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Topic: Condensor microphones, Any tips and tricks appreciated
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Posted On: Apr. 13 2011, 11:43 AM

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Hi folks,
I recently bought a CAD GXL2200 condensor mic which I have had some pleasing results with but not without a lot of trial and error and annoyance.
When I first got it I set the gain levels on the mixer so the meters in N track V5 were about -15Db but every time the recordings were distorted and staticy. I had the mic set up about 5 feet from my guitar amp which was set at a fairly low volume level. I have phantom power for the mic on the mixer.
I kept reducing the mixer gain until the levels in the meters were just showing in N track. At that point I could get a good recording on playback that showed the play back levels near maximum.
I am wondering if I am using my mixer incorrectly? I am using the auxiliary channel and have the gain and the aux input volume at about 8 O'Clock so they are only open a little and have the auxiliary output at near maximum and all the channel faders set at 0.  
If I just speak into the mic and monitor thru the phones jack then the gain needs to be at 11-12 O'Clock and the aux input around at a similar setting so I can hear it clearly and it doesn't sound distorted at all. In fact it sounds great. If I hit the record button at that point it would be badly distorted and be unable to hear what is said.
Can someone please help?
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Post #2 Skip to the next post in this topic.
Skip to the previous post in this topic. Posted On: Apr. 13 2011, 12:56 PM

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is 48V phantom power switched on on the board?

some condensers require phantom power, if you don't give it to them they might behave as you are describing (low signal and distortion problems when you raise the gain)

little more info on the mixer/converter/soundcard/interface might help, if it's not a power problem we could look at the signal chain for possible weak spots.

dontcare
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Skip to the previous post in this topic. Posted On: Apr. 13 2011, 4:30 PM
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Although I'm not familiar with your setup, a couple of things come to mind. Maybe the live button gets enabled when you record, not entirely sure about that since mine is always off, but on the other side of things, your input for your sound card. Have you gone into your windows sound control panel under the recording section and make sure the recording level is not 100%. This will distort with high levels. It should be around 80 to 85%. Same thing holds true for playback, such as wave out. This volume slider in windows needs to be below 100% or play back distorts, again it should be at or near 80 to 85%

Hope this helps,

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Skip to the previous post in this topic. Posted On: Apr. 13 2011, 4:55 PM

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Quote: (dontcare @ Apr. 13 2011, 5:56 AM)

is 48V phantom power switched on on the board?

some condensers require phantom power,

He says he does... and ALL condensers require phantom power FWIW.

This sounds like you have the channel trim cranked and are trying to adjust things via a fader. You need to understand gain staging. So a typical mixer looks like this:

Preamp > Channel fader > Master fader > Sound card LINE in

What to do

Step 1: Adjust your preamp trim so that the loudest sections do not clip. There is usually a PFL option to switch the meters on the mixer to show the preamp level rather than the master level or per channel peak lights perhaps. This is easily the most important step, so if you get hung up here, tell me your mixer make and model and I can pull the manual to see how to do it on your particular mixer.

Step 2: With a single channel being recorded, set the channel fader to 0db so that there is no boost or cut to the preamp signal.

Step 3: Adjust the master fader such that things in N are peaking at about -9 to -12 or so.


Record.
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Skip to the previous post in this topic. Posted On: Apr. 14 2011, 12:45 AM

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Quote: (Bubbagump @ Apr. 13 2011, 9:55 AM)

Quote: (dontcare @ Apr. 13 2011, 5:56 AM)

is 48V phantom power switched on on the board?

some condensers require phantom power,

He says he does... and ALL condensers require phantom power FWIW.

hmm...good point.

I try to avoid saying "all" tho, just leave it up to some engineer to go making a condenser mic that doesn't require phantom power to make a liar out of me.....

I can either say "some" or try and keep one ear to the tracks for every new development...

Anywho...I was thinking of ribbon mics for some reason...I have heard, don't know how true it is, that "some" of the newer designs require phantom power...while others are potentially destroyed by that type of voltage.
In any event I did read him saying he had phantom power for the mic on the board before I posted....my question was is it "on" (not on the board physically ON) a little green or red led will tell you sometimes but I am not standing over his shoulder to look...so I asked.

dontcare
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Skip to the previous post in this topic. Posted On: Apr. 14 2011, 6:22 AM

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Yes the phantom power light is on and it wont record without it being on.
My setup is as follows: mic plugged into SNW Electronics F4 mixer (I believe made by Behringer) with XLR cable, a short guitar cable from the mixer auxillary out to my Line 6 Toneport GX interface jack input and then to the USB input on my Laptop. I guess I have a balanced signal going into an unbalanced line. Im not using the gearbox software for the Toneport but just using it as an interface/ soundcard.  A dynamic mic works ok with my setup.
I might try using one of the L or R main out jacks and using the channel fader/gain and the master fader to control the input and output signal levels.
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Skip to the previous post in this topic. Posted On: Apr. 14 2011, 1:42 PM

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I think Bubba pretty much covered the troubleshooting root.

but another thing to consider is that the GX has a instrument level input and what comes out of your mixer is a line level...

impedance matching anyone?

simple fix would be to put a D/I box between the mixer and the GX.

dontcare
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Skip to the previous post in this topic. Posted On: Apr. 14 2011, 6:56 PM

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I see where Dontcare mentions that some Ribbon mics do not require phantom power.  It's worse than that.  Many if not most ribbon mics can be destroyed if you hit them with phantom power!  most dynamic microphones can run with the power on without causing damage, but not ribbon mics.  If you've got a ribbon mic check it out before you turn it on with phantom power, do it.  I mention this so much because I ruined a perfectly good microphone this way :angry:
BubbaGump outlined the way to set up your amplifier.  I think he's correct in the analysis if you've got the pre-amp turned up too high then you won't have much space on your sliders in your program.
I hope this helps,
Bax
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Skip to the previous post in this topic. Posted On: Apr. 14 2011, 8:58 PM

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Ok, so looking at that mixer, it has a peak light per channel. So use that to make sure you aren't clipping the input.

Why use the aux out? That just complicates things. Use the main out, set the channel fader to zero, adjust the master fader to that the input in N does not show clipping.

However, the GX looks to only take an instrument level signal, so Jerm has it. You need a transformer like this:

http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/LittleIMP/
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Skip to the previous post in this topic. Posted On: Apr. 14 2011, 11:20 PM

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hmm that link brings back some memories bubba, old soundblaster days in the 90's going in the mic in from a Berhinger and an MXL condensor,
I had me one of those transformers from radio shack mine was red tho, that whirlwind one is probably better......
man were those some tinty recordings!  :laugh: lol

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