Re: Adding external sound card to laptop

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 > Are you connecting your turntable to an external amp or does it have one
 > built in. If it doesn't have an amp it will sound like crap.

Yes, the turntable is connected to an amplifier, and then I run a line
from the amp's line-out (which is two RCA terminals, left and right) to
the computer's line-in.

Actually, I did this with my desktop computer, not with the laptop.
The complaints I've made about the laptop's sound have to do with
how bad stuff like streaming audio sounds, or how the sound effects
of a game come out on the speakers. Again, these are external speakers
plugged into the audio output - they are not the built-in speakers in
the laptop. The external speakers are so-so, but they sound a whole
lot better when I plug them into the desktop.

I really think it's the integrated sound card/chip/whatever that came
with the laptop. It works OK, it doesn't have hissing or other weird
sounds, and it doesn't suddenly stop producing sound, etc. It consistently
produces sound - just crappy sound.


Re: Adding external sound card to laptop writes
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Well, here's what I think. If the turntable + amp is any good it will be
better than a cheapo modern usb turntable with cheap, noisy, slack
bearings and an iffy cartridge.

The two main on-board types of audio devices seem to be made by Sigmatel
and Realtek. Neither have a good reputation, probably because the
IT-orientated laptop designers (as opposed to the chpset designers)
haven't been asked to design a good audio layout, but have been asked to
keep the price low.

The microphone input has at least a 50/50 chance of being mono, will be
low impedance, be easily overloaded and may have a bit of phantom power
applied to it to cater for some sorts of mic. For what you want it is
probably close to useless.

I do music, so I'm more familiar with the usb units aimed at that. I
have just used old decent units from known manufacturers and found them
fine. For example, I've had two Edirol units from ebay, both were usb 1
and both had the right connectors (important to check) and worked really
well. On the other hand an old Soundblaster MP3 something won't work on
a couple of laptops here as it draws too much power from the usb port.
What I don't know about these usb devices is how well your software
would link into them, which I think will depend on their driver
software. For that reason, I'd look at buying from somewhere that has a
sensible returns policy.

To record from external devices I use a usb soundcard, but to record off
the internet, I just switch to the on-board audio. This doesn't in
theory involve any A to D conversion and is a straight digital transfer,
so should remain roughly true to the original (probably low quality)

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