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Can't get signal from Mic

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Naiche Lujan
Can't get signal from Mic
on Feb 7, 2008 at 7:18:26 pm

Hello,

I should preface this by saying that I am not an audio professional, but rather have just dabbled. Therefore I might not understand the difference between difference kinds of signals, or the relationship of recording devices to mic sensitivities, etc.

I am having trouble recording with my RE-20 mic. I just sent it to get serviced. They had to changed the condenser and pop filter.

When I received it back, I tested it very quickly on my laptop mic port(integrated audio) recording into Audacity. The mic worked fine, didn't sound the best probably due to the integrated audio, but it worked again.

So then we sat down to record some things today with our M-Audio MicroTrack 24/96 and the signal was extremely weak. When we bumped it up on the computer we introduced this hiss because we had to amplify so much.

Then thinking I was crazy I went back to the laptop and tried to test it again and really felt insane. This time I got NO input or it was so low you couldn't even see a blip on the waveform. I had the input level all the way up. I tried changing the audio inputs. But didn't know what else to check.

Then, I tried on another computer with a similar setup, no deal.

Then I thought to check on our "old" equipment, a Sony TC-D5 Tape Deck recorder with XLR inputs. IT WORKED! I got a good signal and there was no hiss or artifacts. This made me feel better but I still don't understand why I can't get it to record to a digital interface. I don't understand how I got it to work last night but not today. I did nothing different. Could it be a phantom power thing, a compatibility issue? Logically it could be a bad cable, but I tried two cords and don't think this is the problem since it worked last night. At least it seems very unlikely.

Ultimately I need to have this audio in digital format and would prefer to record directly into a digital recorder.

Can someone help me understand why i am having this experience?

Also, on a side note, I have a cable that goes from XLR female to what looks like 1/8" male, but it won't fit in a 1/8" jack. Upon closer inspection it looks a hair larger than the 1/8" male. Can anyone tell me what that is?

Thanks so much.


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Ty Ford
Re: Can't get signal from Mic
on Feb 8, 2008 at 3:17:31 am

Hello Again Naiche,

Dynamic microphones don't require phantom power.

Dynamic microphones are not as sensitive as condenser microphones.

This is a professional microphone. It requires a good mic preamp to work properly.

You don't say how you're using it, or to record what.

Successful audio is the result of choosing the right tool for the job and connecting it properly.

Your situation involves too many variables to hazard a good guess, but my guess is the cable you are using is not wired properly for the inputs you are attempting and that you're not plugging in to a mic preamp capable of doing the job.

Regards,

Ty Ford

Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide






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Naiche Lujan
Re: Can't get signal from Mic
on Feb 10, 2008 at 5:17:00 am

Hey Ty,

I really appreciate the help. This is truly an invaluable resource here. I hope one day I will be able to contribute more. I try to give help on some other forums but with audio I am a beginner.

To give you some more information on this project, the recordings will be single person voice recordings for radio. We have been using a shotgun mic(sorry don't have the model number right now) and that has been working pretty good, but then we found this old RE20 that was broken and from what I read this mic was pretty good for this type of application. So we paid the $60 to fix it rather than invest in a new mic. I do understand that this mic is not as sensitive as some others, but I baffled that I was able to get audio the first time I tried.

I don't know what other information to provide. The first time I recorded with it and was successful I just used an XLR to 1/8" mini cable. I plugged straight into the laptop's mic port , opened the program Audacity and hit record. If I did anything different the second day, I have no idea what it was but I got no audio.

Like I said we have been using a shotgun mic and going straight into an M-Audio digital recorder and it works fine. However when we tried to use the RE20 going into the M-Audio(this time with an XLR to 1/4" cable) we got no signal or if there was a signal it was undetectable.

The second time I was able to successfully get a decent signal was when I connected to the Sony Tape Deck with an XLR to XLR cable.

Sorry I don't know what else to report, maybe I'm doing something I don't realize.

Maybe you could tell me if it is worth pursuing with this mic. Or suggest a standalone digital recorder that would have a strong enough pre-amp, or what settings I need to consider when recording into software.

Thanks again,
Naiche



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Ty Ford
Re: Can't get signal from Mic
on Feb 10, 2008 at 1:40:34 pm

Hello Naiche,

Yes you have to work the re20 closely, eight inches or less.

I'm thinking it's a cable/connector issue. Laptops and computers in general usually expect a stereo input. A standard balanced XLR to 1/8" mini cable is the wrong cable.


Regards,

Ty Ford



Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide






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Will Salley
Re: Can't get signal from Mic
on Feb 8, 2008 at 11:24:51 pm

[Naiche Lujan] "Also, on a side note, I have a cable that goes from XLR female to what looks like 1/8" male, but it won't fit in a 1/8" jack. Upon closer inspection it looks a hair larger than the 1/8" male. Can anyone tell me what that is? "

Most probably it is a "TT" connector, also known as a "Bantam", commonly used in recording studio patch-bays. It should be wired identically to a TRS 1/4" connector.


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Ty Ford
Re: Can't get signal from Mic
on Feb 9, 2008 at 1:53:52 am

Good call Will.

That'd be by guess.

Ty

Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide






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