Blue Snowball USB Mic + Windows 7 , Mic audio is quite despite volume at %100

furnaps

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Aug 12, 2012
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Hello there I am trying to start up my Youtube channel and I want high quality audio so a friend helped me out and donated his Blue Snowball USB mic to me.

I am Running Windows 7 64bit and I'm having an issue with my Mic audio.

When I record with my Mic I notice that its very quite compared to any system audio recorded. For instance If I am recording a game My game audio is WAY louder then my mic audio. ( I know I could use Sound mixer and lower the game audio)

I've tried recording the Mic audio a few different ways, I've tried with Dxtory into a separate channel and I've tried using Audacity to record my Mic audio. Either way its always the same result that the Mic audio is very quite.

I have my Mic about 9 inches from my mouth on a slight sideways angle. If I want the audio to sound Loud and "Full" I have to literally put my mouth against my pop filter.

Its weird one day I tried removing the USB cord and pluging it into a different USB jack and tried a few different things and The mic finally got as loud as it should be but then a bit later it was back to being quite again.

I have my Mic's volume set to %100 in the Recording devices panel so its not that...

I'm really lost as to why the Mic is so quite..

On a side note could a faulty ground either in my electrical outlet of PSU cause this? I only ask because I have been shocked by my case once or twice.

I should also note that I have uninstalled and reinstalled the audio drives both the MIcs and my mother boards realtek drivers a few times to no avail.

I'm begging for some answers here as Its driving me nuts.. I might try the mic in my laptop to see if its the electrical issue or just my computer or the mic or what..

I know this mic should be louder then this , there is no way it should sound so quite and shallow.
Thanks
 

CaedenV

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Jun 14, 2011
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1) quite as in "not quite there yet", quiet as in "the mic is too quiet"
2) %100 reads "percent one hundred", 100% reads "one hundred percent"
3) While I have not used one myself, I believe that the Blue Snowball mics have a rocker switch with 3 settings. Make sure that it is on setting 2 or 3 if you need more gain on it.
4) Eat the Mic. It is a term for a reason. Professional microphones are good because they are excellent at rejecting ambient noise while being extremely sensitivities at picking up what you want. Because of this it is normal that the higher the quality of the mic, the closer you typically have to be to it for it to pick you up properly. Also, make sure that you are speaking 'on-axis' and not 'off-axis' to your mic's pickup pattern (google those terms if you do not know what they mean yet).
5) Different mics are good for different situations, and you may need to mature your process a bit before you find what will work best for you. If recording audio only, then use a mic that you can get right on top of for recording. If you need the mic out of the video then picking up something with a longer reach and more directional pickup (like a shotgun mic) may work better. If gaming while recording then picking up a decent headset may be the way to go. Figure out the layout that works best for you, then find a mic that suits that layout, not the other way around. snowball mics are very nice... it just may not be nice for what you are trying to get it to do.
6) The key to any audio is in the post production. There is a very important order to follow in your post production.
Cleaning, tone, dynamics, editing, and effects.
Cleaning: If you are going to do any noise removal, or run pop and click filters, do it first before you do anything else. If you have a nice constant background noise, and you run all sorts of filtering or editing before removing the noise, then the noise sound profile is going to be much harder to apply properly. But if it is done first, then it will go much better. Also on the note of noise; things like fans and other constant background noises are relatively easy to filter out, but if they are variable then they become a pain. If you are using a heater/AC then make sure the fan on the unit remains on throughout the recording. Make sure your computer fans are also running at a set speed rather than being set to temperature. This will help render nice clean recordings even when conditions are not ideal.
Tone: after removing noise, but before applying dynamic changes you will want to make your tonal adjustments. This is merely setting your EQ, not other more advanced effects.
Dynamics: Run a compressor. The human voice has a very large dynamic range, much higher than most instruments, and microphones to not hear in the same way that the human ear does. The hotter your recording, the more important compression is. Now do not go an suck the life out of your dynamic range with your compressor... just knock it down to a point that sounds natural.
Editing: Doing the bulk of your cleanup before editing allows you to work with nice consistent audio, and removes a lot of double work for yourself. Trying to edit before cleanup can then mean doing separate cleanup for each section, which in turn can make your audio sound very inconsistent.
Effects: If you want to do any kinds of reverb or effects, then do them last. This will often help hide cut points, and make your audio sound cohesive even if it is not. Some effects (like EQ) should be done before editing, but most will sound more natural if done afterwards.
Obviously there are situations where this order of things would not apply... but 90% of the time this is the best way to get a nice, clean, easy to listen to, and easy to understand human voice.

Hope that all helps, and I wish you luck on your endeavors!
 

photonboy

Distinguished
Hi,
Tech Support answers your issue by suggesting you may have a MIC already that's in use (webcam?).

They just say make sure that the BLUE is setup as the DEFAULT device in the Sound->Recording section.

My only other advice is to try the laptop as you suggested.

(I don't want to be rude to the above guy, but that's a pretty long post to read through and I'm not sure how it even applies when the VOLUME is on full and it's still too quiet.)
 

furnaps

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Aug 12, 2012
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I can't position the Mic directly On-Axis as It would be in the way of my seeing my monitor. Since I am gaming while recording I have to be able to see my monitor.

There are 3 settings on the Blue Snowball I am using the 1st switch setting ("Cardioid (position 1); Cardioid with -10dB pad (position 2); Omnidirectional (position 3)"

After I record my audio I take it into Audacity and apply a noise reduction,Eq and compressor filter. Then save it out and use that in my editing. The background noise that I filter out is constant from my PC fans on a constant speed.

I am already pretty close to the microphone I would say about 8 1/2" away and Off-axis, as I said I can't really find a way to be On-axis or I cant see my monitor.

photonboy - I have tried to set any other recording devices to disabled and the Blue snowball is set as the default mic.
Maybe I am expecting to much out of the mic? I don't know I would just expect it to be louder I mean when the game audio is a good 4 times louder it makes me think something is up.. Also the mic was louder at one point after I switched USB ports and messed around with it a bit but then it went back to being quite again.


 

tam35lee

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Jul 29, 2010
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Having exactly the same problem. I have talked with Blue technical support and they told me to change it with new one and i did. The new one has the same problem and now I'm pretty sure there is a problem about the software or maybe usb voltage kind problems... If anyone knows a solution, please share it with us.
 

Dandycarrot

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Jan 27, 2015
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Solution found though I do not pretend to understand why it worked. Solution found on windows 7 64-bit professional not sure if it will work elsewhere

1. click start and right click on computer
2. click manage
3. select device manager
4. expand the - sound, video and game controllers - tab
5. locate - USB Audio Class 1.0 and 2.0 DAC Device Driver
6. unplug the microphone - tested with Blue snowball may work with other usb audio devices
7. right click the driver and select uninstall
8. do not select Delete the driver software for this device, if it is already selected de-select it
9. click ok
10. wait 30 seconds to be sure
11. plug the mic back in

if this operation has succeeded the driver should reappear restart the computer and test your audio levels, windows utilities will still report the same pickup levels and you may need to set the gain to 100 again in the sound options however you should get about twice the mic volume in recording applications. I got this solution from Blue themselves a while back and have used it to great success on about 5 windows installs to date, something about the driver dosn't like its first install on any computer.
 

Tshulthise

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Oct 12, 2013
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Furnaps comment about the USB voltage being too low reminded me that I had my mic plugged into an unpowered USB hub. Apparently the hub is lowering the effective gain of the mic. When I plugged it directly into the computer's USB port the problem was solved and I have had to go into the device manager to turn the gain down on the mic since it was too loud. I hope this helps someone else!
 
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