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The experiences of an Australian student who uses Linux.

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Who needs a radio when I have a computer?

Posted 12-27-2010 at 08:31 PM by William (Dthdealer)

I've been trying to record sound on my laptop for the past few days without decent results.

When first recording with the internal mike there was a decent amount of white noise in the background. I put this down to the mounting of the internal mike inside a device with many moving and vibrating components ( eg my fan and harddrive ). Audacity's noise removal filter did a good job but left me with some ugly artifacts that did not suit my needs.

Now I've tried an external microphone, but with the same results. I'm putting it down to the laptop's lack of a proper earth. I decided to try something else anyway.

Last year on an aeroplane flight we received free earphones. Such small devices would work somewhat as microphones, and possibly having the two channels would hide the noise removal artifacts somewhat.

I soon discovered they had a much more fun use.

I plugged the earphones into my Laptop's mic jack-hole and tested them. The noise sounded a little interesting, so I upped the 'Digital' control in the recording tab of alsamixer.

".. and in Perth a chance of showers ..."

The earphone's wires were picking up ABC news AM ( my local blowtorch station ). The earphones had two jacks on the end, one stereo and one mono. Placing my finger on the return of the unused mono jack greatly improved the reception, and I discovered I was actually picking up two stations.

It seems the aerial was too short to be properly selective, and I am not about to connect a coil of copper to my laptop. Most likely the diode inside of the laptop is not great either.

Has anyone else had similar effects when playing with mikes?

Regards, William
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