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Old April 28th, 2006, 01:53 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aviv Hallale
Well, I just did some tests with my Laptop...A lead from my PC line-out to my Laptop's Mic-In (I've heard some people say that that the mic-in on a laptop automatically adapts to Line-In when the situation arises) and recorded an MP3. The quality is suprisingly good, I had the Mic-in level set in between the bottom and first notch and there was no clipping whatsoever. Should I still invest in an iMic, or will this method suffice?

http://www.zastore.co.za/index.php?l...Bcat_id%5D=VCB Says it will only work with a Mac.
I've never heard of an auto-adapting mic/line input like that. That doesn't mean it doesn't exist, only that I've never heard of it. I know my older Dell laptop has separate line and mic inputs and they both are lousy because the on-board sound card is lousy.

Having the level between the bottom and the first mark tells me that it had not "auto adapted" and you would run a real danger of overloading the input on louder sounds.
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Old April 28th, 2006, 02:35 PM   #17
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The sound from my PC was being played at full Wave and Volume Balance...Do you think this is a safe indication that I might get a good recording of sound coming out of a mixer?
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Old April 29th, 2006, 07:45 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aviv Hallale
The sound from my PC was being played at full Wave and Volume Balance...Do you think this is a safe indication that I might get a good recording of sound coming out of a mixer?
I would be very cautious. Can you set your mixer to deliver a mic level output?

The mic preamps and the A/D converters in your laptop's internal sound system are likely to be very marginal at best. Getting a sound recorded without gross distortion and getting good, usable, recordings for serious music and video work are two entirely different things.

Have you played back the sounds you recorded in your first test on a good quality audio system - preferrably studio monitors - or listened to it through a pair of truly professional quality headphones? The built-in speakers on a laptop, most desktop computer speaker systems, and the typical computer accessory or mp3 player headphones are NOT adequate for evaluating the quality of your recording.
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Old April 29th, 2006, 04:49 PM   #19
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I listened to it through my PCs 5.1 sound system and it sounds pretty good, but I am worrying that there'll be higher output from the mixert than from my soundcard when I did that test...I don't need crystal clear audio, just something listenable.
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Old April 29th, 2006, 05:47 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aviv Hallale
I listened to it through my PCs 5.1 sound system and it sounds pretty good, but I am worrying that there'll be higher output from the mixert than from my soundcard when I did that test...I don't need crystal clear audio, just something listenable.
Whether your 5.1 sound system is giving you a clear picture of what your recording really sounds like remains to be seen. There's a LOT of differences in quality of various computer speaker systems, ranging from fairly good down to downright awful. And remember, what sounds awsome with games or recreational music listening is not necessarily what you want for monitoing and evaluating audio recording - there you need accuracy more than anything else. It's not for nothing that monitor speakers for professional audio workstations can easily run well over a thousand dollars apiece. Take a look at product lines like Mackie, Genelec, DynAudio to name a few and you'll see what I mean. That's not to say you need to spend thousands of dollars to do good work but you do need to give your options some care and attention.

If you're recording sound to use in your video productions you need to record the best possible sound you can get. Merely "listenable" won't cut it with your audiences - people forgive less-than-perfect video but they won't forgive poor sound. You need as close to "crystal clear audio" as is practical for you to achieve - trust us on this one <grin>.

I'm not sure what you mean by "higher output from the mixer than from the soundcard." Aren't you thinking of feeding your stage mics to the mixer which you'd then feed in turn to the laptop's soundcard mic input? If that's the case, instead of turning the input level on soundcard all the way down to the bottom of the scale to avoid overload, either set the mixer's output to mic level if possible or add an inline attentuating pad to drop the line level down to mic level. If you have to set the soundcard's level much below mid-scale to avoid going into the red, you're very likely to overload the input on loud peaks before the signal ever even gets to the level control.

