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Lambda Lexicon, a broken mic, and Cubase LE
Old 16th December 2010
Here for the gear
Dan_W_L's Avatar

Lambda Lexicon, a broken mic, and Cubase LE

Hey there everyone. This is my first post on Gearslutz; it's nice to be here! I've been browsing the forums and have really been impressed with all the professional expertise here.

I've been doing singer-songwriter folk-style music for a few years now and I'm looking to upgrade my home recording equipment after my ~$100 MXL condenser mic stopped working entirely.

After doing some Internet research, I discovered that apparently the Lexicon Lambda interface I've been using has insufficient phantom power. Can anyone confirm this? I thought it worked pretty well the two-ish years that I used it. Then again, I don't have studio ears. And my MXL mic took a 9 volt battery so I might have even fried it using the phantom power on the interface. I'm not sure. But it didn't seem to cause any damage over the two years until it just up and died when I tried to fire it up after an 8 month recording hiatus.

Really, I'd like to know what kind of equipment would be standard/slightly above average/semi-pro quality for a basic home recording set-up on a laptop. I already have Cubase LE (which is okay for me; I'm quite used to it by now) and a mic stand, basics, etc. and the Lexicon interface. But I'd like to find a mid-level microphone.

And, really, to the questions at heart here:

From what I understand, the Lexicon Lambda interface has built in phantom power AND a preamp. Should I expect these to be of mid-range, decent quality? Or is it worth buying a separate preamp and phantom power?

Would a preamp in my chain cause damage to a microphone if the Lexicon already has one built in? If the phantom power is "weak" or "insufficient", is it worth purchasing a high quality preamp to get the most out of a microphone? I want to spend $300-$400 on a mic, but will a "good" mic sound "good" on this interface?

Basically, can I expect to purchase a high quality microphone and that it will sound good on this equipment I have already? How important is the interface and its built in preamp/phantom power?

Thanks for your help!

I've been diddling around with recording for a few years now and I really want to get this all straightened out. I'm way up in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan so there aren't any recording studios or anywhere for me to make high quality recordings and I'd like to start getting it done on my own, especially now that winter's setting in and I've got a handful of new songs to record. Ideally I'm looking to create some high-level demos or possibly even some recordings that I can start selling on iTunes again and get myself some gigs in the Mid-West.

My equipment, to recap, just in case it helps:

Seagull Artist Series Folk Acoustic
Gibson Zakk Wylde Les Paul for leads
Lexicon Lambda Recording Interface
Cubase LE
Macbook (circa 2008)
Old 16th December 2010
Lives for gear
The AKG Perception 220 or 420 are decent condenser mics that come with case and shock mount. Most likely the only way phantom pwr would damage a mic is if you have it on when connecting/disconnecting the cable. Or you cable cutting in and out could have done it if the lead that sends pwr to the mic was damaged.

Are you sure your cable is not bad? Or the battery corroded from sitting so long and shorting something out?

There are a lot of units out that are a step up from the Lexicon but reasonable price:
Mackie Black Jack, 2 pre amps, USB $199
Presonus Fire Studio mobile, 2 pre amps, Firewire $299
Better pre amps and converters than the Lexicon.

You will notice a bigger quality difference by getting a better Mic than by getting a new interface. If you only need 2 channels and want the best 2 channel for a Mac..........Apogee Duet $495
Only reason I don't have one is I need more than 2 channels.
Old 16th December 2010
Here for the gear
Dan_W_L's Avatar

Hi! Thanks for your response. heh

I tested the MXL on a couple different mic cables I had lying around and none of them seemed to work with it. The only signal I could get was a pop noise when I connected and disconnected it on the Lambda, which I figured meant the cables were okay (or would it pop anyway with a broken cable?). Also tried the MXL on my PA with a couple different cables and swapped the batteries to no avail.

Thanks for all the suggestions. I think I'll start with a new microphone. It's time for a quality upgrade anyway. That's definitely the kind of answer for which I was searching. Perhaps a new interface will have to come in the near future, too...

Take care!
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