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Background noise/Live cover recording

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  • Background noise/Live cover recording

    Hey guys, my equips are as follows:


    -Behringer C-1 XLR compressor Microphone, with Apex pop filter

    -Lexicon Alpha Sound card, connected to my win7 PC laptop (HP firm) computer

    - Pro audio Starvoice PM-6 mixer, which is basically a cheap plastic Mackie VLZ copy. 6 Channel mixer.

     

    I plugged my Mic into Channel 1 mixer, turned on Phantom power. Then, my mixer goes through to my Lexicon Alpha via the main out>line in (2 cables) and then the Lexicon > computer via USB connection.

     

    Here's a recording I made via Windows movie maker webcam capture (using the Lexicon in/out).

    For some reason I am getting ALOT of background noise so I have to reduce volume levels and then you can barely hear anything. My mixer has a slider and also a GAIN knob in the Mic channel, the Lexicon has Line1 instr' and Line2 Mic. Also it has output level. I just messed around with my options not knowing which one should I turn on/amplify/reduce whatever. All this equips and for what? Sorry for my blabbing

     

    Here's a recording I made with all the stuff. My goal is to reduce background noise and up and volume level. Hope you'd help me guys. thanks.

     

    http://www.filedropper.com/722-02-201417-01

     

     This is my mixer btw:

     

    STARVOICE.jpg

    Attached Files
    -Chummy

  • #2

    I can't hear the file because I don't want to sign up with some unknown storage site. You should find another sits that's free of scam ware and have a link that can be played, or upload the file to HC.

    From your description it sounds like you have an issue with gain staging. You're likely using too much gain for the lexicon of have the signal level set improperly.

    The only reason you'd need to use the external mixer is to provide phantom power to the mic or combine mics to a single channel.

    The best way to avoid the noise the mixer is producing is to not use it. Its a redundant piece of gear that's not needed recording and those mini mixers rob more sound quality then they produce. In analog days you'd need a mixer for tracking and playing back tracks. In digital you have a virtual mixer in your DAW program that does all that mixing so get rid of that thing from your chain.

    Your mic does require phantom power though and the Lexicon doesn't provide phantom power for condenser mics (not compression mics) You'll need to get a phantom power box to power the mic which is placed between the mic in interface. It only provides the 48V to power the mic and has no effect on the sound quality.

    You can then use the XLR mic input on the Lexicon and use the preamp in the lexicon only to record your vocals.

    Everything else is done within the computer DAW program to mix and boost tracks. You can still use the mixer to drive your headphones if you want. You plug the interface outputs into the mixer to drive your headphones and you should have enough gain input to make them loud enough.

    Even this isn't needed because the Lexicon has headphone outputs and it will likely be a better match for adjusting the proper input and output levels by ear for recording.

    The key to recording is you aren't working with blasting loud tracks recording. There's a reason for this. One is your ears get desensitizing quickly and recording takes many hours. You don't want to make bad mixing decisions based on bad hearing. Second you hear things as they are instead of feeling them like you do at loud volumes. Mixing based on vibrations felt is always a bad decision because every playback system has different resonant tones and one system may make your plant legs flap in the wind and another may rattle your teeth out. Mixing needs to be very flat frequency so it played back on all systems optimally.

    If you do plan on using that mixer use lower gain settings on the mixer and higher gain on the Interface preamp. you want to be sure you are plugged into the line level inputs of the interface and not the instrument or mic level inputs. Using those will boost the noise floor up too high which seems to be your problem.

    The mixer output should feed the rear line level input, "not" the guitar jack in the front. Be sure to read the manual front to back. http://www.harmanpro.com/images/media/Alpha_OM_EN.pdf

    The you want to set the lexicon gain higher than the mixer. I'd start at about 20. Then adjust the mixers mains volume for 50%, and then run the mic channel 50% or lower. If that isn't enough gain, go to the lexicon gain knob first, not the mic channel on the mixer. Always run the last gain in a chain higher than the gain stages before it. If you crank the mic gain up above the stahes after it, then you will introduce noise and distortion to the chain.

    Leave all EQ knob centered at 120. You'll be tempted to tweak those knobs up to get a juicy sounding mic tracking. That's a bad thing to do because they will boost noise. With the knobs at 120 the mixer should provide a flat neutral frequency response with minimal noise. That's the whole idea of recording digitally. You do all your EQing in the box after the tracks are recorded. You want to capture the response curve of the mic without any coloration and then you make decisions of what needs to be added or removed when you're mixing and have the background mix going when you make those decisions.

    If you try to EQ the mic tracking you have no way of knowing how much treble or bass may be needed in the mix and chances are you will make bad decisions of how much you need every time. Then you wind up having to undo those bad decisions mixing which leaves the recording weak and lifeless.

    So again, if you run a mixer fro recording, you'd be running the EQ's flat. You don't need or want EQ's on a mic tracking. You would also have two stages of amplification, the mic channel and main volume out. Anyone who knows how amplifiers work knows adding additional 1:1 gain stages in a signal path has its consequences. Every time you push a signal through a solid state component you will add noise and degrade the signal integrity. It may be coloration or frequency loss.

    The idea in recording is to only use what's absolutely necessary so you have the highest quality tracks to begin with mixing. You'll have enough losses to deal with using plugin effects and down sampling to lower quality files like MP3's that rob the mix of its quality. Don't help it along adding unneeded gear to your front end. Besides, a condenser mic has a built in preamp already so you're adding at least 6 amplification stages before the signal gets converted to digital. That kind of stuff is fine for an electric guitar where you want to overdrive one stage into another but for a mic, you want just the opposite so the signal is noise free and highly transparent.

    So again, My best advice is get a phantom voltage adaptor and dump the mixerOne of these are only $25. EoAYQ

    The mixer has no useful purpose for recording in a small setup like this. Even if the mixer produced high quality sound it would be only as good as what the Lexicons preamp can produce. The weakest link in a chain will bottleneck everything before it so even if the quality was better before the Lexicon the circuitry will remove it.  Use the Interfaces preamp and you'll track a cleanest signal possible. If that isnt good enough, get a better interface (one with phantom power if you'll be running condenser mics). Then when you use plugins to boost the tracks up you wont be boosting all the transistor hiss the mixer emits.

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