View Full Version : USB Condenser Mic tooooooo quiet :(

06-09-2009, 07:52 AM
I'm putting this on the beginners page, because when it comes to recording I am certainly a beginner. I've found some really helpful stuff via the search function, but I'm still stuck.

I have upgraded to a USB condenser mic (Behringer C-1U) and am running Audacity. The input volume from the mic is so quiet, I have to amplify everything. Even when I put the uke right up to the mic.

I have set the C-1U as my default mic in Audacity and have also set the Windows capture volume and the Audacity input volume to maximum. I have also applied the input boost through the Windows control panel. I understand that USB mics bypass the soundcard, so that shouldn't be a factor I hope.

The meter toolbar shows I am getting input (the meter goes to about 60-70%) but the waveform display on the recording is tiny, making me think not much data is getting through.

When I watch vids by the pros on here, their mics are often a couple of feet in front of them, but the audio sounds great.

Am I being incredibly thick here or is there a way to sort out input volume?
Any advice would be much appreciated (or it's back to the tie-clip mic dangling through the soundhole).

06-09-2009, 08:22 AM
What does the involyme on your computer say then? In the volumecontrol?

06-09-2009, 08:43 AM
The input volume in control panel is full blast. So is the capture volume bar assigned to the mic. In the "Sounds and Audio Devices" window.

Is this what you meant? (Sorry I'm a bit dim with computers.)

06-09-2009, 10:40 AM
Is the little red light on the microphone lit up? If not, you aren't getting phantom power from your mixing board. The Behringer C-1 requires phantom power to operate.

06-09-2009, 10:45 AM
Yes indeed. The light is lit up and so the mic is getting phantom power.

I'm totally baffled by this one. I've emailed Behringer's online help people as well. I'll let you know if they come up with anything useful.

Thanks for the suggestions so far :)

06-09-2009, 10:50 AM
Hmm... that's weird. These mics are designed to just plug and play. Please do let us know what Behringer has to say. Something is overriding your input somewhere along the line from your mic to the recording software.

06-09-2009, 10:57 AM
Something is overriding your input somewhere along the line from your mic to the recording software.

Right, that's what it sounds like (no pun intended) -- if you haven't already, try recording in another program, like Windows Sound Recorder and see what happens.

06-09-2009, 11:54 AM
Thanks for all the advice. I tried using Sound Recorder, and the levels are still very quiet. The waveform display hardly flickers when recording.

I've been reading LOADS of stuff on the net, and other suggestions are that the motherboard cannot relay the data correctly or that my video card has done something to my setup.

I am going to attempt to test the mic on a friend's computer and see what happens. I will let you all know :D

06-09-2009, 01:39 PM
According to Behringer it gets the phantom from the USB, I've seen some older computers not put out enough voltage to charge batteries on Mp3 players.

You could have a bad USB cable. Trying it on another computer with the same cable and if it still doesn't work try another cable. If you can find someone that is using a USB mic on their computer that would sure make it easier to isolate.

06-09-2009, 01:53 PM
This may sound like a really stupid question, but do you have the mic oriented properly? It should be standing upright with the side that has the light on it facing the sound source. If it's not that simple then I found this in another forum that explains the steps someone else took to solve the same problem with another USB mic:

I opened Sound & Audio Devices, clicked the Audio tab & chose my mic in the drop-down box under Sound recording, then clicked the Volume button. In the Windows mixer menu I chose Options/Properties then selected the Recording Radio Button. In the box below I ticked the Capture & Microphone Check Boxes & clicked OK. In Windows mixer menu I set both Capture & Microphone sliders to max & got massive gain, the mic now picks up every sound in the room, TV, whispers, typing, everything.

06-10-2009, 03:55 AM
It does sound as if the mic isn't getting enought phantom power. Is there an option to self power the mic with a battery? If not, you could try a pre amp like this one: http://www.mveducation.com/invt/46759/ otherwise I am stumped. You shouldn't need to be so close with a condenser.

