Old 02-12-2013, 04:28 PM   #1
krm27
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Default Cannot get condenser mic to work? What am I doing wrong?

Here's my set up:

Behringer C1 Condenser Mic connected by cable (XLR female to 1/4 male jack) to line 1 of FocusRite 2i2 interface.

Interface connects to two studio monitors, and also to USB port of computer running latest Reaper. I don't think any of this is the problem because other stuff works through interface (drum machine, bass guitar, electrict guitar).

I get no sound from Mic whether I use direct monitoring or not. In fact, no light comes on Mic, so I feel like it's not getting power (?).

I looked all over Mic for "on/off" switch, found nothing. I know as a condenser mic, it needs a powered preamp / interface. My understanding is the FocusRite 2i2 does have powered pre-amps, they make big deal how great they are.

There is switch next to Line In port on FocusRite to select "instrument" or "line." I tried both, doesn't help. (I am assuming the "line" selection is correct for mic that needs powered preamp help versus insruments that do not, but I tried both settings when "line" was not working.)

I am a newbie to audio recording, but particularly to microphone, have never used one before. The cable I got is new. The mic is new, never used. Is there something basic I'm missing?

Thanks,

Ken
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Old 02-12-2013, 04:32 PM   #2
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A condensor needs 48v phantom power, and xlr, no 1/4" will do it.
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Old 02-12-2013, 06:33 PM   #3
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Thanks, I was afraid that something was screwy with the cabling.

I am a bit confused by this, and would appreciate a more thorough explanation (or maybe link or suggestion as to where I can find an answer).

My confusion is this:

I did a lot of reading on interfaces before buying (hours and hours and horus). I knew I had a condenser mic, and that this needed a preamp to power it / make it work. All the focusrite interfaces make a big deal about their award-winning preamps. So I thought this focusrite was just what I needed to be able to run my mic through my DAW without any additional gear... Somewhere I am missing something / misunderstanding something, but I don't know what.

What do I have to put between my mic and my interface to make this work? Or do I need a different interface? What's the big deal about these interfaces with preamps if they won't power a condenser mic? What does the "line / intrument" switch even do on the focusrite 2i2 input if not provide power for a condensor mic? What kind of interfaces do people use with condenser mics, or do they all use another piece of gear between the mic and the interface?

I guess on some level I find it hard to believe the Focusright Scarlett 2i2 interface is simply not for use with a condenser mic, which sort of sounds like the case if it has no XLR input for a mic cable, just two 1/4 inputs. I had assumed (stupidly, I guess) that a xlr to 1/4 cable is how this was supposed to work, or some kind of xlr/1/4 inch adapter. Now I am having to step back and figure out just how much money did I waste buying stuff that won't actually do what I want to do, which is (in large part) recording into a condenser mic for singing and acoustic guitar.

Sorry if this post has an irritated tone. I'm kind of pissed at myself for being an idiot, doing all this research to still wind up getting it wrong.

Thanks,

Ken
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Old 02-12-2013, 06:36 PM   #4
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You'll need "phantom power", some interfaces have it built in, if you don't have xlr jacks, you definitely don't have it.

Phantom power can only go through xlr. So there's no way to use a condensor and an xlr to 1/4" cable.

If the interface doesn't have it, you can get Art/Behringer preamps for cheap.
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Old 02-12-2013, 06:39 PM   #5
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Nevermind, I got it now.

The focusrite has "dual" inputs that take either an xlr or 1/4 inch. I did not read the spec sheet carefully when I bought it, I guess, and did not realize on eyeballing them that they could take an xlr input (no three holes staring me in the face as per only xlr inputs I've seen in the past, never heard of dual inputs like these before, but then I'm new to this).

Now I know where I was dumb and how to fix it, so it should be all good, just got to go get a regular mix cable.

Ken
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Old 02-12-2013, 06:41 PM   #6
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Thanks for second response.

I'm assuming if I'm using a regular mic cable with xlr to plug into the input on the focusrite scarlett 2i2, it will work. I'm pretty sure it does have the necessary phantom power. That would REALLY be dumb of me to have not gotten that part right. I think my mistake was trying to use xlr to 1/4 inch hybrid cable.

edit - per Focusrite website, this interface does have necessary phantom power.

Ken

Last edited by krm27; 02-12-2013 at 06:44 PM. Reason: addition
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Old 02-12-2013, 06:44 PM   #7
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Default indicator?

