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Random Mic Connection

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Random Mic Connection

Postby Jimmy.L » Sat May 03, 2008 1:52 am

Hi all, I've been having some difficulty with the connection on my microphone, I'm looking to buy a mic preamp but the connection on my mic looks to be entierly non-standard.


Could you take a look at these pics and help me get a concrete identification of the socket type and if possible reconmend me a good preamp.


Image
Image


Thanks for you time.

JL
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Re: Random Mic Connection

Postby Studio Support Gnome » Sat May 03, 2008 10:21 am

an educated guess , looking at the cables there, would lead me to think that maybe you have a stereo condensor mic of some description... or maybe an old tube Mic perhaps...

more details on the Mic itself are going to be needed to advise you more thoroughly... but essentially you're most likely going to need an adaptor cable to convert it's output into a std XLR mic format....

knowing precisely what each PIN is connected to, and what it's expecting to carry is critical to getting that right..... So make and model information IS important.
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Re: Random Mic Connection

Postby Jimmy.L » Sun May 04, 2008 4:36 am

Yes, you're right..it's a condenser mic on there.

The Headset is a Sennheiser HMD 280 - http://www.sennheiser.com/sennheiser/ic ... ring_04976

The whole story:

I purchased the headset without any plugs on at all. I don't know much about audio stuff, so I just told the guy that I wanted to be able
to plug it into my computer soundcard, which uses standard mini jack plugs (banana plugs). He told me he'd have to stick another plug
between the mini jacks and the cable itself in order to wire it properly.. so he did. He tells me it's a 6 pin standard DIN connector.
Cool, I get it all working and all is good.
Now the problem is, although the microphone works, it is extremely quiet and doesn't pick sounds unless I'm really close to it and it
doesn't do voice activation at all. What I was told was, that I need a preamp on it because it being a condenser mic, it needs more
power (the guy told me that he tested it with an AKG micro preamp, which he owns himself, and it worked fine - I cannot find an AKG
micro preamp anywhere online, least of all one with a 6 pin DIN I/O).
So yeah, if that is a 6pin DIN connector, I need a 6pin DIN to 3pin XLR (the mic standard) convertor and vice versa. So far, I cannot
find anything that supports, sells or deals with this sort of stuff. I've emailed a few stores, but they just happily ignore me, probably
because this is a random problem they don't wanna deal with.

So far it goes: [Computer]<--[Mini jacks (I/O)]--[6pin DIN female]--><--[6pin DIN male]----[Headset]

and apparently, I need it to go: [Computer]<--[Mini jacks (I/O)]--[6pin DIN female]-->[preamp]<--[6pin DIN male]----[Headset]

Any and all help will be greatly appreciated..from telling me who might help me to telling me what products will helpe me resolve my
situation.

Thanks for replying :D
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Re: Random Mic Connection

Postby John Willett » Sun May 04, 2008 2:57 pm

Jimmy.L wrote:Yes, you're right..it's a condenser mic on there.

The Headset is a Sennheiser HMD 280 - http://www.sennheiser.com/sennheiser/icm_eng.nsf/root/products_headphones_monitoring_04976

The whole story:

I purchased the headset without any plugs on at all. I don't know much about audio stuff, so I just told the guy that I wanted to be able
to plug it into my computer soundcard, which uses standard mini jack plugs (banana plugs). He told me he'd have to stick another plug
between the mini jacks and the cable itself in order to wire it properly.. so he did. He tells me it's a 6 pin standard DIN connector.
Cool, I get it all working and all is good.
Now the problem is, although the microphone works, it is extremely quiet and doesn't pick sounds unless I'm really close to it and it
doesn't do voice activation at all. What I was told was, that I need a preamp on it because it being a condenser mic, it needs more
power (the guy told me that he tested it with an AKG micro preamp, which he owns himself, and it worked fine - I cannot find an AKG
micro preamp anywhere online, least of all one with a 6 pin DIN I/O).
So yeah, if that is a 6pin DIN connector, I need a 6pin DIN to 3pin XLR (the mic standard) convertor and vice versa. So far, I cannot
find anything that supports, sells or deals with this sort of stuff. I've emailed a few stores, but they just happily ignore me, probably
because this is a random problem they don't wanna deal with.

