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Quietest preamp, interface and mic combination that there exists?
Old 10th May 2019
  #1
Gear Maniac
 

Quietest preamp, interface and mic combination that there exists?

So what do you guys think?! Let's share some links and arguments.

If you can'y say for sure... then what would be your favorite unless you're already rich and have your favorite?!

:D
Old 10th May 2019
  #2
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For preamps, I’d investigate the Earthworks, Gordon and Martech. For mics, most any dynamic or passive ribbon has almost no self noise.

Do you have a specific purpose in mind or is this just a “hmmm...” kind of thing?
Old 10th May 2019
  #3
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robert82's Avatar
TLM 103 supposedly the quietest LDC on the market.
Old 10th May 2019
  #4
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by burp182 View Post
For preamps, I’d investigate the Earthworks, Gordon and Martech. For mics, most any dynamic or passive ribbon has almost no self noise.

Do you have a specific purpose in mind or is this just a “hmmm...” kind of thing?
hmmm kind of thing, I've built a small studio with some decent equipment and now I am big dreaming :D "what if one day" kind of thing
Old 10th May 2019
  #5
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by burp182 View Post
For preamps, I’d investigate the Earthworks, Gordon and Martech. For mics, most any dynamic or passive ribbon has almost no self noise.

Do you have a specific purpose in mind or is this just a “hmmm...” kind of thing?
I hope I don't get killed for careless dreaming :D
Attached Files

Carless Dreaming.mp3 (1.41 MB, 1854 views)

Old 10th May 2019
  #6
I'll assume you are recording very quiet sources since noise isn't usually an issue otherwise if you pay attention to proper gain staging. It all starts with a mic with very low self noise and very high output so that the preamp down the chain has less work to do. First mic that comes to mind is the AT 5040. Then maybe a Gordon preamp, Pueblo, or Forssell if needed.
Old 10th May 2019
  #7
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aural Endeavors View Post
I'll assume you are recording very quiet sources since noise isn't usually an issue otherwise if you pay attention to proper gain staging. It all starts with a mic with very low self noise and very high output so that the preamp down the chain has less work to do. First mic that comes to mind is the AT 5040. Then maybe a Gordon preamp, Pueblo, or Forssell if needed.
well for example you'd like to record whispering ...


or hmm how about a person sitting comfortably at least 1 foot away from the mic or even more... And mic pulled up somewhat so that it avoids air flow but angled down to pick up the sound waves and also some of the chest resonance.

Putting the mic further away, requires gain to be cranked up and then some small noise can be noticable. If the person starts talking quietly and if you want to amplify during compression you end up with that little noise being multipled then. Irritating. I know there is cheap equipment that can deal with this but NT1 of mine and UR12 interface I got is reaching its limit here.

I can just barely do it. I'd prefer something very very quite. The room is completely isolated and decently treated so "too much room noise" with high gain won't be an issue.
Old 11th May 2019
  #8
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Monteiro's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by AlanWalk View Post
So what do you guys think?! Let's share some links and arguments.

If you can'y say for sure... then what would be your favorite unless you're already rich and have your favorite?!

:D
I used a DACS Clarity for a year, the thing is transparent as air.
Don't remember if it was the quietest I've used...
But cleanest...
Old 11th May 2019
  #9
Gear Addict
Shure ksm44a....rupert neve designs portico
Old 11th May 2019
  #10
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thismercifulfate's Avatar
Lewitt currently make the LDC’s with the lowest self-noise. For preamps, Martech, AEA, Grace, Gordon, Avid PRE, Earthworks, Millennia all make very quiet preamps. If you habe a quiet mic abd pre, the interface will not play a role in the equation when it comes to self-noise.

And none of the gear will ultimately matter unless you have a pristinely quiet space to record in. That means great isolation from the outside, specialized HVAC system, room treatment, solid floors etc...
Old 11th May 2019
  #11
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cerebellum's Avatar
 

Earthworks .

Mic and preamp.
Old 11th May 2019
  #12
Sound Devices 7-series preamp and conversion; Sennheiser ME66 mic.
Old 11th May 2019
  #13
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thismercifulfate's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by cerebellum View Post
Earthworks .

Mic and preamp.
Yeah... no. 22.0dbA is not quiet by anyone's standards. The trade-off for having such a tiny diaphragm is higher self-noise.
Old 11th May 2019
  #14
Gear Maniac
Perhaps not the droid you're looking for, but. . .

If this were a life and death scenario, I think I would go for a microphone array [of accurately matched omni SDCs] with at least one mic for each sound source and one mic for each major reflective surface impacting the environment.

I assume the most useful mics on which to build such a network would be SDCs. Schoeps may not be the very best for such an application, but having a large array of them wouldn't hurt my feelings [pick something different if you like].

I would also go for the Sound Devices Scorpio [coming soon] for clean consistency - as consistency would facilitate the algorithms. Besides, it just wouldn't break my heart to be stuck with one of these either.

Then after capture, apply some linear algebra on this network to isolate and clean up the signal for the the desired source. Note: This is very different than saying clean up the signal for the desired mic.

Point is, ultimately a network of mics and some mathematics should be significantly more effective at producing the cleanest signal [representing the source's actual sound] than any given single mic/preamp chain. A bridge too far for most today; but likely in your future [I think] if you're young.


