Microphone input volume low on my Mac computer

FAQ #3247 Updated September 05, 2017

Question:

I purchased the Shure Microphone 8900W at my local Apple computer store. I plugged it into my PowerBook G4 into the microphone plug. I tried a test recording. It seems to barely hear my voice. I went into the Sound interface of the computer and turned up my volume. It still sounds weak. The internal mic picks me up better than this one. Why?

Answer:

The PowerBook G4 doesn't have a true mic input. It shows a little microphone on the 3.5mm jack but it's really more like a line input, which means it's expecting an audio device at a much higher level (line level). The microphone that Apple designed is proprietary and is essentially self powered outputting a higher level than a true microphone does. Our dynamic microphone needs to go into an input which is designed to amplify the signal with a pre amplifier.

What you can do if your interested in upgrading the audio quality is purchase a USB interface with a mic input. Most people are using these now for home recording. This is a device that you can connect a low impendence mic into and the USB will amplify the signal via the USB input on your computer.  As an example, look at the Shure X2u or MVi.

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X2u

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