Noisy Mic in

Line in is acceptable

I’m afraid I know the answer to this, but I can’t get a new sound card.
I teach a unit built around Ntrack. We have been using an old Peavy mixer as a mic preamp an the computers sound card did an ok, if not really good job with the Line-in. Now the Peavy mixer is on the fritz, and I tried to use the Mic in put. Just turning on the mic in the Control panel puts the sound level in the red. Even with that fader pulled all the way down!
I tried two of the other computers and they did the same thing. Now the weird part:
If I record with the MS sound recorder that comes with XP the sound is acceptable. Makes no sense to me.
Anyone got a suggestion. I don’t think the technical folks will let me put in a new sound card.

Well, mic ins on consumer cards are almost always noisey and sound like poo. However, what kind of mic are you using? Most of those mic ins are designed for a high impedance unbalanced mic… those cheapo things you use for web chats, not a real SM57 or anything like that.