USB Mixer vs Audio Interface: HELP

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by Bass MW, Feb 7, 2019.

  1. Bass MW

    Bass MW

    Feb 7, 2019
    I have an M-audio Mk ii that I use to record my precision and jazz bass + Aguilar tone hammer DI pedal . The problem is that I cannot record at decent volume because of the signal from my bass keeps clipping.

    I am considering buying a USB mixer in the hopes that it will have higher head room and allow me to add more volume to my recordings but I am really shooting in the dark here because I dont have a lot of experience with recording.

    Can anyone shed some light or offer any advice on what direction I should take.
  2. Reedt2000

    Reedt2000 Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2017
    Central New Jersey
    You can't turn the gain down on the interface to the point where it isn't clipping? Or turn the output of the tone hammer down? Is it an active bass with the boosts cranked?
  3. Bass MW

    Bass MW

    Feb 7, 2019
    yeah but when i do that . The volume of the bass is far too low and you can barely hear it.
  4. Reedt2000

    Reedt2000 Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2017
    Central New Jersey
    You mean after it's recorded or when you are trying to record?
  5. guts


    Aug 13, 2018
    You adjust the knob for the input so that it's not clipping, then you adjust the setting for the output so that you can hear it. Sometimes that means you press the volume + button on your computer, sometimes that means you turn the knob connected to your monitors, sometimes there's an output knob on your interface.

    But what you don't do is set the volume that you are hearing your bass at by adjusting the gain on the input. Don't make your bass appear louder by turning up your input so that it clips. Turn something else up, anything else but that.

    You can't get any louder than 0dB. Having more headroom will not make your bass sound louder because you're still going to clip at 0dB, it means that you can make your bass quieter without floor noise ruining your recording.
  6. What input on the M-Audio do you use: line, instrument or mic?
    What cable do you use? If it is XLR, the M-Audio expects mic-level, if it is 1/4" it expects line level or instrument level depending on the setting of the line/instrument switch on the front.
    What output of the tonehamer do you use? If you use the DI output with an XLR cable, it should be mic-level. If you use a XLR to 1/4" cable the tonehamer delivers mic-level but the M-Audio expects line level. This could lead to the clipping you describe.
    I'd say the chance is 98% that it is a setup mistake.
    What happens if you simply plug the bass into the M-Audio and set the switch to instrument?
    Sub-hoo-fer, Reedt2000 and wesonbass like this.
  7. Sub-hoo-fer


    Nov 27, 2015

    I have been looking into this very question (before buying anything :thumbsup:) and this is the clearest explanation I have seen on which output goes to which input. If I am understanding correctly, if I am coming out of a xlr output I would want to go into a mic input (xlr) on the interface not the instrument (1/4) input. Do I have that right?
  8. Yes, but not always. Many devices have XLR outputs that deliver line-level (most preamps and 19" compressors for example). You have to understand what level the signal has. If - for example - you would connect the output of a 19" compressor with an interface that expects line or intrument level on 1/4" and mic level on the XLR, you would have to use a XLR to 1/4" cable from the compressor output to the interface input.
    Sub-hoo-fer and Reedt2000 like this.
  9. Sub-hoo-fer


    Nov 27, 2015
    I think I am starting to get this. Thank you!
  10. tshapiro

    tshapiro Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2015
    Jax Florida
    You can sometimes be tricked into trying to get 'more' bass from a thin signal by turning it up. Often what you need is a fatter more level signal. I would first experiment with a compressor before your Tone Hammer.
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