Running live vocals into the Octratrack - help, please!

What’s the easiest way to get a decent sound from a microphone into the Octatrack?

I’m running my SM58 mic into a Mic Mechanic 2 pedal and am connecting from there to the Octatrack via an XLR to 1/4 jack lead, but something about the signal is incredibly noisy. I’m presuming it’s the XLR to 1/4 lead, but whatever it is, it’s borderline unusable at the moment.

Does anyone have any suggestions about how I could better connect this pedal to the Octatrack without this noise (maybe there’s a better lead)? Or is there another decent but inexpensive way to pre-mic the signal that you guys use?

Any microphone preamp that will output line level will do the trick, from a cheap ART tube pre to a genuine Neve 1073.

What mic are you using? Certain mics, like ribbons and the shure SM7b especially, expect a great deal of amplifier gain, and with those mics a subpar performing micpre will add noise significantly. To put it simply, the less noise a micpre will introduce when cranking up the mic gain the better in those cases.

Also one way to add gain without adding noise is a device like the cloudlifter.

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It’s an SM58.

Hmm, for an SM58, I’d expect just about any micpre would have enough gain to drive it just fine.

The Mic Mechanic 2 specs are:

Output Connector: XLR male, impedance balanced, pin 2 hot
Output impedance: 200/100 Ohm
Output Full Scale Level: +7.5 dBu
Input to Output Frequency Response: +0/-0.3 dB, 20 Hz to 20 kHz

Does it sound to you like the XLR to 1/4 lead may be the problem in terms of noise being introduced, as the Mic Mechanic itself should be quiet. I’m running it off batteries.

just change the lead …

some leads look like microphone leads but really are more line feed leads to go to a sound system

other leads look like microphone leads and in fact are mic leads although don’t quite fit snugly to the microphone. try a high quality 2 meter mic lead from the local shop :slight_smile:

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yeah, I too suspect your cable interconnect to be the culprit in this case. That pedal looks like a solid piece of gear and it should have no problems driving a 58.

Get a proper XLR - TRS cable for connecting to your octatrack - that is, unless you are using one already?

One more thing - with a 58, you are aware that the distance from the mic is also a vital aspect for getting enough signal without added line noise (due to excess amplifier gain to compensate)? You need to almost eat that mic lol. This is actually a big one, especially in cases where the vocalist cannot hold the mic in his/her hand…get it as close to you as possible.

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i have eliminated noise by changing mic cables - sometimes a cheaper one works better…


I think I’m using a proper XLR-TRS cable but I can’t remember for the life of me where I got it, so maybe I should just buy another one that’s definitely robust. Any recommendations?

Actually, it has a plastic XLR end so maybe that’s not brilliant.

I always recommend cordial these days, great bang for the buck and genuine rean neutrik connectors:

Something like this (although the lenght is up to you)

no wait, does your pedal output xlr male or female? ovbsly need to match the XLR end with your gear heh


Male! Thanks for this, I’m going to give it a go.

Sounds crazy but have you tried running the 58 straight into the OT? It has enough gain. Even if just to eliminate the variable of the pedal. If it’s still noisy you’ll know it’s the cable at fault.


I haven’t, but will also give that a go.

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That pedal of yours sounds like it would be very useful though, with all those fx etc

And yeah, just like Masada managed to “sample” audio by connecting an SM58 straight into the MPC live, you will be able to grab something… But I am pretty sure the results will not be as good as with some kind of mic pre added into the equation…

Well, I’ve ordered a new XLR to 1/4 cable and will also swap out my XLR to XLR cable to do some tests! Thanks for the help, guys.


I already plugged a passive guitare directly. Comp, Reverb…:content:
I won’t be surprised with a SM58 directly plugged !
I even sampled inputs without anything plugged > normalize > nice Ot’s white noise. :slight_smile:
As you can mangle any noise with OT, wtf?

Maybe I’ll try my Neumann U87 with a preamp…:sketchy::pl:

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Have you tried adjusting the noise gate on OT?

I had to do this with my op-1 before I bought a ground noise canceller thingy

The gate is in the audio set up menu

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lol cool, i didn’t know there was a noise gate on the OT.

solution for the current scenario: new lead, mic direct to input A.

the sm58 doesn’t need phantom power and the OT inputs are more than capable of amplifying the signal. if not enough, use an input thru machine :slight_smile:

the easiest way would actually be to simply plug your mic into your soundcard/daw then route the soundcard into the machine you wish to sample the voice into… this saves you buying any further kit that you might not use much. you could also add pre effects this way.

I would like to run live vocals into the Octatrack. Do you have any suggestion for a song mic solution that will work well with the OT? I guess I should use a preamp for best result but if it could work without, that would be great.
I own a SE2200a II Mic but that surely needs phantom power and actually I use it so rarely that I think I might sell it. I have used an SM58 before and didn’t really like the sound so much. It felt like there was a blanket covering it, at least compared to the SE 2200a II.

Will a good song mic give me a clean input on the OT without using a preamp?