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Is the Line-in Jack On the Verge of Extinction?

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the erasing-the-analog-hole dept.

Input Devices 411

SlashD0tter writes "Many older sound cards were shipped with line-out, microphone-in, and a line-in jacks. For years I've used such a line-in jack on an old Windows 2000 dinosaur desktop that I bought in 2000 (600 Mhz PIII) to capture the stereo audio signal from an old Technics receiver. I've used this arrangement to recover the audio from a slew of old vinyl LPs and even a few cassettes using some simple audio manipulating software from a small shop in Australia. I've noticed only recently, unfortunately, that all of the four laptops I've bought since then have omitted a line-in jack, forcing me to continue keeping this old desktop on life support. I've looked around for USB sound cards that include a line-in jack, but I haven't been too impressed by the selection. Is the line-in jack doomed to extinction, possibly due to lobbying from vested interests, or are there better thinking-outside-the-box alternatives available?"

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I Don't Know What You're Talking About (5, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#31577556)

My netbook (months old) has a line in jack. My motherboard (1 year old) has a line in jack. In fact, the software drivers for my motherboard allow me to decide what I plug into each of the three jacks even though it's Realtek crap software. Hell, I think I could have three line-in 1/8" jacks if I wanted to. From what I can tell, the most popular Dell desktop is the Inspiron 560 [dell.com] . I hate to sound like a salesman but not only do you get 7.1 surround sound at $350 but you also get a line in jack [dell.com] . They even suggest you "Use the (blue) line-in connector to attach a record/playback device such as a cassette player, CD player, or VCR. On computers with a sound card, use the connector on the card."

So that leaves us with some interesting cases:
  1. Something is very rotten in the state of Australia and their recent Think of the Children campaign has gone to new lengths to prevent people from transmitting sexy audio.
  2. You are very adept at selecting some models of computers that have no line-in jacks from a sea of computers with line-in jacks.
  3. You actually have a line-in jack, you just are confused with the colors (please don't take this as an insult, I've helped family members through this before). You also might have better drivers allowing you to make one of the jacks a line-in jack but you don't realize it.
  4. Look closer at your sound card. Does it say "Sorny" or "Panaphonics" on it? Buying computers from a kangaroo in an alleyway will get you what you pay for.
  5. Your tinfoil hat is on so tight you can't see the back ports on your computer.

Look, if you could give us more information like what operating system you use and what motherboards you're using, I'd be willing to track down the manuals on them and verify there's no line-in jack and take a boomerang to the head if I'm mistaken. But couldn't this problem have been solved with a couple bucks [arc.com.au] ? My eeePC netbook has a line-in. I really don't see them disappearing at all.

P.S. If you're looking for something a little more professional, external Audigys and M-Audio Pre USBs are useful for what you're doing though they are pricey ($200 USD).

Re:I Don't Know What You're Talking About (5, Informative)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 4 years ago | (#31577624)

SOLVED. [thinkgeek.com]

Now give me +5. Of course, there are many other ways to record a line-in, but it sounds to me like submitter is very finicky and used to doing things one specific way. I have family who use a dual-deck CD burner because they're used to the whole tape-deck way of recording. They would rather make a mix CD by sticking 1 CD at a time and burning track-by-track than simply ripping all of their music to their $800 laptop(which they use only for internet and OpenOffice) and burning mix CD's from the library. I'll get off your lawn now.

Re:I Don't Know What You're Talking About (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#31577742)

^^^Pretty much this. There are other options out there just for vinyl [amazon.com] if you are concerned about noise from using an analog input.

Re:I Don't Know What You're Talking About (4, Informative)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#31577748)

SOLVED. [thinkgeek.com]

That's sold out, $35 and possibly not available in Australia. However, after viewing that, it has occurred to me what has happened here. The submitter is used to (what I learned to call) RCA jacks in stereo. These I guess are two jacks looking like this [racketboy.com] . I believe what the submitter needs is only one of these adapters [avforums.com] that will run you a few bucks at your local store (unless you're finicky about quality which I'm guessing he's not if he's doing this on that old of a computer).

Yes, the large RCA version of it is going the way of the buffalo and probably has for some time. Similar to the new video out ports looking smaller and smaller but being essentially the same standard.

Re:I Don't Know What You're Talking About (1)

SillySixPins (1745210) | more than 4 years ago | (#31577972)

The submitter is used to (what I learned to call) RCA jacks in stereo. These I guess are two jacks looking like this. I believe what the submitter needs is only one of these adapters that will run you a few bucks at your local store (unless you're finicky about quality which I'm guessing he's not if he's doing this on that old of a computer).

That's the answer. I wonder why RCA is leaving us though?

Re:I Don't Know What You're Talking About (2, Informative)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 4 years ago | (#31578192)

That's easy: the connectors are bigger, and there are two of them. The result is higher cost. 1/8" phono jacks are probably cheaper (esp. since you only need one), can handle both L and R on one jack, and take up much less space. As a result, it's easy to stick a phono jack on the back of a computer motherboard, or even on a notebook computer, but adding dual RCA jacks to a computer usually means adding an extra expansion-port plate.

