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help me with my low gain without fethead & cl1 Dynamic Microphones
Old 13th March 2018
  #1
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Thread Starter
help me with my low gain without fethead & cl1

Hello guys. my rode PROcaster needs alot of gain . and my focuserite SOLO cant handle it .

when I set my interface gain near 100% . my voice has alittle noise and there is kind of hazy or muzzy . and is not compeletly clear .

when I set that near 50 % . my voice is very good but I have to set my computer volume to 100 % to hear that .

I want to work with adobe audition and premier . and I dont like that my final product (video and clip) needs to set your device volume near 100 % .

some guys say I need to buy cloud fire cl1 or fethead 150$-250$ . but unfortunately they are not available in my country . and is out of budget too.

Im beginner and I dont know if its possible to make my voice louder and better without cloud fire . and with softwares ?

Thanks
Old 13th March 2018
  #2
Lives for gear
Some reviews for this mic mention that it requires more gain than most interface preamps can provide. As you say, the usual way to fix this problem is with a Cloudlifter or Fethead. If you can’t afford those right now, you need a different solution.
The Cloudlifter is a preamp in front of your interface preamp. Do you have any other preamps? Any preamp will do the same work as the Cloudlifter. If you have a mixer, you can go through the mixer for some boost, and then into the interface for the remainder of the required gain. If you have an outboard mic preamp it can be used the same way.
So, if you don’t have another preamp, you need to beg, borrow or steal some kind of preamp to use as your “fake Cloudlifter”. You will need to experiment with the settings on the preamp and interface to get the quietest combination of undistorted gain.
Your other option is to return the mic and get something (a condenser?) that requires less gain.
My advice is that the Rode is a good mic, and you seem to like it, so you should probably keep it and try to find some temporary cheap solution to your gain problem. You might find a solution that will work so well that you won’t need to purchase a Cloudlifter.

My other advice is that you have to be more cautious about saving money by purchasing cheaper versions of proven gear. You may have saved a hundred dollars by picking the Rode instead of an RE20, but the RE20 is the real thing, and will hold much more value in the resale market. The magic of those traditional broadcast mics is not what happens above 10khz, but how they present the presence, warmth and body of the voice in the 80hz to 7khz range.
Old 13th March 2018
  #3
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Are you sure its a mic level problem and not a headphone issue?

Poor quality headphones and low output headphone amp can be just as big a problem as the mic itself.
If you're using consumer quality headphones they are designed to sound acceptable when listening to "Mastered" audio.
Pro headphones connected to a decent headphone amp are designed to sound right listening to a mic when tracking.
The have a higher SPL level which makes the mic sound plenty loud. This way you don't do the exact thing you're doing, pushing the mic beyond an acceptable level of preamplification.

In other words - use your meters to set your mic level and leave it alone. If its not loud enough fix your headphone monitor levels so it is. You shouldn't be getting anywhere near maxing your mic levels or hearing hiss at those levels without blowing your eardrums out.
Weak consumer quality headphones or a garbage headphone amp are the most likely suspect here.
Old 13th March 2018
  #4
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According to the specs listed by Rode, the Procaster has an output of -56dBV (referenced at 1-volt/Pascal), which is in the same range as a common SM58 microphone that's listed at -54.5dBV/Pa.

With that in mind, and the Scarlett Solo offering about 50dB of gain according to its spec sheet, it's pretty apparent that you'll have to work at a close range to the microphone in order to get a good output with a normal level of speaking voice. By 'close', I mean 2-inches (50mm).
Old 13th March 2018
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MediaGary View Post
According to the specs listed by Rode, the Procaster has an output of -56dBV (referenced at 1-volt/Pascal), which is in the same range as a common SM58 microphone that's listed at -54.5dBV/Pa.

