UR44 Low Input Gain


I bought an UR44 some months ago and these days i’ve been trying out different mic’s with it. My previous interface was the Ci1. I have 4 different microphones - the line audio CM3 and OM1, the Shure SM57 and a Rode NT1-A. With my previous interface, the maximum gain level that I had to use for proper audio recordings was no more than 50%. On this unit - the Shure SM57 requires 90%+, the line audio mics require at least 75% and the Rode as before, around 50%. Also, when recording in stereo with the line audio mic’s, both signals are even lower. I’ve read two posts with the same problem, but found no solution on them. Is it a problem, actually, or is this the way, this unit is supposed to work? Thank you in advance.

I have the exact same problem…UR 44 and Shure SM57 low z mike. Did you ever get an answer???

Just to chime in here, I have an EV RE20 broadcast mic (dynamic cardioid) which I find I have to crank up the gain to get a decent signal, however it was like that on all my former interfaces before the 44, so that’s just that particular mic in general. I have not had time to check some of my condensers since purchasing the UR44, I will have to make time and check them out.

It would be nice to hear from Steinberg on this concern.

I’m in the same boat as well. Has anyone had some feedback on this already?

I use my UR-44 with an Acoustica AT-2020 microphone and it seems I have to set my input gain on 80-100% to get a decent line-in level with DAW track metering all the way at 0 db. That doesnt seem right.

With an AKG P3 dynamic I set it at about 1 O’clock, with a GXL3000 Condenser It’s between 12 - 1 O’clock. into Channel 1.

As long as you’re getting sufficient gain to get the job done - does it matter where the knobs are pointing?

Now it doesn’t anymore indeed since I get a good signal. Also I read many threads with different settings and that does seem surprising.

Some of the knobs are pointing at you :wink: :laughing:

No real issues for me with gain. The RE20 works well with the 44, just gotta crank it. All my others, not so much.

The key is to get sufficient gain without raising the noise floor to an unacceptable level. The SM57 is a fav mic choice of several artists I work with on vox. Generally, dynamics are low output mics and require an additional preamp to help generate a decent signal level with an acceptably low noise floor. If you’re recording a loud source (guitar amp etc) then no problem as far the UR44 goes but if you’re recording a relatively soft source, an additional preamp that can give you an extra 50db of quiet gain will get you there. You could also try a Triton Fethead or similar type product to get you closer with a little less expense. If you want an sample of a soft vox recorded on a UR44 with either a preamp or a Fethead, just PM me.

@Fuzzydude: Thanks for the tip on the Triton or any mic pre-amp for that matter. I had no idea those existed.
I wonder though if any pre-amp on a mic won’t add too much background noise to the recording.

I only record solo voals and acoustic guitar. I also play the piano but that I record digital obviously.
At this moment I’m pretty satisfied with the recordings although I do see some use for a decibel booster in the future so I might check it out some more by then.

@Spiritos, although different mic preamps vary in their ability to produce clean gain your question about it adding to the noise floor speaks more of ensuring a proper gain structure for your equipment. When this is achieved, the possible issue you mention would not occur. For example, with a relatively quiet vocalist placed 10 inches from the mic, singing into an SM57 plugged into a Triton Fethead, plugged into a TK Audio DP1 (mic preamp) and finally into the UR44 with its input level knob turned all the way down (effectively not using the UR44’s onboard preamp for gain) produces more than enough clean gain with no appreciable noise floor. I.e. suitable for an acoustic recording.

Check out https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1h1ku5-C_3w as an example of a live recording I did for a UR44 review where gain structure is set up correctly to help ensure an almost imperceivable noise floor in spite of the noisy surroundings. All the mics used in this example are condensers and only the UR44 was used for gain, no other gain boosting equipment, but the principle is exactly the same

As a sidenote the UR44 appears to produce noticeable self noise once the input gain knob exceeds 50-60%. Nevertheless its an absolutely great unit for the price, especially if used with a Steinberg DAW thanks to the integrated functionality :smiley:

@fuzzydude: Thanks for the info. Much appreciated and very nice recording indeed!
I’m fairly new with recording audio so I have much to learn so this includes getting to know my equipment. I hadn’ noticed the self noise above 50-60% but in a way it was part of my initial question -realising having to turn up the gain to +75% probably introduces extra noise. I’m very curious about the 3rd party pre-amps and will check it out.

Overall I’m still very pleased with the UR-44 as well but I thought the pre-amps were more top notch as I remember reading they were the same as used in more expensive interfaces.

They are indeed excellent preamps that outshine many of the competition in the same price range. But there is no substitute for a good external preamp for additional clean or coloured gain. The vid you watched was simply to show what can be achieved with just the UR44 alone with a little setup knowhow! To get a good low noise signal with this unit using dynamic mics requires extra hardware, essential if ambient noise is an issue in your recording environment.

@ fuzzydude… Ooooh, Natalie Burgess, lovely singer! :sunglasses: I viewed that video about 10 times whilst making up my mind about getting a 44, thanks for that. One of the few reviews I found actually useful, and she is a treat to listen to.


