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  #1  
Old 11-30-2022, 11:02 PM
Reziak Reziak is offline
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Default USB Mic Volume/Clipping Issues

Hey guys. I recently bought an AT2005 USB Mic to record vocals into Pro Tools. I've been having an issue where basically when I record vocals, the volume ends up being recorded pretty loud. I'm aware of different techniques to reduce the volume such as Source and Mic Placement, but no matter what I seem to do, I seem to run into the same issue. The only solution I've found is to record vocals damn near whispering, which doesn't make sense for a lot of what I'm trying to do and also leads me to my other issue - Clipping. Even when whispering, when trying to add more gain through compression etc after equalizing and so on, I find that I start clipping at extremely low volume. It's very bizarre.

I found out that one of the solutions to this is to reduce the mic gain to anywhere from -6 to -18 db through an amp. The thing is, I'm not using an amp. So given my situation, is there anything I can do to fix this issue? Basically either I can settle on unbelievably low volume, or clip. I 100% can't settle for either of these options. Before getting this mic, I didn't have this problem nearly as badly when I was simply recording on my phone and then transferring the vocals recording from my phone into pro tools. So it seems to be some kind of input issue or something?

Any and all help is extremely appreciated.

Info that might be helpful:

- Using Macbook Pro 2015
- Using a Dynamic AT2005 USB mic with xlr capabilities (not using the xlr tho, although plan to in the near future)
- Messed around with Mic's Input and Output settings from Macbook's Sound Preferences . Not really sure if this is having any effect on the vocals clipping at such a very low volume
- Didn't have this problem as bad bringing a phone recording's vocals into Pro Tools
- Using Pro Tools First
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  #2  
Old 12-01-2022, 12:40 AM
cwsand's Avatar
cwsand cwsand is offline
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Default Re: USB Mic Volume/Clipping Issues

Hi, I've never used a USB mic with Pro Tools, but I would think you could adjust the level in System Preferences - Sound - Input. Are you sure that's having no effect?
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  #3  
Old 12-01-2022, 03:45 AM
its2loud its2loud is offline
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Default Re: USB Mic Volume/Clipping Issues

Look at page 5 of the manual. “Preliminary setup with Mac OS X”
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  #4  
Old 12-01-2022, 04:28 AM
Reziak Reziak is offline
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Default Re: USB Mic Volume/Clipping Issues

Quote:
Originally Posted by cwsand View Post
Hi, I've never used a USB mic with Pro Tools, but I would think you could adjust the level in System Preferences - Sound - Input. Are you sure that's having no effect?

Gonna try this again tomorrow and update if I find any luck with this.
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Old 12-01-2022, 04:30 AM
Reziak Reziak is offline
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Default Re: USB Mic Volume/Clipping Issues

Quote:
Originally Posted by its2loud View Post
Look at page 5 of the manual. “Preliminary setup with Mac OS X”
I read that entire set up before I plugged in the mic. That's how I realized you could change Mic's input and output settings through Sound Preferences. Doesn't really go into detail about anything gain and clip related; just tells you basic stuff about the mic.
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Old 12-01-2022, 04:50 AM
its2loud its2loud is offline
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Default Re: USB Mic Volume/Clipping Issues

Quote:
Originally Posted by Reziak View Post
I read that entire set up before I plugged in the mic. That's how I realized you could change Mic's input and output settings through Sound Preferences. Doesn't really go into detail about anything gain and clip related; just tells you basic stuff about the mic.
You have to keep the system preferences sound panel open to adjust the mic input gain. This is the only way to do it with this microphone as a USB input. See the pic

If you had an interface you could use the xlr input of the interface to adjust gain.

Additionally, make sure you’re using the USB mic as your playback engine in
Pro Tools or create an aggregate device that includes the USB mic to use as your playback engine.
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  #7  
Old 12-01-2022, 05:06 PM
Reziak Reziak is offline
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Default Re: USB Mic Volume/Clipping Issues

Quote:
Originally Posted by its2loud View Post
You have to keep the system preferences sound panel open to adjust the mic input gain. This is the only way to do it with this microphone as a USB input. See the pic

If you had an interface you could use the xlr input of the interface to adjust gain.

Additionally, make sure you’re using the USB mic as your playback engine in
Pro Tools or create an aggregate device that includes the USB mic to use as your playback engine.
Thanks the help. I did keep it open. That's what made me feel like it wasn't working - specifically the input. As I kept the window open during Pro Tools and adjusted the input levels, I didn't notice any change in the gain level when recording vocals. I did, however notice the volume changing from my playback through the output settings. So basically when I increased the output, I heard my voice louder. When I decreased it, my voice (when speaking into the mic) was quieter. Adjusting the input seemed to either have no effect or it had very little effect, even with the mic 12 inches+ away from my mouth.

