I bought my first condensor mic a couple weeks ago, and while I haven't had much time on it yet, one thing I have noticed is that I seem to have to crank up the gain on the pre in order to get any real level. Hoping I can find some answers here as to whether the issue is with the mic or the pre. The mic is an Apex 415 - this mic has a low-cut switch, a -10db pad switch, and 3 polar patterns (cardioid, omni, figure-eight). The pre is a Steinberg MI4 USB interface. I have used several different dynamic mics with this setup, and always got a decent input level with the gain up only about 1/4, but with the Apex, I have to put it up to what would be 8 or 9 if there were numbers on the dial. The interface has integrated preamps on the balanced inputs, and supplies 48v phantom power (which of course I'm using with the Apex, but not with the condensors). Any idea how I'd know if the gain issue is with the mic or the pre? I do like the SOUND of the mic, and also I'm not really sure if the gain thing is really an issue, since I don't have a "studio", and my room (family room) would be considered screamingly noisy by studio standards, so the fact that I don't get a lot of "extra noise" when recording is actually a plus in my case. I'm thinking that this setup will be fine for the time being, but if I wanted to upgrade, I'm wondering which would be a "better" purchase... a new mic or a new pre (the MI4 is a given unless I upgrade to a different version of Cubase, since my version will only work in the presence of the MI4)... Any ideas? Thanks!