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It could be this or that and hardware issues are tough to figure out.
Did you use the audio recording level adjustment setup in Captivate? You read a sentence and it adjusts the volume setting. A pre-amp audio level applet.
Start by going to Control Panel and then select The Sound options. Depending on your version of Windows, the sound control options may have some additional options on the menubar that allow you to pick the devices to enable. Things like WAV, Line-in, MP3, Midi, Etc may be there. Be sure that you have the options that you want set to enabled. Make sure that MUTE is not checked. Make sure that the slider is at about 80-90%.
Test a sound recording with Windows Recorder. You can try the different input devices that you mentioned.
The sound card driver is another interesting place to look. Lots of computers use SoundMax or Realtek drivers for this (and of course Creative, Turtle Beach and and other stand-alone sound cards). Get the latest drivers from the manufacturer. In many cases pressing the Dell, Lenovo, HP, Etc update button will get you what you need. Many sound driver updates require a complete uninstall of the sound driver software and then you must remove the sound card driver from Control Panel -- System -- Devices. Reboot and reinstall by picking the location of the revised driver on bootup at hardware recognition.
In using Captivate 2, I have had no problems with my Lavalier Shure microphone to Line-in or my USB microphone with Line-in. I did use the Microphone settings but there was a distinct HUMMmmmm on my machine so I tried Line-In.
I have a Vista machine that will be tested soon. Seems fine on XP at this point. But the feedback on Vista from my microphone manufacturers has been very positive and they note that the Vista pre-amp is good.
Failing all of the above, look at Adobe for answers. You may need to cal them and go through this. They may have logged an experience report-solution that will get you going.
Please report back any solution that works so that others can benefit from your experience.
Problem not solved. Capitvate 3 is having tons of issues that other versions never had. Including this producing 1 single .swf file with motion recordings! Somebody please tell Adobe to fix this...
Oki.....others, feel free to join me in doing this. I notice this is somewhat like the #1 issue being tossed around with version 3.