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Thread: Microphone recording

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    Microphone recording

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    I recently bought a lexicon lamba usb midi/audio interface and I have been using it to record acoustic guitar into cubase with a behringer xm2000 mic. I have been suprised by how low a signal I am getting even using xlr with gain turned right up on lexicon.The xm2000 is not total crap but would a better mic make a big difference or has the lexicon just got poor pre-amps or is this normal for usb interfaces?Any advice appreciated

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    A combination of a dynamic mic (with no obvious specs, but something like an SM58), so relatively low gain to begin with, and from what I can see, the Lambda has pretty low gain preamps.

    The Lambda does supply phantom power, so a cheap condenser mic would probably have a stronger signal. Whether that would translate into a better recording I cannot say.
    "... I know in the mornin' that it's gonna be good
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    You are going to struggle with a dynamic mic on acoustic guitar* almost no matter which "budget" AI you had and the pre amps in the sub $200 devices have improved considerably in the last 3 or 4 years.
    The Lambda is contemporary with an M-A Fast track pro I had years ago. Not a bad AI but low gain pres and rather noisy. As Keith suggested, my fix was a pair of Small Diaphragm Capacitor microphones, the AKG Perception 150s now the P170 (you don't NEED two but it is very good way to record A.C.)

    The SE Electronics se8 gets some good rep.

    *I have use an SM57 on guitar but that was with a Native Instruments KA6. Still not masses of gain but very low noise and so the recording can be lifted post tracking.

    Dave.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ecc83 View Post
    ... *I have use an SM57 on guitar but that was with a Native Instruments KA6. Still not masses of gain but very low noise and so the recording can be lifted post tracking.

    Dave.
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    To just add to what has been said, adding gain to a digital signal produces very little noise. If you make sure you don't introduce it in you chain, boasting it after recording should do little harm in majority of the time.

    Maybe if it is a very quiet acoustic set, maybe, but even then I wouldn't think at a non-pro level you would hear much extra noise if any.
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    I am obliged to both Mixit and DM60 for agreeing with my statement that you can record (24 bits, 44.1kHz) and quite a low level even -25dBFS is quite in order and then boost digitally after but, it can be a bit of a PITA to have to KEEP doing it every time! There are other solutions.

    You can, as I mentioned get a capacitor microphone. These will deliver a signal 10-20dB above a dynamic but do demand a good room acoustic (NOT a function of being a "capacitor" mic! Just due to the increased sensitivity. A dynamic with 80dB of gain will pick up the pigeons two walls and a window away JUST as well as a cap mic.)

    Gain boosters. The best known id the Cloudlifter and are by all reports I have read excellent. Quite expensive tho'but.

    Mic preamp. A stand alone pre to feed the AI's line input. There are a few good, quiet, fairly cheap ones. Art Co do one but only one channel.

    Mixer. Bit controversial this but...Often cheaper than even the Art pre. Two channels (NEVER get a one lunged mixer or AI!) and, pan and EQ.
    Now many here will say "Eugh! Behringer mixer? Nasty, noisy things!" Well, first up, not ALL mixers are Beghringers! Next even the Berries are, imex, pretty low noise (had a X 802 and a BCA2000. Both had preamps we would have KILLED for for dymos 40 yrs ago!)

    Fact is, making a very low noise microphone amplifier is no longer rocket science nor expensive. Small mixers can often be found very cheaply at Cash Conveters.

    Dave.

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    Thanks for replies guys-I think you've covered all bases!
    With regards to boosting signal post recording I've been using normalize-is this the best way to go?
    Also any recommendation for very low budget condensers for acoustic guitar and possibly a bit of vocal.I was looking at behringer c2 or c4

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    Quote Originally Posted by doogy View Post
    Thanks for replies guys-I think you've covered all bases!
    With regards to boosting signal post recording I've been using normalize-is this the best way to go?
    Also any recommendation for very low budget condensers for acoustic guitar and possibly a bit of vocal.I was looking at behringer c2 or c4
    Trouble with "Normalize" is that it generally slams the peak to 0dBFS and that is generally not what you want. The N function in Samplitude allows you to set the peak level, I would expect Cubase to allow same ?

    There IS a pretty good, pretty cheap SDC mic about and it could be one of the Behringers but I cannot remember...Someone will! You could do worse for 20 than BM-800!

    Dave.

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    I'd get a large diaphragm condenser (LDC) if you think you'll do vocals, and not 1 or 2 small diaphragm condenser (SDC) mics.

    LDCs are more sensitive so will pick up more noise if you don't get the room squared away and use the mic to its best advantage, i.e., you'll have to get the position right for the best recordings of your acoustic, but it's going to do what you need. (If it's picking up too much noise, you can always turn the gain down on the interface, too.)

    You'll have to buy a popscreen to use the LDC for vocals (IMO/IME). So more to budget for.
    "... I know in the mornin' that it's gonna be good
    when I stick out my elbows and they don't bump wood." - Bill Kirchen

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    I've recorded many acoustic guitars with a 58, even used two a few times (one where the neck meets the body and one around the 12th fret) and blended them together. I don't use them for acoustics anymore, but when I did, I literally had to have the mics only 4 or 5 inches from the guitar to get a decent signal I could work with. I can hear the performances fine since it was a loud acoustic guitar, but then would use my ears and 'clip gain' to set it in the mix (you'll probably have a good deal of lo-end rumble to roll off as well, plus somewhere between 800 to 3 or 4k can get ugly too, just search for problem areas and roll off a few db's of them, narrow Q) If your doing the acoustic first, then just bring up the clips to around -18ish, and you should be good. Sometimes tracking with an in-the-box compressor can help, too. The compression won't be recorded, but helps with hearing your performance while tracking.

    Like others have mentioned, condensers are much better for acoustics. But that being said, I've recorded some pretty decent acoustics with 58s.
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