Channel Input Volume is too low when recording

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Marijuana Czar
Member Since: Oct 01, 2009

I just bought a BEHRINGER XENYX 1204FX mixer and active monitors so I could record guitar to the pc.
It came with a UCA200 USB audio interface that I use

Here's how it's set up:

Control Room >> Monitor Speakers
Alt 3-4 >> Input of UCA200
Output of UCA200 >> Line In 7/8

When I go into say Fruity Loops to record this is what happens:
I can play the guitar and hear it over the monitors at a decent volume, but on my pc it says that it's only getting the guitar at a really low volume.

I've checked the drivers and my pc's volume controls and cant figure out whats wrong. In my pc's volume controls i can set the levels of the UCA200's playback, but not it's recording. So i think the problem lies somewhere around where the guitar input goes through the mixer and out of the alt 3-4 into the input of the UCA200.

I don't know how to set this mixer up properly to record so if you have a better set up then tell me.
PS. i dont know how to use the aux sends/returns, does that have anything to do with it? I am aware this is a similiar post to one ive made before, i thought id try explaining it better

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Prince CZAR-ming
Since: Apr 08, 2004

Oct 02, 2009 12:02 pm

I think there'll be a 'gain' or 'trim' knob at the top of the channel on the mixer. I assume you're plugging your guitar into the LINE input on your mixer channel. You didn't specify.

Actually, the signal coming out of your guitar is going to want to be plugged into some sort of preamp, that accepts INSTRUMENT level signal. If you're plugging into the mixer LINE input, then you'll have under-powered tracks. You can always turn the volume way up later, like you've done, I think, but this isn't proper for recording.

So, getting a INSTRUMENT level preamp of some sort may be better, if you're using the mixer LINE input. If you're stuck with using the mixer, then turning up the gain on that channel will help.

ALso, you could turn up the fader for that channel, if your signal is coming out from the sub group. Then turn down your other volumes (further in the chain), so it's not too loud.

Basically, you want to get your signal in good shape one step at a time. This is gain-staging, and will remove much stress from your process, if you haven't done it yet. Set each component for good level one at a time, starting with the first device: guitar, then preamp, then interface, then software. Don't start changing things until the previous device is properly set.


Marijuana Czar
Since: Oct 01, 2009

Oct 03, 2009 12:12 am

Thanks! That's really good advice, I'd heard I'd need a preamp but being a beginner I thought " nah the xenyx mic preamps means it's on xlr AND line in "
I'll get one A.S.A.P

BUT how come I can hear the guitar really well while recording but low afterwards, does that mean the preamp "boosts" the signal when being transfered into the pc?
because if i get a preamp and plug it in via line in, wont i just be boosting the signal before it hits the mixer?
Since: Nov 27, 2007

Oct 03, 2009 12:39 am

pjk is onto it for sure,
check to make sure your mono or stereo IN in your software is turned up to 0.
if the fader is reading that, then it shouldnt be going down in vol. after you record.

keep in mind that the what the fader is set at, and what it actually reads, can be different if you get my drift?

you could have it set at 0.db but the LED's are saying maybe -9db.
in that case crank the signal up. (amp, pedals, mixer gain knob, etc)

how are you recording your guitar, straight in? or with a mic?

your hardware should be recording it just fine without the need for a outboard pre just yet. they do rock though.

so basicly your level in the software doesnt lie, if its happening there all good and loud enough, then it should be recording it that way.
If the level isnt there, then something's askew before hand.
could be a few things in that case.

but like pjk says, turn up the gain knob on the mixer, that's bound to do something.
i dunno if you are using direct monitoring or not either, could be to do with that too.
nothing to strenuos though im sure.

Marijuana Czar
Since: Oct 01, 2009

Oct 03, 2009 01:00 am

The software is all set to normal (I can use VST's and hear them at normal volume out of the monitor speakers), the problem it's only receiving the guitar at a low volume.

The gain knob on the channel strip doesnt make much different to the volume the pc's receiving from the guitar, I tried that.

What I meant by I can hear the guitar at normal vol is that When I plug my guitar in and play through the mixer i can hear it fine, but like ive said numerous times the input the pc's receiving from my guitar is low.

IDK if you saw this but
"if i get a preamp and plug it in via line in, wont i just be boosting the signal before it hits the mixer?" or do i plug the guitar in the line in normally, and run the mixer into the preamp before going into the input of my UCA200 usb audio interface?
Since: Nov 27, 2007

Oct 03, 2009 03:26 am

the only reason you'd buy a pre amp is if your not happy with the sound qual of the ones in your other hardware.

they wouldnt make the pre's in the mixer so they wouldnt work enough, so forget the pre thing.
yes though, a standalone pre would be boosting the signal if thats what you wanted it to do.

no gain knobs wil work, coz your not on a channel that has a gain knob. alt 3-4 doesnt have one.

is that what they said to plug into for a direct in? ALT 3-4?
Does the mixer not have a line in at the back of each channel?

