Tag Archives: imac

Connecting external microphones to your Mac

If you have a USB microphone, it’s easy to plug it into your computer. But if you have an analog one, intended to be used with anything other than a computer — say, a camera, sound system or voice recorder — the chances are that it may not work, unless your computer has a dedicated microphone socket.

My Macs have a headset socket, into which you can plug combined earbud/microphone combinations such as you might get with your phone. But it tends to think that anything else you plug in there is just a pair of headphones, and that you probably want to keep using the built-in mic on the machine.

I did some experiments to work out how to persuade it to use an external microphone. It’s not one of my slickest videos, but it should serve its purpose!

Update, a few days later:

Even though the above solution works, it’s almost certainly easier, if you don’t have a microphone socket on your computer, to use a USB audio adapter, like this one.

I was hesitant about this, because I wasn’t sure of the likely quality of the analog-to-digital converters in a cheap USB peripheral, but it turns out to work very well for normal use. That would be my recommendation now, if you have a spare USB socket!

By hook or by crook…

Here’s a way to make yourself feel really stupid: take the SD card out of your camera and slam it happily into the slot in the side of your iMac, only to have it disappear completely. After a short, stunned moment, the realisation slowly sinks in that you have pushed it into the CD/DVD slot instead. How, you wonder, could anyone do something so foolish?

Well, here’s what the side of my 27″ iMac looks like, in a good light, after I have moved my head about 2 ft to the right from my normal sitting position:

I hope you’ll agree that it’s not quite such a daft thing to do. I certainly hope that, and so do the correspondents on this thread on the Apple support forum, where you can read several pages of confessions from people as foolish as me, and some helpful suggestions as to how to get it out again.

Based on one of those hints (Thanks, Cathy1956!) I fished it out with this elegantly-crafted tool:

Getting SD card out of CD/DVD drive

It’s good for people like me to have support groups in times of great need.

© Copyright Quentin Stafford-Fraser