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Hello, I wanted to start off by saying I feel honored to join a community such as this, i feel like this is a great place to learn a lot of things I need to know to really get started in the world of recording vocals. Let me tell you a little bit about myself. I have been an artist for 6 years now, and have been recording, mixing and mastering for about 4 years. I started off using a usb microphone and Audacity, and worked my way up to to PreSonus studio one and recorded with that software for awhile, and then recently upgraded to reaper, RODE nt1a and xenyx302 usb pre-amp, i never really had any professional training, my knowledge of recording has mainly been created through self experience. I do not consider myself professional in anyway, I am an amateur and to be honest I'm quite tired of not getting the proper sound I have desired to have these past years.

Last year I purchased the RODE nt1a, hearing about it's quality i figured it was a good microphone to start off with recording vocals. My genre of music I specialize in is generally hip hop , rap, and R&B. My lack of knowledge about the technology of recording is what has led me to pursue to learn and push myself to seek the required starting points I need to achieve the sound I need to produce quality sound within my music.

- RODE nt1a, with standard pop filter and microphone stand.
- Xenxy302 USB Preamp
- Toshiba C655 Laptop
- Reaper Audio Recording Software

Now the problems I have had so far are as follows:

- My voice doesn't sound as crisp as I thought it would be.
- I can barely hear my voice, even though i am close to the mic but when i play it back it is extremely loud and low quality
- I have to stand 4 feet away from the microphone for it to record a decent quality vocal.
- After about 10 minutes of recording, there becomes a latency. A delay when I play back.
The vocals don't match the tempo in which i actually recorded. It's off by a few seconds.
And the quality sounds lower.
- The Microphone picks up every little noise in the room, I literally can stand 10 feet away and it will pick my voice up, its like whats the point of having a pop filter?

These are the problem's I am having. I basically want to be able to be close to my microphone and be able to hear my voice as I sing, without it being extremely loud and low-quality. I want to be able to record for hours with out it causing this latency issue. Is it my PreAmp that's causing this issue? Is not powerful enough or high quality enough to run the RODE nt1a to its fullest potential? If so what preamp should I be looking at? Is it my laptop and its lack of sound capability? If anyone can point me in the right direction in how to solve these issues, it would be greatly appreciated. Thank you and it's an honor to be a part of the community.


pcrecord Wed, 08/05/2015 - 14:47

Welcome to RO Bruce, great to count you in

Let me try to see clear in your little problem.
First, we need to account the fact that the NT1A and the Xenxy 302 are entry level gear. But that doesn't explain what you are living.
I can think of 2 things to begin with. The mic placement and gain staging.
The mic placement ; you should record at about 6 to 9 inches from the mic and singing toward the capsule of the mic.
Listen to this video for some tips :

Second, gain staging : you need to adjust the input of the mic so you hear yourself in the headphones and also record proper levels.
There is 4 volume controls involve.

  1. the mic gain ; it should be the first to adjust : it is how much the preamp will amplify the signal to send it to the DAW
  2. The mic channel volume, is the volume sent in the mix to the master volume
  3. The master volume is the one controlling the volume to speakers
  4. the phone volume controls your head phones
    Here is some precisions :
  5. So the plan is to send a good signal to the DAW -16db to -12db, then put the levels up, the channel level to 0db and the master to 0db. the adjust the phone to taste
    OR you can play back you music and use the channel mic volume to put more or less of your voice to do a mix as you please...

    Let's start by fixing this and we'll address the latency after ;)

pcrecord Wed, 08/05/2015 - 18:33

Normally, you could ajust the levels of computer (going back to the mixer) in a fashion that let's you here yourself better. (while pushing the phones at higher levels). ..

As for latency.. Playing a couple of tracks and recording one, should not be hard to do for your computer. Unless you placed effects on the tracks and/or activated realtime effects on the vocal recording track.

The usual precaution to reduce latency is to use asio drivers.

  • Make sure you have the latest available via the maker's site:
  • Adjust the audio buffer in the DAW and in the drivers (the higher you put more latency will happen but if you put not enough it will crash start at 256 and test other setings)
  • Make sure your project don't exceed the resolution the mixer can deliver (the doc doesn't say 16bit or 24bit and 48khz or 96)
  • Deactivate antivirus or other running software
  • Don't record on external drives via usb.. Usb drives are too slow for multitrack softwares.
  • reduce real time processing in your project.

This is a start, if it still doesn't work. we'll try other stuff ;)