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The setup I put together is a mixer by Behringer QX1202USB and a few microphones in the range of 20-25 € (Soundkinh EH 002, Superlux D103 13X, Dehringer XM 8500 ULTRAVOICE).

Two microphones came with cables (XLR2XLR, XLR to 1/4 jack) and the third was shipped with no cable. I hooked up two microphones and noticed the levels are very low and I need to turn volume up on individual channels practically all the way up, incl. the main level switch and also boost gain, thus adding a lot of ambient and white noise.

My initial thought was the cheapish microphones but then I noticed this greatly depends on the cable. The above described effect is less pronounced in the XLR2XLR cable, irrespective of the microphone.

Can someone take a stab at what is going on? Do I need an extra preamp for microphones? Would upgrading to better cables help? Is there a setting on the mixer I'm missing? Are low levels for microphones the norm?

  • Which software are you recording with – Daniel Mar 13 '16 at 4:08
  • Hi @Daniel, at this point I haven't connected the mixer to anything. Even if I do, the recording in Audacity exhibits the same quirks as mentioned in my question. – Roman Luštrik Mar 13 '16 at 5:57
  • Ok... do you still need to up the main level and boost gain with the XLR2XLR cable regardless of microphone? – Daniel Mar 14 '16 at 22:27
  • @Daniel thank you for taking the time. After fiddling around with the gear I noticed that XLR port appears to be preamped while the regular ~6mm jack expects the signal to already be amplified. This little piece of information wasn't apparent to me and the videos and docs I saw/read didn't mention this explicitly (it says "preamped around the XLR input). With the XLR cable I'm now able to put levels to 0 and gain to 9 o'clock with decent sound. Once I get everything padded down I'll write a lengthier answer. – Roman Luštrik Mar 15 '16 at 8:24
  • ok, i would like to read that as well – Daniel Mar 15 '16 at 22:37
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After reading and watching videos on YouTube I came to the realization that is obvious to any mediocre+ sound engineer. I come from field of biology so please excuse my ignorance on the matter.

Behringer Xenyx QX1202USB holds four microphone inputs. In each channel, one is an XLR input and one is regular 1/4" line in. It turns out that XLR input (with three holes) is preamplified (it even says so in the arched text above the input) and the regular line (under it) in is not. I assumed this preamplification statement was for both, XLR and line in on individual channel. This makes a whole lot of difference, apparently. I solved the problem by ordering more XLR -> XLR cables for the rest of the microphones.

enter image description here * Picture was cropped from http://www.pssl.com/images/Default-Image/500/XENYX-QX1202USB.jpg

  • Wow I would have done the same thing. Thanks for posting the solution to this one. – Daniel Mar 16 '16 at 22:15

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