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Hi Everyone!

I was trying to look it up, but was unable as it is pretty specific. However I am pretty sure people had such problem before.

So, I have:
1) Yamaha MG166CX-USB Mixer
2) AKAI MPC 1000
3) Yamaha MM6 Synthesizer
4) PC with Acid Pro 6
5) M-Audio BX5a monitors

- AKAI and Synthesizer connected to the mixer via stereo Analog inputs.
- Mixer is connected to the PC via USB cable

When computer is not in the "formula" everything sounds great and loud enough (even more than enough), depending on the Monitor/Phones sound regulator.

When I try to record something onto Acid through the mixer directly via USB - the recorded sound is too quiet. I can set it very loud on to the monitors or even through the computer to the monitors, but if I set the channel/main out higher or boost frequencies on the channel which I record to the computer - it starts to peak on the mixer to the red levels which is not good. If I set it right about the peak level, but not at the red levels - it is too quiet...

(USB level knob is set to the HIGHEST!)

Important - I also have Oktava microphone connected through the compression channel which records fine with the gain knob leveled up and the channel to which the microphone is connected almost all the way up, but it seems to me it shouldn't be so much up to be able to record it at a normal sound level, pretty much I can't really record the voice "too loud".
Synthesizer is a little better with recording, however same as with the voice - I don't think it the channel and the main out should be so high to be able to hear it normally
AKAI is peaking the most since I make drums on it and the drum loops I record are completely quiet at barely normal peak levels.

So, as I see it, the problem is with transferring the sound to the computer, the signal is too low. I've tried adjusting the channel levels in all the different ways and tried different channels on the mixer to make sure the channel is working fine - but it is still "Peaking" on the mixer and too quiet once recorded on the computer.
Do I need an Audio/USB interface - and then connect the mixer to it to boost the recording signal? Or do I need an amp/pre-amp. I know some stuff about recording, but I always had this problem with quiet signal when recording on the computer...
If not Audio/USB any suggestions/help would be really appreciated!

*** one more thing to add: whatever is recorded if played through the mixer back to the monitors - I can set very loud, but I hear the noice since it was recorded at very high levels of sound... hope it makes sense --> so it is definitely a problem with the sound going to the computer via USB


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Codemonkey Thu, 08/13/2009 - 21:50

What I meant by that was if your channel faders are all at low values and your master is up high, that won't help.

There's a volume ladder on this mixer, right?

Systematically go through each channel you're using, play or get someone to just push buttons on the instrument and press the PFL button, increase the GAIN knob until the peaks on the LED ladder start being near 0. Then disable the PFL again, and move onto the next channel.

Once you're sure of this, you should find that you can get your master mix (now showing on the LED ladder) to peak at about the same. Bring each channel to around 0, give or take for the mix, and then bring your master up. As for the phones, turn those up until you're at a comfortable volume.

anonymous Thu, 08/13/2009 - 21:58

I see, yeah, the thing is - any particular channel is recording very quiet... Voice or sound (from AKAI or synth).

However I will try the technique using PFL button! Thanks for the responses man!

PS. I still think that won't help :), I think I need something to boost the signal towards the computer through the USB, so that the instruments (AKAI, synth) and the channels volumes/GAIN levels don't have to be so high...
Well anyways, I am going to guitar center tomorrow for the second synthesizer, will explain to them whats up in words - let's see what they say.

TheJackAttack Thu, 08/13/2009 - 22:29

The thing that boosts the signal is the Yamaha MG166. There isn't anything you can put between it and the computer. Your gain staging is off. It is likely not hot enough at the initial trim pot.

Put your faders at 0/Unity. Adjust the trim at the top of the stick until the level is good. Go to the next channel. Do the same. This is basically page 9 of the manual but it is the same for nearly every mixer ever made.

anonymous Thu, 08/13/2009 - 23:05

Actually you are right that Yamaha is the one which boosts the signal, doesn't make sense to add something in between.

I tried setting the instruments through PFLs to 0 on the LED and it sounds perfect through the mixer to the monitors/phones, but once recorded on the computer it is extremely quiet :(, even though the MASTER OUT is set to 7dB (Channels at 0dB)... Either I am doing something wrong or there must be a way to increase the input/record signal on the computer. As the USB knob on the mixer during recording was set to 8 (10 is max).

I am really out of ideas what is wrong here... to compare for example, if I listen to some song on the computer it sounds fine (in the meaning of loudness), once I playback the recording I just made - it barely can be heard (I mean listening it through the regular computer output speakers, however it doesn't make a difference as if I listen back through the mixer out to the monitor/speakers it is still recorded very quiet, while the song is ripping my ears apart at the same signal output level)

Could there be something wrong with sound settings on the computer? As in sound control the Volume button for Sound recording is greyed out. Also, in Acid when recording the LED is pretty high while the recording process... So, it is like the recording signal is high, but the actual sounds (drums, instruments) are very quiet...

