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Audio recording questions

By Vaidas B · 4 replies
Jul 12, 2012
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  1. Hey guys, I've got a few questions regarding audio recording or rather the tech involved.
    Right now I'm using a laptop (asus K53E, biggest mistake of my entire life). I want to do some audio recording, but there's an annoying hum in the background. I know that this is either because of the fans buzzing, or the fact that I'm using an onboard "sound card" (hooks up straight to my motherboard). I plan to do some podcasting, and just some plain fun with audio recordings, so I need crisp quality with no negative artifacts.
    Seeing that this is a laptop (with a warranty, which I do not want to void), I am considering a different take on things, I want to get an external sound card (via the method of USB), or a USB mic/headset.
    I know a few audiophiles (not an offensive word) and they have told me that every thing related to audio that is done externally sounds a lot better than anything an onboard system could do
    So, any tips? I've got my eye on a soundcard and a few headsets and mics, tho I don't know which option to choose.

    So, the sound card. Probably ganna go with the Creative X-Fi Go! Pro, it has a lot of nice reviews and stuff, but they mainly emphasize on audio output, and not input, so I could be throwing 30$ in the water.

    My second option is a USB headset (or headsets). I don't know any good ones, so any tips would be great.

    Third, last but not least. A USB mic, I'd like something like the Blue Snowball (vanilla or not, makes no difference to me).

    So, that's about it, any ideas?

    Thank you for your time.
  2. nismo91

    nismo91 TS Evangelist Posts: 971   +59

    constant humming may be result of poor grounding. make sure you use 3-pin plug from your notebook adapter and the wall plug supports grounding. that being said, onboard aren't designed with quality in mind so it probably have some low hissing. somehow in my experience noise from desktops' onboards are way worse than laptop ones.

    but if you're going to do lots of recording, I'd suggest an proper USB microphone. for the same amount of money as the Go! it'd probably have a better input quality. if you already have a good mic, try X-Fi HD USB instead.
  3. Vaidas B

    Vaidas B TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I've got a decent microphone (a neat sony clip on mic that seems to help my noise issue a bit). Would the x-fi HD help me? Because it does cost a fair amount of money.
  4. bobcat

    bobcat TechSpot Paladin Posts: 678   +69

    I’d agree that external devices are usually superior to onboard ones, though 30$ may not be sufficient for good quality and facilities. Also the advice on humming being due to poor grounding is sound (no pun intended). Hissing could be due to poor mike impedance matching – pay attention to mike type and impedance and any necessary bias for condenser mikes, which I consider better than dynamic ones.

    From my experience, low-priced USB mikes don’t perform as well as expensive ones plugged into the external device.

    Another point to pay attention to is your possible requirement for overdubbing, I.e. adding another voice or instrument to the original recording. If you’ll need it, get a device that will support it in good sync, which is a standard problem with onboard cards.
  5. Vaidas B

    Vaidas B TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Well, I already use a three pin plug for my adapter, tho I don't know about the wall socket grounding. I know that most (if not all) condenser mic require phantom power to function properly, sadly I don't have any hardware to provide that.

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