With that in mind, and the Scarlett Solo offering about 50dB of gain according to its spec sheet, it's pretty apparent that you'll have to work at a close range to the microphone in order to get a good output with a normal level of speaking voice. By 'close', I mean 2-inches (50mm).
In the review I read, the reviewer had the interface preamp all the way up (to the level where it was noisy) and still felt the level was a little weak, so he went to the Cloudlifter. The reviewer recommended a 2” distance for best results, so I assume that’s where he was.
SM 58s are most commonly used by loud (rock) singers at a zero distance. I don’t know the typical gain of live PA boards, but I’ve never felt that I needed more gain live with SM58s.
Old 13th March 2018
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bushman View Post
In the review I read, the reviewer had the interface preamp all the way up (to the level where it was noisy) and still felt the level was a little weak, so he went to the Cloudlifter. The reviewer recommended a 2” distance for best results, so I assume that’s where he was.
SM 58s are most commonly used by loud (rock) singers at a zero distance. I don’t know the typical gain of live PA boards, but I’ve never felt that I needed more gain live with SM58s.
Yeah, those singers can really pump it out! I had worked with a friend of mine who does voice-over work with an E-V RE20 attached into an older Focusrite interface (Saffire Pro 14) which has published specs of up to 60dB of gain. Despite that, the top end of that gain range was too noisy for his purposes, and he took my advice to buy a FetHead. All has been well since.

The RE20 (1.5mV ~ -56.5dBV) has about the same output as the SM58 and Procaster; and I did a quick experiment a minute ago. While speaking in my normal voice at 2-inches away, I ran an SM58 at 50dB, 55dB and 60dB gain into an M32 mixer and looked at the peak values in the DAW.

Even at 60dB gain, my peak was about -24dBFS and the general/typical range was closer to -30dBFS. By pushing a bit, I could get the general/typical range up to -20dBFS, but anything more than that didn't feel like regular speech.

I hope that gives some usable reference points for your decisions
Old 13th March 2018
  #7
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Thread Starter
is it possible to make loud my voice after recording ? without drop quality ?

which software is suitable to do that?

Thanks
Old 13th March 2018
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by njj View Post
is it possible to make loud my voice after recording ? without drop quality ?

which software is suitable to do that?

Thanks
Sure, every DAW can do 'digital gain'; and it's 'noiseless' in that there's no change to the signal-to-noise ratio that it initially received as input.
Old 14th March 2018
  #9
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This video should be of help. I don't use the program so I don't know the best way to go about it, but this looks like it'll work.
Old 14th March 2018
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by njj View Post
is it possible to make loud my voice after recording ? without drop quality ?

which software is suitable to do that?

Thanks
Didn't you say you own Adobe Audition?

Anyway.... step by step....

1. as a temporary owner of a fethead and a cloudlifter for testing on various mics a few years back..... do NOT buy a fethead or cloudlifter.

2. Whatever pre/interface you own, set it for its nominal level.... which is generally about a third to halfway up.... check your specs on your model. I only know of one interface (that I own too) that has its nominal level at full up 11. Most interfaces are very noisy at full up (as mentioned by you and others. So... do NOT turn your interface all the way up.... set it at nominal for its best performance (but gee now my audio is too low.....shhhh.... just record your track at nominal and keep reading)

3. Once your track is captured at a nice clean level.... it appears you'd like it to be louder on the track to balance better with your daw faders against other louder tracks......fine......step 4...

4 (I don't use Audition but looked at its features)....highlight your captured audio, select effects, then amplitude/compression and then....voila....NORMALIZE. Normalize is the tool to use

5..... if anyone says normalizing is destructive....no its not. Anyone badmouthing normalize is incorrectly thinking of brickwalling techniques popular a few years ago...and disdained.

6. If anyone then says, "yeah but normalizing will raise the room sound"....that is a person who does not know how to gainstage, much less understand....well, that's another area.

7. Fetheads and cloudlifters are bogus inventions (imo.....imo.....imo.....) except.....except.... for possibly some live situations where I'd use one in an instance where I couldn't preferably substitute a mic. I won't really get into a fethead/cloudlifter argument with anyone cuz..... it's already been argued around here on dozens of threads.