Any further suggestions very appreciated as this is really pushing me back from composing :cry:

anonymous Fri, 08/14/2009 - 08:16

I have the Yamaha MG102c mixer and the peak meter doesnt even work, never once has it lit up before for me lol but it works fine to how much i know how to use it, not much at all.. But I also got the MM6 synthesizer in the last couple weeks, but I can't record well on it. Do you have any tips you could give me on using it? When i try to record it doesn't let me use the left side of the keyboard which I been told is the "Split", this is my first keyboard ever using, and its kinda confusing for me. When I record even using "Split" it wont record the sounds on the left side ever for me, even if i change the split keys

anonymous Mon, 08/17/2009 - 10:07

Ok, on Friday I was in Guitar Center, bought Korg R3 (great piece!!!) and spoke with them about the not loud enough signal issue...
They explained to me that since all the instruments at my studio are connected via Analog cables, while the sound is transferred through the USB cord to the computer it is converted to Digital and looses gain/strength. In order for this not to happen I need audio interface. I am planning on getting one which goes with ProTools in few weeks, since I wanted to use ProTools anyways.

I will give it a try and let you know how it goes!

Comtose71690: it is very weird that it does not record the sounds on the left side. Also, do you mean record on the internal track of the MM6? Or through the mixer to computer/recording device?

TheJackAttack Mon, 08/17/2009 - 10:17

Your Yamaha mixer IS an interface. There is no "gain lost" in the digital conversion. It converts what is there. Beware the un edumacated salesman that has a little bit of knowledge.

That said, there are numerous interfaces that are much better suited for recording. I just suspect you will have similar issues until you get the signal path cleaned up. Maybe not.

anonymous Mon, 08/17/2009 - 12:18

TheJackAttack: Hmm, could it be then that I have a defected mixer? The thing is I will be getting the Pro Tools anyways and it requires the interface...

Also, what do you mean by signal path cleared up? As it is simply instruments connected to mixer via Analog --> mixer to PC via USB... Not sure really what can block or reduce the signal strength, but somehow what the sales person said making sense to me (I am not trying to defend the sales person here :)) I am not sure what else to try though....

TheJackAttack Mon, 08/17/2009 - 12:38

Well, if you are moving to PT and M-Audio/Digi interface anyway, then I wouldn't futz with it too much. Caveat lector and caveat emptor.

Some generic thoughts on gear. Some digital interfaces on keyboards or general outboard gear are 16 bit digital and some are either 16 bit or 24 bit. If all the analog to digital conversion (AD) happens at the interface then no worries there.

Except that consumer or prosumer gear often has analog line level output of -10 dBv versus a pro level of +4. In an ideal world, your line levels on all gear would be uniform. Many old school boards had switches to change the nominal levels in order to match everything up but I'm not sure any newer (especially budget) boards have this feature.

I'm not saying any of this applies to your situation. These are just things to be aware of as one builds up a gear list/stockpile.

anonymous Mon, 08/17/2009 - 12:52

"Except that consumer or prosumer gear often has analog line level output of -10 dBv versus a pro level of +4. In an ideal world, your line levels on all gear would be uniform. Many old school boards had switches to change the nominal levels in order to match everything up but I'm not sure any newer (especially budget) boards have this feature. "

Interesting thought! Well, in case the problem is in the conversion (most likely it is the case) if my mixer will be connected to the M-Audio interface through Analog and the actual USB interface will do the conversion it may resolve the problem or at least not be so quiet when recording onto the PC...

anonymous Mon, 08/31/2009 - 18:17

Hey Everyone!

I got the Mbox 2, the one by DigiDesign and my problem is solved!

So, to conclude the whole thing - it was the problem with converting Analog to Digital... As well it tells me that the mixer is bad at doing the conversion. Otherwise it is a great mixer and since i was planning on getting ProTools which comes with Mbox 2 - I am all good!

Currently I have Yamaha Stereo out - connected to the 2 line Analog inputs on the Mbox 2 and then it goes back via Analog lines into the Return inputs on the mixer itself. That way I can monitor everything out of the mixer.

So, I am a happy camper now :D 8-)

PS. Mixer stereo analog out is +4dBu

anonymous Tue, 09/01/2009 - 06:05

Well, it is actually 3 stereo analog inputs and 2 XLR inputs I am already using and might be getting more instruments in the future ;). So, as of now it would already be not enough inputs on the mbox. Although, the sound is very clear! It is more clear after recording then when it was directly over USB from mixer to computer o-O.

The conclusion would be - Yamaha MG166CX-USB mixer --> USB function sucks and shouldn't be considered as the converter of analog to digital this mixer fails :lol: