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I have the following:

  • Macbook
  • Focusrite Saffire 6 USB audio interface
  • Audio Technica ATR3350 lavalier microphone

I'd like to record speech into Audacity (or similar) using the above. I've connected the microphone into a 3.5mm to 6.3mm adaptor, made sure the battery is OK and the power is on, plugged it into input 1 of the Focusrite and turned the gain up as far as it will go. In Audacity, I struggle to get the level meter to get past -36db - even that is with me holding the mic close to my mouth. I've double checked the settings in OSX to confirm it's using the correct input.

I know this setup may not be ideal, but am I missing something to be able to get a decent signal level out of it?

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Your "pad" switch isn't on, is it? –  Warrior Bob Jun 6 '13 at 22:09
    
In desperation, I've tried it with and without the pad and inst buttons pressed. –  fistameeny Jun 7 '13 at 6:15
    
Do you get a signal going direct into the machine (bypass the Focusrite). If not, it may be the mic –  Dave Rook Jun 7 '13 at 12:00
    
Yep, if I plug it into the Mic input on my work PC, and use the "Mic boost" feature, I can get a reasonably high signal level, but with poor quality. If I drop the mic boost, I still get a signal, but it's much lower. Therefore, i'm pretty sure the mic is working fine –  fistameeny Jun 7 '13 at 12:26
    
I can't say for sure but I suspect that the 6.3mm input is currently expecting a line level signal, rather than the much weaker mic signal. Anyone know if this is configurable? Software maybe? I don't see a switch. –  Warrior Bob Jun 7 '13 at 15:07
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1 Answer

Your interface has combo inputs that are both a 6.3mm (1/4") Line or Instrument level input and an XLR mic level input. When you insert a 6.3mm jack, the interface is expecting the much higher signal that a line/instrument provides.

To get the full range of the Mic preamp, you need to use a 3.5mm to XLR adapter (Or likely a combination 3.5mm socket-> 6.3mm mono plug -> XLR) instead of your 3.5mm to 6.3mm adapter.

The first one I found in a search was this one: http://www.amazon.com/Campro-Stereo-3-5mm-Female-Adaptor/dp/B00CODJFIE/ref=sr_1_13?ie=UTF8&qid=1370892102&sr=8-13&keywords=3.5mm+xlr

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Thank you - I'll see if I can pick one up locally to try. For now, I have bought a Zoom H1 which is working a treat! –  fistameeny Jun 11 '13 at 20:05
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