The only downside is that stereo phono jacks have more noise than separate RCA jacks, since the L and R signals are not isolated from each other in the cable and can have crosstalk. Of course, most people can't hear well enough to notice, or simply don't care, so for 99% of users, phono jacks are better.

Of course, if the noise issue is a problem for you, you can buy an RCA-to-phono Y adapter cable. It's not quite as good as true RCA jacks, but by using separate RCA cables instead of a stereo phono cable, you'll eliminate most of the noise since the noise is mostly created in the cable, and the lack of separation in the jack won't affect it much. Besides, PCs tend to be rather noisy anyway, and poor environments for audio signals; all the other electrical noise inside the case affects the audio signals in the analog portion of the circuitry before it gets to the audio chip. A well-designed PC would have shielding to prevent this, such as a separate PCI card with a metallic shielding box around it, but there aren't many PCs with that attention to detail.

Re:I Don't Know What You're Talking About (2, Informative)

EvanED (569694) | more than 4 years ago | (#31578010)

That seems extremely unlikely... I've only seen a couple computers with RCA ports ever.

Re:I Don't Know What You're Talking About (4, Interesting)

beav007 (746004) | more than 4 years ago | (#31578162)

Doesn't that then make the assessment more likely?

Re:I Don't Know What You're Talking About (5, Interesting)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 4 years ago | (#31578164)

I don't recall ever having an RCA line-in jack on any vanilla computer, unless I installed a high-end consumer sound card like some of the "pro" Sound Blasters or an actual professional sound card like an RME Hammerfall or M-Audio Audiophile or Delta.

Because I'm a media producer, I've got all sorts of devices for inputting audio into computers, from simple 1/4" to USB guitar cables (no kidding!) to multi-thousand dollar Apogee A/D converters. You can now get a device that will do 24bit/192kHz sound recording for a computer for less than $100 (and throw in a phantom power microphone preamp to boot). The choices have never been greater.

And yes, unless you're hung up on the shape of the little gizmo that plugs into the little hole, every computer from laptop to Mac Pro has a way to input audio (aka "line-in") jack. Sometimes, the jack actually does double duty as mic-in and line in, and the little mixer applet that comes with it will attenuate or boost the signal accordingly.

Re:I Don't Know What You're Talking About (1)

mirix (1649853) | more than 4 years ago | (#31578338)

TFS seems to be rambling on about laptops though, and I've never seen a laptop with RCA connectors, ever.

That said, every:
A) Motherboard with onboard sound
B) Soundcard
C) Laptop
I've ever purchased has a line-in jack on it, so I'm really quite confused as to what the problem is.

Re:I Don't Know What You're Talking About (1)

mariushm (1022195) | more than 4 years ago | (#31577830)

Perhaps he just needs to upgrade to a better soundcard, geared towards semi-professionals and professionals. For example M-Audio is a company known to produce produces quality soundcards with multiple input and output jacks and break out boxes.
Here's the category page: http://www.m-audio.com/index.php?do=products.family&ID=recording [m-audio.com]
You can find PCI cards, USB sound cards and even Firewire devices on that page.

Otherwise, there are still plenty of sound cards with line-in, including USB ones: http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=Property&Subcategory=57&Description=&Type=&N=2010290057&srchInDesc=line&MinPrice=&MaxPrice= [newegg.com]

Re:I Don't Know What You're Talking About (1)

aitikin (909209) | more than 4 years ago | (#31578298)

Quality soundcards is a bit of an overstatement. Not to mention drivers can be a bitch.

No shit (5, Informative)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 4 years ago | (#31578024)

Seriously, anyone who can't find analogue sound input for their computer hasn't bothered looking very hard. I can find it for you USB, Firewire, PCI, or PCIe. Stereo, 8 channel, 128 channel, whatever you like. You name the kind of audio capture you need, someone out there makes a product for it. All of them will be better quality than the line-in jack on a laptop, which generally has really poor filtering and thus lots of noise.

The parent is absolutely right in terms of the Behringer as a good, cheap solution. Need something better? You can get something like the M-Audio MobilePre (http://www.m-audio.com/products/en_us/MobilePreUSB.html) which has pretty good converters and some features you don't need. Still not enough, have to have no holds barred? Get yourself an Benchmark ADC1 (http://www.benchmarkmedia.com/adc1/) converter, which is just about as good as it get.

No matter what the level, from a highly adequate $35 USB audio interface, up to a $1,700 dedicated converter, you can get something that'll meet your needs, and do so online.

The only reason line in is dying on soundcards is people aren't using it much. On laptops, space is also a premium so why bother? Many desktop cards still have it, as they've got the space for more inputs.

Re:No shit (4, Informative)

spisska (796395) | more than 4 years ago | (#31578132)

The parent is absolutely right in terms of the Behringer as a good, cheap solution.

