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Old January 13th, 2010, 04:35 PM   #1
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Problem with Lexicon Alpha audio device

Does anybody has Lexicon Alpha? I had a problem with recording voiceovers to my computer. I was recording to internal soundcard and the final audio was very quiet and full of noise (see this thread: Problem with recording to computer), so I bought this USB audio device: Product: Product: Alpha | Lexicon Pro and the result is better, but still not good! :(

I have two problems with Lexicon Alpha:

1) The first problem doesn't bother me too much, but maybe somebody could help. When installing whole product (drivers plus some audio software called Steinberg Cubase LE4), it wants me to install Syncrosoft license control (I don't know exactly what this is). The problem is, my computer allways freezes, when I try to install this Syncrosoft license control. And without it, it seems I can't run their audio software.

2) Anyway, I tried to record to another sofware (Sony Vegas 8c), but the recorded sound (my voice) is too quiet. When I set Lexicon Alpha's mic volume to the to maximum, the final sound is about -24db (in my computer). And when I increase the volume subsequently (in Sony Vegas), there is of course noise.

I tried two mics - Rode Procaster (which is a dynamic mic) and Rode NTG2 (condenser mic whit fresh batteries). I was speaking at 5cm (2") distance to the mics (sound from NTG2 was maybe little bit louder, but still too quiet).

Is this normal? Thanks for any help!
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Old January 14th, 2010, 04:33 AM   #2
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The Procaster is a low-output dynamic mic and your Lexicon may not have enough total gain for the mic to drive it to full scale. The Lexicon online specs say it offers a maximum of 50dB total gain while the Procaster's specs list it as having an output of -56dB when subjected to a 94dBSPL sound, which is rather loud. The NTG-2, OTOH, has a much higher output so you shouldn't be having any problems with low levels with it. Mave you checked all the settings on the Lexicon?
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Old January 14th, 2010, 08:12 AM   #3
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"Mave you checked all the settings on the Lexicon?"
- There is only a knob for adjusting mic input gain. Nothing else. (Here is a user guide: http://www.lexiconpro.com/product_do...l18_0346VB.pdf)

"The Lexicon online specs say it offers a maximum of 50dB total gain while the Procaster's specs list it as having an output of -56dB when subjected to a 94dBSPL sound, which is rather loud."
- I don't know what "94dBSPL sound" is. That means I can't use this mic with Lexicon Alpha? Because I was asking in this thread Problem with recording to computer if I could buy it for recording voiceovers with Procaster and somebody here told me it should be fine. I'm really desperate about this mic. I heard it would be great for voiceovers. It cost me $230 and I can't use it anywhere (I tried it even with my camera - Canon HV20 - and the results was pretty much same, I can turn the mic volume higher on my camera, but the result is full of noise then). Then I bought Lexicon Alpha for $120 and its completely useless :(

Could be this problem caused by the the first topic from my first post?
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Old January 14th, 2010, 10:32 AM   #4
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If I could bring back Lexicon Alpha to the shop where I bought it and change it for another audio device, what would you recommend me? What could work with Rode Procaster? (They have Lexicon Lambda, M-AUDIO Fast Track MKII, E-MU 0404 USB, E-MU Tracker Pre...)
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Old January 14th, 2010, 10:55 AM   #5
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Quote:
"The Lexicon online specs say it offers a maximum of 50dB total gain while the Procaster's specs list it as having an output of -56dB when subjected to a 94dBSPL sound, which is rather loud."
- I don't know what "94dBSPL sound" is.
SPL is Sound Pressure Level, the loudness of a sound. Without going into exactly how it's defined, 94dBSPL is a standard reference sound level that is used to compare microphone outputs and it's a pretty loud noise, quite a bit louder than normal human speech. A typical power lawnmower puts out about 92 - 94dBSPL when running. The Procaster puts out -56dBv, or 1.6 millivolts, when exposed to a sound that loud. The NTG-2 puts out -36dBv, or 15 millivolts, when exposed to an identical sound. Thus the NTG-2 has roughly 10 times the output of the Procaster.

When you say the sounds you get are "too quiet" and around -24dB, what meter are you seeing the -24dB on? In your Windows sound mixer (the little speaker icon in the notification tray on the lower right corner of your screen) have you looked at the recording section and made sure that the mic input fader is all the way to the top? Sre the mics plugged into the XLR connector? Nothing else plugged into the Lexicon except the USB cable? Mic Gain on all the way up/
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Old January 14th, 2010, 11:49 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Berger View Post
would you recommend me?
I don't know what kind of store this is, but the best thing would be to bring in the mic and hook everything up and see right there. Failing that, maybe there are knowledgable salespeople?

I gotta say, I'm really sorry about your predicament. I really thought this would solve yr problem.

And even with the low level, how does it sound? Can you hear background noise? Modern devices (designed for pro--serious amateur use) generally have a good noise floor. Perhaps it will work as is?
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Old January 14th, 2010, 11:52 AM   #7
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Quote:
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Thus the NTG-2 has roughly 10 times the output of the Procaster.
Maybe it is, but I dont hear such difference in the recordings.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve House View Post
When you say the sounds you get are "too quiet" and around -24dB, what meter are you seeing the -24dB on?
In Sony Vegas. And by the way, with Lexicon's mic volume at maximum there is strong hiss in the recording (with NTG2 the hiss is louder). It doesnt matter if I change the position of the mic (the hiss is still the same). I can post some somples.[/QUOTE]

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve House View Post
In your Windows sound mixer (the little speaker icon in the notification tray on the lower right corner of your screen) have you looked at the recording section and made sure that the mic input fader is all the way to the top?
When I connect Lexicon Alpha, setting of the recording section is disabled. I cant change anything. (This settings is enabled only when my internal soundcard is selected)
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Sre the mics plugged into the XLR connector?
Sure.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve House View Post
Nothing else plugged into the Lexicon except the USB cable?
Nothing else. I tried it with or without headphones connected.

