Help me sing the blues. To my mac mini. Without a preamp.
July 7, 2011 11:42 AM   Subscribe

Seeking USB hub with audio in, or some other way to use my pro mic with my MacMini.

I have a new MacMini. The audio input does not work with microphones that do not have an external power supply (I have seen it described as, "the 'audio in' port is 'line level', and requires a preamplifier"). Sigh.

I have a studio microphone and the appropriate adapter for a computer audio in. I used to use it with my PowerBook and now I want to use it with my MacMini (if it matters, for tooling around in Garageband).

Side factor is that I kind of need a USB hub anyway. Do I really need a preamp to get modest quality, or can I just get a USB hub with an audio in? If the latter, has anyone found one of these they like or should I just pick some cheap hub off eBay? Anything to watch out for?

If you want to tell me that there's a good USB mic out there that will save me the headache, or that there's some other solution for what I want to do, I'm open to suggestions.

Thanks for the advice, mefites.
posted by letahl to Computers & Internet (4 answers total)
Best answer: If you want to just get something USB and use the mic you have now, get the Griffin iMic. A USB hub won't do what you need, at least not any USB hub I've ever used.

There are great professional USB mics out there, depending on what your budget and desired use is. This is where I'd look, if I were looking.
posted by Jairus at 11:59 AM on July 7, 2011

Best answer: I love love love the AT-2020 USB microphone.

If you want to use your (presumably XLR) mic and get quality sound, you need one of these, or any USB audio interface really.
posted by supercres at 12:13 PM on July 7, 2011

You're kind of going about this the wrong way. You have a great mic, you have a good computer, you just need to get the signal in there. The specific thing that does this is called a "pre-amp", but if you look for a standalone one, you are into $$$ because that's generally pro-audio territory.

What you need is a mixer. Even a teensy tiny one. It will have a mic input where you plug the mic cable into, then you use the knobs and faders to set the correct level. What comes out of the main outputs of the mixer is line-level signal which your computer will be happy to see.

A tiny Mackie mixer is a great place to start, but you should be able to pick up any used micro-mixer to make this work for you.
posted by Aquaman at 12:18 PM on July 7, 2011

Best answer: You could use a preamp, as Aquaman suggests, but the way most people who do stuff with audio on computers do this is with a USB audio interface. It will have a built-in preamp for your mic, and will route around all of the audio gear in your computer and provide a clean, low-latency signal for your software.
posted by chrchr at 3:36 PM on July 7, 2011

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