Listening to Mic/Line-In With Windows Vista
I'm generally not one of those "Microsoft bashers" - on the whole I think MS does a reasonable job at bringing nice features to market that work on a variety of
machines. Having said that, sometimes I wonder what they are thinking and why they feel compelled to reorganize/rework things just for the sake of providing
a new look to their user interface.
Case in point: the mixer control. If you are like me, you took a little while using XP and its predecessors to learn how to control the sound mixer. With some
experimentation I found I could select which sources were available for "playback" and which were available for "recording." Having done so, if I wanted to plug my MP3 player
(or a tape deck or turntable) in, I could make sure the line-in channel was enabled for playback and just adjust that channel's volume in the mixer.
After a year or more of using Vista, I decided the other day to plug a scanner in and listen to it through my PC. This ought to be easy, right? It turns out it was
not as easy as I expected. I opened the Vista mixer control, and all I saw there were sliders for programs, not audio sources. Don't get me wrong, I think this is
a nice addition. Formerly you could not do things like make windows sounds quieter than other WAV sources, right? So, this is cool. Surely, I could look in the Vista
"recording control" properties and find a way to get my line-in included here.
Wrong again! Rats! Vista does include a set of properties for recording controls, but it is not like XP. I cannot check a box to make one of these appear in the
Vista sound control.
Fortunately, After a little Googling - in particular wading through a lot of wrong answers, I finally got the idea that I needed a separate program to do what I want since Vista would not do it for me.
That's when I stumbled on a nice shareware utility called, cleverly enough: Audio Control.
This program works a little more like what I was accustomed to in XP. As you can see, I just enabled the line in and set the volume I wanted and viola! ...I was now listening to my scanner
through the PC speakers.
Keywords: Windows, Vista, Mixer Control, Sound, Recording, Playback, Line In, Microphone, Input, Audio