bbowens

Mic for recording meetings to laptop

11 posts in this topic

Hi, I've been experimenting with an omnidirectional boundary mic (PZM) so I can record meetings directly to my laptop. The mic I've tried is from Radio Shack (33-3041), but it doesn't appear to be compatible. It has a 1/8" mono jack, and it works fine with a cassette recorder, but not with the laptop. I've tried a usb preamp device (iMic from Griffin Technology) but that setup is not working either; I've also tried a mono-to-stereo adapter, with no luck. A lapel-type mic is working fine with all these components (it has a stereo jack).

So, I know that all the individual pieces are working, I just can't figure out how to make them work together (PZM to Laptop).

I've been told that Crown's Sound Grabber II is made for this type of application, but since it also has a mono jack, I'm hesitant to invest in another similar mic.

Can someone set me straight on what I'm trying to do?

thanks,

brad

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You didn't say how old your laptop is but chances are, the 1/8" input jack is line in only.

You will need to get some sort of external mic preamp. Edirol makes some really good ones for your application.

Good Luck.

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my laptop is about a year old (Compaq Presario V2000), and I have also tried a preamp-- the iMic from Griffin Technology. Still, nothing, though.

You didn't say how old your laptop is but chances are, the 1/8" input jack is line in only.

You will need to get some sort of external mic preamp. Edirol makes some really good ones for your application.

Good Luck.

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Duh, you said you hade a preamp in your first post and I missed it. sorry.

the picture on RS webite shows that it is not a "stereo" jack but a "mono" jack. If your input on your preamp is stereo, then plugging a Tip Sleeve jack will mess you up because you may be shorting things out.

If that is the case then you need to get an adapter that goes from a stereo mini male to two mono mini females. Each mono female is a channel.

This is just a guess but it's the best I can think of.

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Here's something else to check.

Select Start > Settings > Control Panel > Sounds and audio devices. Click the Audio tab.

Under Sound recording, select your default device. It might be your sound card. If you have a USB mic preamp connected via USB, that should show up.

If you are using your sound card, click Volume > Options > Properties. Check all the volume controls. Select the mic or line input that you are using, and turn up its volume.

Also under the Audio tab, under Sound Playback, click Volume. Make sure WAVE and MASTER VOLUME are turned up, and are not muted.

In your recording program, make sure it is set up to receive input from your sound card or USB preamp, and output audio either to your sound card or USB preamp (if it can play back recorded audio).

You said that your lapel mic works okay. If you lay it or tape it on the table surface, it will act pretty much like a PZM. That might be adequate.

Good luck,

brubart

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hmmm, this is interesting; this adapter you mention sounds like a "Y" adapter, so it sounds like you're saying to split the laptop/preamp stereo input into a pair of mono inputs (female)-- is that right? Then, I would plug the mic mono jack into one of the female mono jacks on the "Y" adapter?

That's something I haven't tried. Do you think I can find such a "Y" adapter?

edit: is this it? http://www.cablesunlimited.com/products/Pr...groupcode=I0346

thx again,

brad

the picture on RS webite shows that it is not a "stereo" jack but a "mono" jack. If your input on your preamp is stereo, then plugging a Tip Sleeve jack will mess you up because you may be shorting things out.

If that is the case then you need to get an adapter that goes from a stereo mini male to two mono mini females. Each mono female is a channel.

This is just a guess but it's the best I can think of.

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thanks, brubart. I did do all the setup steps you recommend, but the lapel mic recommendation sure would be an expedient alternative! I'll give it a try.

brad

Here's something else to check.

Select Start > Settings > Control Panel > Sounds and audio devices. Click the Audio tab.

Under Sound recording, select your default device. It might be your sound card. If you have a USB mic preamp connected via USB, that should show up.

If you are using your sound card, click Volume > Options > Properties. Check all the volume controls. Select the mic or line input that you are using, and turn up its volume.

Also under the Audio tab, under Sound Playback, click Volume. Make sure WAVE and MASTER VOLUME are turned up, and are not muted.

In your recording program, make sure it is set up to receive input from your sound card or USB preamp, and output audio either to your sound card or USB preamp (if it can play back recorded audio).

You said that your lapel mic works okay. If you lay it or tape it on the table surface, it will act pretty much like a PZM. That might be adequate.

Good luck,

brubart

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hmmm, this is interesting; this adapter you mention sounds like a "Y" adapter, so it sounds like you're saying to split the laptop/preamp stereo input into a pair of mono inputs (female)-- is that right? Then, I would plug the mic mono jack into one of the female mono jacks on the "Y" adapter?

That adapter that is pictured on your link will work. It's not a "Y" adapter per se because normally a Y cord will send the same signal to both cables. What is pictured is more of an adapter that takes separate left and right signals and combines them into one TRS jack where the tip has the positive of one channel and the ring has the positive of the 2nd channel and the sleeve carries the ground for both.

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Hi Brad,

In some sound cards (or audio interfaces), the mic input is stereo (left mic, right mic, and ground). There may or may not be DC power on the mic-input connector terminals. In other sound cards, the mic input is labeled "stereo" because it has three terminals (tip-ring-sleeve) but actually it is mono with an extra terminal for DC power. Tip is audio, ring is DC, and sleeve is ground.

If your type of mic input is the latter, you might need to solder a custom adapter: Female mono mini phone jack to male stereo mini phone plug.

Connect female-jack ground to male-plug ground.

Connect female-jack tip to male-plug tip.

Do not connect anything to the male-plug ring because that is probably DC bias from the sound card. The Radio Shack PZM and the Crown Sound Grabber do not require DC bias because they have an internal battery.

Another option is to lay one of your working lav mics on the table.

If your lav mic has a stereo (tip-ring-sleeve) phone plug, and it works with the Griffin iMic, probably tip is audio, ring is DC, and sleeve is ground. If your lav mic has a mono phone plug, and it works with the iMic, tip is audio and DC bias, while sleeve is ground.

Hope this helps,

brubart

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I am using a Macbook Pro to record meetings but I invested in a USB input device called Edirol by Roland. It works flawlessly for my applications. I also use it to record out of a mixer where there are multiple inputs. The Edirol also has a dedicated input for a microphone". RCA Input and Outputs, Input Volume Control, and Headphone Out with Volume Control. It was a great investment for my situation.

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