newbie help please

Mark Stuart Burge mark at
Mon Oct 1 14:58:55 BST 2007

Sorry, forgot to answer this one ..
> I know i will need a mic to record using the mic in
> port, so where do i start?

If you are not fussy about the quality for now, then...

If your guitar has a pickup, then get a 1/4in to 1/8in adapter for your 
instrument cable and go straight in to the mic input and see what sort 
of levels you get. (Cheap solution)

If it does not have a pickup, then I would suggest borrowing a few mics 
if possible and trying them out with same adapter and see what works, 
before making a purchase. (obviously these would not be condenser mics, 
but something like an sm57 (which should be very easy to find)

The next step up would be to pre-amp the mic with a small mixer before 
going into the mic (or rather at this stage 'line' input which would 
probably be the same input on a laptop)
Using the mixer could improve the gain you can get from your mic and 
also allow for phantom power if you would rather use a condenser mic.  
Getting a good recording starts with having a good source, so this is 
the area you can make the most impact with at this stage.  Spend the 
time trying stuff out before spending your money (if you can)


Going on from there, spending a little more money, would be to use a 
firewire or pcmcia based external sound card (but make sure they are 
listed as working well with alsa before you buy)  I am not sure which 
ones out there are better, but start with the alsa compatibility chart 
and compare to the available stores, or ebay.
There are some great interfaces out there with multiple channel pre-amps 
as well as midi i/o for external synths, drum machines etc.

I think some usb sound cards work, but from what I have heard, the 
reliability isn't that great yet.

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