Need assistance with new mic

Discussion in 'Microphones (live or studio)' started by TooterTutor, Mar 28, 2008.

  1. TooterTutor

    TooterTutor Guest

    This is my first post to this forum. I've been a professional trumpet player for 30 years, but am just beginning to record at home. Right now, I'm trying to tackle playing into the mic and listening back.

    I am using a Dell 1420 Laptop PC with Audacity and I just bought a MXL 900 USB microphone.

    I'm getting hiss and I don't know what is causing it. It is intermittent, it seems to be in the background when I'm actually playing, but when I pause to breath or otherwise stop playing, the hiss cuts out. I'm experimenting with mic placement and levels, but it seems ever present. Even when using mic when speaking.

    Trying to keep it simple, but will eventually want to use this to record students to help them hear themselves.

    I appreciate any help,

  2. casper

    casper Guest

    Try to move the mic around to different parts of the room or another room/closet seprate from the area you are recording. It could be the mic itself.
  3. BrianaW

    BrianaW Active Member

    Jan 10, 2008
    New York
    Sounds like there's a gate on, and the noise you're hearing is what the mic sounds like when the gate is open. Do a search on gating.
  4. bent

    bent No Bad Vibes! Well-Known Member

    Oct 26, 2007
    Cocoa, FL
    Home Page:
    Greg, Welcome to RO.

    For starters, here's what another user posted on the MF website about the mic:

    Gear does not typically fix itself, though sometimes an old smack like The Fonz used to do works
    ( :wink: ).

    Anyway, sounds to me like a problem with your settings in the control panel for that particular mic. Granted I know absolutely nothing about the mic you have (and would have steered you in an altogether different direction if you had asked here before you made the purchase), but the symptoms definitely sound either CP setting or gain related - like an expander or "mic booster" is selected.

    Can you post a screenshot of both your settings in the USB mic's control panel as well as the audio setup menu in Audacity? Might allow us to formulate a definitive answer for you.
  5. TooterTutor

    TooterTutor Guest

    Thanks bent,
    I'll tinker a bit, but since you brought it up...
    What would you have recommended had I asked here before I bought the MXL?

    I'll return the MXL if need be.
    Maybe I should back out of USB altogether?
    One other clue that you all may be able to comment on is that the waveform in Audacity hardly appears. On the mic I used early, I was clipping unless I had the gain set at 1.
    At full volume, my trumpet is 85db from 8-10 feet, but it is hardly shows up in the waveform. It doesn't sound distorted, thankfully.

    thanks for your patience!

    If trumpets were outlawed, only outlaws would have trumpets!
  6. bent

    bent No Bad Vibes! Well-Known Member

    Oct 26, 2007
    Cocoa, FL
    Home Page:
    I would have suggested you stay away from USB mics altogether, yes.

    For a few more clams you can get a decent all around dynamic such as an SM57 and a two channel mic pre / ADC.

    Again, how about posting some screenshots of the current setup?

    In Windows holding down CTRL & Print Scrn captures a shot of the window open on the desktop - then simply open Paint and hit CTRL-V (paste). Mighty handy...
  7. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Mar 8, 2004
    Tacoma, WA
    Hey Greg -
    Welcome to RO!

    I would venture a guess though that you are probably hitting more than 85 dB at 10 feet. Trumpets work great through SM57s (which won't overload even if the mics at your bell at a good 120 dB). If you were to get maybe the SM57 with perhaps a used TC Konnekt 8, you'd have a killer and reasonably affordable setup that will allow you to grow a little in the future if you decide to.

    Ben -

    "For a few more clams you can get a decent all around dynamic...."

    This is confusing advice since, to us brass players "Clams" are equivalent to wrong notes...While trumpet players aren't as easy to confuse as flute or sax players, they can be confused (and distracted by shiny objects too, like a rack full of mouthpieces and instruments of different key...) ;-)
  8. TooterTutor

    TooterTutor Guest

    Thanks everyone for your thoughtful answers! I appreciate it greatly!
    I went through, per Bent, and checked the settings. I think I found the answer, but am hard pressed to indentify it to you all. There was a setting either in Audacity or in my control panel that I changed.

    I'm getting much better results- night and day difference. Additionally, I called one of our audio engineers at the band I used to be in. I told him that MXL has pre-amp software that as of yet is not supported with Vista. According to him, if/when I am able to download a Vista compatible pre-amp from the company that made the microphone, I'll see even greater improvement.

    All good for now, though! Thanks a bunch everyone! I've been recording myself all day! (I'm working up an audition for a local symphony and it is helpful to hear myself)

    Best wishes,

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