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Old 10-30-2006, 06:15 PM   #1
dyanega
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Default Yet another "can't get mic to work" issue - mac G5 a problem model?

Hi. I have a nice PowerMac G5, and on weekends - like many others - play World of Warcraft, in a guild that is composed largely of vent users. I recently installed vent, and was immediately gratified to hear the voices of my guildmates, but they could not hear mine. I play around with settings, see my speaker in the chatroom light up when I hit the PTT hotkey, but no sound goes thru. I have now read the various postings in this forum, checked the various possible sources of error, and from everything I can see in software configs for both vent and my own system, all is well. The G5 has a headset jack in the front, and what looks like an audio in jack on the back. 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. So, assuming the mic was the problem, 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. Run "test" in vent, just in case, but nothing happens. In essence, I'm at a loss - is there something about G5 desktop computers that makes them incompatible with microphones and headsets? Supposedly this model has a built-in mic and a good sound card. If the sound card was bad, how would I be hearing the chat over vent? 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. I'd be very grateful if you can shed light on this - I'm sure I'm not the only one interested in an answer, 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.

Thanks.

Last edited by dyanega; 10-30-2006 at 06:31 PM.
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Old 10-30-2006, 09:26 PM   #2
wadesworld
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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.

Quote:
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.

Quote:
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?

Quote:
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.

Quote:
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.

Quote:
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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Old 10-31-2006, 04:36 PM   #3
dyanega
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Thanks. A "regular mac mic" is a small external mono mic that came with my previous Mac. Little round thing. I think it's irrelevant, though. The G5 is supposed to have an internal mic, but I cannot figure out how to get it to respond, either. My friend's headset was taken directly off of his computer and moved over to mine - no controls were altered, like volume or anything. Plugged it in, selected it, got no detectable signal from it. So, (1) the internal mic doesn't give any response (2) an external mic in the audio port gives no response (3) a USB headset (I don't know brand/model, all I know is he uses it so it was not muted) gives no response. Interestingly, another friend has an identical Mac G5 to mine, and he cannot get IT to process audio input, either - no response from the internal mic, audio port, or USB headset. That suggests that there is something about G5s that is NOT immediately obvious, but prevents them from processing audio input regardless of source until and unless you know some magic trick that the owner's manual does not tell you. If you could just explain to me how to get any measurable response from the internal mic, that alone might show the exact nature of the problem. Thanks.
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Old 10-31-2006, 04:51 PM   #4
wadesworld
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Quote:
A "regular mac mic" is a small external mono mic that came with my previous Mac. Little round thing.
That's a "Plaintalk" mic, which has a longer-than-normal jack. I'm not surprised it doesn't work.

Quote:
The G5 is supposed to have an internal mic, but I cannot figure out how to get it to respond, either.
The PowerMac G5 does not have an internal mic.

The iMac G5 does.

Quote:
That suggests that there is something about G5s that is NOT immediately obvious, but prevents them from processing audio input regardless of source until and unless you know some magic trick that the owner's manual does not tell you.
Highly unlikely.

Quote:
If you could just explain to me how to get any measurable response from the internal mic, that alone might show the exact nature of the problem.
As sated, the PowerMac G5 does not have an internal mic. The iMac G5 does.
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Old 11-01-2006, 02:51 AM   #5
dyanega
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Okay. Thanks for being so patient - though if you could bear with me just a bit longer...
So, if there is no internal mic, and the mic jack requires an external mic with its own power source, then that answers two of the three puzzles. So, why does a perfectly good USB headset, which shows up in the prefs immediately, and works flawlessly on a PC, suddenly stop transmitting/receiving the instant it is connected to a G5? The only thing I can figure is it must not actually be "plug-n-play" - despite showing up in the system prefs immediately. Neither of the computers we tested this on are ever shut down and restarted (both run high-level analyses that have run times measured in days, and we could set someone's research back a week if we reboot while one is running), so maybe you cannot use a USB mic unless you reboot the computer with the mic in place? Is that a possibility? More to the point, if that *is* the problem, is there a software-based way to get around the actual act of rebooting?