I and several others gave a recommendation earlier that I'll repeat -- the Echo "Indigo" PCMCIA card audio interface is a thoroughly professional quality sound I/O device for a laptop at a *very* reasonable price. I have an Echo Audiofire 8 on my desktop and can personally attest to the quality of their products. There are others on the market as well but whichever you ultimately go with I'd strongly suggest you give something along those lines some careful consideration.
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Old April 30th, 2006, 05:29 AM   #21
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All the mics into a mixer and then the mixer into my Laptop is what I had in mind, but when I did a test at home I had the line-out from my PC into my speaker and recorded some sound from my PC, that's why I'm worried that the output on a mixer will be much more powerful than the output from my PC.

The business venture I'm pursuing is relativly small scale and a lot cheaper than full professional live productions. The stuff I'd be recording is for quasi-professional (ie teenage) bands, so I don't think their TV soundsystems are any better than my Logitech PC speakers...I can't seem to find the Indigo at any local stores, but the iMic is quite available and about half the price...Do you think this would cut it?
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Old April 30th, 2006, 06:22 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aviv Hallale
All the mics into a mixer and then the mixer into my Laptop is what I had in mind, but when I did a test at home I had the line-out from my PC into my speaker and recorded some sound from my PC, that's why I'm worried that the output on a mixer will be much more powerful than the output from my PC.

The business venture I'm pursuing is relativly small scale and a lot cheaper than full professional live productions. The stuff I'd be recording is for quasi-professional (ie teenage) bands, so I don't think their TV soundsystems are any better than my Logitech PC speakers...I can't seem to find the Indigo at any local stores, but the iMic is quite available and about half the price...Do you think this would cut it?
Griffin has a rep for decent products so I'm sure it will work as advertised. Whether the resulting sound is going to be any better than using your laptop's existing sound system is also anyone's guess at the moment - I've never used one so I can't say one way or the other. But one thing is for certain, you just can't plug a line level output from your mixer into a mic level input and being safe from overload because you're keeping the laptop's level setting all the way at the bottom of its range. Teenaged bands particularly tend to equate "loud" with "good" so when you're recording live you're going to have some very high levels to contend with.

What mixer are you using? Does it provide unbalanced outputs?
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Old April 30th, 2006, 06:34 AM   #23
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Usually a different mixer for different gigs, the house mixer. But they're big...With lots of knobs. If that helps. :P

I understand that the echo is a soundcard of its own, but is the iMic like that too, or is it just an adapter?
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Old April 30th, 2006, 07:37 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aviv Hallale
Usually a different mixer for different gigs, the house mixer. But they're big...With lots of knobs. If that helps. :P

I understand that the echo is a soundcard of its own, but is the iMic like that too, or is it just an adapter?
It's a soundcard AFAIK - Griffin doesn't publish any specs, at least I haven't found any, which in itself is off-putting. You have to consider it to be in the "toy" category IMHO. My take is it would be fine for listening to your "toonz" on your laptop or playing around with recording but it's probably not going to be up to the demands of video production where you expect to get paid for your efforts. The fact that your business is just starting out and is small scale doesn't mean it's not a real business and so it's ok to approach it in half-a***d manner. If you want it to grow into a profession where you'll earn your living, you have to approach it with the attitude "Good enough, never is." That doesn't mean you have to spend a fortune on top of the line gear right now - by all means be creative in figuring out how to get champagne results on a beer budget - but it does mean you have to think like a pro and do whatever it takes to get the job done right. You may be on a beer budget but you can't deliver beer-level results to your clients and grow a sucessful business.
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Old May 1st, 2006, 12:23 PM   #25
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On the Griffin page, the tech-specs for the iMic are:

$35!