Thanks again. I primairily use cardioïd microphones (AT-2020)or a A/B X/Y setup with B5’s since I only record acoustic guitar and vocals but unfortunately since I live in a rural area sometimes outside noise does drip in.

Been a while but once again I’m contemplating getting a mic pre-amp to boost the input signal for my guitar (which I’m fingerpicking in a dynamic way). I’ve researched and looked at my options and concluded I actually have non since good pre-amps are too pricey for me.

Nevertheless I figure it’s part of the learning process and I want to experiment so I am probably going for a cheap used Behringer Mic200 or possibly an Art Tube MP -depending on what’s available.

I need a pre-amp soley for input gain and I know these low-end pre-amp probably suck -but maybe when I have the settings on neutral the coloring and noise is doable. Now proper gain staging is controlling the input with the pre-amp which is connected to the UR44 line in where gain should be zero since otherwise a pre-amp would be running through another pre-amp and seriously distort the sound, so they say…

But this is the part I don’t understand. A pre-amp boosts my mic to line in with +48v. So when I connect it as a line-in from that point I should be able to treat it as any other line-in and use gain on the UR44 right? After all, I only need a pre-amp for gain, so as far as I understand I want to add gain and not replace it with a pre-amp hoping this signal will be hotter. Can anyone explain?

Hi guys,

you can tell that doesn’t matter where the knobs are pointing ( it’s a wrong statement ), you can even use a mic pre-amp to overcome the UR44 low input gain issue but the true story is that in fact the UR44 has a lower input gain!!

I’m a Steinberg fan! But being a fan doesn’t mean to be blind or deaf. So that’s my opinion ( please consider that I’m an experienced guy with computers, audio interfaces and recording ) :

I used to work with an UR22 audio interface and Cubase Elements 7. This setup it’s like a Panzer tank. Everything was perfet! But, as long as my audio work was growing I needed more audio inputs and I sold my UR22 and I bought an UR44. By this way, my nightmare began.

(1) To install the UR44 drivers I needed to completely format my computer. I contacted Steinberg but no efficient support. I believe that in some way the drivers setup software was not able to properly uninstall UR22 and install UR44 drivers

(2) I can hear glitches even with a 2048 samples buffer when using Cubase Elements 7 for playback. Note that in this cases my Cubase Elements 7 projects are only audio and all tracks are freezed ( just to avoid the glitches ). I have a Cubase Elements 7 project with a sound track made by me for a piece of theater. At this moment I can not playback the project from Cubase in the shows because it starts glitching. To overcome this issue I export the audio to mp3 files and I’m running the audio with an audio player :frowning: ( this is really bad )

(3) The UR44 has a lower input gain. I use an Audio Technica AT-2020 and a Sontronics STC-80. To ear the signal the input knob must be between 80% and 100%. At this point I can hear a lot of noise floor. Nothing of this happened with my old UR22 :frowning: With my old UR22 I need no mic/guitar pre-amps.

I’ll go to Steinberg support and report this important issue because it seems a lot of people has the same problem. I’ll make pressure to solve this. Than I’ll feedback the solution ( if there exits a solution )

I’ll be curious to here the feedback as well (if you get any…).I opened a ticket over 6 weeks ago inquiring about the low input gain on the UR44 and how this possibly relates to/can be solved with turning up the track volume +6db in dspMixfx. So far I’ve only received an e-mail from Steinberg saying they are very busy…

Customer support seems to be non-existent for Steinberg. I hate to say it as I don’t want to be that guy who complains all the time but really, these forums are close to dead, only one moderator who doesn’t seem to be active and this is the second time I contacted Steinberg support and had to wait over a month. Such a shame cause I really do like their products as well (aside from the iLok thing) but I feel publically complaining about it is the only chance of improvement.

As for your glitches, you probably know this but I would look into DPC latency using latencymon (http://www.majorgeeks.com/files/details/latencymon.html) which has only marginally to do with drivers. It’s about IRQ conflicts (same busses being used by different components), wifi interference or for eg. setting your CPU’s priority to background services, basically tuning your windows OS for audio work.

I have a dedicated Win 8.1 (64x) OS (dual-boot) and tuned it for DAW only and have zero DPC latency while when using the UR44 on my mainstream OS (Win 10 64x) I also get glitches. Roundtrip in most DAWs is around 9,5 ms -which I prefered to be less but still seems common in this range of AI’s. RME drops to 5-6 ms but you pay for it as well.

cloud lifter is what you need for dynamic and ribon mics,also fiio q1 headphone amp if you use headphones,little bit of double side tape and voila,professional stuff

Hi Spiritus,

Thank you for your answer.

I already talked with Steinberg. I sent two audio files recorded with my UR44 and they concluded it’s a faulty device. They recommended me to return back the device to be replaced.

Anyhow, as you said this forum is dead. Only if I got success solving this I will return to feedback in this forum. Meanwhile, if you want to follow my issue and if replacing the UR44 is a solution you can contact me to my private e-mail: caldini79@gmail.com