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Thread: Distorted Audio Recording [Help!]

  1. #1
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    Question Distorted Audio Recording [Help!]

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    What's up guys,
    So I am using a Tascam tm78 (microphone) on Logic X via XLR connection to my Presonus Audiobox USB 2x2.
    I have a late 2015 iMac i5, 16gb computer.

    For the past few hours I have been struggling with getting a clean and clear sound recorded. You cannot hear anything unless you bring the gain and headphone knobs very high; at which point you hear only a distorted and clipping audio.
    As a test I dragged an MP3 into my daw and played it through my external speakers - Full and clear sound.
    I then heard it through my audiobox + headphones and the sound was incomplete and distorted.
    This leads me to rule out the microphone being broken.

    Everything seems to be plugged in properly.
    Phantom power was on.
    I fiddled with the buffer and I/O to no avail.
    I updated my OS & Audiobox sound card via Presonus' website.

    Please help!

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    Try to record a line level signal, mono, stereo, tv, game console whatever.

    What about the levels of your recordings?
    Recording | Mixing | Mastering | 1-on-1-Online-Tutoring

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  4. #3
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    It was set to Stereo.
    The levels seemed fine visually - it seems like the only issue is audio playback / input listening and audio recording quality.
    Bars look good. Sound quality is very poor, low, broken and distorted.

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    Right, what Mad Phonetics said, then get back to us. Even though you gave a lot of great information about your gear (kudos! most ppl leave that off the first 3 posts!), without knowing your exact signal path, how you're setting levels, and hearing what you're hearing, it's hard to diagnose. Try line level and see if that plays back as good as the MP3. Since the MP3 sounded good, and apparently the microphone is sending signal (what do the input meters look like when the mike is being used, btw?), it sounds like your interface is ok and your mike is ok (from the little we know now, obviously). It sounds like a gain-staging thing, or maybe there is a problem with your XLR input? Is this a new, or pre-owned interface? Is there a pad switch or a mute switch on any piece of gear that is inadvertently depressed? Have you tried the simplest thing first (changing the mike cable)? Would it be possible to post a file of the crappy/distorted sound?
    Gregg Juke
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  7. #5
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    Ah, you responded while I was fighting with auto-correct. So, no clipping on the meters, good healthy signal, but bad playback? Can you monitor with headphones while you record? If so, how does the mike signal sound while it is recording your source (voice or whatever)? In other words, can you listen while you track, and what does it sound like-- distorted or clean?
    Gregg Juke
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    Please try to record a line level signal. The source doesn't matter, that's what I liked to say.


    What does 'levels seemed fine visually' mean? Some intelligent people invented the Decibel scale to make it easy to communicate exact levels.
    But btw I think it's the audio interface, so if you're looking for a solution for your problem on the short run...
    Recording | Mixing | Mastering | 1-on-1-Online-Tutoring

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  10. #7
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    Thanks for the replies guys,
    This is actually my first time setting a system up and I'm very green so I don't know some of the jargon but I looked up what you guys were suggesting.
    So I'm leaning toward what Mad Phonetics suggests which is an audiobox issue. Granted it's new and so is the unused XLR cable.
    Listening to recording as well as imported MP3 track resonates brokenly when through the interface.
    Microphone receives signal (those are said visual lines, sorry haha) and can even reach clipping.
    I cannot record a line level signal, but maybe it helps you to know that the preset instruments downloaded with Logic also sound broken when going through the audiobox? But not the computer speakers itself.

    rhythmgj, I have been recording while listening to it live and it never sounds clear, both during and after recording.
    Is it possible Logic (to which I'm new to too) recognizes the input as something that would not have the same levels as a microphone?..

    For decibels, when gain is at the max, my talking level just about clips. (8" from mic) - and of course, the sound is incomplete.
    When both gain and headphone knobs are maxed I hear the light fuzz of white noise but with little pickup of anything else.

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    screen-shot-2017-02-10-9-58-59-pm-pngscreen-shot-2017-02-10-9-59-30-pm-pngscreen-shot-2017-02-10-9-59-19-pm-pngscreen-shot-2017-02-10-9-59-45-pm-pngscreen-shot-2017-02-10-9-59-06-pm-png
    Important to Note:
    It says built-in mic but I was testing the difference, it is Not how I recorded with the Tascam. Both output and input had been set to Audiobox USB
    I decided to run the vocals through a Library filter to see if it would help - it did not.
    Last edited by Jaycrow; 02-10-2017 at 06:05 PM.

  12. #9
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    One thing I'm concerned about is that things look like they're set-up as 5.1, rather than stereo. I know you have your output set to stereo, but it looks like maybe your input is 5.1. Just for your old pal Honk, make sure that is set to stereo (actually, mono, if that is an input choice).

    Your manual says that you have a dimmer for monitoring, and it looks like you have that volume pretty low, but the actual signal you have recorded looks pretty healthy (the waveform looks fine). Check to make sure that you do not have a "D" button depressed on either your master output _or_ the channel you have the vocal on; this is the dimmer button and will not totally mute that channel, but significantly reduce the output volume. I'm thinking that might be what's happening...
    Last edited by rhythmgj; 02-11-2017 at 12:13 AM. Reason: ...
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  14. #10
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    PS-- If that seems to be the issue, make sure to turn your headphones down and your vocal channel and master output down a bit before listening to playback, or you will get a big surprise (and probably have tinnitus for a week as well)!
    Gregg Juke
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