How to get a mic working?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by ArmouredGuitar, Dec 24, 2005.

  1. ArmouredGuitar macrumors member

    Jul 16, 2004

    I just got a headset with a mic for my PM G5. I think I plugged it into the correct plug ( I think its a mic plug, the other plug is for speakers/output.) But I dont know how to set it up. I mainly just want to use it on Ventrilo. Any help would be much greatful
  2. GimmeSlack12 macrumors 603


    Apr 29, 2005
    San Francisco
    Ok, well I double checked the audio input for G5's and yes you do have audio input.

    So to set up the mic is easy, plug it in and open the Sound Preference (under System Preferences). Go to input, and there will be a list of devices being recognized. Should be an obvious choice of what is what. To know if the mic is working the input level should start reacting when you talk.
  3. mduser63 macrumors 68040


    Nov 9, 2004
    Salt Lake City, UT
    Macs don't have mic inputs, only line inputs. iMacs, iBooks and PowerBooks have built in microphones, but for the Mac mini and Power Macs, you have to either get a sound card (USB/FireWire or internal), or get a mic preamp that has a line out. I don't understand why Apple doesn't put a mic jack on Macs as every PC soundcard I've ever seen has one built in. It's one design choice that Apple has made that I think is really stupid.

    The iMic by Griffin is probably your best bet for an external USB "soundcard." It has mic and line inputs and I think it's only $30 or so.
  4. BlueRevolution macrumors 603


    Jul 26, 2004
    Montreal, QC
    :confused: so what's the difference between mic in and line in?
  5. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus


    Jan 9, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    Basically, because your microphone is a purely passive sound collector, it generates a very low voltage signal. The voltage level / strength of that signal is a lot weaker than the signals that are carried, by standard practice, in audio lines. That standard signal strength is called "line level" -- it's the level that, for instance, a TV expects from a VCR, or your home theater receiver expects from a DVD player, and so on.

    Line level, the standard level, is a higher voltage level than a passive microphone will generate by itself. So a pre-amp would boost it up to that level (it's called a pre-amp because there's an amplifier that boosts from line level to the power output that speakers would need, which again is much more than line level).

    You *could* also try turning the gain all the way up in the preferences, to compensate somewhat for the weak signal, but it may not be enough to compensate.

    What is the microphone for? Is it for AV chat or gaming? You might consider a bluetooth headset instead. They've gotten a lot cheaper, you get around this problem, and they're wireless. :)

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