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Thread: Audio interface suggestions -- two channels, not looking for anything high end

  1. #1
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    Audio interface suggestions -- two channels, not looking for anything high end

    I'm looking for a sub-$100 USB interface that will work with Linux OOTB. Main purpose is to record podcasts, but I might use it to do some hobby recording at some point. So nothing fancy -- just something that works and will give better sound quality than a laptop mic.

    Any suggestions?

  2. #2
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    Re: Audio interface suggestions -- two channels, not looking for anything high end

    Do you have mic or line input on that laptop?

  3. #3
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    Re: Audio interface suggestions -- two channels, not looking for anything high end

    There is a mic input on the laptop. But I'm not sure that would be sufficient for connecting something like a Shure mic to it without something in the middle to boost the signal.

  4. #4
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    Re: Audio interface suggestions -- two channels, not looking for anything high end

    Just plugging in the mic is worth a try. I'm no fan of any form of USB audio.

    The noise from the laptop itself will degrade the audio quality.

  5. #5
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    Re: Audio interface suggestions -- two channels, not looking for anything high end

    So maybe I'll buy a 1/4" to 1/8" adapter and give that a shot.

    Could someone who understands digital recording better than I do tell me whether it would be better to use a cheap practice amp as a preamp feeding into the computer, or to plug the mic directly into the laptop? The mic is a fairly cheap Shure dynamic mic.

  6. #6
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    Re: Audio interface suggestions -- two channels, not looking for anything high end

    Maybe this is for your podcast recording
    http://www.behringer.com/EN/Products/302USB.aspx

  7. #7
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    Re: Audio interface suggestions -- two channels, not looking for anything high end

    Quote Originally Posted by rorschachwalter View Post
    So maybe I'll buy a 1/4" to 1/8" adapter and give that a shot.

    Could someone who understands digital recording better than I do tell me whether it would be better to use a cheap practice amp as a preamp feeding into the computer, or to plug the mic directly into the laptop? The mic is a fairly cheap Shure dynamic mic.
    Me on the other hand would recommend not to use the direct line in or mic on the computer but to use an USB audio card for better sound quality. So I suppose it depends on who you ask.

    Anyhow, what kind of practice amp are you talking about? Usually using like a guitar amp as a preamp for voice will not produce a great result. Which Shure model is it?

  8. #8
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    Re: Audio interface suggestions -- two channels, not looking for anything high end

    Quote Originally Posted by cub View Post
    Me on the other hand would recommend not to use the direct line in or mic on the computer but to use an USB audio card for better sound quality. So I suppose it depends on who you ask.

    Anyhow, what kind of practice amp are you talking about? Usually using like a guitar amp as a preamp for voice will not produce a great result. Which Shure model is it?
    I was thinking the same thing, but since I have limited knowledge of this stuff, I started wondering if people telling me to just use the mic input meant I was mistaken.

    The practice amp would be probably a Squire practice amp from maybe 15 years ago. The Shure is a 14A dynamic -- nothing terribly fancy, but works for live performances.

  9. #9
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    Re: Audio interface suggestions -- two channels, not looking for anything high end

    Will a USB preamp be better than the internal sound card? Obviously it depends on the quality of the sound card in your computer (and the quality of the preamp). Unless you specifically selected an excellent sound card when you purchased the computer, or installed one yourself, chances are almost any USB preamp will do a better job. In my experience, if you connect a professional mic directly into the 8th inch jack of a consumer-grade soundcard then the volume will be very quiet and you'll get a lot of noise (hissing in the background). In other words, it works, but the sound quality is usually poor.

  10. #10
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    Re: Audio interface suggestions -- two channels, not looking for anything high end

    Interesting. I have a cheap Chinese mic plugged into my motherboard, and I'm completely satisfied with it for voice recording. Well, not totally cheap: I found it online for $18 including shipping. It's a Salar M8, which my wife bought in China.

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