# Home recorded mic signal seems a bit weak

I've been setting up a home recording studio in my basement. I have a brand new Shure SM58 dynamic mic that I bought, which I am inputting straight into an Mbox 2 USB interface, which connects to my computer. I am using Audacity in Linux to record the vocal tracks, via the JACK sound server.

Right now I am just trying to record a vocal track over an imported CD audio file (to make a demo). However, to get the vocal volume to a level where it is comparable with the audio track, I am having to crank up the Mbox input channel gain to almost max; add up to 10 dBs to the vocal track in Audacity and reduce the audio track by a few dBs.

The mic seems to work fine and the result sounds decent; however, I am just wondering if it is normal that I'm having to add all this gain to the vocal signal, or is it possible that perhaps something is not right?

• There are a lot of SM58 copies about, which may not be as good as the real thing. Having said that, I'm currently using a genuine SM58, but I fitted it with a <£5 rip off capsule (without the transformer...). There's very little difference! SM58s are great for live stage work, but not ideal for recording. Comment, thus no answer. – Tim Jul 23 '18 at 17:46
• @Tim Thanks for your comment. I'm fairly sure it is a genuine SM58 - the box, documentation etc. looked quite convincing). Yes, I've heard condenser mics are better for recording, but I got that one in case I want to eventually use it for performing as well. – Time4Tea Jul 23 '18 at 18:16
• What input are you using... mic or line? How did you specify the mic should be supplied, with a mono jack on the end or an XLR. My first guess is you got a mono jack & you're trying to get a level-match through the line input... that's not going to go well, as you've already discovered. – Tetsujin Jul 23 '18 at 19:19
• @Tetsujin The mic is XLR and I am plugging it directly into the XLR socket on the interface input channel. – Time4Tea Jul 23 '18 at 19:25
• Then check if the interface knows to auto-switch, or if it's manual [& you switched it]. If you could post a link to the model number &/or pics of the front & back panels it might be easier to figure out. I don't know the MBox interfaces at all, I'm afraid, so I'm flying blind. – Tetsujin Jul 23 '18 at 19:28

• There's absolutely nothing inherently wrong in putting up a 58 for a vocal mic. I don't use them a lot, I would normally use a U87 [for obvious & expensive reasons] but I've used 58s when I need isolation from ambient track noise with zero issues.... & re: 'cheap condenser'... If you already spent $£€100 on a 58, why the h*** would you throw more money at an under-performing condenser? You can get a decent dynamic mic for 100... you can barely get a decent condenser for 10 times that. – Tetsujin Jul 23 '18 at 19:21 • @Tetsujin it depends what sound you want. For rock or spoken voice, yes, a dynamic mic works well whereas many condensers may be liable to producing unpleasant sibilance. But as soon as you want a bit of “air” in the sound, even a 50$ condenser can beat all but a few dynamic models. – leftaroundabout Jul 23 '18 at 19:47