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problem with recording

Discussion in 'Recording' started by Unregistered, Jan 17, 2011.

  1. Unregistered

    Unregistered Guest

    I'm recording using an alto am7 placed about an inch from my guitar amp center, the mic is plugged directly into my laptop and I'm using audacity to record. I'm not expecting brilliant sound but every time I record it starts off fine for about 3-5 seconds then dies out and becomes very quiet and wet sounding. Now I'm assuming this is due to the fact that I have a built in sound card but before I go out and buy an external one or something else to record on is there anything i can do to remedy this so the levels stay the same throughout? Also I'm playing using a distortion pedal if that makes any difference but I seem to get the same effect no matter what mic I use or what way I play.
  2. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    The Alto AM7 is a 3-pack of very cheap dynamic mics. I'm assuming you have one of them plugged into the computer soundcard, but how have you got this cabled? Most computer soundcard mic inputs are unbalanced stereo and not set up to deal with balanced mono mic outputs.

    How quickly does the sound die out? What does Audacity show in its waveform display over the period that this is happening? Can you post a screenshot? It's possible that there is some automatic gain control getting in there and ruining the level setting, but my guess is that the mic is wired across the stereo channels and there is also plug-in power for consumer-level electret mics coming into play.

    You should consider a separate external audio interface, preferably with at least two channels. There are lots to choose from, but while the low-end units all sound much the same, the facilities offered vary a bit from make to make.
  3. Unregistered

    Unregistered Guest

    I tried recording using the laptop microphone and exactly the same effect happened so I don't think it's the microphone but for what it's worth it has a 2m instrument cable and a 3.5mm jack adapter going into the laptop.

    as for the rest of your post I'm not quite sure what you mean I'm not very good with sound equipment. Here's a screenshot, the red line indicates when it dies out, I turned the volume down so it started off fairly quiet anyway but still died out and went even quieter and more distorted

  4. mdb

    mdb Active Member

    If those are dynamic microphones you'll definitely want a preamp with a minimum of 60dB gain. I think an interface will be necessary.
  5. Unregistered

    Unregistered Guest

    the main problem I'm having is that whatever I record doesn't constantly stay the same quality it drops off and becomes way too distorted, I know the mic isn't that good but it does the same with the laptop mic and does it at any volume so I'm assuming this is a soundcard problem right not anything to do with the particular mic. Does anyone know of this problem and is there any way to fix it without getting a new sound card.

    Thanks for the help so far. :)

    ok here's an example, even though the sound is terrible at the beginning I'm fine with that it's at about 10/11 seconds where the problem starts.

  6. boxcar

    boxcar Active Member

    From your screenshot, i see that the recording is going ok and then it drops in volume by itself but is still recording to some degree.
    That would not be the mic..either it would record good or bad but it would not just drop like that for no reason.
    I don't think the sound card would do that either.
    I would start by re-installing audacity, there seems to be something going on there almost like volume automation kicking in though there's no automation in audacity.

    When you record, does it always drop off at the same spot? or is it a different spot everytime? Has it ever recorded a whole track at least once?without a problem.
    If its a different spot everytime,it could be your cable connections.
    If its the same spot everytime,i think it would have to be a bad audacity install. a quirk.
  7. Unregistered

    Unregistered Guest

    I thought it was the cable but I get the same effect with my built in laptop mic so I don't think it is. It pretty much drops off at the same time, I tried recording in Reaper to see if that would be different and although it wasn't as bad it still dropped off and went distorted, I don't know what to do.

    Ok I reinstalled Audacity and it seems to be better at lower volumes however I can't try at loud volumes at the moment, it looks like this may have been the problem though. Thankyou for the help.

    Edit: Scratch that it's still doing it, its like my pc can only take certain volumes for a few seconds then gives up.
  8. boxcar

    boxcar Active Member

    Well i think you eliminated some things here at least.
    1-if it does it with the onboard mic as well, the problem is not external equip. or cables.
    2-if you tried 2 different apps. then its not the app.

    So, that only leaves one thing...the built in audio card itself and/or its drivers.(or its internal clock).
    Some things to try before you "buy a small interface":(last resort but recomended).

    Uninstall the audio drivers in device manager and restart your computer(they will re-install automatically). i assume your on a windows pc.?
    If you have it on your motherboard cd, re-install the audio software as well. (i've had corrupt audio card installs before).
    Go back to device manager/open driver tab and update the audio driver on line.
    Check that your audio levels in your soundcard settings are all up for line/mic and check that the balances are centered.
    Then re-install one of the apps.
    If that does nothing, i think its safe to assume that its time to buy a small interface with a couple of pres and you'll be a lot happier with the quality as well.
    Good luck.
  9. Unregistered

    Unregistered Guest

    ok I'll try those, thanks for the help. :)
  10. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    Turn off the automatic gain control.
  11. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    Turn off the automatic gain control and increase the latency buffer. And yes, your internal sound card was not designed to do what you want.
  12. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    Turn off the automatic gain control.
  13. boxcar

    boxcar Active Member

    Good one,i never heard of that before(automatic gain control).
    Is that feature in the onboard audio card settings or sonar.
    Just curious.
  14. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    Onboard sound card. It is the same feature on most cell phones and PDA's.
  15. boxcar

    boxcar Active Member

    Ha,i had one of those all along,who knew.
    Oh right, i guess you did,lol

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