How to get a Mic working with a Mac mini

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Why won't my mic work on My Apple Mac (mini or iMac) you ask? The answer is quit simple:
 
You've got a Mac mini or iMac and you've found that the mic you have always used for Karaoke or Skype chat on a PC won't work, right? Frustrating. It's easy to find forums talking about problems connecting mic's to Apple macs but they don't get straight to the point about why a normal mic won't work on a Mac. But I will:
 
The problem is actually (depending on your perspective) not a problem as such. Apple Macs have a long history with professional audio. For this reason an iMac or Mac mini doesn't actually have a normal mic input jack, they instead have a "line in" jack. Without getting technical, the "line in" jack needs a powered signal and would normally be connected to a mixing board. 
 
The microphone you have (which might “work” on the PC but not on the iMac/Mac mini) either has no power source of it's own, or requires power to be provided when connecting it to you computer. So it works on your PC because a Mic in Jack also provides a smidgen of power. When you plug it into the "line in" on a Mac the result will be too quite to record and if you boost the signal a lot of noise will get added.
 
So what should you do?
 
There are two main solutions:
  1. Get a usb Mic audio connecter with a mic in jack. These are reasonably cheap and not hard to find if you search "USB Mic adapter Apple Mac"
  2. Spend a little more and get a small hobby/dj mixing board which will has a "line out". You may be able to find one with a small equaliser which can be really useful if you plan on doing a lot of recording. Search for “DJ Home Mixing Board” in your area.
 
What ever you get, I suggest you get it from a store with a good return policy and explain before hand what you are trying to do (just in case).
 
Hope that helps you to get your mic to work with your Mac mini/iMac.