Quote:
Originally Posted by krm27 View Post
Nevermind, I got it now.

The focusrite has "dual" inputs that take either an xlr or 1/4 inch. I did not read the spec sheet carefully when I bought it, I guess, and did not realize on eyeballing them that they could take an xlr input (no three holes staring me in the face as per only xlr inputs I've seen in the past, never heard of dual inputs like these before, but then I'm new to this).

Now I know where I was dumb and how to fix it, so it should be all good, just got to go get a regular mix cable.

Ken
Is there no light or indicator on your preamp that TELLS you the status of phantom power (on/off)?
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Old 02-12-2013, 07:11 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by krm27 View Post
Thanks for second response.

I'm assuming if I'm using a regular mic cable with xlr to plug into the input on the focusrite scarlett 2i2, it will work. I'm pretty sure it does have the necessary phantom power. That would REALLY be dumb of me to have not gotten that part right. I think my mistake was trying to use xlr to 1/4 inch hybrid cable.

edit - per Focusrite website, this interface does have necessary phantom power.

Ken
plug your condenser in with a "mic" (XLR on both ends) cable, press that little red button marked "48v", turn up the gain on the channel you plugged the mic into and you should be golden.
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Old 02-13-2013, 07:56 AM   #9
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Cool, you might run into feedback using it with speakers on, condensers pick up a lot, and generally work best w/headphones, although they do make handheld condensers. Probably depends on where you've placed it in the room.
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Old 05-18-2013, 02:27 PM   #10
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Default Re:

Sorry to bump an old thread, but I've been scourging the internet in an attempt to find a solution for a problem very similar.

I'm also a recording newbie. I've finally amassed enough extra money to buy a few toys. I bought a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 and an MXL-990 condenser mic.

I hook the condenser mic into channel 1 via an XLR cable. I press the 48V (Phantom Power) button so that it's red. I turn the gain level up on channel 1 (set to INST / LINE doesn't make much of a difference) and direct monitor via headphones. Unlike my bass and electric guitar, which level out a little over 2 - 2:30 on the gain knob, I need to turn it all the way up while connected to the mic to get almost any sound. Mostly, I get noise (above room level). If I monitor via my computer and DAW (Live), I can get the volume meter up to around 20%. I've swapped XLR-cables, played with every knob, and adjusted the volume via the monitor, headphone cable, external stereo, and control panel set-up -- but I can't get a decent recording level out of this mic.

Sorry again. Just getting frustrated.
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Old 05-18-2013, 05:55 PM   #11
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noa999, Have you tried the mic in both input channels? If so, do you have another microphone that you can try, or one that you can borrow? If you get enough gain when instruments are used, and you have switched out xlr cables, you may need to check the mic itself.
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Old 05-18-2013, 05:56 PM   #12
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I've finally amassed enough extra money to buy a few toys. I bought a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 and an MXL-990 condenser mic.
New or used?
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Old 05-18-2013, 07:39 PM   #13
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Default mxl 990

I have an mxl 990 and I can say from experience its not the most sensitive mic (I have to crank the gain, too.) I would usually have to have it set around 8 on my focusrite saffire. Honestly, I think that mic is rubbish but it did yield me a few decent recordings in the beginning and I was glad I got it as a free Musicians Friend gift. I wonder if you might try the mic on a different interface to compare it. I ended up getting a matched pair of Audio-Technica AT2020's and I can say that the mxl 990 became a hand me down to someone who was getting started out as well.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...icrophone.html

You can get AT2020's for cheap right now at that site.

Also, how does it sound when using the direct monitoring mode on the 2i2? Still the same.

I hope this helps you even a little!
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Old 05-24-2013, 10:20 AM   #14
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You'll need "phantom power", some interfaces have it built in, if you don't have xlr jacks, you definitely don't have it.

Phantom power can only go through xlr. So there's no way to use a condensor and an xlr to 1/4" cable.

