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  #1  
Old 03-24-2021, 08:13 PM
mjbarry mjbarry is offline
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Default +4/-10 button usage

I have two Fathead II (Lundahl transformers) ribbon microphones, and I'm using balanced XLR cables to plug them into the Mbox.

From what I've read in the manual, it appears that I should have the +4/-10 buttons set to the +4 setting when recording.

Is this correct?

Thanks...

Mike



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  #2  
Old 03-24-2021, 10:10 PM
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Default Re: +4/-10 button usage

+4 and -10 are referencing pro and consumer grade line level signal. Since you are plugging in a microphone, these do not apply. I suspect that this switch doesn't do anything when you're plugged into the mic inputs.


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  #3  
Old 03-24-2021, 11:36 PM
mjbarry mjbarry is offline
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Default Re: +4/-10 button usage

Ok, good. Thank you.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Top Jimmy View Post
+4 and -10 are referencing pro and consumer grade line level signal. Since you are plugging in a microphone, these do not apply. I suspect that this switch doesn't do anything when you're plugged into the mic inputs.


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  #4  
Old 03-24-2021, 11:47 PM
mjbarry mjbarry is offline
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Default Re: +4/-10 button usage

Yep, Mbox 3 Pro. The manual said this, which is why I was asking. (emphases mine):

===============
These switches let you select +4 or –10 input operating levels for Line Input channels 1–2
and/or 3–4. When “out” the level is set to +4 and
when “in” it is set to –10
==================

I'm not arguing, just showing what I was looking at that brought up the question. I've misinterpreted something, apparently.

I'm not having problems, but I have to really crank up the channel gain when I record. I'm a trumpet player, and that's all I'm going to be recording with this setup.

I'm fairly certain I have the passive version. I record with Phantom off, and aside from the low input level it works out fine. I looked through the documentation that came with the microphones and couldn't find any reference to which version.

If I may, what is the difference between the DBooster and the Cloudlifter? And what cable would I need to get to go from DBooster to the Mbox?

Thank you very much for your help!

Mike





Quote:
Originally Posted by Darryl Ramm View Post
^^^ what Jimmy said.

You are using an Mbox 3 Pro... right? Yes the line level *output* settings switches don't affect any input, line level or microphone.

Are you having problems? ... if so do you have the passive or active version of that Mic? If active do you have phantom power enabled? (If passive turn off Phantom power, especially if plugging in through (non-XLR) patch panels).

What are you recording? The passive ribbon mic will have low sensitivity compared to condenser mics and if the source is quiet you may well need/want a separate booster amplifier before the Mbox 3 Pro preamp (my favorite: https://royerlabs.com/dbooster) and you *have* to go into the Mbox 3 Pro inputs with an XLR (and sounds like you are)... XLR input goes to mic preamp, 1/4" phono on the same combo socket goes to line input.
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  #5  
Old 03-25-2021, 12:23 AM
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Default Re: +4/-10 button usage

Here's the recording 101 for you.

There are three kinds of signals you are recording.
  • Microphone
  • Instrument
  • Line

If you record with a microphone, all you need to care about is mic gain (and do not overdo it, hitting peaks at -20dBFS is perfectly okay).

If you record an instrument such as guitar, you need a DI box to make it microphone level, or a dedicated instrument input on your preamp.

This +4/-10 line level button only applies to whatever line level stuff you are recording, a CD player for example.
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  #6  
Old 03-25-2021, 01:35 PM
albee1952 albee1952 is offline
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Default Re: +4/-10 button usage

Big fan of the Fathead II mics(even with the stock transformer) Any of the many brands of booster will help and I see KT makes a very affordable one sold by Sweetwater. Having said that, I never needed the extra gain when using a more "premium" mic pre. You might consider adding one and connecting it to one of the line inputs(like 3 or 4). I got killer tracks with the Fathead II thru API 312 clones(Five Fish Audio X-12) with any brass instrument(and great vocal recordings with several LDC mics)
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  #7  
Old 03-26-2021, 12:32 PM
mjbarry mjbarry is offline
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Default Re: +4/-10 button usage

Going that route would give me a great sound, but if I want to get something like that then I would have to be doing more recording to make it a worthwhile investment. I don't just want to get an inexpensive API 312 clone to get one. :)

I'm stuck with my MBox for now because it's Firewire only and the iMac I have is late 2009. So PT10, the late 2009 iMac and Mbox work well.

