Terrible Sound Quality with USB Mic

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by jazzslant, Mar 11, 2009.

  1. jazzslant macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2009
    Location:
    UK
    #1
    Hi everyone. I have been having numerous problems with my Samson CO1U USB Microphone when using Logic but the problem is this: Whenever I make a recording the resulting sound is at very low level and extremely muffled. Totally unusable! I have tested the mic in Quick Time and GarageBand with the same results. It never used to be this way - I have had crisp and loud recordings from it in the past. I have tried every settings variation I can think of in both Logic and the Audio/Midi preferences but still no joy.

    Has anyone else encountered this problem or can you suggest what might be wrong, please?

    Grateful for any advice here as I have had to stop my recording projects due to this. Thanks
     
  2. Drumjim85 macrumors 68030

    Drumjim85

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2007
    Location:
    DFW, TX
    #2
    if you've heard this mic sound better than it does now, then i won't discuss both samson brand quality and USB mic quality.

    have you checked to see you have the most recent drivers?
     
  3. jazzslant thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Mar 11, 2009
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    UK
    #3
    Hi Drumjim, thanks for your response. There are no downloadable drivers for the CO1U (as far as I understand) only something called a "Soft Pre" applet from Samson (which is next to useless) so I can't improve on that situation.

    As for the quality of USB Mics in general and Samson in particular, I hadn't heard anything too bad about them; although I do acknowledge this is the "budget" way to go. Have you heard bad things about Samson quality then?
     
  4. Drumjim85 macrumors 68030

    Drumjim85

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    Oct 7, 2007
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    DFW, TX
    #4
    ya, it looks like there aren't any drivers, but that soft pre thing looks to be useful for phase, high-pass, and gain.
    Are you using a usb hub? is it powered? have you tried using a different usb port?

    And I'm only comparing samson products to higher level/cost product. So it's not fair. But generally i wouldn't buy something that low level anyway.
     
  5. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    Location:
    toronto
    #5
    if it used to work, and now it doesn't, and nothing else has changed, i would conclude that the Samson is broken.
     
  6. jazzslant thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Mar 11, 2009
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    UK
    #6
    Update:
    Having spent an unhealthy amount of time trawling the 'net for clues to this problem, I stumbled across one article which describes the same symptoms as mine and puts it down to the Microphone not drawing enough power to make it fully functional. Further trawling reveals that MacBooks do indeed seem to have a deficiency in the power (and consistency and stability of that power) supplied to the USB ports. This is not usually an issue and indeed none of my other peripherals have had a problem. Incidentally, my old iMac didn't seem to suffer in this way but is sadly no more.

    So I tried plugging the mic into my dad's Windows XP machine (just in the interests of science, you understand - no intention of leaving the Mac fold) and low and behold, the mic performed perfectly on the first and every subsequent test recording. The levels were back up and the muffled sound was history! So it seems that the extra USB "ooompf" the PC supplied was just what was needed.

    Now I am thinking that a powered USB hub would be the answer; one with an external AC supply should hopefully beef up the power to my peripherals. I have ordered the D-Link DUB H7, as it is reasonably priced and has rave reviews. I'll post back and report if this solves my problem.

    Cheers all.
     
  7. Drumjim85 macrumors 68030

    Drumjim85

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2007
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    DFW, TX
    #7
    So i was kinda on the right path. Glad to see you figured it out.
     
  8. jazzslant thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Mar 11, 2009
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    #8
    Yes your power and USB port ideas did start me thinking along those lines, Drumjim Thanks for your input, much appreciated. :)
     
  9. jazzslant thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2009
    Location:
    UK
    #9
    Update 2:

    I spoke too soon (how often have you read that on these forums?) The Powered Hub is up and running but the mic is worse than ever - extremely quiet and muffled. And yet it works fine on a PC.
    Back to square one! Any ideas anyone?
     
  10. jazzslant thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2009
    Location:
    UK
    #10
    Update 3:
    Solved it! (well sort of)

    Following on from my hunches about OSX updates messing with my settings, I decided to take the plunge and do an "archive and install" back to 10.5.4.

    After the subsequent reboot I went into the Audio/Midi preferences (my second home of late) and found that a previously greyed out 2nd channel level input slider was now operable and the Samson was showing up as a 2-channel input device (being a microphone, it's actually a mono device, as far as I know) and by moving the channel 2 slider up to the same high-ish level as the channel one slider, I immediately got full volume and crisply clear response from the mic once again. Whoohoo!

    So I don't pretend to know how or why but it seems that either the 10.5.6 update somehow messed up my audio options or something else happened at around that time. I'm not touching the 10.5.6 update just in case, though. Thanks to all for your comments and suggestions. :)
     

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