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Vista Line In

What happened to the "playback" mixer properties in Windows Vista?

Vista Mixer - Line In

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.

Vista's Sound Mixer Program

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. 

Vista's Recording Control Property Sheet

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.

Audio Control Shareware Mixer Program



Keywords: Windows, Vista, Mixer Control, Sound, Recording, Playback, Line In, Microphone, Input, Audio

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