Beware of Behringer gear. Yes, it is cheap. Yes, it is decent when it works. But the build quality is quite shoddy. It will do the job, but something will break or burn out fairly quickly. I was warned about this before I bought a mixer from them, but I figured that it would be in a fairly decently controlled location and not moved around. Barely two years later and it's already blown one channel strip and the headphone-out.

Re:I Don't Know What You're Talking About (2, Informative)

luder (923306) | more than 4 years ago | (#31578342)

Oh, man... Look what I just found in one of the suggested products page [thinkgeek.com] :

Pull it out, and give it a twist, and a super-bright highly focused white spotlight shines into the darkest corners.

:-D

Re:I Don't Know What You're Talking About (1)

Bengie (1121981) | more than 4 years ago | (#31578238)

my Realtek, recent within 2 years, EVERY port works as either a mic or stereo out, and it's not mono mic, but supports stereo in. It auto detects the ports and lets me configure which port does what.

Re:I Don't Know What You're Talking About (1)

mjwx (966435) | more than 4 years ago | (#31578254)

He's buying notebooks, no laptop I've seen has ever had a line in jack, most have microphone jacks but no line in. There's probably a few models with them but none I've seen.

However almost every ATX mainboard I've bought over the last few years has had line in and line out. mATX usually don't but a few do have line in.

Buy a USB headset. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31577558)

Buy a USB headset that includes a microphone. They usually have an adapter that includes both line-in and line-out.

Why do you need one? (1, Informative)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 4 years ago | (#31577564)

Why do you need two inputs? I highly doubt there's much difference between the line-in jack on your sound card and the stereo microphone jack. If you were hoping a line-in jack would somehow give you better audio quality, I think you'll have to look to more professional gear for that. Try Guitar Center.

Re:Why do you need one? (5, Funny)

musicalmicah (1532521) | more than 4 years ago | (#31577982)

Microphone jacks have gain. Gain leads to clipping. And clipping leads to the dark side.

Re:Why do you need one? (2, Informative)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 4 years ago | (#31578180)

Microphone jacks have gain. Gain leads to clipping. And clipping leads to the dark side.

Every sound card or motherboard with audio includes an app with the driver that will conform the level to your liking.

Re:Why do you need one? (2, Funny)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 4 years ago | (#31578288)

And clipping leads to the dark side.

Agreed. Hearing an overdriven amp for the first time tends to turn these [tripod.com] into this. [wordpress.com]

Mic != line (5, Informative)

name_already_taken (540581) | more than 4 years ago | (#31578006)

Why do you need two inputs? I highly doubt there's much difference between the line-in jack on your sound card and the stereo microphone jack.

A microphone input is expecting microphone-level signals - not line level. There's a big difference, and without something similar to a DI box [wikipedia.org] to correct the level, all you'll get if you put line level audio into a microphone jack is distorted overdriven noise.

Re:Mic != line (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31578046)

Not all microphone ports are created equal. Some, like the one on the first generation Eee PC, have the ability to automatically switch between line-in and microphone depending on what's plugged into it. YMMV depending on how your audio board is wired.

"The pink microphone port doubles as a stereo line-in socket, depending on what is plugged in to it)."
http://wiki.eeeuser.com/eee_pc_701 [eeeuser.com]

Re:Mic != line (2, Informative)

Farmer Tim (530755) | more than 4 years ago | (#31578330)

No, a DI boxes are for driving balanced lines, and while this may be a rash generalisation, I don't think any computers have XLR inputs on the built-in sound card. Besides, not all DI boxes have an attenuator (pad), which is what's needed here.

Assuming there isn't a system setting that allows gain switching on the input (quite possible), simpler and probably cheaper would be a basic interface like the Behringer UCA200.

Re:Mic != line (1)

ffflala (793437) | more than 4 years ago | (#31578340)

While the mic-level/line-level difference is notable, you can decrease the gain on the mic-input enough to to adjust for this difference. (It helps if your sending device has an output level control.)

A more difficult problem is that the pink mic-in jacks are, afaik, uniformly mono inputs. Depending on the plug you use, substituting the mic-in for a line-in it will either come out as only the left or right stereo track, or an ugly mono blend of both.

The blue line-in jacks are stereo inputs.

Re:Why do you need one? (2, Informative)

spisska (796395) | more than 4 years ago | (#31578048)

I highly doubt there's much difference between the line-in jack on your sound card and the stereo microphone jack.

Microphones need power, and the mic-in provides it. Line-level audio is powered by the device producing the signal. If you run a regular mic into a line input, you'll get a much lower signal. Likewise, if you run a line into a mic-in you'll get more signal than the circuit is designed to handle, and it will distort much more easily.

I haven't seen any evidence of any great conspiracy to eliminate line-in from computer audio -- every sound card I've ever bought has it and I've never paid more than around US$25 (except the M-Audio Delta 1010LT -- 10 line-in, 10-line out, ~$200), but there are plenty of really simple audio USB adapters for $10-$20 retail. I've got a couple that came included with music hardware but I've never used them.

As for cost, audio gear is a bit like wine -- there's a huge difference between a $2 bottle and a $10 bottle, a bit of difference between a $10 and $25 bottle, and only subtle differences between a $25 and $100 bottle.

