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PLEASE HELP. everything is quiet!!!!

Discussion in 'Recording' started by Lavaxtris, Feb 19, 2012.

  1. Lavaxtris

    Lavaxtris Active Member

    I'm getting completely frustrated with this issue because google can't give me any good results when trying to address this problem. So I must make a post.

    here is my problem: I use a Yamaha audiogram 3 for recording. It sounds great using my sansamp for bass or my pocket pod for guitar when recording. But when I plug in any mics or even my acoustic pickup, the volume is too low to hear so I must crank it, which only adds in a bunch of background noise or hum to the sound.

    I wanna know what the fudgecicles is going on here.

    3 things you need to know:
    1. the yamaha has a preamp built in
    2. the mics are almost brand new (1 sm57, 1 pg48, 1 overhead thingy I got from a church)
    3. the acoustic soundhole pickup doesn't sound like it has anything wrong with it, besides the drop in volume & the noise due to turning the preamp up.

    so maybe I'm addressing two issues here. so what. how do I fix them? is it a bad pup? will getting a new audio interface help? what?
  2. Kapt.Krunch

    Kapt.Krunch Well-Known Member

    Probably a gain-stage issue. The reason you probably get plenty of signal from the POD and SansAmp may be that you are spitting fire out their outputs by having them set high, and when you connect a lower output device (like the A/E guitar pickup) it's set way low.

    Try using the 3 or 4 input to see if they can be set properly? Are you running through 1 and/or 2, thinking the "Mic channels are better"? If,when set to "Line", IF the input gain circuirty is still active, then all you are doing is putting more circuitry (more possible noise) through the signal. (I don't know if switching to "Line" from "Mic" defeats the input gain adjutment on that.) Anyway, IF you can get proper signal from the 3 and 4 input, it may actually sound better (possibly less circuitry and gain stages) and you can set them easier and more quickly.

    I'd set up the Mic channels for mics, only, and leave them be. Then, I'd set up channels 3 and 4 specifically for the line-level sources. Of course, there WILL be a huge difference between a POD or SansAmp with their outputs cranked, and an A/E guitar pickup with its low output level. Maybe you have the POD/SansAmp putting out a bit too much, in the first place? I dunno.

    If you must use inputs 1 and 2, and IF the input gain circuitry is active set in "Line", adjust the input sensitivity after you've set the channel and main volumes to about 1/2 (to start with) to no more than about 2/3 final (unless the manual specifically calls for turning something full blast because it's designed to work best that way...which I doubt). Then, fiddle around and tweak from there. You'll want not too much, NOR too little, input gain. That's the source of a LOT of noise problems.

    Personally, I'd just use the mic channels for mics, and the 3 and 4 for anything else...IF they provided enough gain without turning the channel volume and/or the main volume up too far, and one shouldn't be up a lot more than the other. For instance, you wouldn't want the main volume having to be up to 9 while the channel volume is set to 2, or vice-versa. They should probably be about equal, or no more than MAYBE a few degrees apart, and I doubt that you'd need either or both past 2/3 max. If your mixer levels are way low when you have your POD or SansAmp plugged in, I'd consider sending less signal to the mixer by turning down the output of those devices. you don't want ANY level adjustment on the mixer too high or too low (except the input gain on the Mic channels, which are best set as low as you can get away with. Those are the LAST thing to adjust, if using them.)

    When I set up a mixer with everything mic'ed/direct, I always start with the main volume set at optimal (or unity), and then each channel is brought up to unity one at a time (with the source signal playing through it) BEFORE I adjust the input gain on that channel. If, as turning the channel volume up, the level is way too high before it reaches "unity", then, either the output of the source has to be turned down, or if that is not acceptable, then it has to be "padded" down, either by a switch on the board (if it has one) or some other means. I don't know what Yamaha considers "unity" on your device, but the manual should probably state it.

    I don't know what that "DAW" knob is for. If it's to send the signal to the computer, set up the gain properly in the mixer FIRST, then slowly turn that up to send it to the software.

    Just some stuff to consider. I'm betting it's a simple gain-stage issue. If the Line inputs work for the line-level stuff, use them. Why send anything through unnecessary circuitry if you don't need to? It's not like it's desirable to run through those rare coveted, much-sought-after "British-sounding" Yamaha preamps. (I'm only guessing you are using Channel 1 and 2, AND that they may have the preamp 'gain' circuitry engaged even in Line mode. I don't know for sure.)

  3. Lavaxtris

    Lavaxtris Active Member

    actually there is no way to switch from line/mic levels on the audiogram 3. the mic/inst button is for switching between Hi-Z and bypass or something like that. It doesn't have to do with levels. anyway, this thing says it has a preamp built in. of course, the level knobs control the volume, but you can't hear any input unless you crank those to 10. any imput you do get from mics and acoustic pickups is so quiet that the natural hum drowns it out.

    the sansamp/pocket pod/or even a electric guitar plugged strait in to any of the inputs is audible without having to turn the levels up too high, so I don't think that is the problem. I often use a stereo cable with my pocket pod, so it really doesn't have anything to do with what inputs I use, either.

    so no, there isn't two much output from any devices. but there is way too little output from my mics and acoustic pickup. its almost like they are broken, but I know they are not. I just don't get it.
  4. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    Any help given without some objective meaning for "quiet" is going to be little more than a guess, though I agree it's probably a simple issue of gain.

