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Matching Mic to Pre: RE20 & ULN-8
Old 18th January 2019
  #1
Matching Mic to Pre: RE20 & ULN-8

Hey All,

I'm having an interesting issue and I have an idea of what might solve it and am hoping to maybe get some thoughts as to whether or not I'm on the right track.

I have two Metric Halo ULN-8's that I use for everything. I bought them for mobile stuff, but I'm now more studio based and I've never felt the need to get another outboard preamp.

I love SM7's and RE20's for vocals. I use these two mics with the ULN-8's all the time for spoken word stuff, but just recently I started using them for vocals again.

Here's the issue: I find that with both of these mics going into the ULN-8's, I often get this sound that almost sounds like soft tape saturation. It's like... fuzzy or buzzy in a way, but more frequency dependent than level dependent. Last week I did a session with a female vocalist and there were some moments where it sounded like we were clipping-- but, we weren't anywhere near clipping on the pre or converters or the daw chain.

So here's my question:
I used to own an Audient ASP880 and I remember being really impressed at how good the SM7 sounded through that pre with the variable impedance in "Lo". The input impedance of the ULN-8 is rated at 3k Ohms. Is it possible that this is maybe too high for the SM7 and RE20? Does anyone know if this would have a tendency to cause the sound I'm hearing in the recordings?

I'm wondering if investing in something like the Cloudlifter CL-Z might be a solution to this...


PS In terms of testing, I've confirmed this behavior with both mics, different ULN-8 models, cables, etc. So, it doesn't seem to be an anomaly, but something characteristic about the devices themselves.

THANKS!

Last edited by crandallwarren; 18th January 2019 at 02:32 PM..
Old 19th January 2019
  #2
Lives for gear
 

This sounds kinda weird. I know we have tested ULN-8 with RE-20 and did not experience this.

Please open a support ticket so we can determine if there is something wrong...

https://mhscure.com/support
Old 19th January 2019
  #3
Gear Guru
 
jwh1192's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by mh_bj View Post
This sounds kinda weird. I know we have tested ULN-8 with RE-20 and did not experience this.

Please open a support ticket so we can determine if there is something wrong...

https://mhscure.com/support

just under 24 hours on a public forum !!! very very nice support Sir !!!! cheers
Old 19th January 2019
  #4
Hey BJ,

Thanks so much for your quick reply. Yeah, I actually have been playing phone tag with Jon. And yes, your guys' support is ALWAYS top notch. I definitely don't mean to cast any doubt for folks interested in using the ULN-8 with dynamic mics. I should reiterate that its a subtle thing, but it's there. And, it's enough that I don't feel comfortable using this mic/pre combo on a paying session until I figure it out. The curious thing is that I find that I get the same results with either of my 2 ULN-8's and with either my SM7 or my RE20...

BJ, one thing I've been meaning to ask, is there any chance that installing the jumpers to put the ULN-8 in "high power" mode would have any effect on the headroom of the preamps? I know that the high power mode effects the maximum line output level, but does it affect the preamp rails as well?

Thanks again,

Collin

Last edited by crandallwarren; 19th January 2019 at 07:01 AM..
Old 19th January 2019
  #5
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swafford's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by crandallwarren View Post
The curious thing is that I find that I get the same results with either of my 2 ULN-8's and with either my SM7 or my RE20...
Very weird. I had an SM7b for a long time and used it extensively with the ULN8 and never had an issue. Hope it gets sorted for you!
Old 20th January 2019
  #6
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by crandallwarren View Post
The curious thing is that I find that I get the same results with either of my 2 ULN-8's and with either my SM7 or my RE20...
Yeah -- I saw that; it's weird. We are going to want to get an example of what you are talking about.

Quote:
Originally Posted by crandallwarren View Post
BJ, one thing I've been meaning to ask, is there any chance that installing the jumpers to put the ULN-8 in "high power" mode would have any effect on the headroom of the preamps? I know that the high power mode effects the maximum line output level, but does it affect the preamp rails as well?
The preamps are always in High Power mode. They are able to take +20dBu without clipping or distortion...
Old 21st January 2019
  #7
Old 8th February 2019
  #8
Update! Solved...

So, after a lot of testing (and some purchasing), I finally figured out that this issue is being caused by the string lights we have hanging in the room. Really interesting. I've never experienced this kind of interference before. I've had it where there's a constant buzz or something, but not where it modulates with the signal like this. But sure enough, turning off the lights takes the problem away.

My guess is that this just isn't as much of an issue with condensers-- which is why it went unnoticed until recently.

Thanks to everyone for their help! Special thanks to BJ and Jon at Metric Halo for their stellar/quick response as usual.

In other news, I did end up purchasing a Cloudlifter CL-Z in the troubleshooting process and I'm definitely keeping it. There's nothing wrong with the sound I get plugging the RE-20 straight into the ULN-8. However, dialing down the impedance via the Cloudlifter gives some pretty cool tonal options. In fact, it kind of expands the palate of the ULN-R pres. Pretty cool!
Old 8th February 2019
  #9
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andychamp's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by crandallwarren View Post
(...)In other news, I did end up purchasing a Cloudlifter CL-Z in the troubleshooting process and I'm definitely keeping it. There's nothing wrong with the sound I get plugging the RE-20 straight into the ULN-8. However, dialing down the impedance via the Cloudlifter gives some pretty cool tonal options. In fact, it kind of expands the palate of the ULN-R pres. Pretty cool!
If that‘s something you‘d like to explore further, the RE20 can internally be set to either 50, 150 or 250 Ohms.
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