Question / Help Downmix to Mono and Mic Volume

#1
Hello,

I recently switched from a Blue Yeti to an Audio Technica XLR mic (AT2035). It goes to a Scarlett Focusrite to get converted from analog to digital then in to the PC via USB. I use OBS Studio.

I noticed that my mic volume had 2 issues:

1. It was in my left ear only
I checked off "downmix to mono" in the advanced audio properties and that shifted it from my left ear to the center appearing to have fixed it.

2. Volume was suddenly very quiet (the gain is *not* low on the focusrite)
I had to bring it from -7dB (Blue Yeti) to +6dB in OBS and play around with increasing the volume in the obs audio mixer too. Doing this caused distortion and still didn't make the mic all that loud. Even though my set-up was identical, I felt I needed to turn ALL other audio waaaay down so that my voice was as prominent as it used to be with the Yeti.

I have this gut feeling that downmixing to mono takes the audio coming in, divides it by half and then sends that to both years, which decreases the volume heard, when it would be ideal if it just mirrored it in to the other side.

Can anyone confirm this? Has anyone ran in to this issue? There are 100s of streamers using XLR mics and a Focusrite so surely there's something I'm missing.

One thing I thought of trying was getting a red/white to aux cable. Essentially I would plug the red/white side in to the focusrite and the aux side to the PC line in. Not sure if that would be doing the exact same thing as OBS' downmix function though just from a hardware standpoint. I also tried picking mono over stereo in the Windows Recording devices but that didn't change anything either (I'm going to triple check that when I get home today).

Thanks!
Castle
 

Suslik V

Active Member
#2
Yes, "Downmix to Mono" just bad wording of the option. It averages channels data (makes planar sound). The option doesn't change number of the channels. I'd like to add "Averages data from all channels. Makes planar sound" as tip.

The general formula is:
channel_i_data = 1/n*(channel_1_data + channel_2_data + ... + channel_n_data); where n is number of channels.

Downmix to Mono = 50%?
 
#3
I still wonder if I did the red/white to aux would solve the issue - I'll give it a shot when I get home.

It's just odd to me because there are SO many people with this set-up and seamingly had no issues at all. They don't have 2 mics; they just have the one. Surely there's something I'm missing. I read through that chain and your last post. It confuses me a bit (I'm not super PC savvy):

"In my case (Win7), build-in sound card + rec software (OBS Studio as well) + mono mic + mic jack-in = stereo output (both channels filled, I mean), and I don't need to Downmix to Mono at all. (look for windows microphone properties>advanced tab>default format in shared mode - I think, Studio uses wasapi in shared mode for all devices: input and output. My sound card allows me only stereo modes for mic device at different bit deps and freq. Also, I have Microphone Boost +30dB setting by default at windows microphone properties>levels tab)"

Mic jack-in? Is your mic going to an interface, but that interface has aux out and you're plugging it in to your PC via aux? what are you referring with the wasapi and shared mode stuff? I set my mic level to 100 in the windows recordings tab but didn't know you could do a boost.

The issue is I can boost it but it becomes distorted.
 

Suslik V

Active Member
#4
Just simply mono mic connected directly to the mic-in (pink color of the motherboard). This is WM-61A, almost reference scheme (~0.5u+2.2k).
WM-61A schematic diagram.png
It works and that is all I can say about the quality. The +30dB digital boost (and mic mono jack-in to stereo) is just driver feature of the VIA sound chip.

I'm not a streamer by the way. Better look for other solutions. In OBS Studio (v20.1.0) Downmix to Mono = Average all channels data. 2 speakers is louder then 1 speaker and wise versa. That's all.
 
#5
@CreepyCastleTV this should work for you no problem, I have
a Scarlett 2i2 with a dynamic mic. I have a preamp in my mic chain as well. I did have a condenser mic but I found it way too sensitive.

Don't take offence at this but you have phantom power switched on is that correct?

Using the USB interface of the 2i2 ought to be sufficient to get you enough gain without distorting the audio, what happens when you add gain in OBS does it distort?
 
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