8. Normalize.... use it!
Old 14th March 2018
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thenoodle View Post
Didn't you say you own Adobe Audition?

Anyway.... step by step....

1. as a temporary owner of a fethead and a cloudlifter for testing on various mics a few years back..... do NOT buy a fethead or cloudlifter.

2. Whatever pre/interface you own, set it for its nominal level.... which is generally about a third to halfway up.... check your specs on your model. I only know of one interface (that I own too) that has its nominal level at full up 11. Most interfaces are very noisy at full up (as mentioned by you and others. So... do NOT turn your interface all the way up.... set it at nominal for its best performance (but gee now my audio is too low.....shhhh.... just record your track at nominal and keep reading)

3. Once your track is captured at a nice clean level.... it appears you'd like it to be louder on the track to balance better with your daw faders against other louder tracks......fine......step 4...

4 (I don't use Audition but looked at its features)....highlight your captured audio, select effects, then amplitude/compression and then....voila....NORMALIZE. Normalize is the tool to use

5..... if anyone says normalizing is destructive....no its not. Anyone badmouthing normalize is incorrectly thinking of brickwalling techniques popular a few years ago...and disdained.

6. If anyone then says, "yeah but normalizing will raise the room sound"....that is a person who does not know how to gainstage, much less understand....well, that's another area.

7. Fetheads and cloudlifters are bogus inventions (imo.....imo.....imo.....) except.....except.... for possibly some live situations where I'd use one in an instance where I couldn't preferably substitute a mic. I won't really get into a fethead/cloudlifter argument with anyone cuz..... it's already been argued around here on dozens of threads.

8. Normalize.... use it!
Not to derail but I'm going to need a link to at least one thread where the consensus is that the Fethead/Cloudlifter isn't necessary for using lower gain preamps with dynamic mics.
Old 14th March 2018
  #12
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by L-Fire View Post
Not to derail but I'm going to need a link to at least one thread where the consensus is that the Fethead/Cloudlifter isn't necessary for using lower gain preamps with dynamic mics.
You'll never get consensus on levels

Hence, threads like the 10,000 posts on gainstaging, and "why itb mixes don't sound blah blah".

All humans (me included) will say, "yep, that cloudlifter increased the gain of that 58.. or sm7... or re20. Same with the fethead.

But.... my position is/was.... those are NOT necessary. Not for an after-the-fact-raise-a-track-gain situation.

It's also not necessary to raise your interface gain to out-of-spec ranges (ie- 11)

Set the interface to nominal... capture the track.... if you need to jack up MONITOR LEVELS TEMPORARILY DURING THE PASS...esp to hear the capture along with other simultaneous tracks....fine.... it's just temporary for a few moments.....I'm talking monitor levels, not input or daw input levels....keep all those at nominal.

Normalize is built in to sooooo many programs. It is so useful, and yet so...dunno... maybe misunderstood.

Sometimes, you don't need a $200 Hoover to suck up a rock.

You just pick it up yourself.
Old 14th March 2018
  #13
Lives for gear
It seems like it would be annoying to try to record with a tiny vocal level. Normalize doesn’t work in record.
Old 14th March 2018
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bushman View Post
It seems like it would be annoying to try to record with a tiny vocal level. Normalize doesn’t work in record.
It would certainly be annoying to record a low-volume vocal track against a bunch of other really loud tracks....

that's why the daw universe gave humans the ability to change monitor mixes on the fly...

and normalize after-the-fact....

and then re-gainstage your monitoring after the capture, this time with your normalized track right there at the level range of your other tracks.
Old 14th March 2018
  #15
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by thenoodle View Post
It would certainly be annoying to record a low-volume vocal track against a bunch of other really loud tracks....

that's why the daw universe gave humans the ability to change monitor mixes on the fly...

and normalize after-the-fact....

