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Using Line-In to record...

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I use an MZ-NH1 and Core Sound cardoid mics

Up until now I have been running my mics into the "mic input" and getting decent recordings. I recently bought a two channel mixer so I could run the mics into one channel and a line off the board into the other channel then mix and run into the minidisc. I didn't realize that I needed a pre-amp to power the mics so... I bought a 9 volt pre-amp.

Thats the backstory... now onto my question... after receiving my pre-amp I had a gig to record but I didn't want to mess with the mixer but I wanted to try out the pre-amp. I tried plugging the mics into the pre-amp and the pre-amp into the "Line In" of the minidisc because I heard that would give a better sounding recording then the mic-in. The problem is that the recording level is not loud enough. Even with a fairly loud test of cranking up my home stereo and I cranked the recording level up to 30/30 and could barely get the level to touch the first dot. I usually like to get my recordings between the first and second dots. Am I missing something here? I assumed I would have plenty of headroom to set the recording level... any thoughts would be appreciated.

By the way, I still used the pre-amp and ran it into the mic-in (I did notice that I only had to set the recording level to about 12/30 to get a good recording level which is lower then without the pre-amp) and the recording turned out great.

Any thoughts on how to get the recording level "hotter" using the line-in?

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The SPL at a show will usually be a lot more than your home stereo can put out if it's inside a club,etc. You might get some distortion with higher SPL if you keep it in the MIC IN. Instead of a 9V battery box, look at something like the Reactive Sounds Boost box to boost the signal not just power the mics like a 9V battery box. Or maybe I read it wrong and you do have a preamp. If so, is it adjustable for the gain? I think your source may have been the problem. Even with the battery box/preamp, with low SPL you still might need a bigger boost. The battery box through the Mic In will definitely take the work off your MD preamp (which isn't that great).

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Thanks for the response... you may be right, my home stereo as a source may not be the best test. I ought to try it in a live club setting. The recording I got using a 9 volt pre-amp and running "mic in" turned out great. No distortion. I may try the line-in at our next gig to see how it does.

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  • 3 months later...

I've always gone line in. Sound professionals cardoids along with their mini battery module.

I know most will consider this absolutely blasphemous, but I use line in with the auto gain control on. Why? Because it has always given me great results and most importantly- it lets me record without having to wory whether my levels are ok. I used to record with a sharp unit where I could play with the levels on the fly and that was nice, but I just really prefer the auto gain control.

All the shows I tape are incredibly loud... the doors, zz top, joe satriani.. its just nice haing the AGC keeping everything in check. That being said, I've never had a problem with a recording being too low. If I went to a quieter concert, I'd definietly consider switching off the AGC and setting the levels myself.

edit: one show was so loud that even the AGC couldnt handle it. AGC along with bass roll off was still not enough.... that was a loud one!

Edited by Zappa
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