extremely low recording level when run through mixer

Running Audacity 2.1.3 on OSX Sierra 10.12.6

I am trying to record voiceovers using Sennheiser Dynamic vocal mics connected to a Mackie 1604 VLZ Pro Mixer using XLR to 1/4 cables. The mixer is connected to my iMac using a USB connection. The problem I’m having is that when I record audio tracks on Audacity, it doesn’t show any waveforms when it is recording. However, if I “Normalize” the track after recording, the waveforms are present and the sound is good. On the mixer itself, I have the gain and levels set as high as I possibly can without it sounding terrible. In Audacity, I can see the levels jumping as I’m speaking into the mic but for whatever reason, no waveforms on the actual track. And no waveforms until I “Normalize”.

I’ve tried changing the cable that runs from the mixer to the computer with no luck. I’ve also called Mackie about this issue and the technician said it’s something on Audacity’s end. Any help is appreciated!

This is in response to my initial question: Does anyone know of a plugin that might help fix this issue? I’m willing to try anything!

How high is the pre-fade level metering on the mixer? That should peak at around 0db.
How high is the post-fade level on the mixer? That should peak at around -6 dB (OK to go a bit over, but keep it below 0 dB).
How high is the meter level in Audacity? That should be about the same as the post-fade level on the mixer (and always below 0 dB).

What sort of dynamic mic? If it’s a “stage mic”, then they are designed for very close mic’ing (mic within a few cm of your mouth).

to a Mackie 1604 VLZ Pro Mixer using XLR to 1/4 cables.

We may have wisked right by this. The Mackie doesn’t have 1/4" microphone connections. Are you using rock band cables with the XLR at the microphone and the 1/4" in the amp? The Mackie doesn’t support that. You have to use XLR on both ends.


This is the cable you were using, right?