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TIPS: No more distorted sound when miking Saxophone, Trumpet, Trombone

The sound of the trumpet distorted and clipping, I used an XLR cable…

Why does the trombone sound distorted on stage? I use Sennheiser wireless..

The mixer is already at 0, but how come my saxophone’s sound keeps distorted…

Several times, we found wind instruments players, whether they were use saxophones, trumpets, and trombones, who complained about their sound distorting when they were playing with SEM-02 on stage. Even though the fader on the audio mixer has been set to 0 (or maybe ∞ or something).

First, we will explain why this can happen.

The sensitivity of SEM-02 is quite high, if it is used for miking instruments such as saxophone, trumpet, or trombone which tends to have a loud sound, it will produce a very large output. Moreover, for miking the instrument is classified as close miking / closer to the sound source.

So if the audio mixer/wireless system doesn’t have enough headroom, distortion will occur.

Then how to solve it?

PAD button on audio mixer (attenuate by -26 dB)

All professional mixers have a button that is used to deal with this, which is called a PAD. This button serves to reduce the amount of input before entering the preamp in the mixer. So that the incoming signal will have sufficient headroom to be received and processed in the audio mixer circuitry.

The video below is all wind instruments using the SEM-02 and the PAD button is turned on.

Is there any distorting sound? Of course not.

The SEM-02 microphone specifications have a maximum overload point at 116 dB, while musical instruments such as saxophone, trumpet, trumpet, etc. have a peak SPL of 100 dB, which of course is still far below the maximum SPL that can be accepted by SEM-02.

So ask the sound engineer to turn on the PAD button if the sound distorts during sound check.

OK, the PAD button is already on, but why does it keep breaking?

This usually happens if you use a wireless system such as Sennheiser, Shure, or Sony whose input sensitivity and audio output gain can be adjusted. So make sure the input sensitivity at the transmitter is set to a number where the gain indicator/meter does not peak at either the transmitter or receiver.

In essence, signal balancing between transmitter, receiver, and mixer is very important, that’s what sound checks are for.

Then how about the audio interface that doesn’t have a PAD?

Don’t worry, the audio interface is now at input gain by default at 0, unlike the old audio interface, where the input gain is often boosted by +10 dB (Steinberg CI2 series), so even if the knob is turned off, sound still comes out from the speaker monitor.

Steinberg CI2+, the input gain is boosted +10 dB

For new types from Steinberg, Focusrite, Presonus, etc. By default, it will turn off when the knob is turned to 0, so no need to worry.

*Want to ask about this topic? Please send an email to support@seruniaudio.com