How do I make sure the USB mic is set as my playback engine? Not entirely sure what you mean by this. Wouldn't it be automatically?
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Old 12-01-2022, 07:01 PM
Darryl Ramm Darryl Ramm is offline
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Default Re: USB Mic Volume/Clipping Issues

Some more basic info might help here.

Starting with how you are monitoring audio during recording or playback. And when you talk about volume are you talking about monitoring while tracking/recording or during playback? Or both?

What exact make/model monitors/speakers/headphones are you listening to and they have exactly what connection plugged into exactly what?

If you are using an aggregate device say so.

Vocals? Singing? Or spoken word/podcasting etc?

If something is clipping (or at least digital clipping) then the signal should be showing as hot input to Pro Tools. What is the exact input level you are getting in dBFS, with the meter in classic mode (not sure what meters options are First) and importantly the track in pre-fader metering mode. If any of those terms don't make sense look them up in the Pro Tools Reference Guide PDF.

USB microphones are frequently a waste of time, you are often much better off getting an interface and analog connected microphones.

Pro Tools First was a mess of a product, killed off for good reason. I would have moved onto Pro Tools Intro, or any other DAW.
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  #9  
Old 12-01-2022, 09:39 PM
Reziak Reziak is offline
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Default Re: USB Mic Volume/Clipping Issues

Quote:
Originally Posted by Darryl Ramm View Post
Some more basic info might help here.

Starting with how you are monitoring audio during recording or playback. And when you talk about volume are you talking about monitoring while tracking/recording or during playback? Or both?

What exact make/model monitors/speakers/headphones are you listening to and they have exactly what connection plugged into exactly what?

If you are using an aggregate device say so.

Vocals? Singing? Or spoken word/podcasting etc?

If something is clipping (or at least digital clipping) then the signal should be showing as hot input to Pro Tools. What is the exact input level you are getting in dBFS, with the meter in classic mode (not sure what meters options are First) and importantly the track in pre-fader metering mode. If any of those terms don't make sense look them up in the Pro Tools Reference Guide PDF.

USB microphones are frequently a waste of time, you are often much better off getting an interface and analog connected microphones.

Pro Tools First was a mess of a product, killed off for good reason. I would have moved onto Pro Tools Intro, or any other DAW.
I'm currently using earphones. Regular earphones. I have like $100 BOSE Speakers which are fine for their price, but I get a loud high pitched noise whenever I try to record vocals and hear myself through the playback when using them so I record using my earphones which solves the problem for whatever reason.

Basically when I record vocals - the specific problem I'm having happens when I rap, everything is just insanely loud no matter what. Now, yes, I am damn near yelling lol but I have a pop filter and I've moved the mic away from my mouth like 25 inches and I seem to have the exact same problem. For a dynamic mic, I'm surprised at how well it picks up sound actually.

The loudness doesn't seem to come from the output. The output is fine. While I'm rapping and hearing myself rap while recording, everything sounds normal. But then as soon as it's finished recording and I hear the playback, it sounds a lot louder for some reason and clips in the left portion of the track panels or whatever those are called (where you add input signals, presets, adjust gain, pain left/right, add compression etcetc)

Not using an aggregate device. Just my 2015 macbook pro, the AT2005 USB Mic and my earphones. I'm getting digital clipping.

I'll get back to you on what input levels I'm getting on the dBFS. It was pretty high tho last time I recorded to where it caused clipping directly in the dBFS as opposed to the other meter on the far top right part of pro tools that monitors clipping and everything.
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  #10  
Old 12-01-2022, 10:13 PM
Darryl Ramm Darryl Ramm is offline
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Default Re: USB Mic Volume/Clipping Issues

Bluetooth earphones? or Wired earphones? connected to the Mac? (but you say you are not using aggregate I/O as the playback engine?)

- or Wired earphones connected to the Microphone output socket?

What *exactly* are you doing? We cannot guess.

And the input level in dbFS measured on the input track... if your input is clipping then the meter that will show that is the track input meter when you are in pre fader mode. Which is why I am asking for that.

You start by not clipping on the input and then not clipping output is just all software, settings in Pro Tools. Pull the track level down by adjusting it's fader gain, clip gain, plugin settings etc. but if you are a beginner you should probably not be tracking with plugins/or playing back through them until you get this sorted out. You control the level/perceived volume of the track by adjusting the track fader (which should not make any change to the meter on the track, as you should be in pre-fader metering while tracking) and a master fader that you can put on the output. Your sessions while working stuff out should be super simple, one or two tracks and a master fader track as well, no plugins.

---

The loud noise is feedback. Totally expected when you put mics in front of monitors playing back the mic signal. You might make much faster progress if you read a book on basic audio engineering. Like https://www.amazon.com/Recording-Eng.../dp/B01MY9ZP2W or take a course like https://www.artandscienceofsound.com.

Last edited by Darryl Ramm; 12-01-2022 at 10:44 PM.
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