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If I use a D.I. instead of preamp for getting rid of noise when I plug the mic. in the a.interface?

Discussion in 'Current Gear' started by Daniele Nasuti, Sep 4, 2018.

  1. Hi, I’m having problems with noise when I record a vocal track or acoustic guitar with audio interface (scarlet 2i4).

    So I was thinking about plug the dynamic microphone into a DI Box before the audio interface. Is there some risk that I can damage something in this way? Because the cable from the mic is a balanced jack(TRS) but the input of the DI is unbalanced I think, so I’m a little worried.

    Some of you have advices for me?

    The alternative for getting rid of the noise maybe could be a preamp but I don’t have money for this, so my idea was the mic into the DI and this to the audio interface.

    What do you think about? I haven’t tried yet.

    However If I had to buy a cheap preamp which is worth at least for increase the gain and getting rid of that noise, which one would you recommend?

    I found those so far: ART TUBE MP or BEHRINGER MIC500 USB
    They work for resolving my problem?
     
  2. #2 Mattia Chiappa, Sep 4, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2018
    There shouldn't be any noise in the first place. I used that audio interface on multiple occasions and I don't recall ever having that problem. I don't think a D.I box would fix the problem anyway. Assuming the audio interface is alright, I think the problem may be originating from either the mic or more likely the lead.
     
  3. A bit of noise is normal, for that purpose preamps exist, but I don't know if my noise is normal or not.
    Did you use a mic or an instrument directly into the scarlet?
    Because with an instrument is ok but if I use a Mic then I have some noise, except when I use mic for recording high volume sources. So if I speak normally into the mic I hear a bit of noise and also if I put the mic at 15-20 cm from the acoustic guitar I can hear a bit, especially when I don't play or in soft passages.
    I don't know, maybe is normal..
     
  4. Depends on the type of noise. Is it a hum? a buzz? Sometimes it just comes down to the electrical wiring of where you are, other times it's a ground loop. What is the rest of the equipment? Laptop? Desktop computer?

    Also, is there a particular reason you are using a dynamic mic for vocals and acoustic guitar? Acoustic guitars are usually recorded with condenser mics, but of course, if this is a creative decision and you're using a dynamic for that reason then a workaround is needed. Voices as well, but some people (i.e. Bono from U2) prefer dynamic mics for recording their vocals.

    I happen to own that same interface and the preamps I've found to be quite transparent and noiseless provided you don't crank the gain up too much. What does the gain dial look like? If you are finding yourself cranking it up too much and the dynamic choice is not a creative decision, you might want to consider investing in a condenser mic instead of the preamp, it will be much more sensitive to low volume sources.
     
  5. I think it's not electrical. It's like pink or white noise and it's low in volume than the actual recording of voice or guitar. It's continuous and increase when I crank up the gain.
    I use a laptop with battery, no current when I'm recording.

    I use dynamic mic because is the only one I have :)

    I set the gain on interface at 11 o'clock (so less than half) for mantaining the green light before it goes to red and also for reducing the noise.

    I was thinking about a preamp because I heard about things like cloudlifter and triton fethead used for getting rid of those kind of problems because they increase the gain level or something like that. But I don't have money for that equipment now and I wanted to know if there was something cheaper.
     
  6. The Scarlett 2i4 shouldn't give you that much noise. What type of microphone and cable are you using? I would suspect one of those to be the issue.
     
  7. Yes it's all very good but you need to start with a clean signal at the source otherwise even the most expensive pre-amps wouldn't do a damn thing. If you boost the signal you'll see that all the dirt is gonna come up as well. The pre-amp inside your audio interface is actually not too bad, you can get a very professional sound out of it and it's not supposed to be that noisy. My advice is: invest in a proper cable and or try with a different mic if you can find one :)
     
    Daniele Nasuti likes this.
  8. I use a SM 58, but I think the cable is not good.. it's a proel and I tried also another cable without brand and it was better than proel.. maybe I should try something better and also try the mic without another soundcard of a friend..

    In the meantime what about the D.I.? It's a bad idea? What can happen if I put a balanced cable(TRS) into the unbalanced input of the D.I Box?
     
  9. It sounds like you should invest in a good cable. I've never heard of proel so I am not sure about the quality of that brand. If the cable is not shielded/balanced then it may introduce noise or interference into the signal.

    DI boxes are used to convert high-impedance unbalanced signal, from a guitar, bass, keyboard, etc., and convert it into low-impedance balanced signal before it hits the microphone preamp. It's not used for microphones. I would start by troubleshooting the cable first, especially since you mentioned you tried a different cable and it made a difference.
     
