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Line-In, where art thou

Some of you out there may be wondering why I'm not filling my web site chock full of new music from the Alesis Fusion. I have a reason for it. My laptop doesn't have a "line in" input.

It's funny. Even the oldest of sound cards (remember the Sound Blaster 16?) had a 1/8th inch "line in" jack, but the vast majority of laptops (including my own) do not. To this day most laptop manufacturers will not include that part which costs all of around ten cents or less - literally.

It sucks.

Small side note to laptop and notebook manufacturers (Dell, HP, Lenovo, Alienware and all the rest): INCLUDE THE DAMN LINE-IN ON THE SOUND CARD. You know full well that there are people like myself who prefer to do everything on a laptop rather than a desktop. The part costs next to nothing and you could include it on even the most basic models. Get to it. Thank you.

Now it's true that nearly all laptops have a "mic" (for "microphone") input, but the problem is that it's monoural only, and extremely "hot" on the gain which equates to gritty nasty sound with a crapload of white noise. You can't exactly do audio mastering on a mic input. It would be ridiculous to do so or even think about it for that matter.

Line-In allows for stereo (a-ha!) sound and is about, oh, a million times cleaner sounding.

What to do, what to do.

External USB card? Nah. Too bulky. And slow.

PCMCIA card? Does one exist that'll do the job?


God Bless Creative Labs. Love 'em or hate 'em, they always seem to have the right part and the right time when it comes to audio, such as the Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS. This little PCMCIA gives your laptop, ta-da, line-in in an ultra-small package. No bulky external crap to deal with.

The beauty of the Audigy 2 ZS is its multitasking inputs. There are only two. One does mic/line-in/optical, the other does headphone/optical-out.

This'll definitely do the job and I'm picking one up. Even if newer laptops (hopefully) come with a line-in input in the future, they'll still be cheap cards and not sound nearly as good as this one.

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