microphone for Mac Mini

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by ero87, Mar 16, 2006.

  1. ero87 macrumors 65816

    ero87

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2006
    Location:
    New York City
    #1
    My brother's got a new intel mac mini, and we simply want to audio-conference. However, after researching different ways to input sound into his mini, i'm at a loss. Is it true that he MUST get an "adapter", like the griffin iMic, and then a separate mic? Is there a cheaper solution?
     
  2. joshysquashy macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 13, 2005
    Location:
    UK
    #2
    do usb microphones not work? i'm askin cuz i don't know.

    ever thought of using a bluetooth headset, that works perfectly on a mac and gives you wireless freedom. audio quality suffers a little for it though.
     
  3. erickg macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2004
    #3
    According to Apples website the Mac mini has:

    - Combined optical digital audio input/audio line in (minijack)

    So you should just be able to plug in a regular analog microphone or use a headset that plugs into both audio in and audio out. Don't think you need anything like the iMic.
     
  4. ero87 thread starter macrumors 65816

    ero87

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    Jan 17, 2006
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    #4
    yeah we tried plugging in a regular mic into the line-in (i think) port, but the sound input levels went nowhere.

    any other ideas?
     
  5. erickg macrumors 6502

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    Nov 4, 2004
    #5
    That's odd, did you check the sound input levels under System Preferences>Sound>Input?
     
  6. ero87 thread starter macrumors 65816

    ero87

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    #6
    yeah nothing's muted or anything, it even recognizes the mic. but the input bar goes nowhere!
     
  7. dr_lha macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2003
    #7
    Weird. I had exactly the same issue with my 12" PB a while ago. A friend lent me his PC mic for Skype and I couldn't get it to work. However I know the line in works because I used it covert some Vinyl LPs into MP3s a while back.

    Perhaps there's something about the way Apple do their line-ins?
     
  8. yojitani macrumors 68000

    yojitani

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    Apr 28, 2005
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    #8
    a USB mic has to work. Sound quality is better with them anyway. You can pick one up for $20 or less.

    YOJ
     
  9. ero87 thread starter macrumors 65816

    ero87

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    Jan 17, 2006
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    New York City
    #9
    where can i find a compatible USB mic? I've honestly been searching hard, with no real luck (other than the logitech desktop mic, but it's just hideous. that's a last resort).
     
  10. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

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    Mar 23, 2005
    Location:
    Indianapolis
    #10
    Do you want a head set or a desk microphone?
     
  11. ero87 thread starter macrumors 65816

    ero87

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    #11
    yeah i was about to add, a desktop mic would be greatly preferred.
     
  12. ChrisBrightwell macrumors 68020

    ChrisBrightwell

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    Apr 5, 2004
    Location:
    Huntsville, AL
    #12
    The Mac mini's input is a line-level input, whereas the mic line on most analog headsets needs a mic-level input (to power the mic). The mini isn't giving the mic any power, so it's not going to work.

    You need something to pull the level of that mic line up to what's known as "line level." A lot of people use the iMic, others use audio mixers that will provide power to the mic (and other inputs) while providing a line-level output for the mini to accept.

    Alternatively, you can pick up an inexpensive USB headset. Logitech and Plantronics both make very affordable USB-based solutions.

    Hope this helps.
     
  13. ero87 thread starter macrumors 65816

    ero87

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2006
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    New York City
    #13
    cool, that clarifies why our mic doesn't work, thanks chris. I may just settle on the logitech, i feel guilty having MR readers do my shopping for me.
     
  14. ChrisBrightwell macrumors 68020

    ChrisBrightwell

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    #14
    Also, if you have a bluetooth headset (for a cell phone, maybe) and a bluetooth chip in the mini, you can pair that headset w/ the mini and use it.
     
  15. Maxwell Smart macrumors 6502a

    Maxwell Smart

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2006
    #15
    Well, if you want a headset, definitly go with the Plantronics DSP-500. They are extremely comfortable and fit very well. Not to mention they are plug and play on both macs and PCs, and are usually under $50 at amazon
     
  16. danmccollum macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 27, 2008
    #16
    "Silly" Fix

    Please excuse the title, but I didn't know what else to call it. I just thought that I'd share with you and the rest of the online community how I fixed my problem with the microphone issue with the Mac mini. I realize it's been two years since anyone has posted anything in this forum on this particular topic, but allow me to share my input.

    Going from other tips I had attained from this article, I came to the realization that, like everything else with Macs, many of their ports are "passive" ports and not what I'd call 'fully' operational. What I mean by that is, I've seen devices in the past that would not work when connected to the Mac, in certain places or instances.

    For example, Apple's keyboard has two USB ports when one can utilize the keyboard as an additonal 2-port hub for additional USB devices. But, I found out that these ports in the keyboard aren't energized by themselves. The keyboard takes the power of one port and switches it into two ports AND powers the keyboard. In essence, USB devices that need a higher power current in order to work, will give you a "USB low power notice" from Mac OS X.

