[Cin] offtopic: Digitize and record Audio via Line-In Jack or via USB adapter?

mat mnieuw at zap.a2000.nl
Thu Sep 23 09:34:32 CEST 2021

Your MSI Z170-A PRO motherboard has according to specs a Realtec AL892
audio chip. The input converters should have 90 dB S/N (signal-to-
noise) ratio (A-weighted), but of course the motherboard might make it
a little worse.
However, from you record player of tape you will be very lucky to get
better than 65 dB S/N. So if an A-D converter has a S/N of 70 dB or
better, it is more than good enough for this.

Regarding your PC input channels, on current desktop motherboards I
usually see three 3.5 mm mini-jacks. Their recording quality for line-
in is close to 90 dB S/N or even above 100 on the better ones.

In pavucontrol (audio mixer), first check the configuration tab, to see
if the Built-in Audio is set up correctly. "Analog stereo duplex" is
probably right.
Then, on the "Input devices" tab, at the bottom set it to show
"Hardware Input Devices", then check that the Port is set to the
correct port. For me, "Line In" shows correctly if something is plugged
in or not. Make also sure the gain is set to 100%.
That said, I sometimes have problems recording LineIn with Audacity,
even though all seems OK. have not yet determined what the cause is.

External USB sound cards can be quite good, if you stay away from the
very cheap ones that are mic/phone only. I have a Behringer UCA-202
which is good enough for this, but there are much better ones (at a
price), look at music-oriented webshops. I presume to have an RIAA pre-
amp for you record player, these are usually set up for less output
that typical PC or usb-audio input, which expect 1 Volt. Drivers are
not needed, and disregard any reviews that don't show measurements.


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