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This is about recording, not a piano question, but I do not know where to ask. I have basic knowledge about recording, have been using USB mics for a while.
Now I start to record with a pair of Rode M5 with Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 interface.

The sound quality is excellent, but it seems the mic got saturated easily at the loudest sound. I am recording a Steinway B grand piano in a small studio room. The sound is LOUD. I tried to adjust the gains both on interface and on computer, even trying to move mic a little further away (the space is really tight), but nothing seems to help much.

On the other hand, the cheap mic on my camera seems to work fine (not saturated). I am now curious, is it because the dynamic range of M5 is small, or I did something wrong?

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What program are you using to record? I own this interface and used to own the predecessor to those Rode mics, and I can't figure why you would still be getting distortion or oversaturation even when reducing gain.

Here's a dumb question: On the Focusrite, you have the phantom power turned on, correct? I don't know what a condenser mic would sound like with no phantom power, but it's worth the question, especially if you are new to recording.

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If your recording device has a limiter function, try turning that on. It will limit the DB input by the recording so it won't exceed a certain level. It is useful to avoid distortion in ff passages.

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Originally Posted by TBell
If your recording device has a limiter function, try turning that on. It will limit the DB input by the recording so it won't exceed a certain level. It is useful to avoid distortion in ff passages.

That would completely defy the purpose of using somewhat decent equipment that is designed to catch the full dynamic range of a piano.

There is something wrong with the set up of OP and the solution is not a dynamic range limiter when he has a Steinway B in his home.

I suspect that there is something wrong with the audio routing, like routing the digital signal back into the microphone input of the computer. Going into the computer with USB means that the D/A-converter in the audio interface is active, but maybe the recording software is set to record from the microphone input, not from a digital input that the audio interface provides.

As a first step I'd plug in headphones into the Focusrite and use the stereo monitor mode to listen for possible distortions and play with the input levels to see whether distortions occur every time or only below certain levels. If the audio interface gives you a clean signal then one needs to look at how the audio signal path is handled in the computer.

OP said nothing about his operating system, but I suspect it's not Linux, so I can't really be of help other than saying that the first thing to check is looking at the signal path as part of the audio settings of the operating system. Any microphone controls should be disabled, unless they are specifically labeled as coming from the audio interface. If that doesn't yield the necessary results, then looking at the recording software's input controls.

OP should mention the operating system, the recording software and respective audio settings for us to help him with a diagnosis.

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Indeed, a limiter should not be needed.

Maximum SPL of the RØDE M5 is 140 dB

I can't imagine that you would reach that level. I think a grand is about 90dB max at 1 meter distance. 140 is way way louder than that.

So it sounds more like your amplifier setting is too high or even incorrect.


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Originally Posted by wouter79
Indeed, a limiter should not be needed.

Maximum SPL of the RØDE M5 is 140 dB

I can't imagine that you would reach that level. I think a grand is about 90dB max at 1 meter distance. 140 is way way louder than that.

So it sounds more like your amplifier setting is too high or even incorrect.

+1. Check the gain settings on the 2i2, and the gain setting on whatever driver is running on the computer.

Probably, that's where the problem is.


. Charles
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PX-350 / microKorg XL+ / Pianoteq

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