Recording Cajun (boxdrum) with pickup via Jack-USB lead

I tried 3 different microphones to record my Cajun (boxdrum) and was not impressed. So I installed a pickup in the Cajun and was even less impressed. The sound recorded via Jack-USB lead to my notebook didn’t even register. In fact I suspected that the pickup might be faulty, but when I jacked directly into a mixing desk and sound system it worked well.

Earlier on in my trials, I did change Windows audio settings to not optimise, so that I could record all sounds and not just voice. So that is not the problem.

But now I am thinking that my Asus VivoBook might be useless for recording and mixing.

Does anyone else have a similar experience and find a solution?

Unless your “jack-USB lead” has active electronics built-in to it, that’s not going to work. Need an A/D converter somewhere to get microphone signal into a computer. As you’ve found a mixer is the solution.

There are ~$30 audio interfaces which contain an A/D converter which allow you to connect audio equipment to a USB. e.g.

I am using a USB to 6.35/TS cable that does have built-in A/D digital signal conversion. When plugged in, the USB end, which is more bulky than usually, flashes a green LED.

But a pamphlet recommends using a “Phantom Power” with it. So maybe the signal needs boosting.

Most confusing because the Mikes are USB also and I do get a signal from them, although not as strong as I think it should be.

IIRC those are specifically for electric guitars.
The signal from a dynamic-mic is much less than from electric guitar pickups.
A pre-amp/mixer could bring the dynamic-mic signal up to the correct level.

Computer mics and stage/studio mics are not interchangeable, and the mic preamp built-into most soundcards/laptops is poor quality.

Most people with home studios use “pro” mics (low impedance balanced with XLR connectors) and an audio interface, or there are mixers with USB.

There are also some decent studio-style USB “podcast mics”.

That’s a “design feature” if the mic doesn’t have a recording volume control. It’s important that you don’t clip (overload and distort) the analog-to-digital converter built-into the mic, so if there is no (analog) control the mic can’t be too sensitive.

Studio condenser mics need 48V phantom power which is supplied from the interface or mixer. Dynamic mics don’t need power. Soundcards/laptops supply 5V (not “phantom”) for electret condenser computer mics.

With any acoustic instrument, room acoustics affect the sound and the recording is unlikely to sound the same as the live instrument (that’s before considering the quality of the playback system).

A pickup will remove acoustic effects but it’s still going to sound “different”.

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