To cut a long story short...I have an iMac (running OSX Leopard) with Logic Studio 8, and want to record my songs to it.
I have a Kord X5D synth, Behringer C-1 XLR microphone, and Takamine (EG510SC) semi-acoustic guitar.
But I have no idea what sort of set-up gear I need for audio-recording with.
I just bought a Focusrite 2i4, thinking I could plug everything in to record audio.
But the microphone recording volume is awful, and needs the Focusrite input gain turned almost to max to get any half-decent signal, and even then I'm flirting with hiss.
I just tried plugging my semi-acoustic into the other input, and it's barely audible even with full gain. Another pre-amp required?
I'm obviously doing something wrong, but have no idea how to proceed. It's hugely frustrating.
Could someone please advise what sort of set-up options I should consider? I'm totally lost, a newbie who needs advice. Any is very much appreciated.
Start with the mic.
With 2i4 power OFF, and "Gain", "Direct Monitor" and "Monitor" knobs down, plug mic into input 1. Power up 2i4. Check that "Pad" on 2i4 is disengaged. (Pushed in will lower level.) Engage 48v "phantom power" to power up condenser mic.
Monitor 1/2 with headphones, and slowly Gain knob a bit, and Monitor knobs a bit, and see if you start getting a decent signal in headphones.
If so, tweak each until you get a good, clean, strong signal.
In the computer, in Logic, assign the 2i4 to inputs and outputs. Start a new song, create an audio track, assign it to the 2i4 channel 1, adjust input/output/monitor assignments and levels there, and see if you can get a good signal to record and monitor.
If that works, plug in guitar to input 2, and repeat all that.
If not, try to explain where you think it might be failing?
I think I found my problem with the guitar recording - when I set up a new audio track for recording, I'd left it set for input 1, when I needed to change it to input 2.
The mic I figure is just not so sensitive as I'd imagined - which isn't a problem at the moment, as I'm not recording in a particularly quiet room. But with the inability to record guitar, I thought it was symptomatic of something bigger. :)
EDIT: Correction, the mic was recording inputs 1-2. It's a lot better quality when I just set it to input 1. :D
Knowing your interface and software is mission critical in getting usable tracks.
Routing and gain structure are as basic "Recording 101" as it gets - yet are, at the same time, the most important things.
Problem-Based Learning allowed you to determine, locate, and fix the issues at hand this time... good for you.
Now, commit this problem scenario and the answers to memory. It's always the problems that we solve on our own that turn out to be the best education we can receive.
It sounds as though you are very new to this; and I guarantee that there are yet still many more challenges and difficulties that await you in the not too distant future...
You might want to consider watching some YouTube instructional vids covering the basics of DAW production - if possible, look for those that use your particular DAW platform as a teaching model.