Take the 2-minute tour ×
Sound Design Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for sound engineers, producers, editors, and enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

When trying to record a mix from my vinyl turntables, to my laptop, I'm getting heavy distortion, especially during the heavy bass sections of the mix.

I'm running my turntables into a 3 channel mixer, then outputting via RCA "Record" ports, to a small headphone jack into my laptop's microphone port.

My mixer is a Numark DM2050 3 Channel Mixer

enter image description here

I've tried using Windows Sound Recorder and Audacity, but these both produce heavy distortion.

How can I avoid the heavy distortion caused? Someone has told me I'm supposed to use "line-in" on my laptop, but I only have headphone and microphone ports. What is the difference with "line-in" and is this what I should be using?

share|improve this question

migrated from avp.stackexchange.com Jan 24 at 12:01

This question came from our site for engineers, producers, editors, and enthusiasts spanning the fields of video, and media creation.

    
what is the laptop model? –  horatio Mar 9 '12 at 15:54
    
I'm not certain to be honest! It's about 3 years old now, its a HP. –  Curt Mar 9 '12 at 16:03
add comment

1 Answer 1

up vote 6 down vote accepted

The 'mic' input on your laptop is designed for a microphone's low level input. It has a preamp to boost the signal to 'line' level hence if you are feeding a line level signal into a 'mic' input it will be amplified into clipping aka distortion.

Assuming that your 3 channel mixer has "phono" level inputs and line level outputs, it would be good to get yourself a USB line level input device for your computer. Here is an example of such a device:

http://www.altoedge.com/usbaudio/input.html

Disclaimer: I have not used this product and do not have any recommendations regarding its performance.

It appears there are tons of devices like this one, choose wisely and test to be sure it does what you expect it to before you purchase it.

share|improve this answer
1  
the OP probably will probably need to adjust the output levels from the mixer OR the input levels on the pc to ensure the outputs are not peaking, correct? –  horatio Mar 8 '12 at 22:03
    
I would adjust the mixer output levels, as the input adjustment on the PC may be too late if distortion is happening on input. –  Rory Alsop Mar 9 '12 at 8:35
    
@horatio Assuming that your 3 channel mixer has phone level inputs and line level outputs. I'm not certain whether my mixer has these levels. I've attached a link to the mixer in my question. Can you see whether it does? Cheers! –  Curt Mar 9 '12 at 9:14
    
@Curt On the mixer, make sure you're using the inputs that have an associated "Phono" mode switch, and set that switch. –  Kevin Reid Mar 9 '12 at 12:09
1  
@Curt Yes, though it isn't guaranteed to be RCA — line level can be found on 1/8" connectors as well (line level is close enough to being the same as "headphone" connections for "consumer" purposes) — but you probably want a good interface which will probably have RCA inputs. –  Kevin Reid Mar 9 '12 at 13:38
show 6 more comments

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.