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Can a laptop record through the mic jack?

Articles, Q&A - by - November 8, 2010 - 09:42 Etc/GMT+5 - Be first to Comment!

I have a lot of cassettes I want to copy to CD. I’ve been using my cassette deck into the stereo system into an old desktop running Audacity because it has a line in jack. Unfortunately, the wife does not think the desktop adds to the decor of the living room.

Can a laptop record through the mic jack? Thanks.

The Mic in jack on laptops is usually lower quality / higher noise (for line level signals because of the higher gain), and often the mic jacks are not even stereo input…. some laptops can select the jack to be line or mic in (such as some Mac Book Pros and other higher end laptops) -these might work fine. You might check and see if your laptop has that option in the audio properties.

You tend to get better results using an external usb or firewire audio device, and one that is “good enough” for cassettes are fairly inexpensive ($30 ish) and a quick trip to the local computer superstore is worth the time.

So what happened to us?

family, Life, missional lifestyle, the City - by - October 9, 2010 - 20:14 Etc/GMT+5 - Be first to Comment!

Working on some detailed post, but in boiled down to God prepared our hearts, then we attended this little conference called verge and everything we knew was wrecked as we were fast-tracked to where we were suppose to be.  This 7 minute video from the conference is a good introduction to our journey.

Dealing with feedback

Uncategorized - by - March 11, 2010 - 22:57 Etc/GMT+5 - Be first to Comment!

Question:

Jeff, I have been having trouble with achieving a good quality sound from our lavaliere systems, both ear set and chest clipped. I am not new to ringing out problem frequencies, but the problems are coming from across the entire band and there are many of them. We are using four downstage EAW micro wedge (the older versions) as our monitoring and I don’t get a loud enough volume through them before they feedback. We had a special guest speaker last week and his volume just wasn’t loud enough, but there was no way to achieve a louder volume without feedback. I would try placing the monitors in a different location, but the microphones are Omni so this wont help much. I’ve tried using a graphic EQ inserted on the channel and I am still having to use the parametric to do more surgical work instead of being able to use it to shape the butchered sound musically. Every time I complain about the volume level, I am told by my boss that the volume is fine, and it’s not. I get complaints from the lead and worship pastor about this nearly every week and I am running out of ideas. What do you think about this? Also, I heard that it is not good to use compression on lavaliere type of mics because they contribute to these specified problems. Is there any truth to this? I am using a compressor, but I am only compressing 3:1 at an average of 2-5db(max) gain reduction. Oh, and of course I’ve tried flipping the phase. Right now i have gone with using just the onboard parametric EQ and bypassing the graphic. I get a decent sound, but i need about 5db more headroom onstage and out front. Do you have any ideas?

Answer:

Tough job~
– loud environments (like having to provide foldback through stage wedges) almost always will require a direction mic. The Omni-direction sound better and are much less sensitive to exact placement and aiming, so I prefer to use them, but when you add wedges, when you add instruments or other sounds around the speaker / singer – then you are going to have much better results with direction mics.
– Remember the science – the closer to the source the less gain required. Also, the less of the sound from the mic returning to the mic, the more gain before feedback available. Use the pickup pattern of the mics, the polar patern of the speakers and watch for reflections (off the pulpit or other large surfaces–stage??). You can get 3db more gain by decreasing by half the distance between the mic and the mouth (6db with a directional mic).
– Once you get to the point where multiple frequencies are ringing at the same point (broadband), there is not much more you can do electronically. I usally call it quits at 6-8 specific notch filters (for any one mic / system).
– Compressors can cause problems if not used carefully. You have to be careful the input is stable at the gain setpoint with the compressor wide open – then you can use the compressor on top of that to pull down or “level” loud voices / yelling / etc. The problem often occurs in dialing in the compressor and gain while the input is under compression, then when it get quiet, the compressor opens up, adding an additional 3-9db gain to the channel, and it starts to ring.
– Gates (downward expander really) can help also, by dropping the gain of the channel 3 or 6 db when it is quiet, keeping a system that is on the edge from building up the ring.
– Quality equipment – obviously the higher quality of components, the better results you will get with all of this. One of the things you get with better equipment is smoother frequency responses and better / cleaner off axis rejection / pattern control / noise immunity. These properties can all help improve your gain to feedback ratios.

Hopefully that is helpful. No real magic bullet, just applying science and art carefully. Let me know if you need help brainstorming any other ideas for solutions or answering questions.

