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Problem with microphone volume and hiss

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by brite2006, May 9, 2016.

  1. brite2006

    brite2006 New Member

    I'm using Logic Studio on an iMac, and while I've long been used to working with MIDI, I'm now looking to work with doing my own vocals.

    I bought a Behringer C-1 condenser mic (XLR), then released I needed a power supply, so bought a Behringer Micropower PS400, and then connected that up to the Built-in input at the back of the iMac.

    Here's the problem - the recording volume is seriously low. The audio wave profile is practically flat. I have to speak within a couple of inches of the mike to have any hope of anything recorded.

    Additionally, any attempt to increase the volume, such as the built-in input volume, and/or applying gain via a compressor plugin, results in incredible hiss. I haven't heard anything as bad as this since recording to cassette in the 1980's.

    The question is, what am I doing wrong?

    I'm currently looking at 3 possibilities:

    1. There's something wrong with the mic and it needs replacing
    2. The PS400 power supply is a cheap knock-off and needs dumping

    At the moment I figure I'm looking at getting a Blue Yeti mic to replace my existing one, OR get a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 to replace the PS400.

    However, because I'm not sure what's causing the problem, I have no idea which option will address it.

    Any pointers gratefully received. :)
  3. Peter Ostry

    Peter Ostry Administrator Staff Member

    Yes this is the way to go. Something like that, an audio interface with a microphone preamp and phantom power.

    The reason:
    You need a microphone preamp (= pre-amplifier) to bring the very low level of microphones to a usable level.

    Furthermore: On the long run you will not be happy with the audio electronics in your iMac. You really want an audio interface.


    Behringer C-1:
    Keep the microphone, as a starting point it is not bad. After some experience you may look for another microphone that fits to your personal wishes and sound sources.

    Behringer PS400:
    You don't need this device. You need a microphone amplifier, but the PS400 just delivers 'phantom power' for condenser microphones. Almost all modern microphone preamps deliver phantom power.

    Focusrite Scarlett 2i2:
    May be a good choice for you. A small, sturdy and serious USB interface. Connect it to your computer, plug the microphone into a XLR jack on the front, switch on phantom power, connect active loudspeakers to the two jacks on the rear side and your first small studio is ready to go. Make sure that your active speakers have balanced audio inputs because the 2i2 interface has balanced outputs.

    The Scarlett 2i2 has no MIDI. If you need MIDI, you may look for another interface or buy a separate MIDI interface later.
    Last edited: May 9, 2016
  4. brite2006

    brite2006 New Member

    Many thanks for the reply, Peter - I decided to go with the Focusrite 2i4 instead, so I can run my MIDI through it as well, rather than separate through a M-Audio cable. Seems to make more sense that way. :)

    Hopefully that will address my mic issues...
  5. Peter Ostry

    Peter Ostry Administrator Staff Member

    Good decision.

    Yes, your mic will definitely work.

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