And if you're the audio equivalent of a wine snob that thinks he/she can taste the difference between a $100 and $1,000 bottle, than I'm sure someone is willing to sell you an automagnetic bit-harmonizing inductive-conditioning audio conduit interface for the price of a small car.

Re:Why do you need one? (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 4 years ago | (#31578228)

You don't need two inputs. Many modern sound cards (or hardware built onto the motherboard) have hardware to allow ports to be changed between line-in, microphone, line-out, and headphone. There's probably some chip that connects directly to the jack, and this chip internally can change what the jack is used for (input, output, and the level), subject to software control.

There is no difference (most of the time) (1)

marcansoft (727665) | more than 4 years ago | (#31578284)

Most Intel HDA codecs just treat all jacks the same, the only difference is the settings. If you want to play around, grab HDA Analyzer [alsa-project.org] and tweak things to your heart's consent. For example, on my laptop (3 jacks), I can output 5.1 audio, or output 4.0 plus get one mic, or 4.0 plus one input, or output stereo cloned through two jacks (great for listening with a friend), or even make all jacks inputs, route them to the three stereo ADCs, and capture 5.1 analog audio. In fact, as far as I can tell, the only "special" jack is the headphones jack, which appears to go through some sort of extra amp to boost it as an output (more than the codec chip is documented to do, though strangely it still works as an input; it might just be another case of Realtek failing at documentation). Other than that, each jack has "in" and "out" options, a headphone boost option (this is the standard one built-in to the codec), a set of mic preamp settings, and a mic vref setting.

In other words, you just need the right software to do whatever you want with your audio jacks these days. Crappy drivers (both on Linux and Windows) will usually severely limit you, compared to the capabilities of the hardware. At least under Linux, you can always use HDA Analyzer to poke the real hardware settings (on Windows, you're probably SOL).

No. (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31577566)

It's not.

Like a desktop? (1)

delphi125 (544730) | more than 4 years ago | (#31577570)

All motherboards have em.

Uh no... (2, Insightful)

Anrego (830717) | more than 4 years ago | (#31577572)

More likely, line-in is just not a feature used by enough mobile users to make it worth putting on a laptop.

Most laptops don't come with 7.1 surround sound output either.. and it's not because surround sound is fading into the sunset..

Any desktop motherboard with integrated sound will probably have one though.. and just about any add-on sound card will as well.

_AND_ any decent external sound "card" will probably have one.. have a look at terratec's produce line. The DMX 6Fire USB has a whole plethora of inputs.

Even cheap mini-itx boards (MSI Wind for instance) have line in.. just get yourself one o` those...

Mic Preamp Disable? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31577578)

It may just be me but I believe my laptop, at least under linux, has a mic preamp boost option. It's POSSIBLE that with that disabled the mic port acts just like a line-in.

Regardless I don't think I've had a laptop in the past 5+ years that had anything other than headphone out and mic in available on it.

Regarding sound cards, most of them have reconfigurable audio ports with seperate options for both line in as well as mic in, so it's possible you're just not looking around enough.

If only it did work that way (4, Interesting)

name_already_taken (540581) | more than 4 years ago | (#31578022)

It's POSSIBLE that with that disabled the mic port acts just like a line-in.

It doesn't. Trust me. I was handed 12 hours of video with overdriven audio that can't be corrected (there's no good correction for clipped audio), all recorded that way because someone set up the recorder with line level audio going into the mic jack and never checked the recorded levels.

they had boost turned off, forgot to mention (1)

name_already_taken (540581) | more than 4 years ago | (#31578032)

Forgot to mention that they were using the Mic input with the boost turned off.

Re:If only it did work that way (1)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 4 years ago | (#31578266)

No one is arguing about whether you'll get distortion if you feed a line level signal into a mic level input, fail to check your levels, and don't enable AGC. The same is likely true for a mic input cranked all the way open.

That said, given that some microphones can exceed line level output by themselves without a preamp (the maximum output of a CAD M9, for example, is +8dBV), it should be possible if you set things up correctly to feed a line level signal into any decent mic input. In some pro gear, they don't even bother to take the preamp out of the signal path for line level inputs; the preamps have to be able to handle that level of input anyway.

That said, I'm talking about relatively high end gear set up by somebody who is paying attention. When you deal with low end gear that has no padding or trim on the input side of the preamp, no gain adjust on the preamp, and limited headroom in the preamp, you almost certainly have to turn down the output of the device providing the line level signal. Even then, it can be done, though. You just have to do it right.

So yes, the line level input is gradually going away, and for precisely the reason stated.

There Is Hope! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31577582)

It's called an audio pad. Magically takes the -10 dB IHF level of your Technics stereo down to the -45 to -52 dB mic level so you can plug it into your laptop.

Wait wait wait, it gets better...they're cheap. And you can make them yourself.

