Imic mon only-left channel is all that is seen
Audacity with Griffin iMic under Vista
There is limited and conflicting advice on the web about whether the iMic audio-usb adaptor can be used with Vista (for those who discover that new laptops commonly lack a stereo line-in port, and seek some way to use Audacity as described in the tutorial on capturing music files from vinyl, tapes etc).
In my case at least (Vista business 32 on a Thinkpad X200 with inbuilt Conexant Smartaudio 221 soundcard), it could be made to work as follows:
1. Plug the iMic device (iMic2 in my case) directly into a usb port on the computer. Allow the automatic loading of drivers by Vista.
2. Via control panel or right-click on the speaker icon in the system tray, access the Vista configuration for Sounds.
3. In the Recording tab, you should now see the added iMic usb device (probably designated as a microphone). The default set-up seems to be mono - so you need to make this change for this device: select Properties, Advanced, "2 channel...44100 Hz... CD quality".
I also disabled the built-in laptop microphone so there would be no chance of it interfering with recordings (or software conflicts?) - not sure if this is relevant but easy to test in the event that you strike a problem.
4. In the Playback tab, decide what you want as the default speakers.
The default seems to become the usb adaptor, but I changed back to the built-in speakers for monitoring - not sure if this is relevant but easy to test in the event that you strike a problem.
5. In Audacity (1.3.6 beta in my case): under Edit, Preferences, Recording, choose the iMic device and stereo. Project rate at bottom left of screen should match the quality chosen in Vista set-up for the device (44100 Hz).
6. While in Audacity, Edit, Preferences, Playback, choose the desired speakers (the built-in laptop set in my case) and click "Software playthrough" if you want to monitor what is being recorded (with a slight delay).
7. Immediately testing the set-up to record generated an Audacity "error while opening sound device". This only seemed avoidable by going back to mono settings in various places. BUT all is not lost...
8. Reboot! (With the iMic device connected in my case - not sure if this is necessary.) Ta-da ... all now works as desired for stereo recording. Use the same usb socket for the iMic in future, or you will have to repeat the set-up for each usb socket.
9. The Audacity volume sliders do not work under Vista, but you have several options to adjust recording volume:
(i) Use the slider under the Vista configuration for Sounds, Recording, iMic, Properties, Levels. For me this introduced a lot of hum at high settings, so I recommend keeping it below 5/100.
(ii) Use the iMic slider switch in the Mic position rather than the Line position, and fine tune as in (i) above. For me this gave the lowest background noise/hum.
(iii) Use the headphone out from your hi-fi amplifier and control volume there. This gave more background noise for me.
10. Keep the iMic device away from power supplies (it can pick up hum) and any source of vibration (if you tap it you will see a spike in the signal) while recording.
If you get hum, check whether it is from your laptop power supply (unplug and record using the laptop battery to see if the hum disappears). In my case there was unbearable hum from an iGo Juice supply, but much less from the Lenovo power brick.
After all that it is just about as good as my old Thinkpad X31 which has an inbuilt line-in socket and Soundmax audio card under XP.
With any luck the same approach will help with other ‘new, improved’ (but lacking line-in) Vista computers.
Aug 15, 2009 |
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