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Using laptop to play music through PA - How to add a mic?

Carso

Standard Member
Hi
Thanks much for the help - hope this post is in the right section - or close at least.

My kids hockey club likes to play music at games. In the past we would simply hold the mic up to a speaker of a cd player - a bit crude. This year I want to get a lap top and hook it to the mic jack - I know this works with some sort of adapater as I have seen the figure skaters do this. My question is though is there a way I can also hook in the mic so we can announce goals etc? I heard a Y connector wouldn't work. Could I hook the mic into the laptop? - would need an adaper or a different mic - but if this might work I get what I need and try.

Thanks for your time.
 

Iccz

Distinguished Member
Not really Home Entertainment PC so I've moved it to Laptops.


What kind of connection do you need to get sound on to the speaker system - does it not have a number of inputs?
You could run a mic through the laptop and put all sound from the laptop over the speakers...

What kind of mic is it you use what kind of connector does it have?
 

Carso

Standard Member
Thanks for the reply - right now the mike plugs into a single socket that has 3 small holes. I don't need to use the same mic - I would be happy to buy a mic that would work with the laptop - especially as you say I can put both music and voice out through it. When I am playing music will I need to do something to be able to use the mic or just turn it on (if there is an on/off) and talk?
Thanks again for the help.
 

Iccz

Distinguished Member
Thanks for the reply - right now the mike plugs into a single socket that has 3 small holes. I don't need to use the same mic - I would be happy to buy a mic that would work with the laptop - especially as you say I can put both music and voice out through it. When I am playing music will I need to do something to be able to use the mic or just turn it on (if there is an on/off) and talk?
Thanks again for the help.
Sounds like an XLR Jack on the Mic at present, you might be able get an XLR to 3.5MM adapter, something like this:
Hosa 3.5 mm to XLR (F) Stereo Plug, 5 ft.

I say might because I'm not sure if the Mic used required a pre-amp - you would need to speak to whoever is in charge of the sound there about the mic. If you could use that on your laptop it would mean only buying a cheap cable to use their mic instead of buying a mic for the PC - though there's not much difference in price to be honest - but you'll only get a cheap PC mic which wouldn't be as good.

Check to make sure the mic is XLR though - image for clarity (http://www.jiscdigitalmedia.ac.uk/images/mg10xlr.jpg)


If you can't use that mic, then any standard PC microphone should be fine.

As for turning on the mic etc - I'm not really an expert with software for this but a lot of online DJs broadcast their radio online and when they use the mic the volume of the music playing is dropped so you can hear them talk - I guess a post in Computer Software and Operating Systems Forum at AVForums.com might help you find something like this - It might even have push to talk keys you can set up.
 

Carso

Standard Member
Thanks much for the help. We don't have anyone at the rink who knows about the mic PA set up so your assistance is great. It does look like the plug you linked a picture too - good to know to find out if I need an amp or not. Sounds like it is doable - I'll tell my daughter to score a goal for you!
Thanks again
 

MarkE19

Moderator
There could be a problem if the only input to the PA system is for the mic. A mic outputs at a far lower level than the line (or louder headphone) level output that the laptop will have. So connecting a laptop to a mic level input could do some damage.

You really need to find out what inputs there are to the PA system, or a make & model so we can give more detailed info on what you require.

Mark.
 

Iccz

Distinguished Member
There could be a problem if the only input to the PA system is for the mic. A mic outputs at a far lower level than the line (or louder headphone) level output that the laptop will have. So connecting a laptop to a mic level input could do some damage.

You really need to find out what inputs there are to the PA system, or a make & model so we can give more detailed info on what you require.

Mark.
I figured it was okay as the OP says others do this with an adapter in the first post.
But yeah it's best to speak to the sound engineer or find out the details of the system to check.
 

MarkE19

Moderator
I figured it was okay as the OP says others do this with an adapter in the first post.
What the OP said was:
In the past we would simply hold the mic up to a speaker of a cd player - a bit crude.
and he was unsure what inputs there was to the PA system. So if a mic input is all that is available it will be a fair bit more complicated to get a laptop connected to it. But then again I would be very surprised if there were no line level inputs to the system for connecting a CD player, laptop etc to it and be able to also use a mic directly. But without details of the system being used it is difficault to know what is or isn't possible.

Mark.
 

extremelydodgy

Active Member
The blind leading the blind = fried circuits. Do not follow.

The XLR input is mono. Do not use the cable mentioned by Iccz (I do hope I don't get an infraction for the first line...?). I'm assuming you have some sort of PA mixer that you're plugging the mic into. This could have RCA inputs (red + white sockets) which you can plug the computer into. As the above conversation went however, best to talk to the guy there responsible for the setup.

The PA system/mixer will have talkback controls - so what you would do is to keep the mic attached to the PA mixer, and use a separate pair of stereo inputs on the PA mixer to plug in your computer. The talkback controls will allow you to talk over the music, mute the rest, etc. Once again, talk to your sound guy.

Alternatively (and I really, really don't recommend it), if you let us know the model of the PA mixer you're using it should be possible for one of us - hopefully not the above - to show you how to hook things up.
 

MarkE19

Moderator
The blind leading the blind = fried circuits. Do not follow.
I hope that comment isn't directed at me :devil: - What I have said is in line with your comments :smashin:
The PA system/mixer will have talkback controls - so what you would do is to keep the mic attached to the PA mixer, and use a separate pair of stereo inputs on the PA mixer to plug in your computer. The talkback controls will allow you to talk over the music, mute the rest, etc. Once again, talk to your sound guy.
Talk back is a very different feature to what you describe - it is a feature that allows the sound engineer to talk to the stage with his/her voice only coming out of the stage monitors and not the main PA speakers.
Mixing the sound from a CD player or laptop etc and a mic is just a basic feature of a mixing desk

Mark.
 

Iccz

Distinguished Member
The blind leading the blind = fried circuits. Do not follow.

The XLR input is mono. Do not use the cable mentioned by Iccz (I do hope I don't get an infraction for the first line...?). I'm assuming you have some sort of PA mixer that you're plugging the mic into. This could have RCA inputs (red + white sockets) which you can plug the computer into. As the above conversation went however, best to talk to the guy there responsible for the setup.
That's why I put an emphasis on might and said to speak to the engineer/whoever is in charge of the system, you can drop XLR down to 3.5mm in some cases - I've done it before myself :D

But no, I understand what you're saying, perhaps my data extraction methods were not as good as they should have been :p
 

cebs_uk

Well-known Member
You can pretty much convert an xlr - anything, mini-jack, quarter jack or phono and then onto a phono pair via a barrel or another lead.

If it works straight off is another thing, you would be best if there was another feed , phono or jack which would probably be line level. The trick then is finding the volume controls for it on a desk or panel somewhere, however if the mic is already at the right levels you can control your pc volume yourself.
 
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