    Daniele Nasuti likes this.
  10. I would try these things, in this order:

    -Plug the laptop in. The audio interface needs juice to work and if you're not plugged in, that alone may cause issues.
    -Make sure you're using a good cable as everyone else has said.
    -Try a condenser mic (maybe borrow one from a friend to give it a go?). Condenser mics are much more sensitive to low volume sources; you won't need as much gain and thus, the noise should not be as noticeable.
     
  11. ok, thank you everyone. I’ll do some test, then I’ll be back. :D

    @Mauro Pantin I've used only the battery for excluding possible electrical problems from wall socket.
    in reality I’ve tried a condenser mic but it gives me more or less the same problems.. however it was only a BM 800 (12 €) and I heard very discordant opinions about, so I don’t rely on this mic.
     
  12. Try unplugging the mike cable from the bottom of the SM 58. If the noise goes away, you're probably getting room noise from a fan, air conditioner, anything else that moves air. Also, make sure you have the 48 volts shut off (that red button above the input/playback switch) it's probably not the issue, but you don't need it for a dynamic mike. If the noise doesn't go away, unplug the mic cable from the 2i4. If you still have the noise, and if it varies as you turn up your #1 gain knob, it's coming out of the pre-amp on your mike interface. Some things to check: make sure the pad isn't on. Also make sure the gain is turned down on the unused input.

    Connecting the mike to the unbalanced input of a DI won't hurt anything, though you may get increased hum. It's also unlikely to help.
     
  13. Here I am, I think the problem was definitely the cable. I did a little audio, let me know if the quality is decent.
    The Audio was recorded with selector LINE on the interface. (I did it right or I should have choose INSTRUMENT for recording a dynamic mic?)



    The gain on Scarlet 2i4 is at 3 o’clock

    The meter in the DAW:
    • WHILE I’M SPEAKING: -30 / -25 dB
    • WHILE I’M PLAYING: from -38 dB to -17 dB
    In all this the LUFS Integrated are around -36.
    If I put a Gain plugin in the DAW and give it +24dB the LUFS Integrated goes up to -12.

    When at the beginning the DAW asks for surround 5.1 or Quadraphonic or anything else what should I choose?
     
  14. #14 Jerry Davis, Sep 17, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2018
    Sounds like you're making progress!! Also sounds like your guitar skills are pretty impressive.

    On the Scarlet, the inputs configure themselves automatically depending on what you plug into the jacks on the front. When you have an XLR connector plugged in, that input is a mike pre-amp, and the line/inst switch isn't in the circuit, so it shouldn't make any difference what position the switch is in.

    Don't know what DAW you're using, but the usual choice for recording is STEREO. The other selections will just give you a whole bunch of extra monitoring and signal controls that you have no use for. When you get around to doing the sound track for your multi-million dollar feature film, you have a massively expensive surround sound monitoring system, and you want the tympanies to come from behind the audience, then you can use 5.1. Normal recording you monitor in stereo and use the pan control when you're mixing to determine whether your instrument is heard on the left, right, and/or center.
     
    Daniele Nasuti likes this.
  15. ahah thank you, it's not my first instrument, I play guitar for having another way to see and writing music and also because I like it :)

    Aaah here's why...

    I use Logic pro X now and the options asked in the beginning are
    Surround Format: Quadraphonic, LCRS, 5.1 , 6.1 , 7.1
    I can't find STEREO :/

    However, regarding the mic...
    would be better a dynamic mic plus fethead / cloudlifter OR a condenser mic alone? I mean, what of those two options give me more gain and so the best signal to noise ratio?

    (Thank you very much!!)
     
  16. The options you're talking about only show up when you have Surround checked in Advanced tools, and they only apply when you've selected Surround on the output of an individual fader. The short answer is uncheck Surround in Advanced Tools, and the choices will go away. If you insist on keeping them, then it doesn't matter which one you pick unless you've chosen Surround on one of your tracks, which you shouldn't do because you don't have the extra outputs and speakers for surround and because for normal recording and mixing you work in stereo.

    All of your individual tracks have a choice of where the sound out of them will be sent. You'll find it in a window above the fader, the pan pot and the automation window. Usually it'll say Stereo. If it doesn't, you can set it by clicking, choosing output, and then choosing stereo.

    Your "best solution for mike gain" question is one of those things that often provokes a multi-day discussion on GearSlutz.com. In their forum section, they have a Newbie Question zone that's monitored by guys who deal with that sort of issue on a daily basis. I'd suggest posing the question there. Registration is free.
     
    Daniele Nasuti likes this.
  17. Perfect, thank you!! :)

    Only one last question about the noise, but a different noise..
    When I connect the acoustic guitar to audio interface (even if it's through through a D.I.) I hear a noise that seems like if you didn’t connect the cable in the right way, and it disappears if I touch the cable while it’s connected)
    How can I resolve this? I found the only way is to connect another cable to the second input of the interface and touch the other metal extremity with my skin (for instance placing that on my naked leg). I risk to get a shock this way?
     

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