I have an Avid Mbox 3 soundcard. It has a preamp built in, but it does not do the job for me when it comes to getting a respectable gain. the mic I'm using is a rhode NT-1A, pretty decent condenser for what I've heard. What I tried was bumping the gain up via Ableton's default gain increasing functionalities, and compressing the signal, but the 2 give me very high noise in my recordings! I was recommended to get a pre-amp, and was told that behringer pre-amps are pretty decent for a good bargain. My question is, if I get a pre-amp, will I get a higher gain with no noise?

  • 1
    Did you actually switched on the +48V supply for the condenser microphone?
    – jojeck
    Jul 14, 2016 at 14:58

2 Answers 2


That combination should work.

Make sure the Avid has phantom power on & is set for MIC (not "LINE") input. If that doesn't fix it, swap out the cables to make sure one of them isn't bad.

  • @jojek Yes, I have phantom power, without it I wont even get a signal. I think this issue is common, with this combination in specific: NT-1A and Mbox 3. There is only a "Mic/Line" plug, and there's a button to switch between instrument (jack) and mic on the front, next to the gain knob. Will getting a separate preamp fix this issue? And should I plug the pre-amp before the mbox, or just directly into the laptop without the card? I really am new to the recording scene!
    – RedaBitar
    Jul 14, 2016 at 16:17

Compression gives you higher noise levels without a noise gate. Do you have the -20dB pad turned off? The gain the Avid mbox-3 is advertised with should most certainly be sufficient for a rather hot microphone like the NT-1A. Maybe check whether there is some internal software mixer or something like that in the interface that interferes.

Maybe measure whether the advertised 48V are actually 48V and not something entirely less.

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