Re:There Is Hope! (1)

tylernt (581794) | more than 4 years ago | (#31577610)

It's called an audio pad. Magically takes the -10 dB IHF level of your Technics stereo down to the -45 to -52 dB mic level so you can plug it into your laptop.

If I'm not mistaken, a 5-cent resistor will do the same thing.

Re:There Is Hope! (5, Funny)

owlstead (636356) | more than 4 years ago | (#31577762)

No-no-no. You need a 50 dollar gold plated monster transistor for it to sound reasonably ok. All my 5 cent transistors are solid gold.

Re:There Is Hope! (1)

pushing-robot (1037830) | more than 4 years ago | (#31577770)

But the Audio Pad makes your music sound more... mercurial, or whatever the adjective is this week.

Re:There Is Hope! (1)

pushing-robot (1037830) | more than 4 years ago | (#31577820)

(...but to be fair, a real attenuator pad really is nothing more than a few 5-cent resistors)

Re:There Is Hope! (2, Informative)

Nethead (1563) | more than 4 years ago | (#31577780)

Actually three resistors.

http://www.electronics-tutorials.com/basics/attenuators.htm [electronic...orials.com]

It's called a pi network (because of the schematic shape.)

Re:There Is Hope! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31577870)

And there i was thinking it was a network of pies.... How sadly mistaken I was :(

Re:There Is Hope! (2, Informative)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 4 years ago | (#31577910)

Actually two resistors.

RF stuff is done on the basis of matched impedances (maximum power transfer configuration and also avoids reflection issues). Audio stuff is generally done on the basis of a low impedance source driving a high impedance load (maximum voltage transfer configuration) so to attenuate the signal you ideally want a potential divider with a resistance much greater than the impedance of the source and much less than the impedance of the load (generally not a problem as the two are usually VERY different)

However having said all this attenuating the signal and feeding it into a laptop mic input is about the worst solution I can think of. Low level audio signals and laptops DO NOT mix well. .

Re:There Is Hope! (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 4 years ago | (#31577810)

You have to put some care into it. A wire-wound resistor will act as a low-pass filter...

Yes, it's dying (0, Flamebait)

blhack (921171) | more than 4 years ago | (#31577588)

The line-in jack will disappear with physical audio. Honestly, unless you're a DJ, it's pretty unlikely that you have any audio that doesn't exist as something digital (MP3, AAC, WAV, etc.)

And if you are a DJ, you should be using a dedicated piece of hardware... Don't get me wrong, this makes me sad (probably because audio is a hobby of mine) but it isn't at all surprising.

Re:Yes, it's dying (4, Insightful)

phliar (87116) | more than 4 years ago | (#31577822)

Honestly, unless you're a DJ, it's pretty unlikely that you have any audio that doesn't exist as something digital (MP3, AAC, WAV, etc.)

Well, you know, there are still a couple of people around that play musical instruments (you know, those expensive things you don't have to plug in), and we sometimes like to record the sounds that we make. And others sometimes go to listen to people playing these instrument things, and they sometimes like to record the sounds. Craziness!

Re:Yes, it's dying (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31578026)

If you're playing a musical instrument and want to record it, you should really invest in something better than the total crap built-on soundchips included on most modern PCs. Others have posted links to reasonably priced USB options. The real expense is in the instrument itself, the microphone(s), and a decent room setup. So the GP was too quick to say "DJ", which is one of the last things that comes to mind for me...aren't many of them all digital now?

Re:Yes, it's dying (2, Insightful)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 4 years ago | (#31578332)

Mod parent up. That's the real reason why the inputs are disappearing from laptops. If you're trying to record something of any quality, the audio hardware built into computers doesn't even begin to cut it. The latency alone will make you want to throw your machine across the room. So:

  • People trying to do any real recording are going to buy a decent outboard interface with decent preamps.
  • People who don't care about quality will likely use the built-in mic on the laptop's bezel.
  • People who want better isolation for things like video chat but aren't very serious about quality can pick up a cheap USB mic or headset.

Either way, the audio input jack sits there unused.

Re:Yes, it's dying (5, Funny)

yelvington (8169) | more than 4 years ago | (#31578052)

This "musical instrument" cancer MUST BE STOPPED. When unlicensed amateurs are permitted to record anything they want, they devalue the musical landscape for legitimate musicians who are under corporate contracts. Do you want Miley Cyrus to starve, and Lady Gaga to go naked? Major recording studios stand to lose MILLIONS of dollars. We need legislation to control the unlicensed spread of microphones and pickup jacks. Anything capable of capturing sound should be subjected to a 60% surtax, the proceeds of which should be delivered directly to the Harry Fox Agency.

Re:Yes, it's dying (1)

morethanapapercert (749527) | more than 4 years ago | (#31578140)

Considering the number of webpages that seem full of Lady Gaga's latest outrageous outfit, her sexuality and so on, I'd say it's virtually certain that many people out there really *do* want to see Lady Gaga go naked.....

Re:Yes, it's dying (1)

socsoc (1116769) | more than 4 years ago | (#31578320)

woosh...