If the interface doesn't have it, you can get Art/Behringer preamps for cheap.
Speaking as an electrician, that isn't entirely correct.
A 3-conductor cable is a 3-conductor cable. TRS has the ability to transmit phantom power to a condensor mic just as well as an XLR cable. Now most preamp manufacturers may typically use an XLR connector for microphones, but that doesn't mean that they would have to. And there may be a preamp out there somewhere (especially an older one) that has a TRS connector and is perfectly capable of powering a condensor mic, though you might need an adapter to get it connected.
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Old 05-24-2013, 12:16 PM   #15
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keeverw: Think about how a 3-terminal jack connects going into its socket and you may see the Fatal Flaw in your thinking.
For the rest of you: a TRS jack makes and breaks its contacts serially, so depending on how you decided to wire the phantom supply, the chances are you would be either shorting it out on insertion or removal of the jack, or otherwise screwing everything up.
48volt on a TRS going into a preamp is not a good idea, even if it HAS been tried on older gear. (grin)
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Old 05-24-2013, 01:16 PM   #16
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keeverw: Think about how a 3-terminal jack connects going into its socket and you may see the Fatal Flaw in your thinking.
For the rest of you: a TRS jack makes and breaks its contacts serially, so depending on how you decided to wire the phantom supply, the chances are you would be either shorting it out on insertion or removal of the jack, or otherwise screwing everything up.
48volt on a TRS going into a preamp is not a good idea, even if it HAS been tried on older gear. (grin)
Didn't think about that.

But still, you could just connect everything and then turn on the phantom power. ;-)
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Old 06-16-2014, 02:10 PM   #17
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Default Cad-GXL2200 mic problems

Ok so i have my new condencer mic and I have a phantom power supply. Mic hooked up to the power supply and the power supply running out into a USB port (XlR to usb just in case you are wondering) on my computer.

My problem is one the microphone picks up too much noise witch leads me too the mic has no settings on windows to change this witch leads me to the next problem it has no settings to change this because it is coming from a usb.
The settings i were trying to change was in the properties of the microphone in recording devices on windows and were the "Enhancments/Custom" tab where it will give you options like
-dc (Something forget)
-noise reduction
or under levels tab where there are commonly meters for "Microphone" and "Boost" Mine only has "AVG" under custom and "Microphone" under levels.

Sub question- Can i use xlr to mic jack (1/4 of course) out of my phantom power? So my mic will go going will be the the mic jack so i can plug it into the mic port and have windows recognize it better as a mic?

PS. Was going to upload photos of the setup but had a error about security token or something like that.
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Old 06-16-2014, 03:21 PM   #18
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Hi and welcome to the forum.
What is the model/name of your "power Supply".
Vinod
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Old 06-17-2014, 07:45 AM   #19
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Phantom power can only go through xlr. So there's no way to use a condensor and an xlr to 1/4" cable.
I've got a D&R preamp with only TRS jacks and phantom power. It can be done. In general, you'll only find phantom power on XLR inputs tho.
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Old 06-17-2014, 09:48 AM   #20
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Ok, I think any mainstream interface is not going to offer it, that's the newbie angle I was getting at.
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Old 06-17-2014, 09:58 PM   #21
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Default Gxl2200

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Hi and welcome to the forum.
What is the model/name of your "power Supply".
Vinod
Its a Nady smps-1x phantom power supply.
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Old 06-22-2014, 09:25 AM   #22
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Ok so i have my new condencer mic and I have a phantom power supply. Mic hooked up to the power supply and the power supply running out into a USB port (XlR to usb just in case you are wondering) on my computer.

My problem is one the microphone picks up too much noise witch leads me too the mic has no settings on windows to change this witch leads me to the next problem it has no settings to change this because it is coming from a usb.
The settings i were trying to change was in the properties of the microphone in recording devices on windows and were the "Enhancments/Custom" tab where it will give you options like
-dc (Something forget)
-noise reduction
or under levels tab where there are commonly meters for "Microphone" and "Boost" Mine only has "AVG" under custom and "Microphone" under levels.

Sub question- Can i use xlr to mic jack (1/4 of course) out of my phantom power? So my mic will go going will be the the mic jack so i can plug it into the mic port and have windows recognize it better as a mic?

PS. Was going to upload photos of the setup but had a error about security token or something like that.

You probably should have started a new thread for this, but anyway. Lets try this.

The power supply is ONLY a power supply. It doesn't provide preamp capabilities. I'm not too sure about this XLR to USB thing you talk about. Is it an "interface" built as a cable? XLR to USB doesn't work without something happening between. If it is an interface of some sort then your input volume controls would show up as a USB Audio Device in Windows and you would set the volume there.

You could "TRY" coming out of the power supply to 1/4" and into your "mic input" of your computer. It "should" work, but I can't guarantee it.

