UR44c Shure SM81 Gain (low output condenser) not sufficient

just got my new UR44c. Attaching Shure SM81 to them, but seems the Preamps are too weak.
On 4o’clock setting still low, when going to max (5 o’clock) the gain is sufficient, but I hear strong noise on headphones and out put is more then sufficient.
Issue is the noise, and that I can not control fine enough the settings.
Is the hardware defect ?


PS: I tested the mics on a different interface where I can set the gain directly, the required gain is 55 db for a good signal.

Did you turn on Phantom Power?

Hi Steve,

yes I did! Otherwise there is no real output …

Hi Erich
Your UR44c has 60 dB of gain, so yes you need to use most of your input gain. But while the noise natrually gets louder as you turn the gain up, full gain will actually get you better S/N than say at 3 o’clock.

Hi strummer,

thanks for your reply. There are different issues:

  • the knob is small, and at the end there is a big jump in the output channel . The difference is much more than somewhere at 3o’clock position. Not being able to set the gain value exactly is a drawback.
  • coming back to your suggestion: use less preamp to get a better s/n ration and do the remainder in the daw. Is this a common practice in those situations?

I am aware that it makes no sense it get a loud signal by adding all the gain when you dont need the signal so loud in the mix. It did not come to my mind to optimise the sound by trying to find the sweet pot of the preamp and and then increase volume in the mix. Is this what you suggested ?


Hi Erich
No, my suggestion is the exact opposite: Use as much gain as you want, and if that means that you dime the gain control that is no real problem, because the S/N will actually be better that way, (even though you will hear noise when listening to “just the mic” with no input).
Here you have a very good video on the subject:)

Thanks! Nice video, and this confirms what I had in mind (thats why I put the gain setting on a separate item).
So the real issue is that I cannot control the gain settings fine enough using the small knobs as there is a big jump on the last 5 % …
BTW: I returned the mics for some louder ones …

1 Like