and then re-gainstage your monitoring after the capture, this time with your normalized track right there at the level range of your other tracks.
Yes, extra steps to accommodate non-standard recording practices. Who wouldn’t love to do that?
Free tip back to you. I love changing the colors on all my tracks and then changing them back again. That’s why the universe gave humans the ability to change track colors... isn’t it?
Old 14th March 2018
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bushman View Post
Yes, extra steps to accommodate non-standard recording practices. Who wouldn’t love to do that?
Free tip back to you. I love changing the colors on all my tracks and then changing them back again. That’s why the universe gave humans the ability to change track colors... isn’t it?
That happened after "normalize" was invented
Old 14th March 2018
  #17
Here for the gear
 

Thread Starter
Cool Guys ! My English is not good . and its my first time to record with professional mic .

Quote:
Originally Posted by thenoodle View Post

and normalize after-the-fact....

and then re-gainstage your monitoring after the capture, this time with your normalized track right there at the level range of your other tracks.
thenoodle thanks for your help .

what is "after-the-fact"?
what is "re-gainstage your monitoring"?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Bushman View Post
Yes, extra steps to accommodate non-standard recording practices. Who wouldn’t love to do that?
Free tip back to you. I love changing the colors on all my tracks and then changing them back again. That’s why the universe gave humans the ability to change track colors... isn’t it?
Thanks Bushman

extra steps is not problem. if final product and output be good without fethead I can do extra steps over and over . bcuz I'm so beginner but have to have good final product .
Old 15th March 2018
  #18
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CJ Mastering's Avatar
If you have to normalize your tracks to get them to proper levels, then your recording techniques are flawed. Fix the problem instead of wasting time and doing DESTRUCTIVE EDITING when its not needed.

CJ
Old 15th March 2018
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CJ Mastering View Post
If you have to normalize your tracks to get them to proper levels, then your recording techniques are flawed. Fix the problem instead of wasting time and doing DESTRUCTIVE EDITING when its not needed.

CJ
Put on your helmet and prepare for incoming!
Before you get slagged, let me congratulate you for a sensible professional answer. There isn’t a pro studio or serious engineer in the world that would set up a main vocal recording process that REQUIRES normalization.
The professional solution to analog gain problems is analog gain.
Old 15th March 2018
  #20
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CJ Mastering's Avatar
Quote:
Put on your helmet and prepare for incoming!
Before you get slagged, let me congratulate you for a sensible professional answer. There isn’t a pro studio or serious engineer in the world that would set up a main vocal recording process that REQUIRES normalization.
The professional solution to analog gain problems is analog gain.
Are you saying that there are some that will bash me for telling the truth. It wouldn't be the first time Bring it LOL

FYI, thanks for making me smile
Old 16th March 2018
  #21
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by CJ Mastering View Post
Are you saying that there are some that will bash me for telling the truth. It wouldn't be the first time Bring it LOL

FYI, thanks for making me smile
They will bash you mostly for not agreeing with them... the most mortal of sins! The truth? I WISH the truth carried a bigger stick and did a little more bashing around here, but the truth is generally quiet and polite.
Old 16th March 2018
  #22
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bgood's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by thenoodle View Post
Didn't you say you own Adobe Audition?

Anyway.... step by step....

1. as a temporary owner of a fethead and a cloudlifter for testing on various mics a few years back..... do NOT buy a fethead or cloudlifter.

2. Whatever pre/interface you own, set it for its nominal level.... which is generally about a third to halfway up.... check your specs on your model. I only know of one interface (that I own too) that has its nominal level at full up 11. Most interfaces are very noisy at full up (as mentioned by you and others. So... do NOT turn your interface all the way up.... set it at nominal for its best performance (but gee now my audio is too low.....shhhh.... just record your track at nominal and keep reading)

3. Once your track is captured at a nice clean level.... it appears you'd like it to be louder on the track to balance better with your daw faders against other louder tracks......fine......step 4...

