Buzz on mic recording - could USB sound card help?

  songbird72884 19:53 13 Aug 08

I have a very annoying problem with my microphone (which I've posted about before) in that whenever I try to record sound I get one of two problems: either the audio sounds like I'm on the opposite side of the room from the microphone or there is a loud and annoying buzz that overpowers the vocal recording. A lot of the time, the two problems combine.

I use a headset microphone plugged into the headphone and mic jacks on the front of my laptop, thus avoiding the speaker feedback problem, but no matter how much I adjust the mic, I still have the same problems. I've changed headsets and still have the same problem.

According to the Sound Manager on my system, I'm using Realtek ALC883 (this could be the wrong info, but I'm not sure where exactly I need to look for it).

I've read about USB sound cards and am wondering if one might help with this situation, but I've only read about them in passing, and have no idea how they work or if one would help. Could someone advise me on if this kind of a situation can be solved by a USB sound card and, if so, what I should be looking for (either in model/brand or features)? A recommendation on which one to buy and/or where from would be especially helpful.

  RFB 20:21 13 Aug 08

Daft thought... but have you tried a different mic?

  songbird72884 11:11 14 Aug 08

yep, sadly it made no difference at all, I've tried 3 so far: two headsets and one handheld and all had the same problem. I did try using the microphone with a USB adapter (one of the ones that you can use if the mic jack is shot, like I had to with my old computer) but although the distant sound quality is solved, making the sound more 'solid' the buzz is just as loud.

  QuizMan 12:42 14 Aug 08

I had a similar problem using on board sound. It went away if I disconnected the lead to the line out socket. It only got completely resolved when I upgraded the motherboard. On this basis, it seems as if a separate sound card would do the trick, but I cannot guarantee it.

  UncleP 12:45 14 Aug 08

It's many years since I last constructed and assembled audio systems, and those were the days of valve circuitry, before the invention of the transistor. A common problem then was the coupling of the 100Hz 'hum' from the power supplies into the amplifiers through what was known as an 'earth loop'. This was produced by earthing two components of the system some distance apart, and the solution was simply to break the loop by disconnecting one earth connection (without producing an electrical hazard - the valve supply voltage was 200-300V).

I had thought that the problem had been overcome in modern solid-state audio systems, but your symptoms sound surprisingly familiar. Note that this is not the result of a fault in any component of the system, but of the manner in which they are connected together.

I may be way off target with this suggestion, but it's easy to check: the 'buzz' waveform should be at the same frequency and similar to that on the output from the power supply or PSU.

  georgebates 09:38 26 Nov 08

I was recording sound from a mixer onto my laptop and I got what my friend called an earth buzz. I was just wondering what sort of software I can use to get rid of it.

Thanks George

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