I recently purchased a new Behringer C-1U USB Microphone. It is a condenser mic and seems to produce nice quality sound. The problem I am having is that the mic is too quiet. Even when I set the audio mixer mic volume to max, I get very low levels when used with Audicity. I’ve tried other mics and they have good sound levels, but he Behringer continues to produce low level sound.
I did a google search and found this a common problem with this mic and Audicity.
Anyone else had this problem? Any suggestions?
I bet it’s not Audacity. I use Audacity with multiple different USB microphones and the volume is just fine. Did the microphone come with a software package or driver to change characteristics independent of the audio program?
Can you make it worse? If you can, it means you do have the tools, they’re just not enough.
If you can’t change it at all, it could mean that the microphone has fixed gain. That means it needs to be low to avoid overloading. Anybody with an amplifier or amplifier tool can make the performance louder, but overload damage is obvious, permanent, and fatal.
Thanks for the reply Koz,
I agree that it is unlikely that Audicity is the problem. I just thought that maybe someone else on this board may have encountered this problem with the C-1U and, hopefully, found a solution.
I did some googling of this problem and found a lot of folks are seeing the same thing with this mic. It is a new model and is USB drawing phantom power from the USB port. It may be that the USB port just can’t supply enough power to drive any kind of pre-amp in the device.
I did find a new driver to download from the manufacturer. It, I think, helped a little (hard to tell).
I dropped a support request to the Behringer folks and will wait to see if they have any ideas. With as many complaints as I’m finding on the net, Behringer needs to find some kind of work around or fix.
If I get anything useful, I’ll post it for others.
This microphone is a sister to the Samson C01U. Guess what? It has volume problems, too. “I have to yell into the microphone”…etc.
You need the ability to change the volume of the electrical signal before the digital converter, and the converter is in the microphone body. So the computer and the microphone have to seriously chat up and down that USB cable.
The other possibility is the capture system in the computer has digital management and can change volume during the USB capture. None of those is “normal.”
Since this isn’t an analog device, I don’t think ratty 5 volts in the USB connection is a problem – although you can certainly change the connection and see. Pick one in the rear of the computer. There’s less cable. The microphone has to internally generate serious voltages to run the capsule, so there is good isolation from whatever the USB is doing. I would expect dropouts or crunchy sound before low level. It’s not like vacuum tubes.
This is one of the other problems with USB microphones. When they’re good, they’re terrific, when they’re bad, you’re stuck.
I guess that you are not a rock vocalist, and you are not close mic’ing a saxophone. These microphones are designed to be able to cope with reasonably high level audio without distorting, but because there is no adjustable “gain” in the pre-amp section of the microphone, if you are talking quietly then the recording level will be low.
Get really close to the microphone, but avoid blowing on it (a “pop shield” can help to avoid wind-blast from your breath) and speak at a reasonable volume level.
After recording, use the Amplify effect to boost the volume level.
Thanks for all the responses. No I’m not a rocker or a sax. But, most of the promotion of this mic has been for easy pod-cast use (ie speaking).
Behringer has a couple of drivers to download, and one seemed to help a little.
While the audio that I’m getting is not unusable, it is quite low compared to a different mic used in the same situation.
I found a lot of chatter about this low-audio problem via google, so it seems to be common to the mic and not the software or hardware.
It used to be possible to unconditionally recommend USB microphones as long as you conformed to certain simple conditions – you only ever needed one mic, you were within three meters of the computer, etc.
This series of microphone messed that up…
It’s taken a while, but I’m getting better at Googling [some product] Complaints before I buy anything. I am reliably informed that my new leaf blower is expected to last two years and fifteen seconds. The unconditional warranty is two years.
The low recording level problem also exists with many other large diaphragm USB microphones.
It is not always so apparent as several manufacturers provide a system toolbar applet that amplifies (scales) the input from the microphone, thus providing a means to control the recording level. However, this does not get to the root of the problem which is that the microphone gain level (between the capsule and the A/D converter is fixed, so if the recording level is turned up via the applet, the result is exactly the same as using “Amplify” in Audacity - the recording level is increased, but so is the noise.
Many of the more expensive USB microphones (such as the Sure PG42-USB) provide a true adjustable gain control on the microphone, thus allowing the signal level from the capsule to be adjusted before the A/D conversion. This option comes at a price, so it is usually only available on quite expensive USB microphones.
I get very low levels when used with Audicity.
The only thing you have to do is: select the whole file. Go to effects, and click on Normalize (I don’t know how they say it in the English version of Audacity, but something like that…) You’ll get a regular sound… I’m having other issues… My Behringer isn’t being recognised, when I put it in it says: UNKNOWN DEVICE. which is weird, cuz it worked perfectly fine for a while…
Do you mean that your Behringer microphone is not being recognised by Windows?
I recently ordered a Behringer C-1U microphone and while waiting for it to arrive, I came across this thread and got really alarmed about the low recording volume of the microphone. I am happy to report that I faced no such issues. The volume I get from mic in Audacity on Windows is adequate and the quality is good. So it does not seem like there is an inherent recording level issue with this microphone.
It is true that when I first tried to adjust the microphone level from the properties dialog in Windows, I found that it was set to 6% by default. I changed it to 100% before doing my first recording and the level was alright. Possibly, this may be the reason why many people faced level issues with this microphone.
Funnily enough I have the same mic and having the same problem with Audacity. What’s even more puzzling is the mic works fine with other software I use.
As mentioned in the first post, the first thing to do is to ensure that the recording level for the mic is maxed out in the Windows Sound Control Panel.
Other recording software may use ASIO drivers, which use different settings from native Windows drivers, in which case it would not be surprising that the recording level is not the same.
I have a C-1, not a C-1U. It’s the analog version of the same mic. When paired with a Behringer UM2 preamp, it seems to work OK.
Like posted many times in this thread, USB microphones have “gentle” volume. Normal volume would be ideal, but if you get a little too expressive with your performance, it will cause overload distortion. Overload or clipping immediately sounds terrible and makes you want to send the microphone back.
Low volume makes the performer think it’s their problem and as long as it’s not too low, they can fix it in Audacity.
So that’s the problem with USB microphones. There’s a price for being insanely convenient.
This microphone is a junk. Throw it away without thinking, and look for another one. The electronics or the driver may be the problem, but it seems, nobody will ever take care of the volume levels.
It’s certainly not up to the level of a Neumann, but at less than 1% of the price of a Neumann I thought the one I tried was quite good for the price.
One of the most common problems with many USB mics in this price range is that the built-in mic pre-amp gain is not adjustable, so they are not suitable for recording quiet voices or very loud instruments. For someone with a reasonably strong voice and careful microphone placement, I got quite good results - better than many unbranded mics in this price range. (The price in the EU appears to be significantly lower than in the US).