Recording problems...

Alright, here it goes.

The microphone jack on both my mac and pc stopped working. So, I bought a Blue Icicle XLR-USB interface. I recieved it in the mail yesterday, and I decided to immediately try it out. I followed all of the directions (they’re fairly simple), made sure all my audio settings were correct (choosing Blue Icicle as my input device).

For some reason, though, audacity keeps having trouble reading this, or something, as it won’t record at all. I tried it out on my mac, using both audacity and garage band, and with both, it records, but it only records loud, loud noise, but only when I use my Rode NT1A microphone that I bought fairly recently. It records just fine when I plug my Shure SM57 into the Icicle…

I know for a fact that there’s nothing wrong with my NT1A. I’ve tested it out on my guitar amp, and it works just fine. It’s just that, when I try record with my NT1A plugged into my Blue Icicle, it only picks up loud noise, or, with my pc, won’t even record. I’ve messed around with the Icicle’s gain knob, but it doesn’t change anything.

I don’t think this is really an audacity problem, necessarily, but I figured I’d ask here anyway. Any suggestions?

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Or, much more likely, whatever you’re plugging into it stopped working. Since modern Macs (last 12 years) do not have microphone inputs, how old are these machines?

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The Blue Icicle is recommended for microphones that use Phantom Power. Other microphones may not work properly.

Phantom Power puts battery voltage on the XLR pins the “wrong way,” from the Icicle up to the microphone. Phantom Power microphones use this battery voltage to boost and process your voice and send the sound signal back to the Icicle. If you have a microphone that’s not ready for that little dance, it may cause significant damage. You can permanently destroy a ribbon microphone by getting this wrong.

The SM57, SM58 or other straight, simple dynamic microphones should not care and they should work fine.

<<<I’ve messed around with the Icicle’s gain knob, but it doesn’t change anything. >>>

If the gain knob doesn’t change anything with the SM57, then the Icicle may be broken.

Koz

The Rode NT1-A requires phantom power. So I can’t understand how it works when plugged into your guitar amp.

– Bill

I plug the microphone into my phantom power supply and from that into the amp…

“Or, much more likely, whatever you’re plugging into it stopped working. Since modern Macs (last 12 years) do not have microphone inputs, how old are these machines?”


It’s only a few years old. I was able to plug my microphone into and record just fine for the last few months before it stopped working.

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You can’t leave out any steps when you describe what you’re doing. We can’t look over your shoulder and we’re a slave to the words you use. Any time you get the urge to give us extra information, surrender to that urge. What kind of Mac is it and which OS?

Say you plug the Rode into the Icicle and into the Mac. Turn everything on.

Apple > System Preferences > Hardware > Sound > Input. Select the Icicle or whatever it’s called in the panel. Talk into the Rode. Do you get a fairly respectable bouncing on the little blue-ball sound meter? Neither too low or too high?

Koz

Sorry, I assumed you’d all know I plugged it into the power supply, otherwise it wouldn’t have been working like I said it was.

Alright, it’s a MAC OS X. I’ve already checked out the sound input like you described. When my Rode is plugged into the icicle and into the Mac, the meter shows that I’m making a LOT of noise, even if I’m not making a single sound. When I plug my Shure into the icicle and into the Mac, it looks like it’s supposed to; I get a very normal, “respectable” bouncing on the sound meter. It’s as if there’s something wrong with my microphone, but like I said before, it works completely fine through an amp. Maybe it’s not compatible with the Blue Icicle? That’d be strange.

From the specs on the Blue page it says that the Icicle supplies 48V phantom power. Nowhere does it says how much current it can supply. Are you plugging the Rode directly into the Icicle? Perhaps the Rode is drawing too much current? This may sound weird, but what happens if you plug the Rode into your phantom supply (which I assume has an XLR output), and thence into the Icicle?

– Bill

<<<Sorry, I assumed you’d all know I plugged it into the power supply, otherwise it wouldn’t have been working like I said it was.>>>

We have posters who are new to Audacity and computers and it’s not obvious. Trust me we pay attention to each word you say. One of the tricks we use is think about describing to your mom how to connect the microphone – on your mobile phone. That’s the kind of detail we need.

“OK mom, see that box called Power Supply?”

<<<Alright, it’s a MAC OS X.>>>

Apple > About This Computer. Read Processor and Version.

<<<what happens if you plug the Rode into your phantom supply (which I assume has an XLR output), and thence into the Icicle?>>>

The Rode power supply should completely ignore the battery voltage coming from the Icicle. If that starts working, then the battery coming out of the Icicle may be damaged, and nobody will be shocked about that. It’s trying to make the 48 volt phantom supply from the little 5 volt battery coming out of the USB connector. This process can get dirty and has killed off many USB powered devices.

I’m thinking here about the Famous iMic. Still in a dusty box in my garage.

Can you plug the Icicle into Some Body Else’s computer? A different USB connection on the one you have?

And just to cover the bases, can you change the XLR cable between the microphone and the Icicle? Nothing magic about it, just different.

Koz