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Questions about low budget violin recording

Hi all,
My sister-in-law is going to be doing some "pandemic" recording for grad school auditions and I was hoping to help her capture something nicer than what she was going to try with her phone or webcam or whatever. It's mostly solo classical violin pieces and a couple with piano. And if I'm being honest I'm also looking for an excuse to get myself some gear, since I've been interested in recording for a long time. I've done some research, mostly on forums like this one, and I was hoping to get a little advice on my planned setup.

Currently I've got a few mics in the $100 range:
2x MXL 990 (large diaphragm condensers, not stereo matched or anything)
1x MXL 991 (small diaphragm condenser)
1x AT2020 (popular condenser used a lot by YouTubers I think)

I've got an average Windows laptop or a Mac mini, and I plan to upgrade from Audacity to Reaper.

I've got a Behringer 1204USB mixer (~$200) that sounds like garbage when I use the USB and that adds 60 Hz hum when I plug it into the line input on the Mac. This is the piece I'm most likely to upgrade. I'm thinking about a Steinberg UR44 ($350) or, if I really go all out, an Audient ID44 ($700 gasp).

My cables and stand are all pretty basic. Like Amazon Basic quality. Not sure if upgrading these is the most cost-effective place to put my money.

I've read good things about Sony MDR-7506 monitor headphones ($100), and I'm leaning towards those.

The audition guidelines obviously don't allow any addition of artificial reverb, so we're hoping to find a decent space in a church or something, and I want to record in stereo to give the recording some depth/space.

My current idea, based on the gear I own, is to use the MXL 990s as a stereo pair a couple feet up and away from the violin, with the MXL 991 set back another foot or so. (I realize that's probably not typical, since I usually only see small diaphragm microphones in X/Y or A-B configurations.) And then I'd use the AT2020 for the piano.

My main question is how boneheaded I'm being. What glaring mistakes am I making, and what should I do to course correct? The other question is if you have any suggestions as to where it would be most effective to spend money.

Thank you for your time! I hope to be able to share the result here in a month or so.

Digital piano headphone output signal is low and noisy when connected as line

Hi all,
Looking for some help here...

I have a digital piano Yamaha YDP-163 which has 2 headphone jacks as audio outputs. Sadly, no AUX OUT or LINE OUT jacks so only headphones.
When plugging a single pair of headphones to either of the headphone jacks, the audio signal is clean, clear and loud with very good signal to noise ratio.
Now, i wish to be able to record audio from this piano into my PC using RME Fireface 400 inputs.

Since the headphone jacks are 1/4 TRSF i need a breakout cable to split L and R signals - means a split from 1/4 TRSF to dual 1/4 TS (Unbalanced) connectors
I have tried to search over the internet for a high quality cable for that matter (low noise, good shield, good plugs) and came across with this one and decided to buy it:

Mogami GOLD INSERT TS-12 Insert Cable, 1/4" Straight TRS Male Plug to Dual 1/4" Straight TS Male Plug Send/Receive Connectors, Gold Contacts, 12 Foot Mogami GOLD INSERT TS-12 Insert Cable, 1/4" Straight TRS Male Plug to Dual 1/4" Straight TS Male Plug Send/Receive Connectors, Gold Contacts, 12 Foot: Musical Instruments

Pretty expansive cable if you ask me, but i figured - Mogami audio wire and Neutrik connectors - Looks like a great high quality cable to capture the great sound of my piano.

So the cable arrived and i connected it but sadly I’m having 2 issues with it:
1. Audio signal is too low
2. Very audible noise floor

Audio signal is too low when monitoring inputs in RME Fireface 400 - even if i crank up the piano master volume to MAX, the signal is still too low.
I tried increasing the LINE IN volume, and also tried activating the LINE IN inputs as INSTRUMENT IN mode to have more gain – Ok so the signal is louder now but now such increase involve noise.
Sp all possible gain increase alternatives via RME Fireface 400 lead to increase of the noise floor which is not acceptable.
The noise is somewhat not a typical hiss or hum but rather soft rapid “clicks” (for the lack of a better term) that are audible especially when increasing the volume in my audio interface.
Decreasing the piano master volume to MIN has no effect on the noise. Also, when powering off the but leaving the cables connected still introduces the same noise.

