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No ability to control record level.

Permanent link to this postPosted: Tue Nov 21, 2017 2:18 pm
Posted by yellowtriumph
I am using a Behringer ACA202 connected via it's usb lead to my iMac running macOS High Sierra. I am running Audacity v2.2.0. I am hoping to transfer my old quarter inch tape collection to the iMac for archiving purposes.

I can monitor and record the output of the tape recorder ok on my iMac using Audacity, but, I do not not seem able to adjust the recording level (the source material is 40 years old and vary variable level on playback!). The 'slide bar control' to adjust the recording level says 'Recording Volume (Unavailable; use system mixer)'.

Try as hard as I might I cannot find the 'system mixer'. I have found the 'Audio midi set up' under the iMac's utilities, the Behringer is shown as an input and output device - USB Audio Codec 2, but the 'Master level control' is greyed out and not selectable or operable.

I do hope someone can point me in the right direction please.

Re: No ability to control record level.

Permanent link to this postPosted: Tue Nov 21, 2017 4:31 pm
Posted by billw58
That "use system mixer" applies mostly to Windows, unfortunately. On Mac there is no possibility of level control of a USB audio input device.

In the case of Mac, "system mixer" means the Sound panel in System Preferences. You'll find that the input level slider there is disabled when you select the Behringer for input.

How low are the levels? What reel-to-reel recorder are you using for the transfer? Does it have output level control?

If the peak levels are -20 dB or higher you're OK. I've found that's not atypical for Behringer USB audio input devices. The tape noise (hiss) will overwhelm any noise inherent to the interface. So you can just use Effect > Amplify to bring the level up after recording.

-- Bill

Re: No ability to control record level.

Permanent link to this postPosted: Tue Nov 21, 2017 5:33 pm
Posted by yellowtriumph
Bill - many thanks for your reply.

I'm using my old Akai X201D tape recorder, it does not have any form of level control on it's outputs. I actually have too much signal rather than too little, hence I am suffering from occasional overload and distortion problems.

I have an Acer Windows 7 laptop and whilst it's not ideal I guess I will have to use that. If I go down that path, is the Windows input signal control function actually controlling the levels within the Behringer itself or is it performing some 'jiggery pokery' on the digitised signal arriving down the USB lease? I mindful that the signal may be being distorting in the RCAphono /USB conversion process and, in effect, the level control in the Windows control panel is just controlling the level of the signal after it has been distorted. I guess I really need to ensure the correct signal levels going in to the Behringer.

I used to have a hi-fi amp and could have plugged it between the Akai and the Behringer to reduce and control the levels, I used this technique when I was archiving my old Betamax collection (!), but, I took it to the local dump after finishing the video transfers not ever thinking I would need it again. Lesson learned.

Re: No ability to control record level.

Permanent link to this postPosted: Tue Nov 21, 2017 8:11 pm
Posted by billw58
I doubt very much that the Windows machine will control the analog level in the Behringer before conversion. You are correct that it will likely just reduce the level of the already-distorted signal.

You could try using an adapter cable to connect the headphone output of the Akai to the Behringer - that way you could control the level into the Behringer.

-- Bill

Re: No ability to control record level.

Permanent link to this postPosted: Wed Nov 22, 2017 8:13 am
Posted by yellowtriumph
billw58 wrote:I doubt very much that the Windows machine will control the analog level in the Behringer before conversion. You are correct that it will likely just reduce the level of the already-distorted signal.

You could try using an adapter cable to connect the headphone output of the Akai to the Behringer - that way you could control the level into the Behringer.

-- Bill


There is no control of the level from the headphone socket either - but do you think it will be lower than the levels from the line-level phono outputs?

Re: No ability to control record level.

Permanent link to this postPosted: Wed Nov 22, 2017 5:09 pm
Posted by billw58
yellowtriumph wrote:There is no control of the level from the headphone socket either - but do you think it will be lower than the levels from the line-level phono outputs?