Thanks!


Quote:
Originally Posted by albee1952 View Post
Big fan of the Fathead II mics(even with the stock transformer) Any of the many brands of booster will help and I see KT makes a very affordable one sold by Sweetwater. Having said that, I never needed the extra gain when using a more "premium" mic pre. You might consider adding one and connecting it to one of the line inputs(like 3 or 4). I got killer tracks with the Fathead II thru API 312 clones(Five Fish Audio X-12) with any brass instrument(and great vocal recordings with several LDC mics)
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  #8  
Old 03-26-2021, 12:37 PM
mjbarry mjbarry is offline
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Default Re: +4/-10 button usage

I'm going to look into how you add the digital gain to tracks. That's gain staging, correct? I'm glad you mentioned that! :)

I think I might get the DBooster. I've seen some videos online that show the difference with and without, and it seems to be worthwhile.

I'm also going to contact Cascade to make sure I have passive mics.

I really appreciate the help! Thanks, Darryl!

Mike


Quote:
Originally Posted by Darryl Ramm View Post
No you should argue. Doh yes right you are, sorry I was thinking Inputs and wrote Outputs. And oops the Front Panel Combo connectors are Mic on XLR and DI (not Line) on Phono. I had to look at a photo again.

It's obvious when you look at the back of the Mbox 3 Pro where the buttons are. But again the 4/10 buttons only affects those line level inputs not the Mic Preamp inputs.

BTW a handy resource which is little hard to find on the web is this Mbox 3 Family Technology Guide which shows the preamp/DI/line circuit schematics. http://akmedia.digidesign.com/suppor...uide_70405.pdf



The obvious difference is the switchable two gain settings in the DBooster. They are nice and quiet, I don't have side to side comparisons to noise etc with a CloudLifter. If you can borrow a DBooster, CloudLifter or similar sure try it out with this setup. But don't fixate on having to record hot, you can always add huge amounts of digital gain later in Pro Tools... and you don't want to clip with the large dynamics of a trumpet.

You just run a standard XLR-XLR mic cable from the interface to the booster and have phantom power on... and then another standard XLR-XLR mic cable from the Mic to the booster. The phantom power powers the booster amp, but it blocks any phantom power going to the Mic.

You will almost certainly have the passive model if the doc does not say active. Lowish output is expected, but obviously with a horn you can also drive a close mic fairly hard. Nice choice of mic to let you play with room sound as well.
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  #9  
Old 03-26-2021, 01:40 PM
albee1952 albee1952 is offline
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Default Re: +4/-10 button usage

2 thoughts to consider:
1-To find out if your Cascade is passive, turn phantom power off. If the mic still sounds the same, its passive
2-re 312 clones, the 2 I am aware of(Warm Audio and Five Fish) are both very good preamps and considerably cheaper than the new API re-issue(or a Brent Averill version). If you don't mind adding a 500 rack, that format has a lot to offer. On the other hand, if you are good at soldering, the Five Fish X-12 can be had in kit form(I do recommend the discrete op-amp option)
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  #10  
Old 03-26-2021, 04:29 PM
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Default +4/-10 button usage

Quote:
Originally Posted by mjbarry View Post
I'm going to look into how you add the digital gain to tracks.
Adjusting clip gain is the most fundamental way to add digital gain.
Quote:
I'm also going to contact Cascade to make sure I have passive mics.
Based on your posts in this thread, you can only have the passive version. Passive versions of ribbons always have very low output and don’t require phantom power. If you don’t hear anything until you turn on phantom power, then you have an active ribbon with the FET gain device built in.
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