As for the noise - I’m beginning to think it might be an issue with the cable. I didn’t pay too much attention to the purpose of the cable - Insert cable for send/receive loop effects, but rather thought that the wiring and the connectors is exactly what I need.
Is there a possibility that the cable is not compatible for stereo breakout duties ? Maybe that audio noise is a result of using the cable in different direction as opposed to what the cable intentionally was meant for ?

If the audio signal level capture would have been very high to begin with I guess that lowering the Fireface line inputs or even using the built-in PADs to attenuate the signal would improve the signal to noise ratio.

I just made a quick check:
My headphones are AKG K240 Studio (Not MKII) – Rated impedance – 55 Ohm
RME Fireface 400 Line Ins jacks – Rated impedance – When used as “LINE IN” inputs – rated as 10 kOhm, When activated as “INSTRUMENT IN” inputs – rated at 470 kOhm.

So my main concerns:
Is the low audio signal captured in RME is due to impedance mismatch ?
Is there an issue with my audio interface ?
Is there an issue with the mogami audio cable ?
Is the mogami audio cable I purchased may not be intended for such use ?

I tried to search google for similar issues.. most left unanswered ultimately…

Such a shame that I can’e record my piano in this current situation…Will be glad to hear opinions and suggestions


Help with low output signal.

I am trying to setup a youtube channel on the cheap and got a condenser mic and amp. I recorded with multiple programs all registering very low signal strength. How do I increase the signal strength of my recordings? The XLR output goes to my audio jack. I am using Windows 10, InnoGear 1- Channel 48V Phantom Power Supply with 10 Feet XLR Cable and Adapter, Excelvan BM-800 Condenser Studio Recording Microphone, Audacity for recording, and Realtek High Definition Audio driver. Realtek is configured to "line in" with "level" set to 100. When "mic in" is chosen the computer doesn't recognize the mic. Audacity recordings register below -50db. Please help! I have scoured countless youtube videos and forums to solve this myself. I just ordered a Sabrent USB External Stereo Sound Adapter for Windows in hopes that maybe it is an impedance issue but I really have no idea what I am doing. Thank you for any responses!

Looking for a low end check please

Rough mix; still needs a guitar solo and a re-track of the LV cuz yeah, I know, it's a bit pitchy.
But, before I go any further with it...

I need a low-end check on this.
IGTS SAMP FOR RO FEB 19 2017.mp3

I've recently set up in a spare room, and I don't think I can trust it. I haven't treated it in any way yet, I wanted to get an idea of how mixes translated first.
Honestly, I'm not even sure it can be treated. I hesitate to even waste Brien's time on it ( @Brien Holcombe )...
But, I'd like to see where I am on the low frequencies.

As usual, any comments, thoughts, suggestions welcome.

Thanks. :)


Attached files

IGTS SAMP FOR RO FEB 19 2017.mp3 (7.5 MB) 

Monitoring Vocals with pre mastered track, low level monitoring?

Hello, I'm new here but not to producing music. I mainly produce electronic music, but my brother is a singer that wishes to get into recording his own vocal performances over Karaoke tracks.

In order to do this he has pruchased some gear RODE NT1, stand, pop shield, Rokit RP5, Reason Ballance interface, the D.A.W of choice is directed by me because this is the one I know best to help him, and is simple enough for him to learn, yet powerfull enough to grow into.

Onto my problem is all about two areas, gain stanging, and monitoring.

Gain staging and working with a vocalist.

While I'm not new to music production, I am to recording vocals, and am in turn learning myself to teach him. From what Iv gathered I should be setting his mic input gain so it reads -10 or lower at its highest peeks. The only way I can get to set this up is if he sings the loudest part of a song, is that fair to expect him to do this on tap over and over again, shouldnt he at least warm up first? So I'm sitting them asking him to sing the loudest part as if he was going for a recording, I set it up to -10db, then he goes for recording and one round the peek is at -25 db, another try he is hitting -2db with no head room. What is being done wrong here?

Monitoring his own Vocals,"not loud enough"

Assuming we get the input gain correct, we now have a second issue, he cant hear his own voice. This has arrived from what I see as two areas. 1: he is singing along with a mastered piece of music which has had its dynamics crushed, where as his own voice is, well! as dynamic as it can get from -28 to -6db. Should he need to improve his mic technique a little, should I have to turn that music crazy low so he can hear his own vocals? 2: He is monitoring his voice through Reason and does not seem to monitor as lound as when played back after recording? He is using decent headphones that are 250 ohm, the audio interface has not enough power for headphones, plus the monitoring is so low anyway, even through speakers. Im not sure how to go about fixing this, but have come to a comclusion we need a heaphone amp, but won't this cause a lot of hiss being that I have to take away 20db off the music so he can hear his own voice, then boost it all with the headphone amp?

