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Low levels in audio recording

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Jordan Woods
Low levels in audio recording
on Mar 3, 2016 at 5:57:57 pm

I'm having some issues with my external mic and recorder. I have an Audio Technica 897 shotgun mic attached by an XLR to 3.5mm converter to a Sony IC Recorder. I have used this set up for a few years now and never had a problem. But just recently on my last two projects when I go to import my audio clips from the recorder and the audio is obnoxiously low. My mic (a condenser mic) is powered by a AA battery. The recorder also offers "plug in power" so as far as I know the mic is getting power and I thought the recorder had a pre-amp inside. The only thing I can think that I have started doing differently is how I connect the mic to the recorder. I used to use a boom mic and had a 10' XLR cable connected to an XLR to 3.5mm converter. That converter would plug directly into the recorder. Now I mount the mic on the camera (so I can move around more easily) and I skip the 10' XLR cable and just go from the mic to the 3.5mm jack. Funny thing though, when I play the file back on the recorder through headphones I can hear it just fine, but when I copy it to my computer its waaaay to quite. So I bought a 3.5mm to 3.5mm cord and tried to record the output of the recorder into Adobe Audition but I'm still getting a really low level recording. If I can hear it in my headphones directly from the recorder why can't I hear it when its connected through the same port on my computer? My question is why is this happening? And how do I get my audio from my recorder?
Thanks!


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Bruce Watson
Re: Low levels in audio recording
on Mar 3, 2016 at 10:07:32 pm

[Jordan Woods] "My mic (a condenser mic) is powered by a AA battery. The recorder also offers "plug in power" so as far as I know the mic is getting power..."

And that "as far as I know" may be your problem. When was the last time you changed that battery? Your recorder's plug-in power means nothing to that mic. The mic needs either a fresh AA, or it needs +48v phantom power from your recorder.


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Richard Crowley
Re: Low levels in audio recording
on Mar 7, 2016 at 11:59:59 am
Last Edited By Richard Crowley on Mar 7, 2016 at 12:00:12 pm

If the audio level sounds OK on your monitor headphones while recording, that would seem to indicate that power (whether plug-in power or battery) is OK.

Your symptoms are the CLASSIC problem when you take a monaural microphone and record it to BOTH channels of a stereo track. If you use the wrong kind of adapter, you will end up with an inverted-polarity audio on the right channel.

There are two solutions, either of which would likely solve your problem:
1) Use an adapter specially wired for XLR balanced source to TRS unbalanced stereo input (like your camcorder).
2) During editing, select only the Left channel of your audio track and MUTE the right channel so that it doesn't subtract and nearly CANCEL the audio level.

(1) is by far the preferred solution, but (2) can be used to rescue already-recorded tracks.


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Jordan Woods
Re: Low levels in audio recording
on Mar 7, 2016 at 6:09:32 pm

That makes so much sense now! Thank you! What ended up throwing me off was that I forgot that my "new" desktop has only one built in speaker while my old laptop had two built in speakers. So I could hear the audio on my laptop but not my desktop. (I am saving up to by some good speakers, I've just been using good headphones in the meantime) What I ended up doing was copying the files over on my old laptop and then copying the files to my desktop. Which apparently wasn't necessary. Thank you! I ended up getting the files to work after I extracted the files to mono channel in Audition. Thank you!


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