Connecting mic (Rode NT3) to computer, how?

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by dondeguade, Dec 25, 2002.

  1. Hi girls and guys,

    how do you connect your mics to the computer. And i'm talking about real ones such as the Rode NT3, which has a XLR-output. Are there cables with XLR-input and normal headphone plug output? Where can i find these? And how bout losing quality when using such a setup?

    Thanks in advance for your help,

  2. Oysterman


    Mar 30, 2000
    It's a condenser mic, isn't it? Then you need a microphone preamp with 48V phantom power to get any sound out of the mic at all. The output on the preamp should then be connected to the (line) input of the sound card.

    I believe M-Audio's Audio Buddy does the trick for a relatively low price ($120 or so). If you can get your hands on a mixer of decent quality (with phantom power, of course), that would do the trick as well.

    You could perhaps manage with only a phantom power supply to power up the mic, but without any preamplification (this could perhaps save some $). Although you probably could record with the mic using such a setup, the signal might not be strong enough for your needs. You can always increase the volume of any recorded signal through software, but this will also increase noise levels.

    Some sound cards have a dedicated "mic" input, which has a built-in preamp. In most cases these suck, so don't use them if you don't have to (or don't share my opinion on their suckiness).

    Use whatever adapter plugs you find necessary, but preferably as few as possible (there will be signal degradation with adapters, although not a night and day difference IME).

    Hope that helps.
  3. FretNoMore

    FretNoMore * Cooking with GAS *

    Jan 25, 2002
    The frozen north
    The NT3 is a clever condenser mic that can be run on phantom power, but it also has a battery. So all you need for that specific mic is an adapter from XLR to tele, and possibly also an adapter from the large plug to a miniature if that is what's in your PC card. Perhaps it would be a good idea to make your own XLR-to-mini-tele cable.

    This would also work for non-condenser (dynamic) mics such as a Shure SM58.

    Other condenser mics: see Oysterman's reply above. :)
  4. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Also, the output of the NT-3 is pretty hot, so you may need to put an attenuator between the mic and the input. See link below.

    Shure Attenuator
  5. Thanks for your help and best wishes for 2003!
    One thing i'm curious about: is an attenuator like the opposite of a pre-amp?