How are things set up professionaly, what am I missing here?

Thanks, Daniel.

AKG C414B-ULS with low output

Calling out to all mic gurus:

I have an AKG C414B-ULS with low output.
Please correct me if I'm wrong: these condenser mics have FETs that need to be calibrated to a certain voltage that polarizes the capsule. If this voltage is too high by just a few volts, it looses low frequency response, and if it's to low, the output is reduced drastically.
There are 1 or 2 FETs that regulate this voltage with a fixed resistor between gate (G) and source (S).
This resistor(s) might have drifted from its original value.

I have the following questions:
Which FETs do I have to check and what is the voltage that should be present?
Does anyone know how to take the PCBs off the frame in order to get to the underside for measuring? I don't want to force anything without wrecking the mic.

Thanks in advance.

Please check the low end on this?

Yesterday, for the first time in quite a few years, I tried mixing with a subwoofer added to my monitoring; I'm still getting used to it, as well as trying to locate the best placement for it in the room...

I had the volume on the sub as low as it could go for starters; this mix reflects that level.

If anyone could be gracious enough to chime in, and let me know what they are hearing, low end-wise,
I'd appreciate it. Obviously, I'm looking for an even, accurate translation to other playback systems.

( BTW, while this is me playing/singing, it's not my song... it's a cover of Chicago's Wishin' You Were Here.)
©1974 Peter Cetera
Posted for educational use only, not for distribution or sale

http://recording.or…"]WISHIN YOU WRE HERE SEPT 27 2015.mp3[/]="http://recording.or…"]WISHIN YOU WRE HERE SEPT 27 2015.mp3[/]



Attached files

WISHIN YOU WRE HERE SEPT 27 2015.mp3 (9.4 MB) 

Which high(er) end microphone, or do I need one for my low end system?

This is my first post, so hope I got it in the right place.

I have a simple home studio setup and a VERY cheap microphone. I'm willing to spend up to US$ 4000 for a new mic that suits my voice, but maybe it's pointless with my sound card? I use an Apollo Twin DUO sound card and only plugin preamps . I use Logic Pro X.

When I record myself I think the quality sounds ok after I use 610B plugin for example. But my voice is colorless, thin and lacks presence. I won't give up trying to sing though and think that a proper microphone might help my motivation to keep learning.

I attached a sound file with some samples to show which range, and what type of music, I usually sing (an unlisted youtube clip since I didn't know of any other way to attach sound).

The first 16 seconds is in Swedish, but then English. My kids are playing/screaming in the background and this was just done very quickly while I was eating breakfast. I only used the 610B and Pultec to bring out a little mid tone. The mic was a single MXL 990. The last snippet of Outside Woman Blues is way outside my range, but did it to show the thin squeaky voice I have.

I almost only record singing and playing acoustic guitar. The other issue then is that any condenser mic will pick up the guitar and limit mixing possibilities. But I only want it this way and will not record vocal and guitar separately. I then feel I lose the "live" sound. So which mic to do this? I can of course use two mic's. I've tried a couple dynamic mics (SM7B and SM57), but it gets too noisy (need a booster of some sort probably).

I have a weak voice and usually have a very low volume when singing.

My microphone was given to me: MXL 990. I've read that it is extremely cheap/low quality and so I'm thinking any other higher quality could help. I'm looking at Neumann U47, U87 AI or maybe AKG 414 XL II (choices based on reading forums and listening to youtube). But the shops here in Norway usually don't stock them, so I can't easily try before I buy.

The other issue I have is when I use for example LANDR to master my tracks. I choose the cheapest low-res MP3 output. But I'm not able to hear the difference between that or the AIFF file in my bounce (set to 24 bit 44100). My studio monitors aren't great (M Audio CX5), but my headphones should be ok (AKG HSD 271). Could it be that I get a higher resolution regardless due to the "simple" recording with only vocals and guitar, and maybe due to my low-res mic?

(AIFF bounce from Logic Pro X imported to Final Cut Pro and uploaded to YouTube as 1080P file)

I do of course know that no mic will make me sing better. And I realize I should learn how to sing before spending 4000 or 400 (what do I know) on a mic. But I have the opportunity to do it, and, as sick as it may sound, gear motivates me to work harder
And recording has become a big hobby for me.