So far it goes: [Computer]<--[Mini jacks (I/O)]--[6pin DIN female]--><--[6pin DIN male]----[Headset]

and apparently, I need it to go: [Computer]<--[Mini jacks (I/O)]--[6pin DIN female]-->[preamp]<--[6pin DIN male]----[Headset]

Any and all help will be greatly appreciated..from telling me who might help me to telling me what products will help me resolve my
situation.

Thanks for replying :lol:

What a load of old rubbish this is.

Let's get it straight.

The HMD 280 has a *dynamic* mic. - that's what HMD stands for - Headphone Microphone Dynamic (It would be HME if it had a condenser mic. - the E meaning Electret). It's very clear on your link that the mic. is dynamic.

The HMD 280 is *always* supplied without cables.

All you need to do is to fit a 3.5mm mini-jack to the headphones and another to the mic. Ideally different colours so you can tell the difference. Oh - and these are *not* banana plugs; banana plugs are totally different and are 4mm single wire plugs used for hi-fi loudspeakers.

Yes - it is sometimes easier to terminate the headset with an XLR plug and make up an XLR to jack plugs adaptor lead.

PC - as it's a dynamic mic. you need to switch off the plug-in power that the PC is sending to the mic.. Also, the mic. is a balanced output dynamic and a standard PC sound-card is unbalanced stereo.

Yes, the mic. *will* be quiet as it's a dynamic with a lot less output level than a condenser. So you will have to set the PC souncard accordingly.

I have no idea who the dealer is, but it's pretty naff to terminate with DIN.

I hope this helps.
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Re: Random Mic Connection

Postby Jimmy.L » Sun May 04, 2008 5:05 pm

Like I said, I don't know anything about this stuff I'm just repeating what I've been told.

Right, so how do I go about configuring the soundcard properly? When I record now, the mic is picking up noise levels at the same volume as my voice.

This is the soundcard I've got - http://www.soundblaster.com/products/product.asp?category=1&subcategory=208&product=15854

The dealer was Thomann and they did tell me it was not possible to just end the cable in mini jack plugs without having something in between.

They told me the mic was a condenser mic and needed more voltage to get it working (in fact, they made a note of me reading the description, the same description I linked you to, in order to get my head around this condenser mic business - needless to say, that was a load of fail, especially now that I know you get that it's a dynamic mic from that same description)

Thanks for the help, I really appreciate it :lol:
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Re: Random Mic Connection

Postby John Willett » Sun May 04, 2008 5:36 pm

Back to the beginning...............

What do you want the headset for?

The HMD 280 Pro is a professional headset designed mainly for TV studio work.

The headphones are high quality closed back and the mic. is a close-talk noise cancelling dynamic.

These would normally be worn by cameramen and the like on the studio floor or by TV commentators.

If you want a headset for gaming or the like, you need a completely different headset.

Sehhneiser make such headsets and they would plug directly into your sound card as they have the correct plugs fitted.

I would have said that something like the PC 350 would have suited you better. This would plug directly into the soundcard.

Image

I am really beginning to think you have been badly advised by the dealer, by a salesman who does not know what he is talking about - if what you say is true - as it's very clear on the link that the mic. is dynamic.

Personally I think you should try and swap it for the PC 350.
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Re: Random Mic Connection

Postby Jimmy.L » Sun May 04, 2008 5:56 pm

For both. I need it for recording in a studio, but I also happen to be a gamer. I've tried the PC 350 and they suck arse in comparison to the one I have now (I've also tried about 400 other headsets). The headset I have is amazing. The best sound I've ever had and it's more comfortable to wear than my boxers.

