Somewhat unconventional recording set up here - to avoid having to plug and unplug instruments, everything is connected to an old but good hifi amp whose external in/out jacks are routed to my pc via a Behringer UCA202 interface. All works great except for an Akai micrpohone which I’m running through an old Akai rel to reel. The monitor level is fine but the recorded level is terrible. It’s not an active mic as far as I know so doesn’t need power.
Akai micrpohone which I’m running through an old Akai rel to reel. The monitor level is fine but the recorded level is terrible.
So the reel-to-reel is just being used as a microphone preamp? What’s the difference between the monitoring connection and the recording connection?
How “terrible” is the level? If the sound quality is OK digital levels are not that critical because you can boost digitally after recording (as long as you are recording the mic as a separate track).
to avoid having to plug and unplug instruments,
What kind of instruments? Keyboards should be OK but I assume your hi-fi amp doesn’t have a proper guitar input.
You might want to consider getting a mixer (maybe a [u]USB mixer[/u]). You can get mixers with mic, line, and instrument (guitar) inputs, But, you might need a “modern” microphone with balanced (3-wire XLR) connections. Note that stage & studio microphones (with balanced connections) are not properly compatible with regular soundcards or laptops.
Or, you might want to get a [u]USB Interface[/u] with mic/line/instrument inputs. But, you still might end-up switching inputs (physically or digitally) which is not as easy as adjusting the knobs/faders on a mixer.
The monitor level is fine but the recorded level is terrible.
Let me read that back to you. The monitor level on the Akai Reel To Reel is fine, but the recording in Audacity is terrible.
I bet the reel to reel doesn’t go fully into E/E (electronic to electronic) until you either “arm it” or start an actual recording. Try it. Put a roll of blank tape on there and press record. I bet all your problems vanish.
I have a stand-alone sound recorder which does that. The first time I press record, it starts up everything to see if I got all the levels and settings right but doesn’t actually “roll tape” until I press record again. The progress timer doesn’t start advancing until the second press. I’m pretty sure the big commercial machines used to do that.
Thanks for the suggestions. The instruments so far are guitars and electronic drums and both give a crystal clear, strong response when connected to the tape deck. I tried the mic again today and it seemed better when recorded to audacity but it’s a consumer grade mic that I think may just not be good enough. I’ve only used it in the past with the tape deck where it was adequate.
I also tried putting the tape deck into record mode but that made no difference. I have a couple of other mics that may be a little better suited to this purpose.