Re:Yes, it's dying (1)

bertoelcon (1557907) | more than 4 years ago | (#31578282)

Do you want Miley Cyrus to starve, and Lady Gaga to go naked?

To that second one, maybe? Will there be pictures of it and can the internet have them will be the answer.

Re:Yes, it's dying (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31578088)

Ironically, if you wanted to record the sound from an acoustic instrument, you would use a microphone and the mic-in socket.

Gasp! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31578194)

You don't plug your trumpet [digitaltrumpet.com.au] in!? Please tell me more about it.

Re:Yes, it's dying (1)

Tromad (1741656) | more than 4 years ago | (#31578216)

I don't know, I just went to a party with a lot of young adults and out of 20 people, me and my brother were the only ones who knew how to play the guitar, and I'm not talking expert level, I'm talking about just playing anything. Maybe those stats are normal, but they seem ridiculously low for an instrument that is so easy to pick up and learn. My evidence is anecdotal but with the continual closing of public music programs, it just seems to me that people just aren't as interested in playing instruments anymore. Or maybe this has always been said and now it is just a product of the times as instruments become virtualized.

Re:Yes, it's dying (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 4 years ago | (#31578278)

I'm not sure how instrument playing compares to a few decades ago, but centuries ago, only rich people played musical instruments as a hobby. With all the "Guitar Center" stores that have popped up, I think instrument playing is actually quite a bit higher now than it was in the past. It may have fallen a bit since the 50s, however, as it seemed that people back then had a bit more disposable income, and more time and interest in DIY stuff since they didn't have 500 channels of crap to watch.

Re:Yes, it's dying (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 4 years ago | (#31578250)

Well, you know, there are still a couple of people around that play musical instruments (you know, those expensive things you don't have to plug in)

I most certainly do plug in my electric guitar, as does every other electric guitarist on the planet.

Re:Yes, it's dying (1)

b4upoo (166390) | more than 4 years ago | (#31578280)

I hear you! For musicians, as much as I hate to say it, Microsoft is a better environment than Linux as the Linux music software is simply not at all easy to use. You got me thinking a bit and I wonder if I plug the earphone jack right into the Yamaha silent brass unit and to the microphone jack on my PC if I can listen to it through my sound system and record it to hard drive as well.
              I would love to have software that can capture sound in either base or treble clef, convert it to sheet music in the clef of choice and print it out in a full size format. I want to do that with one or two clicks on one program.

Re:Yes, it's dying (3, Insightful)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 4 years ago | (#31577840)

The line-in jack will disappear with physical audio. Honestly, unless you're a DJ, it's pretty unlikely that you have any audio that doesn't exist as something digital (MP3, AAC, WAV, etc.)

Why drop it? Its not as if it is any major cost to the machine these days. I don't use my line-in that often but it is certainly useful and it would be a pain to have to go an get a USB adapter for something so basic.

I suspect that the models that don't have them are low end computers where the manufacture tries to cut costs in the most extreme ways.

audiophiles (3, Interesting)

TheSHAD0W (258774) | more than 4 years ago | (#31577590)

There's inevitably some noise that creeps in with a line-level jack on your PC. It's not much, but it drives audiophiles to distraction. Moving it to a USB device helps reduce the noise by an order of magnitude or so. That may be one thing driving the change.

There are other solutions (1)

larwe (858929) | more than 4 years ago | (#31577614)

What about a USB recording device? They [potentially] have less noise, and they're pluggable anywhere.

It is being replaced with the more futureproof... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31577626)

Polar-Bear-In jack.

Where's the transparency? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31577628)

Obama lied, America died.

Get a Mac (0, Offtopic)

repetty (260322) | more than 4 years ago | (#31577636)

If you took your investments in "all of the four laptops I've bought" (4) you could have bought a MacBook that has a line-in.

I'm just saying.

Also, your laptops seem to have a useful lifespan of just 2.5 years. Sumthin' wrong there, too.

My 10-year old PowerBook with line-in is still in use.

What have you been buying???

Not sure what you're looking at... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Freak (16973) | more than 4 years ago | (#31577646)

My latest three desktops have all come with a line-in, as have my latest two notebooks, including a netbook. Only my wife's MacBook doesn't have Line In, of my most recently purchased hardware.

Also, there's the Griffin iMic, a quite cheap device with line in. (Switchable between mic-level and line-level in, even.)

Re:Not sure what you're looking at... (2, Informative)

Quarters (18322) | more than 4 years ago | (#31577846)

Macbooks ship with a line in jack. Macbook Pros use the same 1/8" jack for either input or output. You just have to go to the Audio preferences and set it for the mode you need at that time.

It's much the same on any modern motherboard. The line out jack is also a line in jack. You just need to configure it as such.

Re:Not sure what you're looking at... (1)

BumpyCarrot (775949) | more than 4 years ago | (#31578322)

To second this, I can't recommend the iMic enough. It's fairly cheap, tiny, and just beautiful in aesthetics *and* function. I use mine to "USB enable" Protracker on my Amiga. I can't see how any USB offerings would be worse compared to whatever gets built into the majority of laptops.