    The same thing can be said about the addition of a firewire hub, and in THIS specific case; the MICROPHONE port. For some odd reason, one needs to connect a self-powered microphone to the Mac in order for it to work. Here's what I did:

    I had a personal tape recorder from when I was a kid (about 20 years ago.) It's the kind that kids like to use to record their voices onto a cassette tape. I pondered the thought that since this tape recorder uses its own power supply, maybe I could use a headphone extension cable, couple into the back of the Mac mini on one end, and the other end plug into the port of the tape recorder marked "monitor." This is why it made sense to me that the iMic device worked. It's powered by USB, and uses the USB power to amplify the power to the microphone, causing the microphone to work, like it's supposed to in the first place.

    It seemed so ridiculous, but I was getting desperate to utilize the ability to have a microphone with my Mac mini. It turns out: IT ACTUALLY WORKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm not kidding. Here's what one must do for this silly method to work:

    1. Find a tape recorder that has a built-in microphone, or attach a microphone to the tape recorder's microphone port.

    2. Use a (male-male) headphone extension cable to connect the tape recorder and the Mac mini together. One end goes into the back of the Mac mini's microphone port, the other end goes into the port of the tape recorder marked "monitor". (not "Mic"; that's for an external microphone to attach to the tape recorder, only.)

    3. Make sure the tape recorder is plugged in or has batteries to power it, independently.

    4. If you're ready to start talking, set the tape recorder to "RECORD" by pressing the "RECORD" button.

    Note: Some tape recorders won't allow you to press the "RECORD" button unless there's a blank cassette in the deck. You can bypass this by looking for the dip switch inside the recorder's door, pressing it down with your finger and THEN hitting "RECORD" to bypass the need to have a tape in its deck. Or, tape the dip switch down, use an empty cassette with all its film removed that still has the recording tab still set in the cassette.

    5. Talk/sing/or otherwise make noise into the microphone of the TAPE RECORDER. I did this today via a long conversation with my best friend. He assures me that the reception sounded great. I called myself and left a voice mail on my cell phone using Skype, just to make sure. When I listened to myself, I was udderly surprised how great I sounded. Who'd have thought, eh?

    The thing that's nice about this is, you can also use this method to input music/sounds from pre-recorded cassette tapes into your Mac. I used a program called "CD Spin Doctor." I put a tape into the tape deck, pressed "PLAY", set the PROGRAM CD Spin Doctor to "Record" and got a high-quality recording onto the computer. I'm so happy, because I didn't have to spend a dime an expensive iMic or another solution that might have been more. I hope this helps people from now on on the Internet.
     
  17. johnrothko macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2008
    #17
    An alternative option

    The logitech USB headset has a major design flaw, namely the usb connector itself, which is quite bulky. It is not easy to fit on laptops and it breaks off easily. Mine broke down within a week and I had several friends complaining about the same issue.

    If you want to record quality audio, a condenser mic with stereo Jack or XLR connection would be a better choice.
    Here is an article how to connect such a mic with your Mac:
    http://www.miracletutorials.com/external-mic-computer/
    I hope you will find this useful.:p
     
  18. iceberg303 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2009
    Location:
    Indiana
    #18
    I know this is an old thread but I thought since Im having some issues I would post what I do know incase anyone stumbles across this.

    The Mini as a line in. it is not a mic in as it has no audio amplifier on it, you can NOT use a mic at all unless the mic is powered with line level outs. A microphone generates micro volts and a line level in millivolts, a factor of 100 difference. This is why when you plug in a mic it doesn't register any levels. This includes non-USB headsets.

    Also bluetooth is not ideal because there are still some permission errors. For instance many speech recognition and dictation software including the latest version of Rosetta Stone get access violation errors if you tell them to use a bluetooth headset.

    I am working with Rosetta on the problem but they are VERY slow about this type of tech support. I hear from them about once every two weeks.
     
  19. johnrothko macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2008
    #19
    external mic

    Exactly! The way to get around this is by using a small mixer. There are many firewire mixers around. Roland has a couple of good ones that are not too expensive. There is also the Alesis MultiMix8 Firewire which I find good enough for a minimac.
     
  20. soch macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2010
    Location:
    portland
    #20
    I tried with my old tape recorder. It didn't have a monitor jack. But a built in mic. I couldn't get it to work.

    Then I plugged in my iPod output to the line-in of the Mac mini using male-to-male stereophonic jack. Then tried to record on the mac mini and created a small video clip with sound from the line-in jack (sound from iPod). I was able to record what was playing on the iPod. But there was some noise. Don't know why there was noise. But the line-in works when you provide a analog audio signal.
     

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