That's my problem, you say the mic is a close-talk noise cancelling mic..I can assure you, there is more noise gathering going on then there is noise canceling lol..so the ideal situation is just to fix the microphone. I just need to get it working they way it's supposed to. If that means going to a store and paying them to swap the cables/plugs or whatever, then I'm doing that.

This headset is quite expensive and even though the mic is working really poorly, I'm not even slightly regretting the purchase, simply because the sound is so good.

Yeah, the dealer probably raped me, but I can't go back so I need to find a solution.

Like you said, if anyone knows how to turn off the plug-in power on the soundcard, I can try that first. Then at least I'm trying something I've not tried.

Thank you for the help <3 hopefully, it'll be working satisfactorily at some point.
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Re: Random Mic Connection

Postby John Willett » Sun May 04, 2008 6:18 pm

OK..................

The problem you have is that your soundcard is a consumer one, not designed for such a headset.

The normal way to use the HMD 280 is to put a 5-pin XLR plug on the cable. Then make up an adaptor - 5-pin XLR socket to 3-pin XLR plug for the mic. and a stereo jack plud for the headphones. This would plug perfectly into a PC using something like a Focusrite Saffire (or Saffire LE).

The owners manual of the HMD 250 is HERE.

If you continue to use the soundcard you have, you need to know how the jack socket is wired, if it's mono or stereo and balanced or unbalanced.

You then need to wire the microphone accordingly.

Assuming a stereo unbalanced mic. input it would be wired:-
mic. +ve to jack tip and ring
mic. -ve to sleeve
mic. screen to sleeve

You will need to turn *off* any plug-in power that the soundcard is putting out and you will need to turn the level up as it's a dynamic mic.

Make sure you are speaking into the front of the mic. and not the back or it will be extremely quiet and pick up a lot of room noise.

I hope this helps.
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Re: Random Mic Connection

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sun May 04, 2008 6:53 pm

It is extremely unlikely that you will be able to turn off the plug-in power on the sound card's mic input. It's normally a permanently on kind of thing and I've never seen any system with an option to turn it off.

I suspect the lack of mic level is a combination of the inherently lowish output level from the dynamic capsule combined with the DC biasing effect of the plug-in power.

If you routed the mic via a separate pre-amp (as the 'man in the shop' did) then you would solve both problems instantly as the preamp would provide additional gain and block the plug-in power.

The bottom line is that you have either the wrong mic for the soundcard, or the wrong soundcard for the mic -- take your pic. Personally, I would upgrade the soundcard to something better that can handle a balanced microphone input, and then all your troubles will go away (once you have had the cable re-terminated as per the headset manufacturer's instructions.

Hope that helps

Hugh
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Re: Random Mic Connection

Postby Studio Support Gnome » Sun May 04, 2008 7:46 pm

FWIW, you've just been advised by Sennheiser UK's technical manager, and Sound on Sound's technical editor.....


if John says it is supposed to work in a given manner... you can be pretty damn sure he's right.....

my earlier guesses about what you might have, were based entirely on it being described just as a Microphone, with the weird wiring... not as a headset.... and were entirely wrong as it turns out....


whoever stuck that 6pin DIN plug on was clearly not actually in full possession of the technical facts... nor had any serious competent expertise in what they were doing....


Bottom line is that the soundcard Mic input is not the right kind for what the mic is trying to output.... ... it's like trying to put a bicycle tyre on a truck...


yeah, they're both wheeled vehicles that need tyres, but that doesn;t mean the tyre's are compatible...


to clarify your next move .


you need to have someone competent make up a cable that connects to the Headset , on a multi-pin XLR , and splits out the headphone feed on a TRS jack, and the Mic output on a 3 pin XLR.

the TRS jack connects to the headphones, it's signal being supplied from a normal headphone output, and the 3 Pin XLR connects the Mic to a standard "proper" Pre-amp , which will then connect to your computer LINE input... NOT the Mic input..


whereabouts are you based??
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Re: Random Mic Connection

Postby Jimmy.L » Sun May 04, 2008 11:10 pm

okey, I'm trying my best to understand everything..struggling a bit, although seeing this as a great opportunity to learn about this stuff :)

So basically..I need to get it re-wired either way..and this has to be done so that the main cable goes through a multi pin XLR and that splits the mic and the headphones into a 3pin XLR and a TRS jack, respectively..this would then enable me to amp the mic only and leave the headphones..right?