We’re not trying to be flip here – well, maybe a little bit, but there’s a reason. In order for us to develop and supply a $35 audio device, it was necessary for that product to be specification independent. Because it’s not a professional device (which would require exact specs for demanding pros), but rather a consumer device that fills a very definite need and price for non-professionals, we have to be able to adjust to changes in the raw materials markets. Otherwise, the extremely low price of the iMic could potentially fluctuate and we might have to deal with unnecessary shortages. So our engineers made the decision to keep the iMic within certain basic parameters and not release a detailed spec sheet. The iMic will always do 24 bit A/D and D/A conversion internally, and it will record and playback at 16 bit, 48 kHz. The quality of the iMic has never before been available at anywhere near its price, and we’re extremely proud of it. Having said that, we feel if exact specifications are that crucial to your project, you might be better served with one of the products costing hundreds of dollars more.

So that isn't that informative, but the fact that the iMic is less than half the price of the Indigo card (which I can't seem to find locally) appeals to me...Will the iMic itself be a lot better sounding than my original method of Line-out to Mic-In?

Also, my Laptop has about 6gb HDD space left...Is this enough for only audio? How much space would forty five minutes of a recording at 48khz use?
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Old May 1st, 2006, 12:44 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aviv Hallale
....

So that isn't that informative, but the fact that the iMic is less than half the price of the Indigo card (which I can't seem to find locally) appeals to me...Will the iMic itself be a lot better sounding than my original method of Line-out to Mic-In?

...
For the Indigo and other interfaces, have you checked music stores that have a good audio recording section or have you just been checking computer stores? If SA is anything like here in the Toronto area, the computer stores have next to nothing usable for audio and video production other than CPUs, monitors, disk drives, and the like. For mics, mixers, headphones, audio cards & interfaces, software & plugins, etc, you need to go to a sound speciality shop.
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Old May 1st, 2006, 02:27 PM   #27
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The shop I checked in was a PC place and the salesperson told me such adapters don't exist. So I guess you're right :P

I think that at the moment I'm going to go with the iMic, it has to be better than nothing at all, right?
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Old May 1st, 2006, 03:13 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by Aviv Hallale
The shop I checked in was a PC place and the salesperson told me such adapters don't exist. So I guess you're right :P

I think that at the moment I'm going to go with the iMic, it has to be better than nothing at all, right?
That remains to be seen. You're trying to start a business, music videos will be a present focus of that business, and musicians (either professional or aspiring) will be your key clients. Quality sound is likely to be key to your success and poor quality sound could condemn you to failure.

Found this link by googling for a South African source for you ...
http://www.mio.co.za/article.php?cat=&id=285
and they quote at the bottom of the article the following price for the Indigo...
Price: R1695 incl. VAT
Available from: CRN, call them on 011-315-6687
More info: www.echoaudio.com
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Old May 1st, 2006, 03:31 PM   #29
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Yeah, unfortunately they're based in Joburg, I'm in Cape
Town and have a thing about buying having stuff delivered
from online orders from some bad experiences...The main reason prices will be lower than more professional producers is precisely because the equipment is not as professional as what more money can buy.
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Old May 11th, 2006, 04:19 PM   #30
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Well, I got an iMic today for use with a Windows XP Dell Inspiron 4100. I'd like to be able to use it with Adobe Audition 1.5 but so far have encountered nothing but problems.

All connections are fine, the device is recognized and selected in the Sound settings, however when I try record in Audition, no signal comes through. I've tried changing the selected device from the iMic to"Wave Mapper" which seems to work, but only in Mono. I will be using the iMic to record live audio straight from the mixer. The test I did today was from my PC Line-Out into the iMic which went into my Laptop. How can I get Stereo Line-In sound? When connecting my PC to my Laptop's Mic-In the sound is stereo, but obviously the impedence is too high and the sound distorts easily.

Half the time, Audition gives problems with the iMic, saying it's the wrong type of device, the sample rate is wrong or the USB Bandwidth has been exceeded. This requires a reboot to start working again properly, but the slightest setting change will cause this problem again.

How can I get the iMic to work predictably and in Stereo when recording with Line-In?

Thanks.
Aviv
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