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Originally Posted by Steve House View Post
Mic Gain on all the way up
Yes, its at maximum level.
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Old January 14th, 2010, 11:58 AM   #8
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Can you hear background noise? Modern devices (designed for pro--serious amateur use) generally have a good noise floor. Perhaps it will work as is?
With Lexicon's mic volume up I hear some kind of hiss... When I decrease the mic volume on Lexicon Alpha, the sound is too quiet (and when I increase volume of recorded sound up in Sony Vegas, I hear noise). It seems to be useless even with NTG2. I had better results with my small Canon HV20 camera.
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Old January 14th, 2010, 12:14 PM   #9
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Don't know what to suggest then. I haven't used the Lexicon so I can't say from first-hand experience if you you're finding is normal for it or not. Hopefully someone else will chime in with some ideas for you to try.
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Old January 14th, 2010, 12:43 PM   #10
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I just tried to connect it with another XLR cable, much longer (about 10m/30 feet) and the hiss is extremely loud. Previously I was using 3m/10 feet XLR cable. (Both plugged into XLR input). I thought XLR input = balanced input (and there shouldnt by any interference).
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Old January 14th, 2010, 02:37 PM   #11
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The hiss is probably not interference, more likely it's the Lexicon's own internal noise. You are correct, XLR is usually a balanced connection and while not bullet-proof, is relatively immune to noise pickup.
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Old January 14th, 2010, 02:51 PM   #12
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There was a strange note in the specs on the mic input: "pin 2 hot". To me, that almost implies that it is unbalanced--odd because the 1/4" inputs say they are balanced. The block diagram doesn't shed any light... If it IS pin 2 only, that could be a source of loss.

Under normal conditions, there isn't any great advantage to a balanced connection for short runs = 3m. 10m is starting to get in the range where it is important.

If you haven't done so, I'd try to get the software installed--dunno what that will require.

In the windows sound mixer, is there anything new relating to the Lexi box?
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Old January 14th, 2010, 03:39 PM   #13
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I have good news - it seems I could return Lexicon Alpha back without any argument till 30 days from the day I bought it :-) That means I could buy another audio device... So If you have another idea... :-) As I said, they are selling Lexicon Lambda, M-AUDIO Fast Track MKII, E-MU 0404 USB, E-MU Tracker Pre... Maybe I could try some of these right in that shop, if it will be possible.
BTW, I'm really stupid I didn't buy Rode Podcaster which is USB mic :-( But its too late for giving back the ProCaster...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy Tejral View Post
If you haven't done so, I'd try to get the software installed--dunno what that will require.
There is some desktop recording studio called "Steinberg Cubase LE 4". The problem is it wants me to install "Syncrosoft license control" and everytime I try to install it, my computer freezes (don't know why).

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In the windows sound mixer, is there anything new relating to the Lexi box?
No, nothing new. Only that mic control is disabled.
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Old January 14th, 2010, 03:43 PM   #14
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Don't worry about the pin 2 hot statement. The general trend is for pin to to be the 'hot' connection, leaving pin 3 'cold' and 1 always ground - it is balanced. The 'hot' tag just tells you which polarity it is. Some manufacturers had pin 3 as 'hot' - and the practical upshot is that for 99% of the time it doesn't matter, but if you wire a pair of items together and one is wired the other way, your signal is the wrong way 'up' - and if mixed with something the right way up can give all sorts of weird phasing/cancellations. For most use, however, forget it!

The Steinberg License Control Centre is a system they use on their full ticket price software and requires programmes to store license info on a removable dongle type device. In the free, cut-down feature products often supplied with proper sound devices, the dongle part isn't needed, but the programme does need the LCC to run properly. It isn't unknown for it to freeze during installation - often virus protection or firewalls can make it misbehave. You can get an updated LCC from steinberg on the net. Cubase LE is a very good free product.

My best guess is that you have a driver problem. I've got a Lexicon Omega sitting on this laptop, and the windows generic drivers don't work well with it. Cubase installs ASIO drivers and these can make a difference.

the other thing is that there should be a new control for it in control panel - sound. It should show up as a usb device, and hidden somewhere will be an in and out control. The default on my Omega is about half volume. The Alpha is a decent bit of kit, and has pretty good mic preamps, even though it doesn't have phantom.
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Old January 14th, 2010, 04:46 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy Tejral View Post
There was a strange note in the specs on the mic input: "pin 2 hot". To me, that almost implies that it is unbalanced--odd because the 1/4" inputs say they are balanced. The block diagram doesn't shed any light... If it IS pin 2 only, that could be a source of loss.

Under normal conditions, there isn't any great advantage to a balanced connection for short runs = 3m. 10m is starting to get in the range where it is important.

If you haven't done so, I'd try to get the software installed--dunno what that will require.

In the windows sound mixer, is there anything new relating to the Lexi box?
XLR are pin 2 hot, pin 3 cold, pin 1 shield.
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