Microphone Volume super low with whitenoise?

I recently obtained a Rode NT1-a Microphone and a MXL mic mate pro to use for recording at home. However I seem to be having a problem with the microphone. The volume on the microphone is extremely low and their is a very large amount of white noise. Even with the gain set all the way up, the microphone can barely be heard, and the white noise is almost deafening in comparison. I have my microphone connected to my mic mate pro with the xlr cable that comes with the mic and the mic mate pro is connected to my mac pro using a mini usb to usb cable. Can anyone shed light on my situation? Do I need additional equipment? Am I doing something wrong with the software? I have tested this set up with audacity in windows bootcamp on the mac pro, as well as garage band on the mac pro and on a macbook pro.

I would expect that to work.

Can you make it worse? If it is working a little, can you make it much worse by turning the gain control down?

Is the microphone volume low, or is the noise level super high (or both)? If you’re on a Mac: Apple (upper left) > System Preferences > Hardware > Sound > Input. Make sure your USB Device is selected and see if there is any condition where you can get the bouncing blue ball sound meter to work.

Do you have any other XLR type microphones? Do you know somebody in a band?

Shut down your Mac and take each connection apart and put it back together again. Start the Mac and after it settles, start Audacity. Select the USB device and see if you can make a recording.


How is the head-phones output? It should have a separate gain knob. Is there also white noise in the performance?

Yes, when I turn the gain control down I hear nothing. The headphone volume is the same as the sound from the computer, very low with a lot of white noise. All the volumes are maxed (on the system and with the mic mate pro)

Did you try reconnecting everything?

There are not a lot of options. Did you save your receipts?

Find some way to split the system and check each part. Find a rock band that has a microphone you can plug in instead of the NT-1. Find a rock band with a mixer that has Phantom Power and see if your NT-1 works with their mixer.

Find another computer to try. Nobody thinks it’s the computer, but it’s always possible.

Without the rock band or another microphone or mixer or computer and without advanced tools, you’re stuck with sending the system back. This is the down side of using an advanced sound system in a vacuum.


My money is on the little USB/amplifier. I know people who have NT-1 microphones and they’re very highly thought of. Nobody’s had one fail. Koz

You don’t have another XLR cable do you?



I have tried this set up with the mac pro and a macbook pro with no avail. I do not have another xlr cable… could that be the issue? I’m not sure about the microphone but the mic mate pro is definitely out of warranty. Should I invest in another preamp/converter or is the microphone broken?

Chances of the microphone or cable being broken are almost zero – but not quite zero. This is not a cheap microphone. But the USB Adapter/Amplifier is consumer-grade, low end. That’s why my money is on that.

Maybe a little history on this system? If you just got it in the mail, why is it out of warranty? Where has it been for the warranty period? Has it ever worked? Has it worked with that microphone?

You can resolve a lot of expense instantly by finding someone who can plug that microphone in and play it. Music store, rock band, church. The microphone needs Phantom Power from the mixer. You don’t need to know that that is, but it’s required for your microphone. Your USB Amplifier/Adapter claims it can provide that. There’s no good way to check that without tools or another microphone.


I’m taking my microphone right now to best buy to get it tested. If It’s not the microphone its definitely the pre-amp right?

The microphone and the cable. Check both.

Then yes, the only thing left that hasn’t been tested is the Preamp/USB adapter.


I little history, I bought the Rode mic 4 years ago working on a project… While working on it I thought I was recording through the mic (it turned out I was recording from the mic on my monitor which is also usb.( note I had also had these problems then but I thought I fixed it when in actuality I just switched mics,) I never had to use it again so I put the cover on it and put it back in the box. Recently I have been starting a new project and needed it again and now I have a different monitor (with no usb mic) and this is when I started to notice the problems.

So this combination may have never worked. My money is still on the adapter rather than the mic.

Ok, so I just got back from best buy and apparently they’re closing down their music department, so there were no mixers and preamps for me to test my setup with. I’ve decided to bet on the fact that the mic mate pro is faulty and go ahead and look for preamps. Can anyone recommend a good replacement for the mic mate pro for around 100$?

You’re paying a serious premium for small size. For a bit more you can get a whole mixer and USB interconnect.

Or equivalent tiny USB mixers by other manufacturers.

There is another poster going through this same exercise. I can’t recommend what I use because I have special circumstances. The forum can’t recommend anything.

I own one of these but I don’t like it very much.