Parallel Desktops

Adding a Mic to a Mac

The other day my buddy Jeff sent me a link to a video someone had put together that was one of the funniest things I had seen in a long, long time:

The Web Site is Down

Warning: you have to have been in an IT capacity to really appreciate the support desk style humor involved. What was amusing about this was that Jeff and I both thought man, Skype (which figures prominently in the video) looks pretty cool. Determined to check it out I decided that I needed to add a microphone to my Mac Pro in order to get this up and running properly.

When I switched from Windows to Mac I had a number of peripherals that were suddenly available. While most, like printers, USB hubs, memory card readers, speakers, etc. just plugged in and worked, my little standard boom microphone didn’t. I plugged it into the back of my Mac Pro and it just didn’t record sound.

The reason is the back of the Mac Pro has an audio-in port and I mistakenly assumed was a mic-in port. It’s actually a line-in and requires a preamp if I wanted to use my standard mic. Since it was a freebie Creative boom microphone that I’d had for years I decided to just plant it on my Ubuntu machine and get a nice replacement for the Mac Pro.

I ran off to my local Best Buy where I’ve become such a familiar face that they greet me by name. That’s never a good sign. I checked out the mid-range desktop mics and settled on the Rocketfish Digital USB Microphone. My needs for a mic are quite simple and the $24.99 I paid for it didn’t seem too bad.

I popped it into a USB port, pushed the little ON button on the top and it was ready to go. I fired up Audacity to see what my recorded voice sounded like and it came through loud and clear, though I did need to set the input volume pretty high.

Now with a functioning microphone attached to my Mac Pro I’m going to give Skype a whirl and see if it’s as cool as it looks in that video.

Without a voice that sounds like I’ve been breathing helium that is.

By David Alison

I bought my first Mac almost 24 years ago when DOS ruled the world. I didn't keep it too long though. I was just kicking off my career as a software engineer and needed to go with PCs. I bought my 2nd Mac in February of 2008. I didn't expect that I would find myself using the machine as much as I have. It's not that I hate Windows (well, I pretty much hate Vista but XP is a fine OS), it's just that I find myself constantly playing with this machine.

I'll share with you here my experiences of making the move from Windows to Macintosh. I still have a foot in both worlds, hence the name of my section.