    So record some of the "quiet" signal from a mic and use the meters in your DAW to determine the peak level in dBFS. If it peaks anywhere above -18dBFS it's high enough. Also record some of the "normal level" audio from your pedal. If it peaks over -6dBFS it's a bit too high.

    Once you have your record levels sorted you can work on getting the monitor level you need.
  5. Lavaxtris

    Lavaxtris Active Member

    Its quiet as in -40dbFS with my audiogram's level at half way. not to mention its picking up a ton of noise from my computer and other metal objects in the room, which wouldn't be an issue if I didn't have to crank my level. what kind of noise? well, processor hissing and a bit of ac power hum going on. this is normal.

    this has nothing to do with my recording methods. I've been recording for a long time now with no problems.

    to compare, I measured the volume coming out of my passive j bass and a strat compared to what the acoustic pickup and mics are giving me with the level set at half way:

    acoustic pickup: below -40dbfs
    passive bass/guitar (no DI box): around 0dbfs
    sm57: below -40dbfs
    pg48: below -40dbfs

    I'm starting to wonder what is going on with this equipment.
  6. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Are you certain you are using an XLR-XLR cable to connect your mics to the Audiogram3 and not an XLR-jack plug cable?
  7. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    This was my next question. (For US readers "jack" in UK English means 1/4" connector.)

    Is the acoustic pickup a piezo or magnetic?

    Below -40dBFS is too low, but around 0dBFS is too high. You want your peaks well below -6dBFS, perhaps around -16dBFS to -12dBFS.
  8. Lavaxtris

    Lavaxtris Active Member

    yes, I'm using XLR/XLR. no, the cable is not broken. It's a Dean Markley Promag magnetic soundhole pickup.
  9. Kapt.Krunch

    Kapt.Krunch Well-Known Member

    I've got one of those I stuck into an old Harmony acoustic, and it should give plenty of signal. I've never had a low-level problem with that thing plugged into an amp, or an interface. In fact, I just plugged it into an amp, and then compared a US Tele w/Texas Specials at the same amp settings, and the Tele was about the same apparent loudness backing off its volume just a bit, to about 8 1/2.

    OOPS...I was looking at the Audiogram 6, which has the two Mic channels and the channel Gain controls! Anyway, it has one mic input, right? And yeah, that Mic/Instrument button just switches it in and out, levels controlled by the one knob. Have you tried switching that to see what happens with the acoustic plugged in? Much difference? (Turn the level DOWN before you switch it, and turn it up SLOWLY...just in case it blasts.)

    Other than that, I dunno. It doesn't seem like your Dean Markley pickup should be that much too low in comparison with a bass guitar. And, a normal ol' dynamic mic should certainly work properly, with the switch set to "Mic".

    Good luck. Hope you figure it out.

  10. Lavaxtris

    Lavaxtris Active Member

    like I said, that button does nothing to the volume. it only takes away some of the hum when using mics. the soundhole pickup is barely putting out any volume, even when I plug it into an amp. I'm starting to think its broken, but that doesn't make any sense because it's in good shape. even if it did needed fixed, it doesn't look like its anything I can handle. The casing on the thing is pretty seamless.

    as for the mics, I'd either say every mic I've ever plugged into the interface is dead (unlikely) or Yamaha lied and there is no mic preamp built in.

    but here is what baffles me: I tried plugging in the Dean Marley pickup into my sansamp first to bring it to a higher level to see if that helped, because I know the sansamp works fine. It didn't help at all. I still have to crank the volume. So I'm guessing this thing is dead. fml

    so I don't know whats going on. some kind of sorcery I guess...
  11. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    It's possible the interface is faulty.
  12. Lavaxtris

    Lavaxtris Active Member

    possibly. I think line 2 just went kaput in the last few days. ergh. I guess all that is left is to buy another interface and see if that helps. Thanks for the help, guys. I'll let you know if a new interface helps.
  13. Lavaxtris

    Lavaxtris Active Member

    ok. nothing has helped so far. I have a few questions that need answered.

    1. should the output from my acoustic pickup be as loud as the pickups in my electric guitars? If so, then there is something wrong with the pickup.

    2. How come the acoustic pickup has a normal output volume when I use it though my bass amp (using headphones)?

    3. why won't my sansamp help to boost the signal of the acoustic pickup?

    4. if I have to buy new gear, will I need a new audio interface, a new preamp, or can I get an audio interface with a working built-in preamp instead of one that "claims" to have one that really doesn't?
  14. gehauser

    gehauser Active Member

    This suggests to me that the audiogram's preamp is not powerful enough to drive the sm57 without adding noise. This is a classic issue with cheap preamp and low-sensitivity dynamic mics like the sm57. You probably need a powerful better-quality preamp to drive that mic.

    If you think your audiogram is failing, you could upgrade to Mackie Blackjack for $150. I think it might serve you better. Or if the audiogram is still under warranty, return it to the manufacturer for a spec check (if bad they will probably just send you a new one).
  15. Lavaxtris

    Lavaxtris Active Member

    actually, I was thinking about upgrading to a tascam us-1800, so I can have more inputs. Will this do the job?
  16. gehauser

    gehauser Active Member

    Don't have experience with that one. I use Emu 1616m, and its pres will provide enough gain for the sm57, but I usually use an external preamp, like the m101 or sytek - these also drive the sm57 just fine.

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