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How to record from a separate computer's Line-out? Answered

I have a bunch of midi files on an old Windows machine and I would like to make mp3 recordings of them playing on the machine's old soundcard.  I have an old version of Audacity on the computer, but the machine isn't powerful enough to make a good recording of the sound sent to the machine's Line-out while playing a midi.

I would like to connect the Line-out to another computer's microphone port and record using a modern version of Audacity on a modern computer.  When I connect a double-headed headphone cord into both the Line-out of the old machine and the microphone port of the new machine, the new computer reads the microphone as being unplugged (it thinks there's nothing plugged into the port even though the male headphone jack is in).

The old computer is a Dell with Windows 98.  The new one is a Lenovo Thinkpad T520 running both Linux Mint 18 and Windows 10 (both systems show the microphone port as being unplugged with the double-male cable but read a microphone).  I have an adapter for the dual-output/input port on the Thinkpad, and I know the microphone port works fine with an actual microphone.  Does anyone know why my computer will register input from a microphone but not from the other computer's Line-out and how I might get it to receive input from the old computer?

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ThirdEarthDesign

Best Answer 2 years ago

It's worth noting that a MIC-IN port is not the same as a LINE-IN port.

A MIC-IN is typically a low level input that usually has some kind of pre-amp stage on it. Also on a lot of sound cards this is commonly a mono (single channel) input.

A LINE-OUT on the other hand is a higher level audio signal that will be stereo (two channel), you need to try to use a LINE-IN as oppose to a MIC-IN.

Some sound cards have colour-coded ports, MICs are always pink, LINE-IN is blue, LINE-OUT is green.

In short you will encounter all sorts of issues connecting a line level signal to a mic input. Equally if you plug a microphone into a a line-in, it doesn't work properly.

There are MIDI to MP3 conversion tools available, even free on-line ones that don't require any downloads. Try this one Zamzar.com File Conversion

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El ManoThirdEarthDesign

Answer 2 years ago

I didn't know there was a difference between Mic-in and Line-in. I bought this to make the conversion:

https://www.amazon.com/Griffin-Technology-iMic-original-Adapter/dp/B003Y5D776

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Downunder35m

2 years ago

There are programs to record whatever happened on the screen, gamers love them...
For them it does not matter what the video or audio is because they covert in real time.
Might not work on 98 but you can copy the files to the new computer and do it there.
As an alternative there is also freeware available like Midi4all - sorry only found it in German through a quick search but might be available in english during the installation.

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bwrussell

2 years ago

I'm guessing the plug on the cord you're using has at least 3 segments ( 2 bands, TRS). The Mic-In port probably is wired with only 2 poles (1 band, TS). Check out the diagram attached.

The problem that would arise is if the mic-in is a TS port the tip is the "hot" mic line and the sleeve is ground while on a TRRS cable the mic line is on the sleeve or ring 1 which when plugged into a TS port mean they get grounded out at best, but most likely aren't even interfaced.

Personally I think ThirdEarthDesign already hit on the easeist solution but if necessary you could find or make the proper cable.

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Vyger

2 years ago

There might be a polarity problem. Your positive and negatives might be reversed. You can maybe check it with a meter. If that is the case then to fix it you need to cut your patch cable and connect the wires the other way. This makes a roll over cable so it changes the polarity of the end jack. make sure to label the cable with some tape and a note so you don't use it for anything else.