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Help! My levels are wonky!

Discussion in 'Recording' started by raunchy, Jan 2, 2009.

  1. raunchy

    raunchy Guest

    Hi everyone. Here is my setup at the moment, it is a Studio Projects B1 mic into a bleh 'Alto s-8' mixer into an E-MU 1212m sound card. I had an audigy 2 zs card and i just recently upgraded.

    My problem is, with the audigy, i could set my levels as high as i needed to for recording. With this new card, when i set the levels on the mixer high, it seems to limit or compress my signal, and it peaks out all over the place. If i turn it down just slightly it doesnt peak and its a low level signal, and it seems like it isnt being limited/clipped or whatever.

    I have tried a combination of 'trim gain', channel volume and master mix volume on the mixer, and i can't get a combination that works, *except* when i max the chan volume and master mix volume, and leave the trim gain low, it allows the dynamic range but the signal is very low level. as soon as i turn up the trim it goes way high and limits the signal and peaks it out all the time.

    Is there something i'm doing wrong? Do i need a mixer with more powerful preamps? I've on a very tight budget. Thanks for any help.
  2. Space

    Space Distinguished Member

    Jun 26, 2007
    Take the mixer out of the chain...it's just holdin' ya down from gettin' yer good sound.

    You don't have a preamp, it's just a mixer with phantom power.
  3. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    Sep 26, 2005
    It sounds like you are having an issue with the electronically balanced outputs feeding the EMU electronically balanced inputs? And so, how exactly are you taking what outputs? Are you taking the balanced XLR outputs to the 1212 TRS balanced inputs? Or, are you taking the recorder output?

    Your first procedures should be to properly gain stage the mixer. Level & trim are different animals. Normal nominal levels should be preset to the 12 o'clock "0" position, as should sound may output also. You will then set your equalizers to 12 o'clock so that they are not functional. Now you can set the microphone preamplifier gain trim for proper output level on the mixer.

    Connections to the 1212 should be XLR pin 1 to 1/4" "sleeve". Pin 3 to 1/4" TRS ring. Pin 2 to TRS 1/4" Tip. Now you will have to utilize the 1212 level control application to set a proper recording levels to your software That's it. If you are still having problems? You may be using the incorrect cable? Otherwise, this is how it's done by all professionals. The mixer should be adequate for most general-purpose application i.e. rock-and-roll. Your complaints about levels be too hot & then too low in is typical of novice oriented problems. All of this equipment, the crappy mixer along with your crappy condenser microphone & reasonably good audio interface are all capable of over 100 DB of operational capabilities. If you can't set your levels within that 100 DB window? You must go directly to jail. Do not pass go. Did not collect $200. You have obviously landed on the wrong square.

    And so I'm going to go out on a limb and suggests that you try a standard dynamic microphone. Condenser microphones can produce output levels that can swamp many microphone preamp inputs. A dynamic microphones such as a SM58 is a great reference device to be used when experiencing such problems. Frequently, they are problem solvers. And you'll find they frequently are the ticket for most pop recording. While condenser microphones offer a different level of quality. They are frequently misused in a rock-and-roll environment. Advertising, marketing & specifications are not a replacement for the proper microphones selection. But if you are having level problems? Let's take the condenser microphones out of the equation. Then try it again. I'm a firm believer of dynamic Mike's in the production of rock-and-roll. Leaving a couple of condenser microphones for use overhead of the drums. And that's about it. That's what it's all about.

    All about rock-and-roll
    Ms. Remy Ann David

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