Its kinda hard to get a guitar pumping thru a direct "line in" at first, and im not entirely sure why it would be losing volume other than the fact that your using "direct monitoring"

what you hear as direct monitoring and what is actually recorded can be totally different. tis why i said to check what level youre geting in your mono or stereo IN (software), which ever youre using.

are you coming out of an amp or just guitar straight in to your interface?

i would go thru the manual again and make sure you are doing everything it says on how to set it all up.
just to double check it.

Heyman! its totally a pain in the friggin a** to get this started at first, and i know you proly hate to hear it, but the manual in 90% of cases is the only thing to get it going.

Marijuana Czar
Since: Oct 01, 2009

Oct 03, 2009 04:49 am

This manual I have sucks, it came with a UCA200 usb and both of the manuals say to set it up differently

My guitar goes straight into my mixer's channel 1 line in.

Oh and I meant the TRIM knob doesnt make much difference to the volume of recorded guitar, even turned all the way it's still only around 1/4 of what it should be.

When you say check the mono or stereo in, where would i find something like that? is it near where i choose what driver the software uses?

Also one more thing, my mixer has XENYX MIC PREAMPS above the line ins, can i/should i be plugging my guitar into those via xlr cables?
Since: Nov 27, 2007

Oct 03, 2009 06:30 am

on the mic pre's, na, not a good idea to run a direct line in, into a mic pre, could blow some **** up.
yer mic pre's alot more sensitive to vol. mics only.
if you really wanna get that guitar cooking, buy a SM57 mic and mic up your amp.

so, when you say trim knob makes no dif to the recorded git,
when you turn it up just playing git thru it(without recording), does it go up in vol then?

the mono and stereo IN, should be in yer software, either next to your track window somewhere, or in your mixing window.

basicly its just a fader that shows the level of your incoming signal, whether you have a mono track set up, or a stereo, depends on what you chose in your "connections"
best to record git in "mono".

so make sure your connections are all setup.
by that i mean, you need to make your software see your hardware. you probably already did that, but it just makes it easier for us on this end if we know its all good.

Im going by how i do stuff in my software and i think alot of software's are similar. you'll need to set it up.

its kinda just hit me though man, are you using your computer's soundcard? i only ask, coz you mentioned before you said you used you PC's vol controls.

see im not all that familiar with your interface, but just check, is it meant to be your soundcard, or are you meant to be using your compy's soundcard?

alot of interfaces "are" soundcards, and they bypass the compys one.

If youre using Fruity loops, click "help" and find out what it says under "getting started", or "making connections" or the like.

and yeah, manuals bite *** and its more annoying when they both tell you set it up different.

can always try YouTube, they'll have vids on how to set it up also.

keep crackin you'll get there.
Since: Nov 27, 2007

Oct 03, 2009 06:32 am

Noize2U or someone will see this thread soon enough too, they'll know more man.

Czar of Midi
Since: Apr 04, 2002

Oct 04, 2009 09:36 pm

For starters the trim knob should make a huge difference. Have you checked to make sure your guitar cable is in good shape and or your guitar as well is sending good output?

Marijuana Czar
Since: Oct 01, 2009

Oct 07, 2009 10:45 pm

Hey! here's what was the problem
I had my set-up as:

Control Room >> Monitor Speakers
Alt 3-4 >> Input of UCA200
Output of UCA200 >> Line In 7/8

and it wasnt working

so i changed it around to

Control room >> Input of UCA200
Output of UCA200 >> Monitor Speakers

somewhere along the line i realized that the alt 3-4 bus and the main mix are routed via a "source" knob and buttons and that only the alt 3-4 was getting sent into the UCA200 and the control room was sent straight the monitor speakers
so i figured i need to send ALL signals out of the control room and into the input of the UCA200 and it worked!

I'm running my guitar through my Behringer Ultra Fuzz effects pedal into the Behringer Graphic EQ pedal( coz the 1204fx's 3-band is just sad.. lol) then straight into line in, and it sounds sick as

Now that I can record and control different aspects of my sounds i feel "inspired" to just record more n more lol, now i just need more money to buy a good trippy synthesizer :@

Thanks for your help, It can get quite frustrating when you spend alot of money on something that you cant figure out how to use hahah!

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