Do I Record Wrong?
calluma11
Thread Starter
#1
9th June 2012
Old 9th June 2012
  #1
Gear Head
 

Thread Starter
Do I Record Wrong?

You may or may not have seen my post from last week. Little / No Visual audio tracker -going to try a friends preamp and plug it into the FTP see if that does the trick.

Anyway, I have a project coming up, and if i cant yet record nicely with the Rode NT3, i'm going to have to go back to my usb mic (i'm sorry!-from my younger days) (btw, its an Editors Keys SL150)

I've just tested it and it is also uber sensitive. By that, i mean i heard my mum shouting at the dogs from out the back..my room faces the front! (widows and doors etc are all closed)
My mum is a kind of screechy thing, granted, but the mic still does well to pick this up. I'm led to believe it may be my recording process causing a few problems.

Firstly i have my headphone knob turned to full.
Then, whilst monitoring my acoustic guitar track, i get it to a bearable rate without too much floor noise or background noise (i am looking into a portable sound booth)
Sort out my eq and comp settings etc
Record

I still cannot seem to get a nice large waveform on my DAW display.
Also, if i move slightly, because the mic is so sensitive, it picks up the scraping of my shirt on the wood.
Very irritating and i could be doing things right or wrong - i havent a clue.

So i turn to you guys, the ones i've always had great answers to.
Sorry to ramble at first, i was trying to get things into perspective.

Thanks once again
Callum
#2
9th June 2012
Old 9th June 2012
  #2
Gear interested
 

Is there a compressor on? Or a limiter?
calluma11
Thread Starter
#3
9th June 2012
Old 9th June 2012
  #3
Gear Head
 

Thread Starter
On the DAW? No there isnt. Usually i put a little bit of compression on but when i tried it just now, there was no compression on.
#4
9th June 2012
Old 9th June 2012
  #4
Lives for gear
 
loujudson's Avatar
Turn down the headphones! Set the levels by the meters, so it peaks at -6, and then turn up the phones until you can hear something comfortably.

Very basic. The NT3 is a fabluous mic.
calluma11
Thread Starter
#5
9th June 2012
Old 9th June 2012
  #5
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Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by loujudson View Post
Turn down the headphones! Set the levels by the meters, so it peaks at -6, and then turn up the phones until you can hear something comfortably.

Very basic. The NT3 is a fabluous mic.
Was happy with what i heard from the NT3 but not the FTP. -6 peak, right got that. Thanks for your input!
calluma11
Thread Starter
#6
9th June 2012
Old 9th June 2012
  #6
Gear Head
 

Thread Starter
Tried that, was better. But the final result is real quiet..i turn it up and the ground noise on the NT3 is back again. Same with the usb mic..
#7
9th June 2012
Old 9th June 2012
  #7
Lives for gear
 
NEWTON IN ORBIT's Avatar
You are playing WAY too softly. Probably anyway.

Get your signal to noise up.

That is, make your guitar louder than everything else in the room, down the hall, the noise floor of your equipment etc.

Play loud and proud, make the guitar sing.

Don't expect the mic and preamp to do the work for you. You need to give it enough level to work with at the source, which is whatever you are recording.

I's job is to pick up a player as it hears it. It's likely doing that, and you are likely playing quieter than the noise around you, and the noise floor of your recording kit.

There should only be minimal amounts of noise on your quietest passages. This has always been the case, and likely will until mankind overcomes the issue of thermal noise in electronic components.

That said, on medium to loud sections, your guitar should be WELL over the noise floor of your system.

Good luck,
john
#8
9th June 2012
Old 9th June 2012
  #8
Lives for gear
 
fastlanestoner's Avatar
 

Read into more about gain staging. Absolutely vital and getting better at it will forever help
calluma11
Thread Starter
#9
9th June 2012
Old 9th June 2012
  #9
Gear Head
 

Thread Starter
Thankyou John. I've had another go and i'm pretty pleased with it. I wouldnt say i was playing particularly quiet, and yes those bits play over the noise floor..however, fingerpicking? Thats the bit i'm struggling on now haha. I have been reading that the fast track pro has bad faders/preamps - ie they have to be turned to about 95% for decent sound. On any device i'd expect hissing so when i manage to grab a friends pre amp, i may plug the mic into that, then that preamp into the ftp and see what happens. Fingers crossed!

Thanks again
Callum
#10
9th June 2012
Old 9th June 2012
  #10
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by calluma11 View Post
On any device i'd expect hissing
Callum
No you shouldn't
If you are having noise floor problems in digital YOU HAVE A PROBLEM . Did you buy this mic new used. Are you aware of phantom power. This could be a very crappy cable or electrical issues . I would take the mic to the store you bought it from and ask them to plug it in and give it a go.
You should never have to worry about noise issues in digital.
Always check your cables first. then everything else.
#11
9th June 2012
Old 9th June 2012
  #11
Gear Guru
 
theblue1's Avatar
 

As others note, if all the pieces work properly -- and you are set up properly with proper gain staging [optimal 'volume' settings along the input chain], you should not be getting a noticeable amount of hiss with the gear you have.

