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Old May 28th, 2009, 09:00 AM   #1
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I'm stumped, could it be a bad soundcard?

I just put together a new video edit system at work. Avid Media Composer 3.5 on an Avid qualified Dell T5400. It has a Soundblaster X-fi which is working fine with the Avid software for monitoring. I had wanted to get either a USB or firewire interface for audio, but with the state budget crisis in full force I was lucky to get the computer and software.

So here's the problem, I went to record some narration yesterday, installed Audacity, for the time being, have the mic (Rode NT2a) to the Mackie mixer to the dbx compressor to the line input. I have the line input selected in the software, and I get... bupkis, nada, nuttin.

Now I first considered that maybe I was plugged into the wrong input so I tried them all via software, still nothing. then I move the plug into the mic input. Got a lovely overdriver sound (as expected since I was feeding a line level to a mic input) so it seems the signal chain works up until the Sound card.

I have the latest drivers for the soundcard, so that's not it. Could it just be a bad line in jack? Though I'm not even getting noise, its flatlined.
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Old May 28th, 2009, 09:34 AM   #2
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Did you check the record settings on the Windows Mixer control? (double click the speaker icon in your tray. Choose "options", "properties" and select "recording".) You may not have the correct input selected, or perhaps the gain is turned down.
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Old May 28th, 2009, 09:39 AM   #3
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Thanks Vito,

I've done that. In all the software, the windows mixer and the Soundblaster software etc.
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Old May 28th, 2009, 09:45 AM   #4
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Okay.

Why are you feeding a line level to the sound card? Did you try mic level and selecting the mic input on the Windows Mixer?
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Old May 28th, 2009, 09:50 AM   #5
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I'm feeding line level in order to avoid the crappy mic amp in the sound card. It's the way I've done it for years, avoiding the mic input. In the OP I did say I plugged into the mic input and got sound, but it was extremely noisy and overdriven since it was line level into mic input.
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Old May 28th, 2009, 10:12 AM   #6
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In the OP I did say I plugged into the mic input and got sound, but it was extremely noisy and overdriven since it was line level into mic input.
Yeah, I read that. I just meant did you try feeding a mic level to the computer to see if you got a normal signal.

So you are saying your soundcard has separate line-in and mic jacks? There seem to be many variations of the xfi soundcard, but the one I'm looking at has a shared mic/line-in input.

When outputting line level signal to the soundcard, is there any chance you are plugging your cable into the headphone jack by mistake? I've made boneheaded moves like that many times.

So if you are not changing any connections on the soundcard, you're just changing the ouput connection on the mixer from mic to line-in?

Running out of questions here...
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Old May 28th, 2009, 10:32 AM   #7
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Well, I'll be darned! This card is listed on the invoice as X-fi Extreme Music (although it does not look like the pic on the Creative website, it more resembles the PCI Express Extreme Audio), it has five mini jacks and two optical, I was using what I presumed to be the line input, the pale green, by looking at one of the online diagrams, it was the third from the top, Mic, speaker then line. But looking at the Pci Express Extreme Audio, it is a shared mic/lilne jack and four speaker jacks... so what it comes down to is the wrong soundcard and jack config

But after I used my little iMic usb input and recorded what I needed (great little gizmo that is) I plugged into the mic input, and while I still had line selected I got sound. without changing cables I selected the mic input and got the same sound.

This system came from Dell, and while I got the CD with the outdated drivers on it, I did not receive a users guide, nor is there on on the CD. I remember when they used to send you paper products. ;) and like you said there are myriad versions of this soundcard so it's tough to tell which is which on the website.

Thanks for your help, problem solved.... in a variety of manners. lol
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Old May 28th, 2009, 10:42 AM   #8
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It's always something silly like that!

Glad you got it sorted out.
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Old May 28th, 2009, 10:52 AM   #9
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Hey, you found my voice demo somehow? Thanks for the nice comments.

I went to Ubisoft yesterday to work on motion capture for a game I doing a character in. "Assassin's Creed 2". It was way cool. I've never done motion capture before and it was fascinating to see it in action.
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Old May 28th, 2009, 11:37 AM   #10
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;-) your sig file lead me to the blog.

Motion capture, where they put the little styrofoam balls on you and capture it? When I worked in radio (late 80's early 90's), our sunday morning call screener was working for a place that was developing that tech. She would sit there on the phone, gluing little silver reflectors on the stryofoam balls.
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Old May 28th, 2009, 12:01 PM   #11
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Motion capture, where they put the little styrofoam balls on you and capture it? When I worked in radio (late 80's early 90's), our sunday morning call screener was working for a place that was developing that tech. She would sit there on the phone, gluing little silver reflectors on the stryofoam balls.
Yeah, exactly. But now it's a form-fitting spandex suit that they velcro little balls on. You do your scenes on a giant rectangular mat surrounded by orange lights and detectors of some kind. They had a giant screen up where you could see each ball being tracked in real time.

It was really neat.

By the way, I found your voice demo, too. Left you a comment :-)
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Old May 28th, 2009, 02:56 PM   #12
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If I remember right, the system was being developed by a sports medicine firm, with the goal to study body mechanics etc. fun to see something early on in it's development and then where it winds up. I'm constantly amazed with and frustrated by the speed with which technology advances. The changes I have seen in my lifetime are staggering. heck I grew up with rotary dial phones!

Thanks for listening to the demo, but I don't see a comment anywhere, maybe it didn't take? oh well.

I watched your acting demo too... lots of talent!
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Old May 28th, 2009, 03:14 PM   #13
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I'm constantly amazed with and frustrated by the speed with which technology advances. The changes I have seen in my lifetime are staggering. heck I grew up with rotary dial phones!
Yeah, my kid looks at me like I have two heads when I tell him that I grew up with no cell phones, microwave ovens, computers, mp3 players, child car seats, digital cameras, etc, etc. And I really lamented the loss of my rotary phones. They were such a better tactile experience then the buttons.

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Thanks for listening to the demo, but I don't see a comment anywhere, maybe it didn't take? oh well.
That's weird. I filled out the little form and pressed go. Maybe I didn't put my email. Does that matter?

Anyway, my comment was basically that I was expecting a heavy-duty radio sound, but in contrast found you had a nice natural delivery. You just need some other scripts to give it variety. The material is all too similar and doesn't give you a chance to show your range.

Quote:
I watched your acting demo too... lots of talent!
Now you're just messing with me.

Thanks a million for the great feedback.
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Old May 28th, 2009, 03:24 PM   #14
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okay you must have used the contact form that sends an email...an account I cannot access from work.

Thanks. I haven't really marketed the VO stuff in a while and you're right I do need more scripts, but what if that is the extent of my range. :lol: they are all from actual work, I have yet to "fake" any. and yes, most of my work is in the same genre, educational and training.

And I tell my kids we had only 3 or 4 TV channels and if we wanted to change it, we had to, get this, GET UP AND WALK ACROSS THE ROOM AND TURN THE DIAL!....

I do love my remote.
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