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I'm a giant noob and I need some help

I'm in a band, trying to record an album on a budget. I bought a Tascam DP-01, and a Shure SM57 (i'll be buying more mics when I get some more cash flow). I was getting a lot of hiss plugging the 57 directly into the Tascam, so I figured a mixer would be the proper choice to reduce hiss, and I wouldn't have to use the god-awful onboard EQ.

I picked up a Behringer Xenyx 1202FX today at my local music shop. Plugged it in, and I'm still getting hiss. I've tried turning up the levels on the mixer to almost-clipping, then turning the little micophone volume knob on the DP-01 all the way down to I can at least try and get a decent level out of it.

My question is, am I recording too hot? Or did I just make a poor equipment choice? I just want to record something that has no hiss, and sounds okay. I don't need to be a Rick Ruben.

Also, is there any way on the DP-01 to record in stereo? There's stereo mix inputs on the back of the Tascam, but I cant record through it, according to the instruction manual. Which pretty much renders those inputs useless for me. I've been connecting the mixer to the DP-01 through the headphone input, There's a "Control Room" out, in stereo, and a "Main Out" output, also in stereo.

Thanks for reading my long and noob-ish post.


P.S. - Is there any way to turn off the EQ on the DP-01? I'd much rather use the EQ on the Xenyx.


Pro Audio Guest Mon, 11/20/2006 - 14:33
Last two post are a definite step in the right direction. If your setup is turning into a bundle of wires like ours already are as recomended take it to another room. Plug it in with no other equipment and monitor the hiss. You could also get a AC ground lift adaptor from hardware store. plug it in to see if this resolves the issue. I would use the adaptor only as a troubleshooting tool. Keep in mind, using the ground isolation adaptor bypasses the electrical safety for the equipment and can result in shock.
You might be able to take the Tascam into a local music store that sells that kind of stuff. If you go in when there not too busy mabey they'll help you out.

Pro Audio Guest Tue, 10/24/2006 - 18:41
I took a quick look at the PDF brochure from the TASCAM website. I must say, the diagram is one of the worse I have ever seen.

BE that as it may, let me offer the following:

Digital recording does not produce hiss as in the tape days therefore, if any is present it is likely caused by a mismatched input signal. For example: there is a switch on that unit which turn the two inputs on the front into GUITAR level. Also, I don't know if you have the version with XLR or not. But, if plug a signal into any inputs with mismatched impedance you could easily get some sort of hiss.

Make sure you pluggin line levels (from your exteranl mixer) to a line level input, the microphone to a mic level input and the guitar to a guit. level input.

That would be a place to start.

Kapt.Krunch Thu, 12/07/2006 - 04:04
Henryteque wrote:
I've tried turning up the levels on the mixer to almost-clipping, then turning the little micophone volume knob on the DP-01 all the way down to I can at least try and get a decent level out of it.

Didn't see this mentioned, but it might be worth investigating.

Is your mixer input level too high? If you turn it too high, all the noise it is generating will be reproduced and amplified through the rest of the system.

Perhaps start with the input level at a nominal level, the channel fader at a nominal level, the main mixer fader at a nominal level, and the DP01(?) at a nominal level.

If it's too low, perhaps try to add a little gain to the last thing in the chain, then perhaps a little to the next thing back....and so on.

The further toward the front end that you can eliminate noise, the less chance there is to accumulate through the signal chain. Maybe a tiny bit of adjustment through the chain from the last thing toward the front, successively, will help. If you boost any ONE thing too much, it may not help.

Just a thought, along with all the other fine advice already presented.

Good luck,


mugtastic Wed, 10/25/2006 - 14:57
i took a look too. you should use the main outs from the mixer not the headphone out. 2 sources into the mixer (57 and whatever else) panned hard left and right will then go to the tascam's 2 inputs/ recordable tracks. if you want a stereo recording it would be like this (with 2 mics) but then you have to pan the 2 recorded tracks hard left and right to hear the stereo image on playback.

if the hiss isn't a level prob. where is it first heard - any hiss in the room the mic is in? (vents, fans, computers) can you hear it as you monitor on headphones before you hit record. is it there with a different source - guitar w/ different cable that doesn't play back with hiss? there is no reason the tascam would add any hiss - it has to be a source or monitoring or level situation. is the sm57 new? is the mic cable in good condition?

the addition of the board (over the fx version of the tascam - $100 more than the basic version) only gives you a mid eq control and more source inputs - when you get more mics you'll be able to record a drum kit with 4 mics and a couple sources direct - but they will have to be summed to a stereo mix to record because the tascams main limitation is the 2 inputs to 2 recordable tracks at once.

mark_van_j Thu, 11/16/2006 - 22:12
Did you try plugging the headphones into the mixer? Does it hiss there to? (I'm thinking you did, which is how you know it's pre-Tascam hiss)

Try plugging the mixer in different rooms, try changing cables, and changing mics. Try it with NOTHING plugged in. Turn up the preamps, the levels. See how much noise is cause just by the mixer. You may find out it has nothing to do with the cable, mic, or soundcard.

If nothing helps, then I don't know what it would be....

Pro Audio Guest Wed, 12/06/2006 - 05:17
Thanks guys, you've been a massive help. I have my equipment in my room, which has a dimmer switch for my main light, my computer, stereo, and amp. I'm guessing its gotta be electrical interference. My dad is an electrician, so I figure I'll have him take a look at it if it hisses in other rooms.

Once again, thanks so much for your help.