Set up

I have Audacity on my laptop, an older Dell XPS with Windows XP. I am trying to set it up with an MXL 880 condenser mic connected to a Shure X2u interface. A USB cable to attaches to the computer. I’m getting no sound out of it. I have readjusted the settings, but can’t get anything to work. Help! It does work with a mic using a mini plug on the other side.

The X2U has a microphone volume control on the side. Make sure that’s all the way up. The Party Line is you adjust that for proper volume in a live performance, but in reality you always need it all the way up. That’s one of my complaints about this thing.

Do you get the lights on the X2U? There’s a USB OK one and a Phantom Power light if you need that.

Plug your earbuds into the X2U and see if you can hear the microphone. There is a volume control for the headphones, too.

Got all that so far?


MXL 880 condenser mic points to a whole series of microphones. Does your particular microphone require 48 volt Phantom Power? Did you turn it on? Koz

Done, Phantom power on, head phones on, no difference.

Volume up, phantom power on, headphones on, no difference and no sound through the head phones.

So you have two lights on the X2U (green and blue) and your headphones are plugged into the X2U? Then the microphone “chain” is broken. The earphones catch the sound before the digitizers.

The microphone itself could be broken – again you didn’t tell us which one you have.

The XLR cable between the X2U and the microphone could be broken or just wrong. You can’t use audio adapters. This has to be an actual Broadcast XLR cable or series of cables (they will plug into each other to get longer).

Those are the cables that support Phantom Power.

Or the X2U could be fried – but generally, if you have all the right lights, I doubt it. My X2U is very well built.

Unless you have another XLR microphone we’re stuck. I keep a cheap, PA System XLR microphone in my run bag to test problems like this.


There is another light up near the microphone. It’s a signal and overload light. If you tap smartly on the microphone, do you ever get that light? If not, that’s probably the death of the microphone or something else serous up that way.

Does the microphone have a power switch or other controls? Does it have a number? Are you sure the mic cable is in good health? This cable has to be in perfect condition for this system. Ratty cables need not apply.


There’s another Desperation Method trick. Turn the Phantom Power off. The blue light fades out. Turn the microphone volume all the way up and watch the signal light while you unplug and plug in the mic cable to the X2U. Do you get the light? Disconnecting any microphone cable should disturb the system enough to get the light. That’s pretty much proof that the X2U is working.

This trick doesn’t always work, that’s why it’s a desperation trick. But if you do get a light flash, that’s a good thing – for the X2U.

Did you keep the receipts for the microphone?