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Old December 28th, 2009, 10:13 AM   #1
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Problem with recording to computer

First of all sorry for my english :) I have a problem. When I'm recording to computer, my recording is very quiet and full of some noise. This was happening with my integrated soundcard, so I bought a new soundcard (Sound Blaster X-Fi Xtreme Audio), but there is no difference! Still the same problem.
The strange thing is I hear some noise even when the microphone is unplugged - I just enable microphone and "monitor (of mic)" in my soundcard settings and I hear noise. And then if I connect the microphone, that noise is louder.
When I press "Arm for record" in Sony Vegas (with no microphone connected) I see something around -64db in recording volume! Wherefrom the noise come from?
Where could be the problem?
Here is short sample:
http://santoro.ic.cz/noise.wav
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Old December 28th, 2009, 10:24 AM   #2
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I'm sorry you bought a sound card--these are just not designed for high quality. The mic preamps are, uh, yucky.

What kind of mic are you using?

You will get better results with an external sound device that plugs in via USB or firewire. Look here Audio Interfaces & Systems for some ideas (stay away from those ADS ones).

There are also several microphones that have a USB connection. USB Microphones
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Old December 28th, 2009, 10:30 AM   #3
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What make/model microphone?
The cable may be wired incorrectly. Can you test the mic in another device?
The -64dB is (normal noise floor for that sound card I guess) and nothing to be too concerned about for now.
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Old December 28th, 2009, 10:32 AM   #4
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I have two mics - Rode Procaster and Rode NTG2 (both are XLR mics). I tried both of them (no difference). The cable was plugged correctly.
Do you think the problem is in the soundcard? Why the soundcard have mic connector if its impossible (as you can hear) to record any audio with it? I think many people use cheap cards like this for Skype and they have no problem with such noise and low volume (I'm not using Skype, so I dont know if there is some difference).
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Old December 28th, 2009, 10:39 AM   #5
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You are using the 'mic' input? Does the audio driver software 'know' that a mic is connected?

Regardless, consumer sound cards pretty much do NOT have the quality that a professional requires.
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Old December 28th, 2009, 10:58 AM   #6
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Yes, I'm using the mic input. When I connect the mic, the noise is immediately louder and I can set the mic volume in my soundcard settings (so I suppose it "knows").

I know, this souncard is not super quality, but I didnt know it would be completely useless :(
I was looking for some audio device in eshops in my county and I found this:
Product: Product: Alpha | Lexicon Pro
and this:
http://www.emu.com/products/product....&product=15186
Something like this should be enough?
BTW, I want to record voiceovers with Rode Procaster (its a dynamic mic).

Last edited by Peter Berger; December 28th, 2009 at 01:36 PM.
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Old December 28th, 2009, 01:52 PM   #7
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Either of those would be fine. Even something as simple as this Blue | Icicle - USB Microphone Interface | ICICLE | B&H Photo
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Old December 28th, 2009, 02:26 PM   #8
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Ok, thanks. BTW, how does recording with these USB devices work? Does my recording software recognize it immediately?
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Old December 28th, 2009, 02:42 PM   #9
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Theoretically, yes but read this: Vegas not seeing USB mic
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Old December 28th, 2009, 03:22 PM   #10
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-64dB is typicaly for a cheapish internal soundard - the innards of a computer are noisy electronically. So the advice to move to a USB or firewire interface is good.

Meanwhile the noise floor is usually a fairly constant hiss and can be improved considerably using Sony's noise reduction plugin - capture a noise signature from a quiet passage then remove it. This is provided you have a loud recorded signal that rises well above the noise floor - so your quiet recordings are the bigger problem and would not necessarily be solved by the USB card. Check your software mixer for the soundcard - do you have your soundcard recording levels below 0dB?

Also, your mics need voltage - are you supplying phantom power, or fresh batteries?
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Old December 28th, 2009, 04:00 PM   #11
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When I turn the recording volume up (on my soundcard), the noise is extremely loud.

Ad voltage - I was using Procaster which is dynamic mic and I tried NTG2 with fresh batteries too.
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Old December 28th, 2009, 05:09 PM   #12
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Assuming your soundcard's mic input is a 3.5mm mini plug. You should wire it:
XLR pin-1> Mini plug "Shield/Ground"
XLR pin-2> Mini plug "Tip"
XLR pin-3> tied to XLR pin-1

If the Sound card's mic input is stereo, you can jumper the Tip & Ring so it feeds both channels.
If it's mono, use a mono plug or tie the ring to the shield on the 3.5mm stereo (TRS) plug.
You may or may not need a capacitor to block the card's mic plug-in power.
Better yet, use a mic pre-amp or external mixer and use the card's Line-input.
OR get hold of a XLR to USB microphone signal adapter like the Shure X2u.
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Old December 28th, 2009, 05:38 PM   #13
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Yes, it has 3.5mm mini plug input. I tried even mic with 3.5mm jack output - still lots of noise.
There is only one connector for Line input and Mic input on my soundcard (FlexiJack - Performs a 2-in-1 function, supporting Microphone In and Line In connections).
But I had the same problem with my previous (integrated) soundcard too. And I think lot of people are using this kind of soundard for Skype without such noise. Maybe there is something wrong with my computer?
I'm afraid I dont understand that "Shield/Ground-Tip-Pin" stuff :-)
I think I'll buy this: http://www.lexiconpro.com/product.php?id=7#specs

Last edited by Peter Berger; December 28th, 2009 at 06:42 PM.
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Old December 29th, 2009, 06:25 AM   #14
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Quote:
I'm afraid I dont understand that "Shield/Ground-Tip-Pin" stuff :-)
That's some basic terminology that you need to familarize yourself with in order to undertand how to connect just about any audio gear. See ...

TRS connector - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

and

XLR connector - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old December 29th, 2009, 09:03 AM   #15
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I know what these connector are, I just didn't understand the rest of it :)
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