How I recorded into a PC without line noise [daily podcasting photo #17]

Behringer U-Control UCA200

A lot of professional podcasters will tell you to never record into a PC (Windows or OS X). They'll cite reasons like:

  • software crashes,
  • easier to corrupt the recording, and
  • unavoidable electronic interference noise.

But for my first couple years as a podcaster, I recorded straight into my PC with Audacity just fine. The one and only time I had a corrupted recording was because I was running a CPU-hogging app while podcasting. In other words, I did something dumb.

Line noise usually happens when your analog audio is fed straight into a PC, where it can be susceptible to interference from internal fans, electricity, hard drive scanning, or other internal components.

The best way to avoid this is by converting your analog audio into digital before it reaches your computer. I do this quite simply with a Behringer U-Control device (about $35) that came with my mixer. You can get similar results with other USB sound devices for as little as $10.

I use two of these U-Control devices: one connects my Skype/telephone PC to my mixer, and the other connects  my Zoom H4n‘s output to my primary PC and my primary PC's output to the mixer (for sounds).

Today's podcasting photo is made possible by BlueHost. Host unlimited sites with unlimited storage and unlimited bandwidth for as little as $6.95 per month. Check out BlueHost today!

This is a post from the “daily podcasting photo” series. Learn more about the series, including how you can sponsor a day, at Daniel J. Lewis's personal blog.

About the Author
As an award-winning podcaster, Daniel J. Lewis gives you the guts and teaches you the tools to launch and improve your own podcasts for sharing your passions and finding success. Daniel creates resources for podcasters, such as the SEO for Podcasters and Zoom H6 for Podcasters courses, the Social Subscribe & Follow Icons plugin for WordPress, the My Podcast Reviews global-review aggregator, and the Podcasters' Society membership for podcasters. As a recognized authority and influencer in the podcasting industry, Daniel speaks on podcasting and hosts his own podcast about how to podcast. Daniel's other podcasts, a clean-comedy podcast, and the #1 unofficial podcast for ABC's hit drama Once Upon a Time, have also been nominated for multiple awards. Daniel and his son live near Cincinnati.

8 comments on “How I recorded into a PC without line noise [daily podcasting photo #17]

  1. Hi Daniel – I’ve never heard of this so it’s fascinating – thanks! I might just try outone of those… 🙂

    1. You’re welcome! I got my first one included with my first mixer. Then I discovered their power and bought a couple more.

  2. Max Flight says:

    I also connect my analog mixer and my Skype PC with a U-Control. Inexpensive and reliable – what more could you ask for? Actually, I’ve seen more expensive digital/analog converters and wonder if they offer any significant difference in audio quality?

    1. I’m not quite sure what the high-end devices do differently that a podcaster would need.

  3. Howie says:

    Hi Daniel, I recently got a Roland R 05. I have been recording directly into the recorder but would like to connect it to Berhinger 502 mixer. Anyplace I can find a wiring diagram or tutorial to help me set it up? Thanks 🙂

    1. Just get something like an RCA-to-3.5-mm cable and connect it from Tape Out to your R-05’s input.

  4. abc def says:

    Hi…. What a deja vu, I have been here before, lol… I am trying to bring into my show skype callers and I have notice that there are a lot of hum/buzz/electrical noise associated to it. I bought a ground isolator and it seems to work well…. the problem is that it cost as much as an external Behringer soundcard, so I am wondering which set up is better: using a external or INTERNAL sound card or just keeping my isolator. Thanks for any advice.
    PS: Another question on the top of this: could a compressor helps out or makes things worst? Noise is still a link of “sound” which in my case is noticeable for low mid low tones (500hz) according to my mixer.

    1. It depends on which devices you’re considering. Consider this ground loop isolator from Monoprice—it’s two in one and really inexpensive:
      The best thing to do about noise is fix it before you record. A compressor and noise gate won’t remove it from behind your voice, only a noise reducer effect will process that out.

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