ELucien
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Line-in vs. mic, Inspiron 530

The blue back-panel line-in on my Inspiron 530 desktop is not functioning as a connection between a cassette-player and recorder (digitalizing) software, so I have been advised to use the (pink) mic connector.  This is working but produces a poor sound - appears to be mono - and will be unsuitable for professional use. There appears to be resistence (from Dell) to activate the blue connector, and would be grateful for comment.  The sound card is the Creative SB X-Fi, but my assumption is that it cannot upgrade low-level input.  I would be grateful for comment from experienced users.

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4 Replies
7- Thorium

Re: Line-in vs. mic, Inspiron 530

First question, What Operating System?  it does make a difference.

The "line in" is stereo and the mic input is mono.  PC audio inputs require a relatively high signal level (near "line level") and if you input a low level signal such as the output of a guitar or commercial P.A. mic they are too low for proper operation.  

The Line In should be OK and not a "Dell" issue.  It's most likely a configuration issue but since you failed to include the Operating System I can't reference you to the proper Control Panel item to check or configure.

There has been some issues in Vista of not being able to monitor the input, although it will record.  Have you checked to see if the Line In is actually recording?  You need a recording program to do that as the Windows Sound Recorder ONLY works with the Mic input.  The free and very popular Audacity recording program is what many use, that do not have a recording program. 



I am not a Dell Employee

Dell forum member since 2002

Dell Inspiron 15 - 5577 Laptop

Home Built Desktop PC with ASUS ROG Z170, i7 6700K CPU

Windows 10 64 bit Pro and Windows 10 Insider Program Beta Versions. SSD drives. Cakewalk by BandLab and Studio One 4.1 Recordng Studio Software.

Dell S2719dgf Monitor

Member of Nashville based R.O.P.E.

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ELucien
1 Copper

Re: Line-in vs. mic, Inspiron 530

Thanks for your interest. Let me quote from my first post http://en.community.dell.com/forums/p/19320811/19652110.aspx#19652110

"...I have a similar problem but a different machine: Inspiron 530 running Vista. In this case, the line-in blue connector on the back panel seems dead: I want to digitalize cassette tapes - I have a conversion program installed on trial - but no signal is registered except when I plug the lead (from the cassette player) into the Front mic connector.  I have had a Dell hardware check, and have investigated the soundcard (integrated), and additionally have installed all necessary upgrades, but to no avail.  I may now look at possible new free downloads on the Dell support site, before calling Software support (the last, and expensive, option)"

Since then I have talked again to a Dell representative who recommended the pink mic input (though I was doubtful) and seemed to indicate that stereo recording would be available this way (having made no progress on the blue line-in). This was set up, and I paid the fee. It is of course quite inadequate for professional work, and no better than the FP mic I had already tried.  I received your message this a.m. just as I was writing back to Dell, which I will now postpone pending your further comment, if indeed you can help.

I think we covered the configuration via Control Panel (I have checked and rechecked), but do suggest a possible oversight. This problem has been raised before with references to Driver updates and replacing the soundcard (Creative SB X-Fi), but I have had no advice in this direction.

I know about the Audacity program which looks more comprehensive than the one I have on trial. I presume the just released Beta version would be the one to go for?



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7- Thorium

Re: Line-in vs. mic, Inspiron 530

Many, on here and on the Windows 7 fourm, have reported using the Retail Creative (SoundBlaster) drivers with good success.  However, not all that have the 530 and the optional SoundBlaster are experiencing the problem so we have to assume it's not a gobal problem affecting all users.

The first thing is to go back to the Sound panel, in the Control Panel, and doublecheck the Recording section.  The "line in" should be one of the options and select that as the "default" input and then try recording and see what happens.  I realize this was done with Dell but go back and check it again anyway just in case something was missed. 

Another thing to try is to reseat the SoundBlaster sound card.  With the PC powered off, open the case and remove the SoundBlaster then reinstall making sure it's fully and correctly seated in the PCI connector socket.  Power the PC back up and see if that makes any difference, and if the Line In was not detected in the Sound Panel check now to see if it is detected.

I have an Xfi (but a later model) and in the Recording section when I doublclick on the icon for the Line In, I get another panel and one option in that panel is the recording volume level and if yours has this the recording level may be set to 0 which would mean no input signal.

Finally, it could be a hardware problem with the Xfi sound card, but that would a "last possibility" as the rarely go bad.



I am not a Dell Employee

Dell forum member since 2002

Dell Inspiron 15 - 5577 Laptop

Home Built Desktop PC with ASUS ROG Z170, i7 6700K CPU

Windows 10 64 bit Pro and Windows 10 Insider Program Beta Versions. SSD drives. Cakewalk by BandLab and Studio One 4.1 Recordng Studio Software.

Dell S2719dgf Monitor

Member of Nashville based R.O.P.E.

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ELucien
1 Copper

Re: Line-in vs. mic, Inspiron 530

After another long session with Dell, it has emerged that the SB soundcard on my particular Inspiron 530 is equipped with a 'flexi-jack' on the back panel which functions either for a mic or a line-in (pink connector) and that the standard blue jack is 'dead'. Certainly connecting the cassette player through this flexijack produces stereo recording as evidenced by the dual wave forms, and perhaps surprisingly the FP mic input does likewise. The program 'manual' however does not make this distinction but one can see that the visual representation is different, the various jacks being in a block rather than a horizontal formation attached to the card.  One can see this arrangement (& explication of the flexijack) on the Creative website (support), but I still feel uncomfortable by the lack of logic in an arrangement which includes the blue jack, yet offers no guidance on its anomalous role... I may contact Creative for further clarification.

As far as the sound is concerned, it is probably the old tape which offended my ears rather than the shortcomings of the connection - of course I've no way of knowing whether this combination jack restricts the sound in any way as one might expect from a standard mic input without an available alternative.

A bonus is the discovery of a recording program with a sophisticated Audio processing console included in the Creative installation,so I am at least able to make comparisons bwtween the different processing applications.

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