Some things to check:

Your mic has multiple phantom power options as well as a battery option. Make sure that you have the right settings on the mic to match the phantom supplied by your M-Audio interface. I couldn't find info on changing mic phantom settings so you'll need to look at your documentation for the mic. Since you'll be using phantom, you won't need the battery power option. Make sure it's disengaged. (Many battery powered condenser mics can be damaged if they are also supplied phantom; make sure the mic is set up properly, to be safe. [Maybe it handles that stuff internally, I don't know.])

Your mic doesn't have a pad (attenuator, to reduce high levels on loud sources) but your interface does. Make sure THAT is off, since you're having low level issues. Then, watching the input level meters on your DAW set to your input source, set the gain on your interface's internal preamp to get a good level, most folks feel -20 up to -6 dB for peaks is reasonable, depending on the type of program material. Bottom line: set it so you don't crash 0 dB.

You can then set the mix blend between your direct input monitoring and the playback with the MIX knob. (I'm not precisely sure what the LEVEL knob next to the A/B button is/does, so check your docs on that.) Of course, you can set the overall output level on the OUTPUT knob.


From your description, I would bet that you have the interface input pad engaged. (Or, if that's not the case, perhaps you're running the mic on battery and the battery is near dead and the phantom is turned off on the interface. Again, check your mic documentation to make sure you understand the different phantom and battery settings. [Maybe it handles that stuff internally, I don't know.])

Having seen hundreds of people go through similar issues (and having been through parallel issues myself many times over the years), I strongly suspect that your gear is absolutely fine and that there are simply one or more settings that are improperly set. Check the items I mentioned.

calluma11
Thread Starter
#12
9th June 2012
Old 9th June 2012
  #12
Gear Head
 

Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by phatbeatstudio View Post
No you shouldn't
If you are having noise floor problems in digital YOU HAVE A PROBLEM . Did you buy this mic new used. Are you aware of phantom power. This could be a very crappy cable or electrical issues . I would take the mic to the store you bought it from and ask them to plug it in and give it a go.
You should never have to worry about noise issues in digital.
Always check your cables first. then everything else.
Not even at 95/100% vol?
I have tried phantom power and the mic also takes a 9v battery that i've tried. Bought the mic new. And tried several cables haha.
I can get a nice sound, but just cant seem to get much to come on the wavelength on the DAW track. there's little bits there..but not a lot to work with :(
calluma11
Thread Starter
#13
9th June 2012
Old 9th June 2012
  #13
Gear Head
 

Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1 View Post
As others note, if all the pieces work properly -- and you are set up properly with proper gain staging [optimal 'volume' settings along the input chain], you should not be getting a noticeable amount of hiss with the gear you have.

Some things to check:

Your mic has multiple phantom power options as well as a battery option. Make sure that you have the right settings on the mic to match the phantom supplied by your M-Audio interface. I couldn't find info on changing mic phantom settings so you'll need to look at your documentation for the mic. Since you'll be using phantom, you won't need the battery power option. Make sure it's disengaged. (Many battery powered condenser mics can be damaged if they are also supplied phantom; make sure the mic is set up properly, to be safe. [Maybe it handles that stuff internally, I don't know.])

Your mic doesn't have a pad (attenuator, to reduce high levels on loud sources) but your interface does. Make sure THAT is off, since you're having low level issues. Then, watching the input level meters on your DAW set to your input source, set the gain on your interface's internal preamp to get a good level, most folks feel -20 up to -6 dB for peaks is reasonable, depending on the type of program material. Bottom line: set it so you don't crash 0 dB.

You can then set the mix blend between your direct input monitoring and the playback with the MIX knob. (I'm not precisely sure what the LEVEL knob next to the A/B button is/does, so check your docs on that.) Of course, you can set the overall output level on the OUTPUT knob.


From your description, I would bet that you have the interface input pad engaged. (Or, if that's not the case, perhaps you're running the mic on battery and the battery is near dead and the phantom is turned off on the interface. Again, check your mic documentation to make sure you understand the different phantom and battery settings. [Maybe it handles that stuff internally, I don't know.])

Having seen hundreds of people go through similar issues (and having been through parallel issues myself many times over the years), I strongly suspect that your gear is absolutely fine and that there are simply one or more settings that are improperly set. Check the items I mentioned.

When you say make sure the battery option is disengaged..how exactly do you mean? I think the mic does handle it internally.
The pad is set off.
The issue is probably my lack of knowledge, yes. To me it appears the output knob doesnt do anything. I've tried it at different levels and doesnt seem to make a difference. -i'll check the documents now.

Oh, btw, the level knob next to the A/B switch is the headphone volume

Thank you ever so much for your contribution. Callum
#14
9th June 2012
Old 9th June 2012
  #14
Gear Guru
 
theblue1's Avatar
 

Right, the mic's documentation/manual should tell you all you need to know about dealing with the power options and whether or not you need to change anything or if will set itself accordingly.

