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Microphone Month

Sweetwater Forums [Archived]

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Condenser mic too loud

bgjamrock

Hello! I have an audio-technica AT2020 connected to Presonus Audiobox USB. With the gain set as low as possible on both the Audiobox and my recording software (Audacity), I still get clipping since the input is so strong. If I stand back a good distance from the mic, I can get a lower volume but then it sounds unnatural and I pick up my guitar pick sounds in that channel, which I don't want. Any ideas how to lower the output volume from the mic? Thanks!
August 25, 2013 @07:15pm
AndyH

Many microphones have a pad switch, which reduces microphone output, generally about 10dB. Does yours?
A low cut filter, generally around 80Hz, is also common on microphones. This could help a little although it isn't in the vocal range. You will have to experiment and see how it effects recording of the E2 string.
You should not turn down the input level in the recording program. This is after the ADC and cannot effect clipping. All it accomplishes is to throw away bits.
August 26, 2013 @05:34am
bgjamrock

Thanks for the reply. My mic does not have a pad and there isn't that option on the Audiobox either. From what I understand maybe an inline mic pad is what I need. I'm curious what others have experienced with the AT2020 or the Audiobox. Should it really be that hot of a signal?
August 28, 2013 @04:01am
AndyH

I haven't used either of those but it seems a bit strange. Not having enough gain is a much more common complaint, primarily from using a microphone preamp not well suited to the microphone.
August 28, 2013 @06:15am
TimmyP1955

I'm thinking that an outboard pad will likely drop the phantom power voltage and the mic won't work properly.
August 28, 2013 @06:17am
AndyH

I don't remember exactly but real phantom power voltage is around 5 volts. Anything higher that that get cuts by a zener diode or other voltage control circuit before it touches the microphone circuit in any condenser microphone.
Since a proper pad circuit has nothing to do with the polarizing voltage, it seems unlikely that it would effect it in any way. It should effect nothing except the microphone output signal.
It would be interesting to find out if the microphone acts the same way with a different microphone preamp. What you describe doesn't make any sense to me.
August 28, 2013 @09:27am