Any computer audio people out there?

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Matt Barton
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Joined: 01/16/2006

If so, quick question. How can I improve my audio recordings?

Here's the deal. I have a nice Shure microphone with an XLR connection. I also have a big Peavey mixer amp. I went to RadioShack and bought an XLR to 1/4" stereo plug, but the sound quality was bad. I think it's my sound card--when I plug my guitar or a microphone into the 1/8" inputs (line or mic), I get a lot of noise (hum, buzz).

I also have two USB headset mics that I can record with, and there's no buzz or hiss (I'm guessing that's because they don't use the soundcard). However, their mics are vastly inferior to the Shure. I also have a cheap LAV mic I bought from RS, but again the quality is low.

I've been exploring options here. One is to buy something like this:
M-Audio MobilePre USB Mobile Preamp and Audio Interface. This looks like it would let me plug in my guitar or mic without any problems, and it has a boost which would be great for the mic. However, it's a 100 friggin' dollars, and I can't seem to find a used model any cheaper.

Another option might be to just buy a nicer LAV mic that can plug into my camera and just record the audio that way. What a pain, though.

I'm also wondering if the noisy soundcard is something that I could fix. I noticed a friend of mine had a similar problem with his headset mic; he had to buy a USB one and the terrible noise went away. There must be something happening to the internal sound cards that's making them buzz; some type of interference or ground loops? What can be done, if anything?

Please advise.

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Mark Vergeer
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Joined: 01/16/2006
Static Electricity can cause these types of problems

Make sure your systems are earthed properly. Static electricity can cause this type of humming / crackling noises.
A PCI soundcard with good signal to noise ratio is also quite handy when you want to record high quality sound.
The only way I am able to record nice sound on my system is by using a USB mike I don't want to be using a secondary sound card.

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Matt Barton
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Joined: 01/16/2006
I was experimenting today

I was experimenting today and had a panic when I thought I had messed up my soundcard or speakers. Everything started working again, but there for a moment--whew.

It appears I can get decent quality when I hook up my Shure mic directly to my camera. Not sure how that would look--the clip-on mic is certainly less obtrusive. I might experiment some more and see what I can come up with. In any case, what I like about the USB interface thing is that it has XLR inputs and a pre-amp. That could certainly come in handy. I bet I could make some great recordings with that.

Ah, to dream, though. $100 might as well be a $1000 right now.

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Catatonic
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Joined: 05/20/2006
I've tried the

I've tried the guitar-directly-to-soundcard method before and it sure did pick up a lot of buzzing.

Don't know if you can find an audio interface a whole lot cheaper than $100. Maybe on eBay? I bought an M-Audio USB-to-MIDI adapter that way... but it was only like $10 cheaper than retail ($30 instead of $40) and it was used (works fine though)

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