I want to connect two Sound Grabbers for stereo recording directly into my laptop's sound card, using a dual mono to single stereo Y adapter. Would that work?
Reply: The Sound Grabber should work well into a sound card. First, is your laptop PC or Mac? If it is PC, the mic input is actually mono. Although it may be called a stereo mini jack, it is 3-conductor rather than stereo. Tip is audio, ring is DC power, and sleeve is ground.
You can plug one Sound Grabber directly into this connector and make a mono recording. The sleeve on the Sound Grabber's plug will short the ring and sleeve terminals in the sound card mic connector. The mic will still work, and the sound card is designed to handle the short. It has an internal 2.2K resistor in series with the +5V DC supply. The resistor limits the current if a short occurs.
If you want to record stereo, you would need a 2-channel USB audio interface, such as made by M-Audio. It has XLR (3-pin) mic inputs, so you would need two adapters, one per channel: 1/8" mono phone jack to XLR male. The tip of the phone jack is wired to XLR pin 2, and the sleeve of the phone jack is wired to XLR pins 1 and 3.
Some Mac sound cards have a stereo mic input. It requires a 4-conductor mic plug. Tip is power, ring 1 is right audio, ring 2 is left audio, and sleeve is ground.
Here are some other tips:
1. Plug the Sound Grabber into the mic input jack on your sound card, not the line input. The mic input has a microphone icon near it and is colored pink.
2. Double-click the speaker icon in the system tray at the bottom of the screen.
3. Select Options > Properties.
4. Select "Adjust Volume For Recording".
5. Under "Show the Following Volume Controls", check "Microphone" (at least).
6. In the Recording Control Window, select "Microphone", and set the microphone volume high enough to get a good recording level. Do a test recording in your conference room before the actual conference.
Optionally, try a 3V or 5V N-cell in the Sound Grabber instead of the AAA 1.5V battery -- that will increase the mic output level a little. Put some wads of aluminum foil on the battery terminals to make the N-cell fit in the battery holder. Of course, your recordings might be just fine using the supplied AAA battery.