Get a USB line in adapter (2, Informative)

Phat_Tony (661117) | more than 4 years ago | (#31577648)

Yes, a lot of new laptops have neither a microphone nor line-level audio input jack. Most people will never use it.

One easy solution is just to get a USB line in adapter [dak.com] for around $40, rather than having to keep an entire dinosaur computer around for just one function.

I don't know how well it works, but here's a $10 adapter [ebay.com] on Ebay that does video too. There are other similar products around.

If true, its because nobody cares (0, Flamebait)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 4 years ago | (#31577660)

Other than a few Slashdot readers and luddites, few modern PC purchasers need a line-in jack. iTunes and Amazon won, for $9.99 you can get a perfect MP3 rip of my old vinyl, without spending 1+ hours per album ripping then tweaking, then exporting.

It went out with a whimper.

Professional audio (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31577666)

There are hundreds of professional audio cards available - either internal or USB - that can record. Even the cheapest ones will do a much better job than the integrated sound card on your computer. Any normal music store will have a large selection to choose from.

How am I going to... (2, Funny)

willwinter (200040) | more than 4 years ago | (#31577700)

load the cassette tapes into my Apple ][+ if you take away my line-in port?

All my ASUS motherboards have them... (1)

Narcocide (102829) | more than 4 years ago | (#31577708)

And so do all my pci soundcards. Maybe you're just buying crappy hardware?

Difference between desktops & laptops (1)

White Flame (1074973) | more than 4 years ago | (#31577716)

All the new desktops still have line-in jacks, as far as I've seen. If you're specifically looking at a portable platform intended to reduce size & weight, then of course they're going to be dropping jacks that are rarely used in a portable situation. However, line-in is still all over the place, and is great for consolidating media devices into 1 nice display & audio setup based around a non-portable computer, as well as the platform shifting purposes you're describing. I don't think the jack is going anywhere in the reasonable future.

Not a conspiracy (2, Informative)

markdavis (642305) | more than 4 years ago | (#31577732)

It might be less of a conspiracy and more of a supply-and-demand thing. Most people have no use for and could care less about line in (I am not one of them, however). Since you are talking about laptops, anything that reduces space is often omitted, if it isn't really needed.

On desktop machines, I have not seen line-in disappear at all. And I bought a laptop last year, and it has mic/line-in, too.

Vested interests? Wtf? (-1, Flamebait)

Lord Bitman (95493) | more than 4 years ago | (#31577736)

People who care about Line-In jacks buy decent ones, instead of using the bare-minimum crap that gets shipped on many motherboards. Of course, I suppose some people care about line-in jacks and are retarded... I suppose those people couldn't figure out that the microphone jack provides the exact same function, and is just as superfluous nowadays as a separate line-in jack, since most PC microphones these days are USB.

line-in? (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | more than 4 years ago | (#31577768)

I still am unsure of the difference between line-in and microphone-in, other than audio level (sensitivity).

Re:line-in? (1)

NNKK (218503) | more than 4 years ago | (#31577974)

It's not sensitivity, it's power.

When you plug an already suitably-powered audio device (pretty much anything that has an independent power source) into an inevitably-amplified microphone jack, what you get is going to be badly clipped audio (assuming you don't just blow out the sound card). Even if you manage to get the power so low on the input device that you avoid clipping while still having a usable signal, running through the second amplifier is still going to add unnecessary noise/distortion.

Re:line-in? (1)

Deorus (811828) | more than 4 years ago | (#31578324)

My motherboard's microphone connector has a DB boost setting for the microphone, and I recall my Sound Blaster 16 (first generation) having that too. These days you can pretty much set everything up using software since the hardware is a lot more dynamic than it used to be. For example, when I plug something into my desktop's front mic connector it always asks me what kind of device I've just plugged in and adjusts itself accordingly.

Just bought a brand spanking new Dell Studio 15 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31577778)

And it came with a separate line-in jack along with mic and headphone out, and thats with the standard audio option

Go to Aldi (0, Offtopic)

grege1 (1065244) | more than 4 years ago | (#31577812)

From one Australian to another. Aldi Supermarkets have a USB Turntable on special this week for $A79 - no line in required - complete with Windows software for recording. Simple, neat and good enough for making mp3s from your old vinyl. Cassettes are a different story, but I am sure there are plenty of options in that area too.

try buying a desktop (1)

cenobyte40k (831687) | more than 4 years ago | (#31577824)

All the desktop machines I have have them, including the ultra-cheap large buyer business workstation that I have floating around. Desktop might take up a little more room, but they are more efficient and cost less.

Quick question (1)

wikid_one (1056810) | more than 4 years ago | (#31577882)

This may be a stupid question, but what is the difference between the line-in and the microphone ports? Aren't they both used to receive data from an outside source?

Re:Quick question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31577960)

So is the IR port and the keyboard . . .
Doesn't mean they're the same.

Re:Quick question (1)

Archon-X (264195) | more than 4 years ago | (#31578050)

Depends on the card, really, but in a perfect world, line-in is 75ohm/150mv and mic.is 600ohm/2.5mv.

