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C-Media Soundcard gating issues

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Hi --

I'm trying to record various music and spoken word stuff on my computer, and when the input level dips below a certain threshold, the input signal is turned down abruptly; i.e. I play a chord at the end of a song and let it ring out, and it fades slowly until it gets to about -20db at which point the sound is abruptly lost.

This happens whether or not I run my microphone (it's a Shure SM57) through a mixing board (I have a Mackie 1604) or just plug the mic directly into the computer, and it happens on either jack. Additionally, the effect happens whether I use the Windows Recording program that comes standard with XP, or Cool Edit Pro/Adobe Audition.

So I think the problem is that there's a "gate" feature on my soundcard, which rapidly reduces the sound level below some pre-set threshold. My goal is to eliminate any gate in my soundcard, I'd much rather handle noise-reduction after recording a genuine signal.

I'm running Windows XP, and my soundcard is a C-Media AC97 CMI9761A. I've attached a screenshot of the various settings for the software that runs that card.

Thoughts? I can't figure out if I just need a new driver, or a new soundcard if C-Media just makes bad ones, or whether there's a way to get into it and turn off its gate feature.

Any help greatly appreciated...

Peace -- Meddle

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