Ah, I get it on the headphone level (hence the headphone symbol between it and the headphone jack ).
#15
10th June 2012
Old 10th June 2012
  #15
Gear addict
 
jonnymac's Avatar
 

Do you have the waveforms zoomed out maybe?
Most DAW programs can zoom in or out on the waveforms. What program are you using?
#16
10th June 2012
Old 10th June 2012
  #16
Lives for gear
 
NEWTON IN ORBIT's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by calluma11 View Post
When you say make sure the battery option is disengaged..how exactly do you mean? I think the mic does handle it internally.
The pad is set off.
The issue is probably my lack of knowledge, yes. To me it appears the output knob doesnt do anything. I've tried it at different levels and doesnt seem to make a difference. -i'll check the documents now.

Oh, btw, the level knob next to the A/B switch is the headphone volume

Thank you ever so much for your contribution. Callum
The output knob should be for your monitor / control room output no?

If this thing has a direct / usb blend knob (like Blue was saying), and if you are playing and that knob on the interface is full over to direct input, the output knob should increase the output gain to your speakers, not into the daw, but you probably already know this.

Disclaimer here, in that I have not used that interface before. However, most of those tiny interface run the same and have mostly the same features. Most all of them now have the direct from input vs.computer "round trip" monitoring setup to balance what you are hearing.

Keep in mind too, if you are getting a signal that is not noisy, distorted, or otherwise hosed, you can always raise the volume of the entire track in your daw. If it's just a little low, but clean, there is no harm in this at 24 bit resolution, as long as it's not peaking at -40 or some craziness.

So yeah. Where are your meters peaking on the recorded track on playback? Johnnymac has a good point. This won't affect gain, or your metering, but if your track sounds fine, and the waveform is just tiny, he may be right, you could just be zoomed out a ways. Hence, look at where you are peaking and averaging on your meters.

There is lots of good info from other posters here, it was kind of them to try to help, and I see you appear to be grateful for the help. It's the people that are frustrated, can't contain themselves, and DEMAND that you help, that don't actually get any around here.

I'm leaving for work and can't attempt to help any further, however, theBlue is a badass with computers, he can help, listen to him, he knows what's up.

I hope you get it sorted.

Good luck,
john
calluma11
Thread Starter
#17
10th June 2012
Old 10th June 2012
  #17
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Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by jonnymac View Post
Do you have the waveforms zoomed out maybe?
Most DAW programs can zoom in or out on the waveforms. What program are you using?
Used Pro Tools SE a little bit, but mainly Mixcraft 5.2 at the minute. I dont think they're zoomed out though.
calluma11
Thread Starter
#18
10th June 2012
Old 10th June 2012
  #18
Gear Head
 

Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by NEWTON IN ORBIT View Post
The output knob should be for your monitor / control room output no?

If this thing has a direct / usb blend knob (like Blue was saying), and if you are playing and that knob on the interface is full over to direct input, the output knob should increase the output gain to your speakers, not into the daw, but you probably already know this.

Disclaimer here, in that I have not used that interface before. However, most of those tiny interface run the same and have mostly the same features. Most all of them now have the direct from input vs.computer "round trip" monitoring setup to balance what you are hearing.

Keep in mind too, if you are getting a signal that is not noisy, distorted, or otherwise hosed, you can always raise the volume of the entire track in your daw. If it's just a little low, but clean, there is no harm in this at 24 bit resolution, as long as it's not peaking at -40 or some craziness.

So yeah. Where are your meters peaking on the recorded track on playback? Johnnymac has a good point. This won't affect gain, or your metering, but if your track sounds fine, and the waveform is just tiny, he may be right, you could just be zoomed out a ways. Hence, look at where you are peaking and averaging on your meters.

There is lots of good info from other posters here, it was kind of them to try to help, and I see you appear to be grateful for the help. It's the people that are frustrated, can't contain themselves, and DEMAND that you help, that don't actually get any around here.

I'm leaving for work and can't attempt to help any further, however, theBlue is a badass with computers, he can help, listen to him, he knows what's up.

I hope you get it sorted.

Good luck,
john
Ah, i'm not in a stable recording location so dont have speakers hooked up - that'll be why it does nothing for me :P
Unless i turn the faders on the FTP up to between 95-100% (where my noise is really affecting the fingerpicking quieter bits) then the meter levels reflect what i see on the waveform.
Haha, i'm grateful for every bit of help. I've taught myself everything to this point, and have really hit a wall. So i turn to forums and that magic of youtube.
Thanks for what you had to say
Callum
#19
10th June 2012
Old 10th June 2012
  #19
Lives for gear
 
brockorama's Avatar
 

Just have fun calluma11 and the rest is guts and gain staging. Use your ears and if you need something more, research and save and buy. Welcome to the hell that will consume your life. Cheers!
calluma11
Thread Starter
#20
11th June 2012
Old 11th June 2012
  #20
Gear Head
 

Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by brockorama View Post
Just have fun calluma11 and the rest is guts and gain staging. Use your ears and if you need something more, research and save and buy. Welcome to the hell that will consume your life. Cheers!
Haha, you're right. Save for a bit less hell, then save some more. :P
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