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FCP Voiceover Question

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patrick oppmann
FCP Voiceover Question
on Apr 19, 2011 at 8:27:55 pm

I am trying to record a voiceover in FCP 6.06 using a lip mic connected to a Shure X2U adapter. I have raised the gain on the adapter but the audio is still coming in too low. Any suggestions?

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Bill Davis
Re: FCP Voiceover Question
on Apr 19, 2011 at 10:30:29 pm

I don't own a Coles Lip Mic but I've owned 40 other mics over the years, so take this as generalized "blue sky" help and subject to realities in use or design that I simply am ignorant of or getting wrong for some other foolish reason...

That said...

IIRC, the Coles lip mic is a ribbon mic design.

Most ribbon mics require a pretty hefty phantom power current to energize the ribbon field in order to work properly. (Scary, because original ribbon mic designs were precisely the type that you could FRY if you applied too much current across the phantom power input terminals!)

So my initial thought is that the little Sure usb powered gizmo might not be applying enough current (even if the transformer is pumping out the proper voltage) for the mic to work properly.

Also, since the Coles is purpose designed for noise suppression in loud field conditions, perhaps it's sensitivity is simply moderate to begin with.

If the output is low, but clean. Then simply boosting the signal in FCP should get you a clean signal at the proper level. Try applying Compression (maybe 2/1) via the FCP filters and make sure the 'preserve volume" box is checked.

If the result is clean, then you don't have any issues. If it's not, then the microphone is not outputting correctly.

Just a couple of ideas off the top of my head.

"Before speaking out ask yourself whether your words are true, whether they are respectful and whether they are needed in our civil discussions."-Justice O'Conner

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Noah Kadner
Re: FCP Voiceover Question
on Apr 19, 2011 at 10:45:46 pm

I'd try doing the recording in a dedicated audio program like SoundTrack Pro, Logic, ProTools- I like Twisted Wave. The FCP voiceover tool is very very basic.


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Andy Balla
Re: FCP Voiceover Question
on Apr 20, 2011 at 3:22:26 am

My understanding of all ribbon mics was that they are dynamic mics, and should never have phantom power applied to them. I could be wrong, but the ribbons I've used never needed phantom. Not that I've used many ribbon mics...

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Bill Davis
Re: FCP Voiceover Question
on Apr 20, 2011 at 5:24:25 am


I looked further and I think you're correct.

I had vaguely remembered doing doing some research on ribbons and had even saved a Wiki reference on the subject that I was able to pull up from the depths of my computer...

"In ribbon microphones, a current is induced at right angles to both the ribbon velocity and magnetic field direction..."

When I saved that snippit for reference a while back I thought I understood it. Now that I look at it again, I realize that I had completely MISS-interpreted it to mean that some circuitry in the ribbon mic design energized the ribbon. Now that I see it again. It's clear that they were saying that the movement of the ribbon ITSELF induces the current that becomes the output signal. And in that way, a ribbon mic operates just like a dynamic.

My bad.

If you ARE using ribbon mics, it's worth a web search on the circumstances where some vintage ribbon mics CAN get fried. (One source said it can happen when Patch Bays are involved, since the physical act of plugging in a 3 conductor phone style patch plug can momentarily cause Phantom to bridge the wrong conductors and cause ribbon damage.

They also noted, however that in modern ribbons, when wired properly (no shorts) even standard Phantom power will NOT cause them any harm.

So much to learn... and so little time in a life!

Sorry for posting the confusion.

"Before speaking out ask yourself whether your words are true, whether they are respectful and whether they are needed in our civil discussions."-Justice O'Conner

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Ty Ford
Re: FCP Voiceover Question
on Apr 20, 2011 at 12:48:18 pm

Hello Patrick and welcome to the Cow Audio Forum.

1. Traditional ribbon mics don't require phantom power.
2. You can inadvertently break a traditional ribbon mic by plugging into a preamp with the phantom power already activated. Not always. It depends on what pins connect in exactly what order when you plug in.
3. Lip Mic, as ribbons, have very low sensitivity. It does not surprise me that the levels are low. You really need a good preamp with lots of clean gain and a transformer.

BREAK - Why are you using a Lip Mic? They are a specialty mic and don't really sound that good.

4. There are newer ribbon mics that absolutely require phantom power. The Audio Technica 4080 and Cloud JRS34 are two. They use the phantom power to power a small amp circuit inside the mic.


Ty Ford

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Andrew Rendell
Re: FCP Voiceover Question
on Apr 20, 2011 at 12:58:09 pm

Are you using the lip mic correctly? The top bar should actually be touching the top lip to bring the mouth and microphone to the correct distance apart for the mic to work properly - the whole point of the design is it's only sensitive to sound sources very close to one side (it's designed for use where there is a lot of background noise, e.g., sports crowds, and only respond to the commentator's voice).

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Mark Vinall
Re: FCP Voiceover Question
on Feb 26, 2012 at 11:36:21 am

I have the same setup Shure X2U and Coles Lip Mic - Did you find a solution?

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Curtis Allen
Re: FCP Voiceover Question
on Apr 12, 2012 at 9:36:38 pm

I had the same problem, until today.

My Shure X2u worked fine with other mics
My Coles Lip Mic worked fine plugged into my camera
But combining the two together resulted in no audio, no VU meter activity.

I tried it in FCP, Quicktime, and Audacity, all using "Shure" as the source, but getting nothing.

The fix though was going into Preferences -> Sound and making sure Shure Digital was selected. All of a sudden it started working.

I went into Audacity and recorded and it was working.

Hope this helps

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