Okey. Say I wanted to buy a new soundcard that would support this sort of mic. Do you have any recommendations?

I live in Bath. Do you know of any store that could help me with my predicament ?

Much love for the help :lol: I really appreciate it :lol:
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Re: Random Mic Connection

Postby Steve Hill » Mon May 05, 2008 12:12 am

You need a decent audio interface - I would hesitate to call it a soundcard - with at least one good mic pre-amp. I suspect you're probably looking at a trip to Bristol (Digital Village maybe).

Be ready to spend maybe a couple of hundred pounds. (There are cheaper ones, but quality starts to suffer).
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Re: Random Mic Connection

Postby Jimmy.L » Mon May 05, 2008 3:08 am

a few hundred pounds!..ouch burn!..but I'd need specifics.
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Re: Random Mic Connection

Postby John Willett » Mon May 05, 2008 1:09 pm

Jimmy.L wrote:a few hundred pounds!..ouch burn!..but I'd need specifics.

I mentioned it in an earlier post.

I think the Focusrite Saffire LE would probably be your best option at a reasonable price - about £200, I think.

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Re: Random Mic Connection

Postby Studio Support Gnome » Mon May 05, 2008 1:52 pm

you need not spend quite that much....


1) you can buy a basic cheap n cheerful Mic pre for about £40-50 , and plug that in to your existing soundcard.


2) you can buy a MUCH better soundcard , to connect by USB , for example, with it's own Mic pre for less than several hundred...

for example the Novation Nio2/4 , £140 from Digital Village (there's a branch in Clifton... bristol)


or the Lexicon Alpha, for a mere £60 .... also from Digital Village /........

or a host of other options.....
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Re: Random Mic Connection

Postby Jimmy.L » Mon May 05, 2008 6:55 pm

okey wait..now I'm confused..

I still need to get the cable rewired right? does anyone know of a good place to get that done near Bath/Bristol? Does Digital Village do that sort of stuff?

After I get that done, which shall be my initial priority, do I still need to purchase either a) a pre amp for my existing sound card or b) a new audio interface?

I wouldn't mind forking out a bit of cash for a decent audio interface, however I'd like to make sure I'm actually getting something which will be compatible and work..so I don't have to post a new thread about not being able to plug stuff in lol.

So, imagine I get the cable rewired so it has a TRS jack for the headphones and a XLR 3pin for the mic, if I get that Lexicon Alpha, what would that entail? Would I then be able to plug the mic into that and have a working mic?

<3 for replies :lol:
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Re: Random Mic Connection

Postby Studio Support Gnome » Mon May 05, 2008 8:23 pm

Call Andy Allen , In Bristol.

contact him via
http://www.gearonline.co.uk/

he'll make the appropriate cable.

the lexicon alpha has the right connections.... (a 3 pin XLR on the rear panel , and a TRS headphone output on the front panel. )
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Re: Random Mic Connection

Postby Jimmy.L » Tue May 06, 2008 3:06 am

Alright thanks. I've emailed him about this whole thing. Lets see what he says :lol:

If he is able to split the cable so that I end up with a TRS jack for the headphones and a XLR for the mic, how would I plug that all in with the lexicon alpha? Would both the headphones and mic be plugged into the lexicon and then that connected to the comp via USB..or how would it work?

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Re: Random Mic Connection

Postby Studio Support Gnome » Tue May 06, 2008 11:22 am

yup.... the alpha becomes your soundcard, and is connected by USB to the computer... the headset connects to the alpha, at the appropriate points .
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