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Why Am I Getting a Muffled Mic Sound With My New Preamp?

Discussion in 'Preamps / Channel Strips' started by rbf738, Jan 30, 2011.

  1. rbf738

    rbf738 Active Member

    I just transitioned from a Firepod (circa 2006) to a Firestudio Mobile and for some reason the microphone sounds horribly muffled when as far as I know I haven't changed a thing besides the preamp. There's also some static on that track, as well, so I feel like something glaring is definitely not right here.

    Just so you know I'm running Ableton Live 5, my buffer size is 512, the sample rate 44100, overall latency set at 13 ms. I wish I could hook my Firepod back up so I could take a look at my settings but that's probably not an option anymore.

    I've been searching trying to find something which could account for this but haven't found anything yet.
  2. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    What microphone are you using? If it's a condenser mic, have you tried a dynamic mic such as an SM58 instead? Are you powering the interface from the FireWire bus or are you using the 12V power adaptor? Do you get the "static" on both tracks, i.e. with and without the microphone signal?
  3. rbf738

    rbf738 Active Member

    Actually we can forget about the static, that was me being dumb, but I'm still getting the muffled sound like I don't know maybe the mic isn't getting adequate power or something... I'm using AC power, the adaptor which came with the device. I actually don't know how to use bus power, I assumed that when I connected it to my computer that it would just work without the adaptor, hence bus power from my computer, but I guess I'm off on that. Either way it only powers on when connected via AC power.

    I'm using an Audio Technica AT3035 Condensor microphone, the same mic I used last week with my Firepod and it sounded crisp and clear before the Firepod broke. It requires phantom power so i turned on the phantom power on the Firestudio to record just like I did with it using the Firepod, but it just sounds muffled and a bit distant. I can record a bit of it if you would like to hear it but I don't know if that will clear anything up for anyone.

    Also, I don't know if this is an issue but I've been using this firewire card to connect to my computer for the past 2 years: SIIG FireWire 800 ExpressCard FireWire adapter - ExpressCard/54 - 2 ports

    I'm not sure if that is one of the type of cards which they warn against. It's the same card I used and everything was fine with the Firepod, so I don't know what could've changed between the two or if this is what is causing shitty mic recording. Guitar records clean no problem.
  4. rbf738

    rbf738 Active Member

    Damn ok so I just got my old Firepod temporarily working again and the mic sounds the same, muffled and all of that. I cleaned the XLR cable the other day with a damp rag because it was really dirty/dusty, I've never heard of this but could this have caused the muffled sound?
  5. audiokid

    audiokid Staff


    check your PM asap!
  6. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Same on both interfaces, eh? It's unlikely to be the cable, unless one of the + or - conductors is shorting to ground so the mic is not receiving the correct phantom power.

    Another crazy suggestion: is your microphone facing the right way?
  7. FlyBass

    FlyBass Active Member

    By any chance did you accidently hit the 10 dB pad switch on the mic?
  8. rbf738

    rbf738 Active Member

    Good thought but the settings are the same as always, I even tried the others just in case.

    Haha yeah my microphone is facing the right way, I do know that could cause a muffled sound but I haven't made that mistake since I first started out years ago.

    UPDATE: I only have the one XLR cable BUT I have one more microphone so I tried that... The problem with that microphone is it's a shitty free mic that came with a karaoke set, so I don't know how well I can trust it. It didn't sound as muffled but I noticed that I had to crank the preamp up almost all of the way to get a decent level, giving me more evidence that it might be the cable which isn't providing adequate power like you were saying.

    I'm going to get out and try getting a new XLR cable, might as well try the cheap solution before I start thinking about microphones. Who knows, maybe this will turn into a vocal microphone discussion sooner than later.

    2nd Update: K so I just opened my XLR cable on the female end and the yellow cable's wire broke off at its tip and is now not connected like the red one still is, so... time to get out the soldering gun.

    This OF COURSE had to happen as soon as I get my new preamp hooked up to lead me on this wild goose chase.
  9. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    That's why troubleshooting is partly an art.
  10. rbf738

    rbf738 Active Member

    So true. The cable is soldered, vocals are crisp once more. Hopefully if nothing else someone can use this thread as a reminder to check EVERYTHING, even things you least suspect.

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