I hate to say this, but for music, you really need a proper interface. You can get away with a cheap one, that's not a problem. I cobble together equipment all the time, but the EASY solution is usually the best.
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Old 06-22-2014, 11:24 AM   #23
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Default Condenser to 1/4

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You probably should have started a new thread for this, but anyway. Lets try this.

The power supply is ONLY a power supply. It doesn't provide preamp capabilities. I'm not too sure about this XLR to USB thing you talk about. Is it an "interface" built as a cable? XLR to USB doesn't work without something happening between. If it is an interface of some sort then your input volume controls would show up as a USB Audio Device in Windows and you would set the volume there.

You could "TRY" coming out of the power supply to 1/4" and into your "mic input" of your computer. It "should" work, but I can't guarantee it.

I hate to say this, but for music, you really need a proper interface. You can get away with a cheap one, that's not a problem. I cobble together equipment all the time, but the EASY solution is usually the best.
Well first off let me thank you for the reply. S
Second maybe i should have made a new thread i just replied to this one because it was the xlr to 1/4 mil jack

My setup is for uhm well lets just call it pod casts im just talking into my mic sometimes live sometimes pre-recorded Its not music or anything.
And yea it has the microphone volume my problem is it does not have a boost bar or any Custom settings like noise reduction and that is where i have came to the idea of the 1/4 mic jack so windows will reconize it as a microphone better not a usb Human pnp device or what ever it is seeing it as. Mostly all i wanted was the settings i was talking about so i can stop the mic from picking up my dog walking down the hallway voices in the living room my computer running when the cpu kicks in my keyboard and mouse. These types of things witch i cant really do without the boost setting and the custom tab in windows where i can set the mic up for my set up.

I have ordered the xlr to 1/4 jack already tho So i shall cross my fingers and hope it was not a waist of money but i will prob not be able to test it for another month or so. there is going to be two boxes of products from online that i will be storing untill i get back from my little vacation
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Old 06-22-2014, 08:26 PM   #24
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All the "noise" that you're picking up may be unavoidable. Condenser mics are just really sensitive. It's not mic generated noise, it's just your environment. Years ago when I first got a condenser I was a bit frustrated by this same thing. I was trying to track a vocalist and I kept picking up too much breathing sounds. I tried to get him to get a little further form the mic, but it didn't work. Finally he held his breath. I was hearing MY breathing from several feet away! And to top it off, I could hear the dogs downstairs as they slept!

All is not lost. Try setting up your mic with a few pillows around it. If you can keep sound from entering from directions that you don't want you'll be ahead of the game.
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Old 06-23-2014, 03:26 AM   #25
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Default Condenser microphone

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Originally Posted by partonkevin View Post
All the "noise" that you're picking up may be unavoidable. Condenser mics are just really sensitive. It's not mic generated noise, it's just your environment. Years ago when I first got a condenser I was a bit frustrated by this same thing. I was trying to track a vocalist and I kept picking up too much breathing sounds. I tried to get him to get a little further form the mic, but it didn't work. Finally he held his breath. I was hearing MY breathing from several feet away! And to top it off, I could hear the dogs downstairs as they slept!

All is not lost. Try setting up your mic with a few pillows around it. If you can keep sound from entering from directions that you don't want you'll be ahead of the game.
I get what your saying fully man and you may be right but even if that is the case i still want to get the option to have the settings on my pc because its just making me mad that i cant have them even if they dont help i will be happy just to have them as an option

AND BIG NOOB MOVE OF ME i was sitting there calling it a 1/4 in jack i am so dumb the whole time i was mistakenly mixing up a 3.5 mil jack for the 1/4 I meant the standard 3.5 this whole time witch is the standard jack for pc's

But again my big thing is i want to be able to get my custom tab to be full of enhancments and be able to adjust them to see if its possible to fix some of the problems i already have the mic set up where it is seemenly good with some foam around it a pop filter and my new pc is quite i have the best realtek drivers i could find it is just the pnp usb part of it. I have a xlr to usb and i am thinking i need it to go from my power to my mic jack on my pc. The mic does not pick up my breathing of all things i dont think but recently i had a recording of a phone call i made on my pc and i could hear in quality people talking in the other room. I think this could be fixed if i had access to the boost gauge and the dc offset along with noise reduction but i would have to fiddle with them all to figure out what this mic likes.
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