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Old 10-30-2006, 09:26 PM   #2
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Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 2,934

On any Macintosh, if you're plugging into an "Audio In" or Microphone port, then you cannot use a standard PC headset or microphone. Standard headsets and microphones are mic-level (unamplified). The Mac requires a line-level signal. There are three ways to get this:

1) Use a powered microphone. These are pretty rare and would be hard to find these days
2) Use a USB headset
3) Use a USB converter. This allows you to plug in a standard PC headset. A Griffin iMic is this type of converter.

When I plug a regular mac mic in the backside jack, while the system sound window is open, the "meter" leaps around (indicating a live jack) but goes silent afterwards - no amount of hollering or tapping on the mic elicits anything from the meter.
Be specific. What's "a regular Mac mic?" You mean a regular Mic you got at BestBuy or CompUSA or some such? That's not a Mac mic - that's a PC Mic.

I borrowed a friend's nice USB-adaptor headset. Plugs in, no probs - vent recognizes the device, I select it; system sound prefs recognizes the device, and I select it. Meter flickers (the lowest bar, every few seconds), but nothing more no matter how high I set the input volume or holler into the mic.
Many headsets have an input volume control and a mute button. As you sure neither of those was the problem? What brand and model of headset?

In essence, I'm at a loss - is there something about G5 desktop computers that makes them incompatible with microphones and headsets?
Other than what's mentioned above, no. Almost any USB headset or standard PC-headset combined with a USB adapter will work fine.

I don't want to buy an external sound card if (a) I shouldn't need it and (b) there's something about the G5 that will make even an external sound card ineffective.
You don't need to buy any sound cards. The G5 has a very capable sound system.

as I see many of the product reviews for headsets on the web from G5 users saying they bought a headset and could not make it work. Something fishy going on.
There's nothing fishy going on. Ninety-nine percent of those reviews you see are from people that don't understand the Mac's sound architecture and try to plug a standard unpowered PC headset into the Mic jack, which as stated above, won't work.

Last edited by wadesworld; 10-31-2006 at 02:21 AM.
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