Long ago in a studio far, far away. . .

Ray H.
Old 11th May 2019
  #15
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cerebellum's Avatar
 

Quote:
Yeah... no. 22.0dbA is not quiet by anyone's standards. The trade-off for having such a tiny diaphragm is higher self-noise.
The SV-33 has a self noise of 15dbA.
TLM 103 has a noise of 7 dbA.

It's not the diaphragm size that is responsible for the noise , it's the make up gain from the internal amp which needs to be higher for a smaller diaphragm in respect to a larger one.
Old 11th May 2019
  #16
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by robert82 View Post
TLM 103 supposedly the quietest LDC on the market.
Yup, they're really quiet. And the Hardy 990 twin-servo is the quietest preamp I've used.
Old 11th May 2019
  #17
Lives for gear
I'm about to use my pair of Aston Starlight microphones tomorrow:

15dB A-weighted self noise, but a whopping 42mV/Pa output (-27dBV/Pa). My preamps want to take the day off! These put out 17dB more signal than my Line Audio CM3's.

Last edited by MediaGary; 11th May 2019 at 06:09 PM.. Reason: fixed dB capitalization
Old 11th May 2019
  #18
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thismercifulfate's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by cerebellum View Post
The SV-33 has a self noise of 15dbA.
TLM 103 has a noise of 7 dbA.

It's not the diaphragm size that is responsible for the noise , it's the make up gain from the internal amp which needs to be higher for a smaller diaphragm in respect to a larger one.
I had not seen this new LDC mic by them yet. All their previous mics are definitely on the noisy side. 15dbA is about average for a modern LDC, but for the topic of the OP, there are much quieter mics available today. The Brauner VM1 KHE is a tube mic and only produces 9dbA of self-noise. The new versions of the AKG C414 are only 6db, the AT5040 is 5dbA and Lewitt claims close to 0db for several of their mics.
Old 11th May 2019
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cerebellum View Post
It's not the diaphragm size that is responsible for the noise
Yes it is.
Old 11th May 2019
  #20
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cerebellum's Avatar
 

Quote:
Yes it is.
How so ? How does a smaller passive diaphragm produce more self noise ?

Could you explain this please ?
Old 11th May 2019
  #21
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robert82's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
Yup, they're really quiet . . .
So we can take this as a ringing endorsement?
Old 11th May 2019
  #22
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by robert82 View Post
So we can take this as a ringing endorsement?
I said "quiet," not "silent."
Old 11th May 2019
  #23
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by thismercifulfate View Post
And none of the gear will ultimately matter unless you have a pristinely quiet space to record in. That means great isolation from the outside, specialized HVAC system, room treatment, solid floors etc...

always the weak link in the search for audio "black".

I will take the quietest space over the quietest mic any day.
Old 11th May 2019
  #24
Gear Nut
 

neumann or sennheiser digital series.
Lower noise than any analog chain, no need for a preamp or converter.
Old 12th May 2019
  #25
if you are dead serious you'd need a high end analog console with 24 volt rails and custom wired studio to decrease the external interference from dirty power, then you'd need the acoustic isolation ideally in an ultra quiet location, custom built room so that's several hundred thousand before you've started, it's pretty much endless but everything in the chain adds up. Hopefully after all that work you'd get an artist with genuine talent.
Old 12th May 2019
  #26
Gear Maniac
 

this forum is so active and it is literally amazing how helpful you guys are! Amazing
Old 12th May 2019
  #27
Gear Maniac
 

this forum is so active and it is literally amazing how helpful you guys are! Amazing
Old 12th May 2019
  #28
Gear Head
 

Any current MKH series Sennheiser into an Avalon 2022. Or Sound Devices 788t. How silent do you need it ? I have so many mics and preamps, these would be
my choice for ultra low self noise.....
Old 13th May 2019
  #29
Quote:
Originally Posted by pencilextremist View Post
if you are dead serious you'd need a high end analog console with 24 volt rails and custom wired studio to decrease the external interference from dirty power, then you'd need the acoustic isolation ideally in an ultra quiet location, custom built room so that's several hundred thousand before you've started, it's pretty much endless but everything in the chain adds up. Hopefully after all that work you'd get an artist with genuine talent.
This. Unless you're in the business of producing money-making hits, the endless quest to find the most perfect gear and the most perfect space in which to use it starts to become a waste of time. Better to focus on nailing a good performance and stay realistic about what you can do to enhance your studio. I've spent a lot of money over the years to get some pretty nice instruments for myself and an adequate assortment of mics and gear for recording myself and my band, and I enjoy all of it immensely. But it doesn't makes me a better guitarist.
Old 13th May 2019
  #30
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by 9xSound View Post
This. Unless you're in the business of producing money-making hits, the endless quest to find the most perfect gear and the most perfect space in which to use it starts to become a waste of time. Better to focus on nailing a good performance and stay realistic about what you can do to enhance your studio. I've spent a lot of money over the years to get some pretty nice instruments for myself and an adequate assortment of mics and gear for recording myself and my band, and I enjoy all of it immensely. But it doesn't makes me a better guitarist.
Or maybe the OP just wants to record something that's really quiet. My guess would be either mitosis or bird yawns.
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