That's too bad. A picture of the machine seems to show a level control above the headphone socket. No, I doubt that the headphone output is lower than the line output.

The specs I've found on the web for this machine say it has a DIN output of 0.4V. That might be worth a try. The spec for the line output says 1.23V which is quite high.

A DIN to RCA cable might be difficult to find these days. Are you confident opening up the machine and soldering an RCA cable to the DIN connector?

Another option is to find a pre-amp and use that to control the level into the Behringer.

As I said before, using the Windows laptop is unlikely to help, but there's no downside to trying.

-- Bill

Re: No ability to control record level.

Permanent link to this postPosted: Wed Nov 22, 2017 5:33 pm
Posted by waxcylinder
billw58 wrote:Another option is to find a pre-amp and use that to control the level into the Behringer.

I used this ARTcessories one when I digibitted my vinyl and tapes: http://artproaudio.com/turntable_preamp ... /djpre_ii/
See that lovely big gain control knob on the front - i fed that to my external USB soundcard Edirol UA-1EX (now discontinued)

Artcessories also make a combined preamp with USB ADC?DAC soundcard: http://artproaudio.com/turntable_preamp ... o_plus-ps/

I would have bought one of those if it was available at the time

WC

Re: No ability to control record level.

Permanent link to this postPosted: Mon Nov 27, 2017 1:26 pm
Posted by yellowtriumph
billw58 wrote:
yellowtriumph wrote:There is no control of the level from the headphone socket either - but do you think it will be lower than the levels from the line-level phono outputs?

That's too bad. A picture of the machine seems to show a level control above the headphone socket. No, I doubt that the headphone output is lower than the line output.

The specs I've found on the web for this machine say it has a DIN output of 0.4V. That might be worth a try. The spec for the line output says 1.23V which is quite high.

A DIN to RCA cable might be difficult to find these days. Are you confident opening up the machine and soldering an RCA cable to the DIN connector?

Another option is to find a pre-amp and use that to control the level into the Behringer.

As I said before, using the Windows laptop is unlikely to help, but there's no downside to trying.

-- Bill



Many thanks Bill, sorry for the delay in replying. I probably do have a DIN>phono lead somewhere amongst myself stash of old leads. So I will give it a go sometime - busy with other things at the moment.

PS, the control above the headphone socket is the mains on/off push button switch.

Re: No ability to control record level.

Permanent link to this postPosted: Mon Nov 27, 2017 1:29 pm
Posted by yellowtriumph
waxcylinder wrote:
billw58 wrote:Another option is to find a pre-amp and use that to control the level into the Behringer.

I used this ARTcessories one when I digibitted my vinyl and tapes: http://artproaudio.com/turntable_preamp ... /djpre_ii/
See that lovely big gain control knob on the front - i fed that to my external USB soundcard Edirol UA-1EX (now discontinued)

Artcessories also make a combined preamp with USB ADC?DAC soundcard: http://artproaudio.com/turntable_preamp ... o_plus-ps/

I would have bought one of those if it was available at the time

WC


Thank you for the links, I will investigate them further if needs be. I see there is an agent in the UK.

Re: No ability to control record level.

Permanent link to this postPosted: Tue Nov 28, 2017 10:05 am
Posted by waxcylinder
yellowtriumph wrote:
waxcylinder wrote:
billw58 wrote:Another option is to find a pre-amp and use that to control the level into the Behringer.

I used this ARTcessories one when I digibitted my vinyl and tapes: http://artproaudio.com/turntable_preamp ... /djpre_ii/
See that lovely big gain control knob on the front - i fed that to my external USB soundcard Edirol UA-1EX (now discontinued)

Artcessories also make a combined preamp with USB ADC?DAC soundcard: http://artproaudio.com/turntable_preamp ... o_plus-ps/

I would have bought one of those if it was available at the time

WC


Thank you for the links, I will investigate them further if needs be. I see there is an agent in the UK.

I bought mine in the UK - online somewhere, can't recall.