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PostPosted: Tue Dec 28, 2004 6:32 PM 
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I don't know what the general feelings are among folks here about Skype (http://www.skype.com/) ... but I've started using it. I figure, like everything else, the whole world is ahead of me on this score!

My hubby's wonderful headphones bit the dust last year, and we have been limping through with just some old Walkman-type cheapies, a set of Advent wireless headphones and the standard ear buds that came with hubby's iPod.

With any of the above, it would seem that when I speak to people using Skype, the quality from my end is dismal. Of course, to me the whole thing is like black magic anyway -- how I can be heard when I am not using a microphone!

It turns out that I really really want to do this, with some decent fidelity -- and quickly! I am hooked up to Skype with my brother, who is far away and terminally ill -- and it is difficult for him to hear or speak to me on a regular phone. But the headset + computer combo seems to be working -- that is, I can hear him (at least sort of -- as opposed to not at all using the regular phone). At his end, they hook him up with a PC headphone/microphone combination. But they cannot hear me nearly as well as I can hear them.

I don't have the $$ to go spend several hundred (or even a hundred) bucks on this accessory. Mostly, I want something that is very utilitarian and will provide good fidelity on my Mac. I have a PowerBook G4, if that makes any difference.

[color=blue]Thanks for ANY help or guidance on what kind of a headset I should buy.
And does anyone know if, using a Mac, it makes a difference (in using Skype) for me to get one that also includes a microphone? I also notice that some are "analog." Others are "digital" and connect through a USB port. Analog versons seem to be about $20, and I can get a Planetronics USB with headphones and microphone (through Skype) for $50. Is it worth the extra dough? Many of the analog headsets say I "may" need an adapter if I am on MacOS -- I have no idea what adapter they are talking about, nor do they tell you.

-Suzanne[/color]

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Suzanne
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 28, 2004 9:58 PM 
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Suzanne,

It's not black magic, really! :D All Macs that I know of have a built-in microphone. That's what you're using to talk to your brother.

As far as headphones go, I'd think you'd want a pair of headphones and a microphone that's separate from that. On a PC, your sound card has jacks for the headphone and the line-in on the same card. On a Mac, if you have a line-in jack, it could be some distance from the headphone jack. Because of that, you may not be able to plug in both the headphones and the microphone at the same time if you buy a "all in one" product.

If you can hear your brother OK, let's concentrate on the microphone. Is your Powerbook a recent model? If so, it almost certainly has a line-in jack. If that's the case, you shouldn't need the "adapter" that the manufacturers refer to. My flat panel iMac doesn't have a line-in jack so I'd have to use Griffin's iMic product to give me one.

Since you only want to hear speech and you're not looking to run your own radio show, I'd think you could buy a decent microphone for well under $100. Probably under $50 for what you want. I would think that any external microphone that you spoke into would be good enough unless you buy a really cheap $10 model.

The reason your brother may not be hearing you well is you probably aren't speaking into your built-in microphone. It should look like a small hole that you could fit a paper clip in (though I'd recommend you don't do that :) ).

I haven't used Skype. I've heard of it though. It's gotten decent reviews so far.


Bob C


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 29, 2004 12:24 AM 
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Hi Bob!

Well, the things I didn't know about my Mac!

Thanks for helping me sort that out. It would appear that I do have an audio in line -- however, what I know NOW (now that I have found it!) is that [color=red]the "audio in" line is not functioning.
My internal microphone does function, but I've put a working external microphone into the "in" and it picks up nothing (and, yes, I did choose it as the input in my System Prefs). I know the microphone, itself, functions because Rex uses it on his computer.

I'm still under AppleCare, so I guess I'll gird my loins and call them to see what it would take to get it fixed.

The other option for me is to buy a headphones/microphone combination that plugs into a USB port. I would assume that would work, wouldn't it?

Thanks much![/color]

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 29, 2004 1:03 AM 
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Suzanne,

Before you bother with AppleCare or sending it to the Keystone Apple Store, I'd make sure that you're plugging in his microphone into the correct jack.

If you go into the Sound system preference and click on the "Input" button (which it sounds like you've already done), do you see the blue buttons appear when you speak into Rex's microphone? Do you see the blue buttons appear when you speak into the built-in microphone?

While it's certainly possible that the line-in jack is bad, it'd probably be worth a few minutes to make sure that everything is plugged in properly.

If it still doesn't work, I'd take it to the Mac Genius before spending hours on the phone with Apple. He (or she) may see something that needs to be changed in order to get the microphone to work.

Good luck!


Bob C


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 29, 2004 10:03 AM 
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Suzanne Rampton wrote:
The other option for me is to buy a headphones/microphone combination that plugs into a USB port. I would assume that would work, wouldn't it?

Suzanne,

I noticed I didn't answer this part of your question. I haven't used any USB headphone/microphone combination devices, but it should work.


Bob C


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