Microphone Noise
February 18, 2006 11:07 AM   Subscribe

I have terrible microphone interference probably because my computer runs very noisily. If you approach the back of the tower where the sound card is plugged in, you'll hear lots of humming.

The microphone that plugs into the soundcard apparently picks up the humming and creates terrible interference to my voice when I speak with people over the Internet via Skype, MSN Messenger, or other voice chat programs. I have thought about getting a digital USB microphone that would plug into the USB port at the front of my computer. Do you think that this is a good solution to the problem or not? If not, what should I do to get an interference-free microphone working.

Additional details about my PC, because some people might find them relevant to the issue at hand.
My computer also had its power supply fan die. This fan is irreplaceable because its a proprietary Sony fan thats no longer produced. I've taken off the chasis of the computer to help the cooling down. While this helps keep the computer cool, it still overheats a bit. This overheating may contribute to the noisy operation of the computer, or that noisy operation may result from something else. Computer is a Sony VAIO Model Celeron 466, 192mb ram.
posted by gregb1007 to Computers & Internet (6 answers total)
Is the soundcard integrated into the motherboard? A lot of times integrated soundcards will simply pick up digital noise from other components.

Logitech sells a decent quality USB mic. I picked one up at Best Buy for recording on the go with my laptop and audacity.
posted by mr.dan at 12:00 PM on February 18, 2006

Better yet, just get a Griffin iMic. This will plug into you USB port and let you attach a plug-in mic to that, essentially making any microphone with an 1/8 in jack a USB mic. Works great, and is also nice for reducing "computer noise" in headphone/speaker output.
posted by rossination at 12:43 PM on February 18, 2006

Offtopic, but helpful to you, probably: You can "replace" the fan by gluing on (as best you can, I'd suggest hot melt glue since it's easy to use and remove) a new fan on the outside of the case over the "fan hole" for the power supply. It will still feed air in through the dead power supply fan and out the case.
posted by shepd at 1:38 PM on February 18, 2006

Save the money you would spend on a microphone or an audio input device like an iMic and put it toward getting a new machine. Even a cheapie Dell would be better than what you've got in every conceivable way. Take the fact that they no longer make replacement parts for that machine as a great big hint.
posted by jjg at 1:47 PM on February 18, 2006

Seconding iMic AND upgrading your wildly obsolete computer.
posted by keswick at 1:54 PM on February 18, 2006

A USB device like a digital USB microphone or a normal microphone plugged into a Griffin iMic should solve the noise problem completely. Noise like this shows up when analog signals travel through the noisy environment inside your case.

Don't take MetaFilter's word as gospel on upgrading your computer. Would I replace that computer if it were mine? In a heartbeat. But if it's working for you, don't buy a new one just because we say so. A new computer will very likely not fix your noise problem, whereas something like the iMic almost certainly will.

Shepd's suggestion is a good one, by the way. Cheap case fans are, well, cheap, and it's a small investment to keep your box running.
posted by musicinmybrain at 9:54 AM on February 19, 2006

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