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Astroflash

XLR Mic too quiet with Audio interface unless I'm 5cm from mic

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Posted · Original PosterOP

This is driving me nuts because I'm not sure how everyone else using XLR setups is surviving as I'm not using anything fancy. Unless I speak about 5cm away from the mic, the level is really low (about -30db) and my friends complain that 200% volume in Discord is barely loud enough.

 

 I've tried two different audio Interfaces ( Steinberg UR22C and Focusrite Scarlett 4i4 Gen3) with both a Behringer XM8500 (Dynamic mic) and an AT2010 (Condenser/Phantom mic) yet the level is still super low.

 

The mic is as close as can be to my mouth while being on the desk (About 20cm). The gain dials are at about 90% on both the 4i4 and the UR22C. If I go beyond that, there is a huge amount of audible white noise / (noise floor?) coming from the interface. Yes, the the recording level is set to maximum in Windows. 

 

What is happening here? Why do both interfaces have such weak pre-amps? 

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I have a cheapo XLR mic, what I have noticed that you need a preamp for the sound level to be high enough.

Also, if you have a cardioid mic, is it oriented right? i remember my audio was shit because I ha d the microphone backwards (yes I'm an idiot)


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The Behringer XM8500 has a sensitivity of -70 dBV for 1 Pa SPL, the AT2010 has a sensitivity of -48 dBV for 1 Pa SPL. So the AT2010 should be 28 dB louder than the XM8500 for the same distance and gain settings.
 

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Posted · Original PosterOP
9 minutes ago, mbntr said:

I have a cheapo XLR mic, what I have noticed that you need a preamp for the sound level to be high enough.

Also, if you have a cardioid mic, is it oriented right? i remember my audio was shit because I ha d the microphone backwards (yes I'm an idiot)

Yes it's correctly orientated. I don't get why I need to splash out for a pre-amp when an audio interface is literally designed to work with microphones.

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Keep in mind that some mics are just designed that way. To only pickup very close audio and ignore everything around you.

I think jaze2cents had a video about just that.

 

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Posted · Original PosterOP
22 minutes ago, HenrySalayne said:

The Behringer XM8500 has a sensitivity of -70 dBV for 1 Pa SPL, the AT2010 has a sensitivity of -48 dBV for 1 Pa SPL. So the AT2010 should be 28 dB louder than the XM8500 for the same distance and gain settings.
 

It's definitely louder, but still a problem. I think the problem is I've gone for two mics which are both designed to be used right next to the mic. Looking at some other ones like the AT2020 they appear to be significantly more sensitive if I'm reading the specs correctly.

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25 minutes ago, Astroflash said:

It's definitely louder, but still a problem. I think the problem is I've gone for two mics which are both designed to be used right next to the mic. Looking at some other ones like the AT2020 they appear to be significantly more sensitive if I'm reading the specs correctly.

the 2010 and 8500 are both designed to be used with you right up close to the mic but having said that they should still work fine if you're a little away from it. 
What are you using to test your levels? If you're just using the 'listen to this device' thing in windows, yeah, the volume is going to be low, mine is low too but games and Discord boost that to a usable level automatically. If you're recording the mics to test volume, yeah, you boost mics in post to fit them in a mix so it's not really an issue there. If that's all that's happening I'm not quite sure that anything is wrong.


Sloth's the name, audio gear is the game
My Microphone and Interface tips and recommendations

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Posted · Original PosterOP
4 minutes ago, The Flying Sloth said:

the 2010 and 8500 are both designed to be used with you right up close to the mic but having said that they should still work fine if you're a little away from it. 
What are you using to test your levels? If you're just using the 'listen to this device' thing in windows, yeah, the volume is going to be low, mine is low too but games and Discord boost that to a usable level automatically. If you're recording the mics to test volume, yeah, you boost mics in post to fit them in a mix so it's not really an issue there. If that's all that's happening I'm not quite sure that anything is wrong.

I'm using Ableton, looks to be about -30db peak. 

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15 minutes ago, Astroflash said:

I'm using Ableton, looks to be about -30db peak. 

I wouldn't have chosen either of those mics for audio production and I generally advise people purchase an inline preamp (like the Klark Teknik CT1) when using dynamic mics like the 8500 to boost gain.

Having said that, I just opened Ableton and tested for myself, my daily driver discord/gaming mic sits around -30 or so for spoken word at about 15 CM away in a normal to loud voice so there's not much wrong there. From what I can tell everything is working exactly as designed. Remember that unity gain (0) is where your audio will peak so the aim isn't actually to be at 0, it's to be at a reasonable level below that.


Sloth's the name, audio gear is the game
My Microphone and Interface tips and recommendations

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