I have a sE Electronics ProMic Laser microphone that I've mounted on top of a monitor with the goal of using it with a laptop to record videos. Currently, it's connected to the laptop, but I'd like to ask the community, how much difference would connecting this microphone to an audio interface make audio quality wise?

If an audio interface would make a significant difference, which audio interface would allow for the full potential of the microphone to be utilized? Would Focusrite Scarlett 4i4 (3rd Gen) USB Audio Interface with Pro Tools be too much? By too much, I mean is the audio quality that the audio interface can provide way higher than what the microphone can offer? And how can someone determine that anyway?

The microphone specs are:

Directional Pattern: Hyper Cardioid

Frequency range: 20 Hz - 20 kHz

Impedance: 105 Ohms

Sensitivity: 31.62 mV/Pa (-30 dB)

Max SPL: 120/130 dB (0/-10 dB pad) (0.5% THD @ 1kHz)

Signal to Noise Ratio: 75 dB

Self Noise: 18 dB(A)

Pass Filter Switch: 80 Hz

Preattenuation Pad: -10 dB

1 Answer 1


It's not so much how 'shiny' the external mic pre is [the Focusrites are pretty standard entry- to mid-level devices] it's more how appalling laptop default inputs are.

A 'named manufacturer' dedicated mic pre is a basic essential, not a luxury.

An additional note - perching your mic directly on top of of a laptop is a sure-fire way to introduce extraneous noise. Physical transfer of fan noise etc [& disk if it's old enough] & electrical proximity to crappy switch-mode power supplies & noisy LCD screens being the first few I can think of. You would be well advised to float the mic away as best you can.

  • Good to know about the extraneous noise. The microphone is mounted on top of an external monitor, over a meter away from the laptop.
    – pizi
    Oct 20, 2020 at 18:42
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    "It's not so much how 'shiny' the external mic pre is, it's more how appalling laptop default inputs are. A 'named manufacturer' dedicated mic pre is a basic essential, not a luxury." If I understood correctly, this means that the overall sound quality will be whatever the sound quality of the weakest link is, which in this case would be the laptop default inputs. Is that right?
    – pizi
    Oct 20, 2020 at 18:44
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    Yup. Laptop mic preamps are absolutely the lowest of the low. Literally anything is better. [Well, unless it costs 2 quid/bucks/shekels on eBay… so almost literally - we\re back to 20p vs £2 cables… you have to pass that minimum spec]
    – Tetsujin
    Oct 20, 2020 at 18:49
  • Just for a bit of 'opposite end of the spectrum', this is the single best mic pre I have ever had the pleasure to use. The better the mic, the better it made it sound. It couldn't polish a t*rd, but by heck it could make a good mic sound good. thomann.de/gb/manley_voxbox_combo.htm
    – Tetsujin
    Oct 20, 2020 at 18:59
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    Probably quite a lot. Computers expect high-impedance [read cheap, low quality headset mics] Pro mics are low impedance. A dedicated mic pre expects a low impedance mic. A computer doesn't. tbh, my actual know-how on the electronics side isn't that great. I plug the right thing in the right socket & it works ;) There's an article I found which contains more info than you can probably absorb in one go… mynewmicrophone.com/microphone-impedance
    – Tetsujin
    Oct 21, 2020 at 11:29

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