Basic Acoustics for Worship Environments

Excellence in the Arts, Technology - by - March 3, 2010 - 17:58 Etc/GMT+5 - 1 Comment

The acoustics of a space affect the ability to understand speech clearly (intelligibility), the blends of the sounds as they are mixed, sound captured and recorded, and the perceptions of the music quality. All these elements of the sound are important in a worship environment.  A definition of room acoustics includes the size and shape, the construction and finish, and what is in and out of the room.  Because requirements vary for each room and its own purpose, acoustics needs to start with a facility still in the planning stages. Acoustic Engineering will typically focus on three variables: controlling background noise, creating noise isolation, and designing the acoustical environment. Full Story

re-train our mind

Media, missional lifestyle - by - February 9, 2010 - 13:17 Etc/GMT+5 - Be first to Comment!

At the Verge 10 conference we were introduced to each main session by a very creative video featuring Alan Hirsch introducing the topic. Besides incredible content in the videos, I was impressed by how easy we can be trained to read from right to left, bottom to top, randomly, etc while watching the videos. And even more, how easy it is to catch pieces of words, fast moving word and silly phrases while we are exposed to the content in multiple media (video, text, sound, lighting) at the same time. How often do we limit ourselves based on what is normal for us when we could be more creative, produce pieces that would inspire, hold the audience attention and get the message across in a memorable way?  How can you make your next video better?
[Sorry, the original video has been removed – I will update this when it becomes available again, but here is somebody’s cell phone version.]

(photo by Verge photography team)

Flexible Office, Working Green

missional lifestyle, thinking green - by - February 2, 2010 - 01:26 Etc/GMT+5 - Be first to Comment!

The need for people to connect across race and class lines, among neighbors and churches, and between urban and suburban neighborhoods is urgent. We’re designed for one another, and there is joy in diversity. We believe there is yet-to-be-discovered imagination between us, meaning that our full God-given creativity is found when diverse people learn from one another, building mutual, give-and-take relationships.
– Nate Ledbetter, metromerge.org

For most of the last 6 months, I have been considering the coworking movement, shared office space and ways to work together as a communityFull Story

Church Sound Basic Training – Audio Workshop – Austin Texas

Excellence in the Arts - by - January 5, 2010 - 13:31 Etc/GMT+5 - Be first to Comment!

Stark Raving Solutions and
Essentric Audio Productions

Presents….

Church Sound Basic Training

a soundbooth.org Audio Workshop

Details:

Date: February 19-20th, 2010

Location: Tree of Life Church
16108 Yellow Sage Street
Pflugerville, TX 78660-2503
(www.treeoflifeaustin.org)

Cost: $245 / Person
*Early Bird and Group Discounts (3+) available

Information and Registration: http://austinchurchsound2010.eventbrite.com/

Full Story

Outside the Norm: Special Productions

Projects, Technology - by - November 4, 2009 - 08:20 Etc/GMT+5 - Be first to Comment!

Any time of the year, your tech team is busy planning on, preparing for or producing an extra service.  Easter and Christmas tend to be the first bigger productions a tech team will have on a schedule, but the calendar is full of events that are outside of the normal weekly worship.  Concerts, outreaches, conferences, VBS, holidays, awards, celebrations and facility rentals; each of these events requires additional planning, preparation, equipment, and crew.  How can your creative, tech and media teams support these events, make them extraordinary, and yet endure well on the week to week support of the ministry? As a Media Ministry, we’ll define the purpose, put proper time into planning, and then systematically check each medium in place to support the event. Full Story

Nov 14 2009 Church Audio Workshop

Excellence in the Arts - by - November 2, 2009 - 17:29 Etc/GMT+5 - 1 Comment

austinTech.org church audio basics workshop that I will be leading – if you are in the Austin area and interested in attending, here are the details, and if you don’t know about austinTech.org, head over to the site and check it out.

Workshop Details:

When: 9:30AM to 12:30PM, Saturday, November 14th, 2009

Where: At High Pointe Baptist Church, 12030 Dessau Rd, Austin, Texas.  We will be meeting in the choir room. CLICK HERE FOR A MAP

What: This class is the perfect overview of audio systems for new team members, as well as a way for existing team members to get a better understanding of the overall operation of sound systems.  Topics covered include: Components of a sound system, Signal and Connector types, Hooking it all up, Basic Operation.  Our conversation will be somewhat driven by your questions, so come ready to participate.

Cost: It is free of charge

Please RSVP if possible to jeff@soundbooth.org. Space is somewhat limited, we want to make sure we have a spot for everyone who wants to participate.

Doing It Old School

Media - by - October 26, 2009 - 16:03 Etc/GMT+5 - Be first to Comment!

Keep it Simple

Sometimes we get so caught up in the latest gadget or what tool we need to accomplish whatever it is we are trying to do that we miss seeing other ways of accomplishing the task. You have a screw to remove and no screw-driver? What about those vise-grips in you hand?

Other times we have a problem and we go diving in looking for the solution in deep inside the equipment when we should have checked the power cord first. Twice this weekend I was guilty of looking too hard for the solution. Full Story