Cubase LE5 & Tascam US-144MKII Input Signal Weak & Hiss

LE 5 came bundled with the US-144MKII
Downloaded and sucessfully installed both the the 2.03 driver and firmware
Studio Projects B1 Microphone with Monster Pro XLR cable
XP Professional - SP3 32bit
Dell Pentium 4; 2.8GHz; 1 Gb RAM (One more Gb RAM on order)

I have read and following the installation instructions for both the Tascam & Cubase LE5
and I believe that all is configured correctly. However, when testing the recording (going throught the manual exercises) the Input signal doesn’t even begin to move the level indicators until it is turned up to about 75%. At that point in time I can hear a very undesireable “Hisssss” which only gets worse when I move the Input pot closer or all the way to 100%. When there the Input signal is good (well within range, and only occasionally trips the overload indicator) - but the “Hissss” is extreamly bad then! Playback has the “Hissss” in it as well. The recording is actually very good (clear, crisp, very nice sound) - if it wern’t for the “Hissss”!!!

Would someone please help me through this?

I have read the posts here in the forum, and have tried adjusting the latency - with no change to the “Hissss.”
The Volume signal in Windows Control Panel is at Max (100%).

Thank you in advance.


First - I have to add that I did have the Phantom power on for the Studio Projects B1 microphone.
I switched out the Studio Projects B1 (large diaphragm Condensor) microphone, and substituted a Shure Unisphere I, Model PE 56D (Unidirectional, Cartroid, Dynamic) microphone. The Shure 56D has a stronger signal, NO “Hisss” (both while recording and while playing back. Of course, the Phantom power was turned off using the Shure 56D.

This does not make sense to me. Shouldn’t the Studio Projects B1 mic, being a large diaphragm condensor microphone work better for recording? From all that I read this should be true. Do I have some settings incorrect???

Please share your expertise.

Some things to check.

First the Studio Projects B1, make sure the little switch on the front is set to the flat position, not -10dB or -20dB as that will attenuate the signal.

Also just to check, you mic cable is XLR to XLR? and not XLR to Jack? (sound like it will be otherwise your B1 would get no phantom power)

From my experience, the less direct your signal is and the more gain you have to give it, the more hiss you get. Try boosting the sound from your source (sing louder, play harder, etc.)

My dynamic seems less resistant to noise than my condenser. Curious. :confused:

Thank you for your reply.
Yes, the B1 is in the upper/flat position.
Yes, the cable is XLR to XLR.

Could it be that the preamps in the Tascam are not powerful enough for the B1?

Any other thoughts and/or advice would be greatly appreciated.

Unlikely, try a different input and/or cable.

The test I did with the Shure Dynamic mic was using the same cable, and the same input channel.
However, I will try the test you suggested … I just need to buy another cable. Thanks.

Yeah, but it may be a phantom power issue, from either the cable or the interface, you need to rule such things out.

I tested the setup using another condensor mic (shure headset) into the xlr of the tascam with the same results (having to turn up the pot almost all the way before the signal is strong enough to register, and then with much Hissss).
At this point is it time to send back the tascam as defective that the phantom power is an issue?

Have you ruled the connecting lead out yet (by using another one) have you tried a different input yet?

Today I called the supply house from which I purchased the items. They were very friendly and wrote two RMAs (one for the interface, and one for the mic). They offered to have me talk to someone in Sales, who was friendly and knowledgeable. I explained the issue, and he gave me a test so that I can eliminate either the interface or the mic. Tonight this is what I am supposed to try … Using my Shure 56D (Dynamic mic) with the XLR to XLR pluged into it, and the other end plugged into the XLR of the interface, turn up the gain no more the 60% and test. Then, turn on the phantom power and test. He said that there should be little to no difference between the phantom power being on, or off … and so … if there is a difference when the phantom power is turned on the problem lies in the interface, if there is no difference then the mic is the culprit. The rep seemed to think (from the details I gave him) that the issue was the microphone. Either way, they wrote up a RMA for each piece, individually, and told me to send back whatever did not prove to work. They even sent an email to me with an attachment label and prepaid postage. I think this is good customer service (I don’t know if I can, or should mention names here on this forum). I’ll update this thread once I have performed the test.

That’s good

I was trying to eliminate the interface and cable to before suspecting the mic.

No harm in mentioning the supplier, especially for good service :sunglasses:

So … the tests showed (according to the instructions I recieved from B & H - Photo, Video, Pro-Audio) that the interface is defective. Once the phantom power was turned on, noise - like a police siren, starting from a high pitch and progressively getting even higher to piercing (according to them there should not be any appreciable difference) presented itself. Pops, and crackles were also heard, and other clicking noises when the phantom power was turned back off. I have packed it up, and will take it to the USPS for return, hopefully this morning.

Thank you for your help. I thank God, that persons such as yourself are willing to share their expertise.

I will update this thread once then new unit comes back and I have tested it, so that others that might experience similar situations can benefit from us having gone throught this.