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I just got a new Snowflake USB Microphone and my recordings are way too quiet in Windows 7. I was previously using a Logitech headset, which recorded fine.

I have the Snowflake on my monitor, and I do my best to face it and project without yelling, but I still need to manually increase the volume. I have gone into the properties for the recording device and cranked the volume all the way to 100%. There is no boost like I have seen on built in microphones.

I have recorded with a couple different software programs and they both record very quietly. If I hold the microphone right up to my mouth then it records better, but that is not very practical, and the microphone isn't comfortable for holding that way.

Any suggestions?

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marked as duplicate by Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007, Heptite, Tog, Kevin Panko, ϺОŞΣŞ Apr 2 at 13:56

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5 Answers 5

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There isn't much more you can do than what you have tried. Just sit close enough and talk a bit louder, then compare your voice to popular podcasts to see how quiet you really sound. Try to boost your voice up with an application and remove any noise at the same time, compare the volume again and check if the quality is still fine.

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What software are you using to record?

Also, does the microphone have a switch anywhere on it labeled "Pad"?
If so, try flipping it. It's a 10 db attenuator to prevent the mic from clipping when used for loud noise sources. Turning it off should make the mic much more usable.

Unless your whispering, I think something is wrong.

Note: this is a supercartoid mic, so it is fairly directional. You need to ensure that the front of the mesh screen is pointing at you.

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I've used a few different programs to record, including Audacity and Windows Sound Recorder - all same result. There are no switches. –  Jim McKeeth Jun 27 '10 at 4:18
    
It's possible the switch is in software. Does the mic have special drivers? –  Fake Name Jun 28 '10 at 1:42

Alas, if you bought the Snowflake (for around USD 60) the only thing "professional" about it is the word "professional" on the box. This is just a mediocre condenser mic with high-end marketing. Computer shops are lousy places to buy mics, even your local head-banger guitar shop will provide real gear for only slightly more ducats.

Headsets and lavaliers have the great advantage of being very close to the source therefore receive high sound-pressure so need very little current. Move the mic away from you and the pressure decreases reciprocally. This means that you need higher sensitivity which usually means more bias current. I've yet to see a decent voice mic that works well at half a meter without being driven by something more than a USB port.

Yes, external gear is far less convenient than plugging into a USB, but if you need a mic that isn't centimeters from your mouth, you can't fight the physics.

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Thanks, some good advice. –  Jim McKeeth Jun 25 '10 at 1:57
2  
...What? First of all, condenser mics don't have bias current (well, they do, but it's micro or nanoamps, e.g. 0.0000001 amps). Second, mic sensitivity is COMPLETELY unrelated to mic supply current, and anyways, a mic element that draws 10 mA is massively power hungry (USB provides 500 mA). Third, USB uses digital signaling, so the "Signal strength" on the USB connection is unrelated to the sould level, and also, USB IS shielded (but that's to prevent interference from getting out, mostly). Buying a Mic at a computer store is a bad idea, but all the reasons above are wrong. –  Fake Name Jun 25 '10 at 2:47
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You are correct about the RF interference on the USB line, sorry, brain misfired and post corrected. –  msw Jun 25 '10 at 3:05
    
He's correct about mic sensitivity having nothing to do with supply current as well. –  endolith Jul 11 '10 at 22:14

Have you tried adjusting the gain level?

Right click on the speaker icon in the lower right corner of the screen, select "Recording devices", click on the microphone, click Properties, Level tab, and adjust it there.

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For people who still have this problem, I think I found a fix earlier today which I wrote about on my half-disused blog here: http://goo.gl/XvU1eC

It's a frustrating issue, but don't give up and buy a new mic until you try this. In essence, the problem is that the USB device is using the wrong driver (mine showed up as a C-media device) but by using 'Update Driver' in the device properties and manually picking USB Audio Device driver from a list, after a reboot, the microphone functioned at a desired level (going louder than I even needed).

The blog post has more direct instructions if you need it.

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