06-10-2009, 06:44 AM
Thanks for all the help guys. Yes, I've got the mic orientated properly, facing the right direction etc.

I think it is a phantom power problem, from what you're all saying. Phantom power IS getting through, because I get a green LED. BUT, it's lit fairly dimly and ALL the stuff on the net and in the manuals says it should be blue. So maybe it's a blue LED that looks green when it's only dimly lit???

My computer is about 4 yrs old, so it might not be sending enough power up the USB, although it charges my iPod no problem.

I am going to test it on a brand new computer, if I can find someone who's got one LOL.

I will keep you all updated, I'm going to get to the bottom of this if it kills me :)

06-10-2009, 06:56 AM
My computer is about 4 yrs old, so it might not be sending enough power up the USB
If that's the problem you can buy a powered USB hub for $10-15.

06-10-2009, 08:31 AM
OK I've just tried an external USB hub with it's own power supply. That hasn't fixed it. Grrrrrrrrr :confused:

06-10-2009, 09:06 AM
Just a longshot here - does the mic require USB 2.0; if so are you using USB 1?

06-10-2009, 09:08 AM
Being USB, it's digital data. It pretty much works or it doesn't. It sounds like something you'd get with an analog mic without a preamp. I'd check to see if the software offers any input settings. In this case, "Line In" isn't it. You'll need a more sensitive input than that.

The preamp mentioned above is for a standard XLR mic. I don't know of any that would work with a mic that's already wired for USB.

06-10-2009, 09:11 AM
Did you install the driver from Behringer's website? http://www.behringerdownload.de/C-1U/ASIO2KS-Driver.zip (Windows XP only)

06-10-2009, 09:16 AM
I just reread your original post where you said you're getting 60-70% on your mic level meter. Sounds like the mic is working fine, so it's some other setting in Audacity that's causing the problem.

06-10-2009, 09:30 AM
Yes I installed the Behringer drivers and have got the input set to USB not Line In. I'm using USB 2.0 but apparently speeds on older motherboards can vary and so you still only get USB 1 performance (just read that online!). I don't think it can be Audacity, because I get minimal input with Sound Recorder as well.

I'm totally baffled. I'm going to try it on a much newer computer and see what happens.

Thank you to all who responded for trying to help me :D

06-14-2009, 04:03 AM

I think my my Samson CO1U Studio Condenser Mic is very similar (maybe the same) to your Behringer C1. Mine came with "Pre Amp" software. Using it makes a big difference in the volume. I wonder if there is preamp software for yours? Maybe mine will work with your mic. It isn't a very large program. I might be able to get the software to you if you want to give it a try.


06-14-2009, 09:03 AM
I say the mic is broken. Return it!

06-14-2009, 09:04 AM
Unless there's some sort of "preamp" software like was mentioned earlier, I tend to agree. Return the mic, or at the very least try a different USB mic and compare results.

06-14-2009, 11:01 AM
Hey all,

I took the mic to a friend's and tested it with the same very low volume results. I don't think Behringer has an equivalent preamp software, so yes it's going back!
Shame, cos I was looking forward to getting down to recording! Still, I will choose something different.

THANK YOU to all of you for all the help, it is very much appreciated. This is the best forum EVER :D


07-06-2009, 06:57 AM
Apologies for resurrecting an old thread, but wanted to send a message to all those people who kindly tried to help with my USB mic problems.

I returned it, and got a refund and bought a Snowball mic, which is FAB and works perfectly.

So thanks to everyone who offered advice - a happy ending at last :D

07-06-2009, 06:59 AM
Glad to hear it, Anna. Thanks for filling us in, no need to apologize.

07-06-2009, 07:08 AM
I'm glad to hear it worked out. Thanks for the update.

07-06-2009, 11:39 AM
Less talk and more videos please. ;)