Thanks for answering what must seem like stupid questions.
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Old 11-01-2006, 07:49 AM   #6
wadesworld
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Quote:
So, why does a perfectly good USB headset, which shows up in the prefs immediately, and works flawlessly on a PC, suddenly stop transmitting/receiving the instant it is connected to a G5? The only thing I can figure is it must not actually be "plug-n-play" - despite showing up in the system prefs immediately.
There's a small chance that the USB implementation is non-standard and only works on a PC because there's a custom driver on the PC for it. However, the fact that it does show up in the Sound preference pane makes that unlikely.

Quote:
Neither of the computers we tested this on are ever shut down and restarted (both run high-level analyses that have run times measured in days, and we could set someone's research back a week if we reboot while one is running), so maybe you cannot use a USB mic unless you reboot the computer with the mic in place? Is that a possibility? More to the point, if that *is* the problem, is there a software-based way to get around the actual act of rebooting?
No, a reboot is not normally necessary. There could occasionally be a situation where the computer got "whacked out" and would need to be rebooted to get things reset, but that should certainly be a rare occurrence, if ever at all.

How about posting some screenshots of your Sound Input Preference Pane and your Ventrilo setup dialog?
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Old 11-01-2006, 11:43 AM   #7
Maury Markowitz
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dyanega
Okay. Thanks for being so patient - though if you could bear with me just a bit longer...
So, if there is no internal mic, and the mic jack requires an external mic with its own power source, then that answers two of the three puzzles.
Only to introduce another - why the *&%&^% does Apple do this? Is it too much to ask for a real microphone input on the machine somewhere?

Quote:
So, why does a perfectly good USB headset, which shows up in the prefs immediately, and works flawlessly on a PC, suddenly stop transmitting/receiving the instant it is connected to a G5?
So my first question is whether or not sound keeps coming out of your speakers when you do this.

Open iTunes and play a song. Now plug in the headset. Did anything happen? Or did the sound keep going out of the speaker(s)?

Ok, now go into the sound control panel. Do you see a listing for the headset?

If you do, select it. What happens?

Maury
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Old 11-01-2006, 02:43 PM   #8
wadesworld
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Quote:
Only to introduce another - why the *&%&^% does Apple do this? Is it too much to ask for a real microphone input on the machine somewhere?
No way to know for sure, but given the history of the Macintosh dominating the music industry, I suspect it's for easier interface with professional audio gear. The omission of a mic-level input is likely to save space/cost.
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Old 11-02-2006, 01:27 PM   #9
dyanega
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Well, as I said, the headset shows up immediately in the prefs, and can be selected. There is no sign, however, that anything is being transmitted either in or out of the headset. Sound continues to come out of the speakers, and the little "meter" in the sound prefs window does not jiggle except at the moment the headset is connected. It's the same on both G5s I have access to, with all input settings set at max, and absolutely nothing muted anywhere, including on the headset controls (and "enable access for assistive devices" is turned on). We only have the one headset to test with, but if you can recommend vendors who are happy to sell you electronic equipment and just take it back the next day when you tell them it doesn't work on your machine, then I suppose I can go out and buy some other models to test. But, frankly, that seems stupid - if the USB connection is being recognized, then THIS headset should work. That it does not suggests that NO headset will work, and that I'm wasting my time unless someone knows what has to be done to G5s to get them to accept sound via USB. I just want to find ONE person, anywhere, who uses the same computer and has figured out how to run vent. So far, everyone I've contacted either uses a PC or a completely different type of Mac, or doesn't ever try to input sound.
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Old 11-02-2006, 02:51 PM   #10
wadesworld
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I'm using a PowerMac G5 with a Logitech USB headset. It works flawlessly. My friend up the street uses a PowerMac G5 with a standard PC headset and a Griffin iMic USB converter.

For reference, here's my Sound Input Pref pane and Ventrilo setup pane:

[IMG]http://img518.**********.us/img518/1685/prefwindowkl7.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://img58.**********.us/img58/2530/ventwindowkd2.jpg[/IMG]

Last edited by wadesworld; 11-02-2006 at 03:02 PM.
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