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Thread: [RESOLVED] Using external microphone/speakers with laptop

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    New England

    resolved [RESOLVED] Using external microphone/speakers with laptop

    I have a task that I am pretty sure is possible to accomplish with my laptop. This is to use one of the headphones ports (I have a standard and an SPDIF microphone port, and both can work at the same time to have two pairs of headphones getting sound at the same time) and make my computer's sound come out of external speakers. I don't mean external computer speakers; I'm thinking of amplifiers and such. I'd use this to play CDs at a party for my grandmother a week from today.

    At the same time, I want to get a microphone (or use my computer's internal microphones, which are good, but I don't know if people'd want to sing with a laptop right in front of them) and somehow make it so the computer's monitoring the sound all the time, even if there aren't programs using the microphone running, so people singing with CDs I'd be playing could be heard through the external speakers as well. I know that this is possible; I know it worked in XP, I could just pick up a microphone and start talking and it'd come out of the computer speakers as I talk, but I haven't found out how to do it with Windows Vista yet.

    So what I'd be doing is having people sing karaoke, basically, with my computer being the director of sound. The sound would come out of speakers that I want to connect to my computer somehow. I'd be playing CDs with the sound coming out of the speakers, and also have the microphone signal coming out of the speakers as well.

    To break it down even further, here's a list of the things I'm wondering how to do:

    1. Get an amplifier to carry the sound out of my computer through the headphone port. I'd probably need to get a cable that converted headphone jacks to the kind of jack that guitars use to input in to amplifiers.

    2. Get a microphone (either my laptop's internal or an external to be plugged to the Mic In port) and have the microphone's signal be sent out of the speakers all the time (I wouldn't record, then play, I'd want the noise to come out of the speakers live, as it's made).

    3. Put music CDs in my laptop and play them as people are singing with them.

    I'm pretty sure this is all possible, but I'm not sure how to do it, or whether I have the right equipment. I'm willing to buy a cable to go from my computer to an amplifier; that shouldn't be a problem. Although my biggest fear is if Vista Home Premium will let me live-play the microphone, like I described in #2 in the list above.

    I know this is wordy, repetitious, and kind of confusing, but I'm sure y'all are perfectly capable of dissecting the most important details.

    Thanks ahead of time, everyone!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    New England
    Is the reason nobody is replying because it's too long to read, or confusing? If so, let me know, please, and I'll make a shorter, less confusing post, OK? Thank you!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2007

    Any replies?

    did you get any solutions to your problem. I have the same task to accomplish. Any pointers to any solutions will be highly appreciated.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    New England
    No, I didn't get any solutions. Vista doesn't allow the real-time Microphone thing. However, I found a thing in a FABULOUS program, Audacity, that enables the sound to be put out of the speakers as you record. So it's actually recording, but it's putting the sound out of the speakers at the same time. If you don't have it, you can click that link and download it. If you do have it (or you just downloaded it), go to Edit, Preferences. Then, in the window that pops up, check "Software playthrough (Play new track while recording it)". Then, click "Record" in Audacity, and it'll record a WAV file, and also play it as it's recorded. The reason that didn't work for me was because I was unable to get the speaker thing straightened out, and the microphones in my laptop and the speakers caused ear-splitting feedback when operating at the same time (please, don't TRY to get this sound; you'll regret it!).

    If you have Windows XP, double click the speaker icon in the taskbar, and un-check the "Mute" box in Microphone. Something like that, I don't remember how it goes in XP anymore.

    If you don't have build-in microphone(s) in your laptop, you can buy a cheap one that has a 3.5MM jack to connect, and put that in the Microphone plug in your laptop.

    As far as having the sound go through speakers, go to Radio Shack (or whatever audio and other electrics store you go to) and ask them for a thing that can convert a 3.5MM microphone jack in to AV cables, so you'd plug the 3.5MM side in to your laptop, and the other side in to an Aux. in port in a stereo. Or, if you're really lucky and have an S-Video cable out on your laptop (Mine does, HP Pavilion DV2000Z), buy an S-Video cable and plug one end in to your laptop and the other to a TV, and that way you could add nice visuals on the TV, and of course the sound would come out, too.

    Hope this'll help you be able to do whatever purpose you need this capability for. Good luck from Eric!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    New England
    Does this help you? Please let me know, because if not I can help you research the task, OK?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Simplest option to you is : http://www.nextag.com/usb-mixer/search-html

    which if your on a budget, pricey. This will allow you to plug in several sound sources as well as output from the laptop and record to the laptop and plug in microphone and plugs in via your USB.

    So... Do you know anything about mixing desks and mixers? If you don't then you may struggle as you do need to have some time to learn how to set up and route audio or you will have trouble using one.

    The alternative is http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/Produ...oductID=332477 which will have less connections and possibly easier to use.

    If your using the on board sound card, it may be a problem as the microphone you use will be important, not all microphones are able to deliver enough signal and you may need a condenser mic which drives up the price, dynamic mics are able to take a louder input but do not give good a (SNR) Signal to Noise Ratio.

    If your driving an AMP then you will need to know if the input is balanced or unbalanced and theirs also the issue of line input, if the input is a line input and the source isnt then you will possibly burn the preamp stage out.

    In the world of sound engineering where domestic equipment meets semi & pro equipment, you will always encounter problems, this is where shelling out a few dollars on hardware will ease the interfacing of microphones and audio outputs with PA systems.

    Does that help you?
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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    New England
    Ooh, that helps a LOT! I never knew anything like that existed! Thanks so much! Too bad the perfect answer came weeks after the special occasion, though.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Ok, sorry to hear that.

    Vista may have been the issue : http://www.blip.tv/file/340692/ <- as shown here.
    --> JavaScript Frameworks like JQuery, Angular, Node <--
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