More information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phantom_power [wikipedia.org]

Re:Quick question (-1, Flamebait)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 4 years ago | (#31578058)

It's like comparing a dude's asshole to a girl's asshole. look the same, feel the same, smell the same, work the same. But if you start sucking on the dude's asshole, you're a faggot.

Re:Quick question (1, Informative)

SharpFang (651121) | more than 4 years ago | (#31578076)

Microphone port pumps some current into whatever is connected to it (to power the microphone up)
Line In doesn't provide any power, it only analyses incoming signal from external source, and will be often separated through transoptors or the like to protect the hardware from overcurrent from difference of potential between the devices.

Get a USB device (1)

steveha (103154) | more than 4 years ago | (#31577928)

There are lots of USB devices out there with a line-in jack.

Here's one I like a lot. Unfortunately, Turtle Beach has discontinued this product; fortunately, there are some still out there, so buy one now before it's too late.

http://www.turtlebeach.com/products/audio-advantage-srm/home.aspx [turtlebeach.com]

P.S. This is discontinued... does anyone know where I can find anything remotely similar that is not discontinued?

steveha

It's not a conspiracy (1)

EmagGeek (574360) | more than 4 years ago | (#31577958)

A line-input jack takes up one of the most valuable resources on a laptop - space. Laptops are also electrically noisy because they are designed to be small and energy efficient, not electrically quiet. A laptop is not meant to be a good recording device.

Almost every PC sold has at least one Line-input jack. My PC has a line input jack and a coaxial digital S/PDIF input on the motherboard. You can buy USB devices all day long that have up to 24 input channels. I have a pair of 10-channel boards, each having 8 unbalanced analog, 2 XLR, and 1 more coaxial S/PDIF port.

iAudio U3 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31578028)

I purchased an iAudio U3 some time ago. They don't seem to be in production anymore, but they were packed with features, including in-line recording. Very convenient for recording short clips right to the player on occasion, from other friends players if we were on the go.

oh my (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | more than 4 years ago | (#31578038)

I don't understand why people will spend five grand on a laptop, get pissed about its lack of features but at home still have an 8 year old computer that they relay on for all of their real work and data backup. Get a $500 desktop, it will outclass your laptop easily if you build it yourself and skip the microsoft tax. As far as speed and utility are concerned it'll blow any laptop away... then get a netbook for travel. If you're trying to rip 8tracks to MP3 while sitting in Starbucks, you're doing it wrong.

Re:oh my (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31578146)

If he skips the "Microsoft tax" what the fuck will his apps run on? Linsux certainly doesn't have any worthwhile audio apps.

Eoither you're a fucking troll or your a fucking retard. Probably both.

My question is (4, Insightful)

proxima (165692) | more than 4 years ago | (#31578056)

Why don't all car radio setups come with a line-in jack? Even many of the aftermarket ones don't have them (on the front, at least). Such a cheap part, and yet so many people use their ipods via FM tuner or tape adapter.

Re:My question is (1)

speedlaw (878924) | more than 4 years ago | (#31578306)

Because up to the advent of the iPod car makers wanted to lock you into expensive in car players. Once the entire world gave up "discs" they had to come around. I'm just amazed how much they can charge for a 1/8 stereo jack and some wire. Makes Monster Cable look like the dollar store.

Reason: why no line-in (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31578120)

Many older sound cards were shipped with line-out, microphone-in, and a line-in jacks. For years I've used such a line-in jack on an old Windows 2000 dinosaur desktop that I bought in 2000 (600 Mhz PIII) to capture the stereo audio signal from an old Technics receiver.

We've arranged this with hardware manufacturers, so that you stop pirating music, Johnny.
regards,
RIAA

It seems to be replaced by a digital audio jack (1)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 4 years ago | (#31578124)

At least on my laptop. It has the normal three jacks, but I only just now saw that one was not the "line in", but an "SPDIF Out". Doesn't affect me either way, since I don't use either, but that may be behind some of the displacement. My drivers could probably change it around, though.

Re:It seems to be replaced by a digital audio jack (1)

Colourspace (563895) | more than 4 years ago | (#31578312)

Sorry, but no. Input audio circuitry - line in - will be analog. SPDIF out will be output circuitry, and digital to boot. No driver can change that.

This article got published? really? (1)

steppin_razor_LA (236684) | more than 4 years ago | (#31578186)

There is no conspiracy. Most people don't need line-ins on a laptop. Either:

1. Find a larger laptop that has the jacks
2. Purchase an external sound device (i.e. USB)
3. Use a desktop

Umm.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31578218)

what line-in jack?

Use Mic jack (2, Informative)

BobPaul (710574) | more than 4 years ago | (#31578234)

I've yet to buy a computer with fewer than 3 jacks (out, line in, mic in generally alternatively selectable as out1, out2, out3 for surround). But if you really don't have a line in, use the Mic jack and uncheck the "Microphone Boost" option. The +20dB boost is the difference between mic level and line level.

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