Clipping Microphones
December 14, 2004 3:53 PM   Subscribe

I have a set of phantom-powered microphones (MXL 990 and 991). I plug them into my Fostex VF160, the digital multitrack recorder I love so much. They clip! Even when I play quietly, I get clipping. What am I missing?
posted by Polonius to Technology (5 answers total)
Trim control adjustment? Polarization pattern? Have you reheaped the framistat?
posted by bryanzera at 4:13 PM on December 14, 2004

my roommate has the same mics (and i'm planning on picking up a set), and if i remember correctly, they have a -10db pad button. make sure this is set so that the gain is on the lower setting. check to see if there's any sort of gain adjustment on the inputs on your multitrack, whether it's a trim knob that you can turn down, or an on/off gain setting. otherwise, it may make sense to use some separate gain control between the mic and the multitrack, whether that's a stand-alone preamp or a separate mixer that you can use to adjust the level of the signal.

also, these mics are naturally just hotter and more sensitive than dynamic mics, so if you're used to mic'ing with, say, an SM57, you'll want to back off of your source, or play/sing quieter. the mxl 990 works nicely for vocals at about 18"-24" distance, i've found. at least in a decent size room.
posted by cathodeheart at 4:30 PM on December 14, 2004

I have the same set of mics. There's no 10 dB pad on the mics themselves. The gain must be set too high somewhere on the multitrack.
posted by ludwig_van at 5:08 PM on December 14, 2004

i am the infamous roomate :)

I believe the -10db switch is only on the mxl 993 which is the next step up from the 991. I bought the MXL 990/993 combo.

But I believe cathode is right, back up. They will pick you up just fine. It's also important to find good recording techniques, ie: which way to point the mic at a guitar, drums, for your voice, etc. experiment with distance and angles. As I don't know what you are recording exactly, this link has some good techniques and so does tapeop's messageboards
posted by freudianslipper at 6:05 PM on December 14, 2004

Since, as ludwig_van points out, your mics don't have the built-in pad, you can also slap an in-line one on the cable path.

Don't go crappy here, though -- cheapest will sound exactly that.
posted by piro at 6:36 AM on December 15, 2004

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