Getting correct volume and clarity from the mic

by Rob
(London, UK)

I'm running GarageBand '09 on a new iMac with OS X 10.6.4. Acoustic guitar tracks are fine directly through the inbuilt audio input jack using pickups. Mic however is a problem. I'm using a Shure SM57 and cannot get decent volume or control either directly into the audio port (no surprise there) or through either of my preamps: 1) BOSS RPQ-10 or 2) BBE 386 acoustic pre amp. Both running through the audio input on the Mac.

Before I invest in yet another preamp or expensive connections, I want to be absolutely certain I will not be able to get a decent simple mic signal with what I have.

Can you advise?



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Nov 19, 2010
by: rob

Thanks lee. Your comments are very helpful, in particular your article on signals, which has cleared things up considerably. What was missing in my set up (well, so far) was a decent Audio interface. I've just purchased a Alesis i0-2 which looks pretty close in spec to the XX you suggest. I'll install it this evening and see how it goes.

As to the control I refer to, I think it was really just lack of volume, which was probably a result of trying to run a mic signal directly into the computer or through old style guitar pre amps.

Thanks again. Very helpful.

Nov 18, 2010
Should be able to...
by: Lee @

You are right - you should be able to get control over the input. Here are a few things for you to consider.

- Is your computer input a line level signal? If so, try plugging the mic in directly. If not, it should work to plug the output of the preamp (which is line level) into the computer. For more about line level and other signals, see this article.

- What do you mean by not able to get "decent control"? Is the sound loud and distorted, or extremely quiet, or something else? If it is one of the first two, see if the line level/mic level signals are causing the problem, as referenced in the article.


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