I have been using my POD Studio UX1 to record electric guitar DI with great success (or at least with very few technical issues) for the past few years. More recently I have ventured into the scary world of recording acoustic guitar and vocals. For this I have been using a rather low-budget dynamic microphone (Superlux TOP-258) running into the UX1 XLR input. It has always frustrated me that I cannot seem to get sufficient gain when recording my acoustic guitar this way. I have cranked the mic gain rotary nob all the way, hit the +18db boost button in POD farm, etc. I previously used Cubase to record, but have since switched to Cockos Reaper. Needless to say, the low mic gain issue persisted despite the DAW switch.
Suspecting that the low gain might have something to do with my low-budget mic, I decided to invest in a Shure SM57 (the fact that I use the word "invest" in this context should give you a clear indication of my budget...), hoping that results would improve. To my dismay, however, the low mic gain issue not only remains unsolved, but actually seems worse with the SM57 than the Superlux mic. I feel somewhat at a loose end. I have seen reviews of the SM57 where it is plugged directly into some USB audio interface (just like I do with my UX1) and the artists manage to record acoustic guitar with tons of gain (or so it seems from my perspective).
To make it clear: I am running the SM57 directly into the XLR input on the UX1 via an XLR-XLR cable, gain is turned up 7/8ths of the way, directly into my DAW (any more mic gain and the white noise becomes rediculous). The gain when recording vocals (using only a pop-filter between the vocalist and the mic) is acceptable, but still not fantastic. The noise to signal ratio when recording my acoustic guitar, though, is atrocious. Can any one offer advice as to what the problem may be? Could it be the XLR cable? Could there be something worng with my UX1? Is the amount of maximum amount of gain I can hope to get out of the UX1 simply to little to ever be able to record acoustic guitar with a dynamic mic at an acceptable signal-to-noise ratio? Any inputs are appreciated, though may I kindly request that you refrain from suggestions that I purchase a condenser mic (I have noted a trend on these forums to recommend condenser mics as a sort of panacea to any type of mic gain query, even when the purchase thereof is not an option (for whatever reason) to the OP. Given the UX1's lack of phantom power, purchase of a condenser mic would in any case neccesarily imply purchasing a different audio interface, in which event I may as well consider getting an entirely different interface with better preamps and, more importantly, more input gain than the UX1.)