can get it configured.
So, question, which will produce the better sound: a proper soundcard with the blue line-in jack, or a USB A to D converter from the turntable pre-amp?
A regular soundcard should work fine. I use a regular soundcard.
My “ideal preference” is something with an analog recording-level control like the [u]ART USB Phono Plus[/u] or a higher-end [u]audio interface[/u] with line inputs. The ART has a built-in phono preamp and switchable phono/line inputs. Switchable mic/line inputs are more common. If you’re going to adjust the recording volume, that needs to be done in analog before the analog-to-digital converter because if you clip your ADC, lowering digital volume doesn’t help. Digital recording levels are not critical like analog recording* (it doesn’t matter if your level are low) but you can’t go over 0dB and if you “try” you’ll get hard-clipping (distortion).
The Behringer UCA202 (line inputs) and UFO202 (switchable phono/line inputs) are popular and affordable but they don’t have recording volume controls.
For trouble shooting, I’ve tried to plug this jack into another analog input, and it works fine.
You mean you plugged the phono preamp output into your stereo, or TV, or something, right?
And you do have a phono preamp, right? (A mic preamp doesn’t have the RIAA equalization and it’s the wrong impedance).
I won’t be able to find the four conductor jack you’ve referred to.
That’s not what you want anyway… The extra connection is for a mono microphone. If you had a laptop with a mic/headphone combo jack, the analog input wouldn’t work properly and you’d need a USB audio interface.
- If you’re old enough to remember analog tape, you needed a hot signal to overcome tape noise but with digital recording… No tape noise so you can record a lot lower (and boost later digitally after recording). Also, analog tape can go over 0dB where tends to “soft clip” as you go a little higher so it was common to go occasionally “into the red”. Digital is absolutely hard-limited to 0dB.
Yes, I have a dedicated phono pre-amp.
I have plugged-in various (working) devices into the hybrid jack. When plugging-in, nothing on the monitor shows up, as in “you’ve plugged in a device”. If you go into control panel, it shows two inputs, one for the hybrid jack, and one for the front mic. That’s all.
By the way, I looked into the hybrid input (blue/pink), and there are only three pins inside.
I’ll try to talk to Dell tech support on Monday, if I don’t get any help, I’m going to find out what fits into the computer or get an external USB sound card.
Thanks for the help!
Things seem to be working correctly now. I don’t hear the input when recording (I guess this is normal) do but hear playback.
So first there was the driver issue, but what finally fixed it was, wait for it… contact cleaner! When I did a close inspection of the input jack, the contacts looked dull, so I thought it wouldn’t hurt, sure enough that was it!
Thanks again for the help.
Well done. Glad you’re up and running
Some dedicated pre-amps have a built in headphone socket which allows you to hear what is being recorded.
There’s another option when using a phono pre-amp (but not suitable for microphones), which is to loop back the audio through the computer via software. In Audacity this is called “Software Playthrough”, and it can be enabled in the “Transport Options” in the “Transport” menu.
Note that “software playthrough” is not instantaneous - it takes a bit of time for the sound to work it’s way through the computer and come out again (typically around half a second).
Well, still encountering problems. To trouble shoot, I used an iPod for an input device using a male to male 3.5 mm cord out of the headphone jack on the iPod. Audacity recordsthis fine. When I try to record records from my phone pre-amp it records with distortion at a high level, then drops down to nothing (just -50dB noise) within seconds. To continue troubleshooting, my amp on the stereo has a 3.5mm input on the front (what a concept, haha) so I compared the line levels of the two (turntable/pre-amp, and iPod) the turntable was a lot louder. So I then went to Audacity FAQ’s, and it says that if that if the volume drops off, to go into the sound card device settings to see if the sound suppression was turned on. No it wasn’t. Any help for this? Thank you, -John
it records with distortion at a high level, then drops down to nothing (just -50dB noise) within seconds
Automatic changes in volume sound like [u]Windows “enhancements”[/u] which should be turned-OFF.
And while you’re at it, make sure [u]Microphone Boost[/u] is turned OFf (all the way down) if you have that option with your setup/configuration.
so I compared the line levels of the two (turntable/pre-amp, and iPod) the turntable was a lot louder.
Since it’s probably just a little too loud (not like the difference between a microphone signal and line level) there are a couple of things you can do. If you have a headphone output that’s approximately line-level and there will be a volume control so you can use that. Or, you can get in-line audio attenuators. I like [u]this one[/u] because it’s adjustable. (It’s got RCA connectors so you may need adapter cables and you may need an adapter cable if you’ve got a 1/4-inch headphone output.)
I’m trying to record vinyl
I forgot my standard advice - Buy the CD or MP3/AAC if it’s available!
Haha, I want to transfer 200 records. Buying the MP3’s or CD’s will be a bit pricey. I’ve disabled or turned down everything I can in the realtek sound controller and in windows. When the sound does come through, it’s distorted. I’m thinking of trying the sound adjusting box you recommended from parts express.
So, I tried this: My phono cartridge is a MC. I switched the pe-amp to MM to reduce the gain. Any improvement??? No! It still goes quiet after a few seconds. Weird. -John
I agree with DVDdoug.