Recording analog sources with a combined audio jack (win7)

Hello there,

I recently bought my first notebook ever. But I have some problems figuring out how I can record from analog audio devices (tape deck, turntable) with these combined audio jacks. I couldn’t find a solution for this online, but I cannot believe that I’m the only one having this problem. So if there is a relevant how-to, I’d be glad if you could redirect me there.

I am using Audacity 2.0.5 and windows 7 ultimate x64 on a thinkpad T440p (20AWS02A00). The thinkpad has a Realtek ALC292 soundcard installed which has a combined audio jack. My setup for recording would be a doubled sided male 3.5 stereo audio jack cable that connects my thinkpad to the headphone jack of my yamaha amp. The problem is that when I connect the cable to the thinkpad, windows7 thinks I plugged speakers in and I can’t select it as audio source in Audacity. I haven’t found a way to define it as an audio source in the windows7 sound devices properties/preferences and the “Realtek HD Audio-Manager” is of no help there either.

(While trying to get this fixed, I guess there were coming signals from both ways (the thinkpad and the audio power amplifier). Can this potentionally damage one of the two devices?)

You need a line-level input. Most laptops don’t have it. (It’s the blue connection on a desktop soundcard.)

The least expensive solution is usually the [u]Behringer UCA202[/u]. There all kinds of higher-end USB audio interfaces, but beware of “regular USB soundcards”. Most USB soundcards are like laptops with only mic-in and headphone-out. The UCA202 should be fine for digitizing LPs & tapes. If you were recording “live” with a microphone, something higher-end (with XLR mic connectors and high quality mic preamps, etc.) might be appropriate.

…which has a combined audio jack.

Do you have any more information on that?

Sometimes the microphone input can be configured as line-in. Most laptops only have microphone-in and headphone-out. The headphone-out can be used as line-out.

…to the headphone jack of my yamaha amp.

If your amplifier has line-outs, or “preamp” or “tape” outputs, that should give you a higher-quality signal. (These normally have [u]RCA connectors[/u], and you’ll need different cables/adapters.)

(While trying to get this fixed, I guess there were coming signals from both ways (the thinkpad and the audio power amplifier). Can this potentionally damage one of the two devices?)

The general rule is, “Never connect two OUTPUTS together.” Yes. There is a slight risk of damaging something, but more-likely you’ll just get distortion and signal loss. And one output might “dominate”, killing the other’s signal (depending on the impedances). This is not related to what you are trying to do, but if you wanted to combine two signals together, say the output from your tape machine and the output from your phono preamp, you need to use a mixer. However, it is generally OK to connect two INPUTS together, such as running two amplifiers from the same CD player, or sending a signal to the computer for recording and to your amplifier for listening at the same time.

Darnit, thought I might be able to use the external mic input for that as well :<

When I display all devices (incl deactivated and not plugged in), there are two outpout devices:
-Speaker/Headphones (standard device)
-Realtek HD Audio 2nd output (this is what windows wants to use when I plugged in the stereo mini jack to mini jack-cable)
The input tab only shows two devices as well:
-Microphone (standard device)
-External Mic (activated, but not connected. Cannot be configured like that (button is greyed out))

(offtopic: Wtf? No stereo mix?! Wah!)

Yes, actually I do have the relevant cables, but my cable setup at the amp is a bit weird. I’d have to crawl behind my stack every time I want to record something. And most of the time I’m just digitizing tape recordings from the rehearsal room for practising purposes. So I just plug it into the headphone-out and bypass the bass/treble/loudness-settings.
Normally I’d do all this with my desktop pc anyway, but my desktop is having major troubles and I couldn’t figure out yet which component is causing the problems. And, well, I wanted to be able to use a line-in with my notebook as well. But I’m beginning to think that the soundcard that is installed in my thinkpad is a low end consumer product :confused:

Alright, thanks.

Plug in your cable, right-click over Speakers/Headphones in Windows “Sound” and make it default device. Then unplug the cable. Hopefully Windows will then remember that Speakers/Headphones is default next time you plug-in.

Try Windows WASAPI looback in Audacity if you want to record computer playback: Audacity Manual .

Start a new topic if you have questions about that.

It’s not a professional recording device, nor is a computer with one audio port :wink:


Yes it does. But I really don’t quite get how this is supposed to help. Still can’t define it as input.

Works with WASAPI, thank you very much.

Well, I’m not trying to do professional recordings. I’m trying to figure out how I can record analog devices with this notebook at all.

But if I understood correctly, this is not possible without an usb audio interface. Bummer :frowning:

I don’t have any computers with only one audio port (and would never buy one like that) so I can’t tell you where exactly to look. Do you have a manual for the computer that you can look at? One place you could look is in the Windows Control Panel, to see if there is a control panel for the sound card itself. You may find an option that forces the jack to be an input when an input is connected.

There may also be an option to “tie up” or “separate” the audio jack outputs and/or inputs, but since you can already see separate inputs and outputs, I expect that is already set to “separate” and you should leave it like that.

If all else fails, right-click over the “Speakers/Headphones” and disable it. Right-click over the second output and disable it. What happens now if you connect the recording cable?

Even if that lets you record the external mic, as DVDdoug says, you still need a USB device for line level input. That is unless the sound card control panel has a way to switch the mic input to line level.