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What's wrong with this setup?

Discussion in 'Recording' started by Gossling, Aug 13, 2008.

  1. Gossling

    Gossling Guest

    Hi everyone,

    I am new to this whole recording phenomenon, and am in need of assistance. Badly.

    I am trying to setup my preamp in between my microphone and my sound card. The condenser mic works when directly connected to the sound card, but not when piped through the preamp. My setup:

    Microphone (1/8")-> Preamp Input (1/4" with adapter).
    Preamp Output (1/4") -> Mic input in sound card (1/8" with adapter)

    My preamp is just an ART Tube MP preamp. Nothing much, but I need its phantom power and its gain options are nice.

    No sound is being registered on the computer with this setup. It says in the preamp manual that the 1/4" input (it has 2 inputs and 2 outputs, two XLR and two 1/4") is for already line-level sound. I know my mic isn't line-level, but shouldn't it still produce a little sound, even if it is very slight? I know that if I was to actually record with this setup, it would be a complete disaster, but I'm more or less testing out the preamp.

  2. GeckoMusic

    GeckoMusic Guest

    My guess is that you are trying to use a computer microphone with pre amp designed for a recording microphone.

    Computer microphones have a different pin out than recording microphones. An XLR puts phantom power on the hot and cold terminals along with the + and - signal. Computer microphones have three independent connections. Ground, signal and power.

    recording microphone:
    2=hot (+) / 48 volt phantom
    3=cold (-) / 48 volt phantom

    computer microphone:
    tip = signal
    ring = 5 volts
    sleeve = ground
  3. EricUndead

    EricUndead Guest

    Maybe the MIC is being plugged into a XLR to 1/4 cable to 1/4 inch preamp line in? Try using an XLR to XLR cable to preamp. If not then read the above post again.
  4. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    No, no, don't connect the mic to the XLR inputs expecting the powering to work - you will destroy the mic.

    Give us the exact make and model number of the microphone and we can help. Don't do random plugging where phantom power is likely to be present.

    It sounds as though you have a consumer electret mic, probably stereo, that is designed to work with the "plug-in power" that is available at the mic sockets of minidisc recorders and some computer soundcards. This is only a few volts to power the FET follower in the output stage of the microphone. If you connect 48V phantom power to these mics, you can kiss them goodbye.
  5. EricUndead

    EricUndead Guest

    You are totally right Boswell I didn't see the 1/8inch connector on the MIC above for some reason. I was just hinting phantom power will not work out of the 1/4 input on the preamp.

    Gossling please disregard my above advice unless you get a better condenser MIC.
  6. Link555

    Link555 Well-Known Member

    I would wonder also does the ART tube MP have any phantom power supplied to the 1/4" imput.
    This, on top of boswells advice, may be why you get no sound at all.

    This is a line level input, why would give a line level signal phantom power?
  7. hueseph

    hueseph Well-Known Member

    Well, all issues have been nailed. You're using a computer mic to plug into a recording preamp. You could fudge it to work but you would need to make your own adapter as they don't make a 1/8" trs to xlr adapter(there is a good reason for this) and there is the likelyhood that you will fry that mic to a crisp. Also, as Link pointed out, there is no phantom power going to the 1/4 jack.

    Honestly I don't know why you would think putting that mic into a seperate preamp would improve the sound at all. It works for it's intended purpose. There's only so much juice you can squeeze from a kumquat.
  8. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    Look, don't be stupid. A computer microphone is a toy designed to plug into a toy soundcard. 1/8" connectors should tell you it's a toy. You need to buy yourself an actual microphone to use with your actual preamp. An SM58 should be in your arsenal of tools. There was an example of someone using a Labtec $.98 microphone plugged into his $15 Sound Blaster card made who made an excellent recording. But that's because he got all the level sets correct. You not saving money, you're wasting time. The analogy would be trying to plug a four-cylinder Toyota motor into a 25,000 pound Mercedes-Benz truck. It doesn't work. Don't go there. Don't even think about it. Buy yourself a microphone.

    You can never have too many
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  9. Gossling

    Gossling Guest

    Thanks for all the replies. I'll take what you all said into account. The only thing is, it's not a computer mic.


    It's primarily intended for use with minidisc recorders. As I mentioned in my original post, this setup is not actually what I'm going to be recording with.

    But I have one more question: can I still use this microphone to record with a mixer?

    I've decided to save up money for a Mackie 4-channel mixer which includes a preamp and phantom power (I'll sell the ART). Eventually I'll buy two SM57's and record with both of them live. The most I'll be recording is three instruments simultaneously (cello, piano, and another acoustic instrument of some sort).

    Could I substitute one of those two SM57's (if I didn't want to buy two) and instead use this Sony microphone? If I convert the 1/8 to 1/4, couldn't I potentially connect it to the Mackie mixer? Could I use the Sony in addition to the two SM57's? Or would this just ruin the (new) setup?

    Anyways, thanks again everyone. You've all been a big help.
  10. GeckoMusic

    GeckoMusic Guest

    The amazon pages says "Cannon XLR connector" but the picture shows a mini jack. It's the mini right?

    The Sony page for it says it has a built in 1.2v battery. Don't hook that up to 48v phantom power :) (Puff!)

    If you are using a headphone adapter to connect that microphone to your pre amp, then you aren't going to get much out of it. The pre amp inverts one half of the signal and adds it to the other. (It's to cancel noise in a mono microphone) With a stereo microphone essentially that just cancels all the sound directly in front of the microphone leaving you with only a figure eight pattern to the left and right of the source!

    Although you could use this microphone with a mixer, it would be better to use two small diagram condenser microphones in an XY pattern. You are going to want a cable/adapter to split that mini stereo into two unbalanced channels.
  11. hueseph

    hueseph Well-Known Member

    Forget the mixer. Buy yourself a small audio interface with a couple of decent pres. I would recommend a Mackie but the way their support is and their quality control, I just can't do it. Take a look at the Presonus Firebox or any number of interfaces by Line 6, M-Audio or Emu. These all have very reasonably priced interfaces with built in preamps, line and instrument level inputs and come bundled with some sort of LE software. They all have their benefits but they are all different. The Presonus interfaces come with Cubase LE which is an awesome bit of software. The Line 6 Toneports come with Ableton Live Lite which is very limited but they also come with decent amp emulation software. Many of these devices are $150 or less. That will get you into a decent interface which will be worlds better sounding than your computers soundcard and that ART pre.

    Lastly there is the Mbox2 mini. Many people hate ProTools and rightly so. They have a horrible reputation for forcing their users to upgrade or keeping them from upgrading because of compatibility issues. That all being said, I personally like ProTools LE.
  12. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    OK, so the type of mic is what I thought you had. The MS907 has an internal battery, so doesn't need external phantom power. It's not harmed by the plug-in power at the mic inputs of minidisc recorders, but must not be exposed to 48V phantom power.

    I have both the MS907 and its big brother, the MS957, in my hire stock, and they're a decent enough mics for their price and intended purpose. They are fitted with a 5-pin mini XLR at the base of the mic and are supplied with a lead that fits this connector and has a 1/8" stereo mini jack on the other end. I have made up leads that split this out to a pair of standard XLR connectors (for left and right channels), but importantly, the XLRs have d.c. blocking capacitors and catch diodes in the plugs because the dodos who hire this stuff will try to plug it into anything they think it might fit in. With that protection, they work fine in standard microphone inputs, but, being unbalanced, there is some susceptibility to hum.

    So you could use the MS907 to feed a pair of mixer channels along with SM57s or whatever. Just be aware that the MS907 is NOT a top quality mic, and you may be doing your recordings a disservice by trying to press it into use.

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