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Old 24th November 2002, 03:07 PM   #1
JBL is offline JBL  Canada
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Default sound card mic input

Hi,

Recently i've started with one of my friend to do some home recording on a pc. Right now he just want some demo tape so we found overkill to invest in a 6in/6out 24/96 sound card.


The problem I've found is that the mic input of most sound card d'ont have enough gain in them.

So I have two question.

1. Does the gain that we put in the windows mixer is digital or that gain is aplied before the adc.

2. Does adding a standalone(and homebuilt) mic preamp befor the sound card would improve the sound quality.


tanx.
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Old 24th November 2002, 06:17 PM   #2
halojoy is offline halojoy  Sweden
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What microphones do you use?
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Old 24th November 2002, 06:41 PM   #3
JBL is offline JBL  Canada
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Just a cheap dynamic microphone.
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Old 25th November 2002, 07:12 AM   #4
sangram is online now sangram  India
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Most pro cards will not be able to take a mic level input, they're all designed for studio work. You may actually need a mic preamp before you can even get a mic level input to produce any sound. Also bear in mind that a pro card takes a +4 dBu input, as opposed to -10 consumer standard. Means your preamp has to able to supply enough to keep an input that high happy, and have a low noise level at the same time.

I would suggest to stick with a good 44.1/16 card like the SB Live! platinum or Audigy series. On a cheap dynamic microphone the first set of improvements to be made are in the microphone and preamps. Use a good quality mic like the SM 57/58 and a m-Audio Audiobuddy, and a new decent card. This combo should cost about $300 or so, and will be a huge improvement. More than you can get with switching soundcards to a pro level card, a homemade mic pre and a Delta 66 or something...

To answer your other question, a soundcard does not apply gain. It only attenuates. That too, digitally. The only gain device is the '20dB gain' near the mic slider. That is achieved usually with a single transistor on the soundcard. It usually is very noisy and very low quality.
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Old 25th November 2002, 05:16 PM   #5
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I wouldn't use the sound card's mic input at all; the mic pre in most sound cards is terrible.

Better to use an external mic pre (like this one, maybe) and connect it to the sound card's line input. It will be much quieter, and have more gain.
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