4 (I don't use Audition but looked at its features)....highlight your captured audio, select effects, then amplitude/compression and then....voila....NORMALIZE. Normalize is the tool to use

5..... if anyone says normalizing is destructive....no its not. Anyone badmouthing normalize is incorrectly thinking of brickwalling techniques popular a few years ago...and disdained.

6. If anyone then says, "yeah but normalizing will raise the room sound"....that is a person who does not know how to gainstage, much less understand....well, that's another area.

7. Fetheads and cloudlifters are bogus inventions (imo.....imo.....imo.....) except.....except.... for possibly some live situations where I'd use one in an instance where I couldn't preferably substitute a mic. I won't really get into a fethead/cloudlifter argument with anyone cuz..... it's already been argued around here on dozens of threads.

8. Normalize.... use it!
Is this a real opinion or is this a joke reply?

Cheap prosumer usb interfaces are noisy... so, yah... normalize should fix everything. Cloudlifter is brilliant... I use them on every session into expensive preamps and converters... I’m guessing you’re joking in your post as I can’t recall any “debates” here or elsewhere that support your opinion...

To the OP. Learn to read specs before you buy gear... but, in the meantime, as mentioned earlier herein, pick up a second hand mixing board and run your mic through it into your interface. I kept a couple small mackie and a rane around for years to do stuff like that
Old 16th March 2018
  #23
Gear Addict
 

"Gain stage at nominal levels, then normalize."

Sounds good, except that it isn't the most practical situation. I guess it's practical if you're broke and can't afford a pre-preamp (Cloud Lifter, Fethead, etc.). But the problem should be fixed at the source. If you're not getting enough clean gain, invest in the tools that will get you clean gain, at good levels, at the source.
Old 16th March 2018
  #24
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CJ Mastering's Avatar
Quote:
Is this a real opinion or is this a joke reply?
It has to be a joke.

Quote:
if anyone says normalizing is destructive....no its not. Anyone badmouthing normalize is incorrectly thinking of brickwalling techniques popular a few years ago...and disdained.
Normalize.... use it!
Yes this is definitely a joke.
To the Original Poster. This remark is meant to be a joke. Everyone knows normalization is destructive editing and is done because something went wrong with your tracking.
Old 18th March 2018
  #25
Gear Head
To the OP, you don't say where you are located, but in Europe the FetHead costs about half of what you stated in the first post.

I bought 2 and they are really useful.

Last edited by lumpfish; 18th March 2018 at 09:49 AM.. Reason: Edited because the forum software edited my text into a link which made no sense
Old 22nd March 2018
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bgood View Post
Is this a real opinion or is this a joke reply?

Cheap prosumer usb interfaces are noisy... so, yah... normalize should fix everything. Cloudlifter is brilliant... I use them on every session into expensive preamps and converters... I’m guessing you’re joking in your post as I can’t recall any “debates” here or elsewhere that support your opinion...

To the OP. Learn to read specs before you buy gear... but, in the meantime, as mentioned earlier herein, pick up a second hand mixing board and run your mic through it into your interface. I kept a couple small mackie and a rane around for years to do stuff like that
Not a joke reply. It is a valid tip to the op. Previous "debates" are up to you to read and decide. As I mentioned, there is no poll. The tip is one I've given before and it works

Also, if you really think all the cheapie $100-$300 interfaces are noisy at their 1/3 to 1/2 up input..... you is silly !!

Perhaps you mean that many cheapie interfaces are noisy if cranked up to 11. I'd agree with you there, but then of course, you're out of context to the tip I gave.

I routinely have cloudlifter/fetheads in here. I have no need for either as gain is not an issue here with the interfaces/mics/consoles.

And I stand by my tip to the op because... it's not a necessity.
Old 23rd March 2018
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thenoodle View Post
I routinely have cloudlifter/fetheads in here. I have no need for either as gain is not an issue here with the interfaces/mics/consoles.
Do Cloudlifters drop by to visit? That never happens to me.
You may have mentioned it already, but do you own ribbon mics.... if so, what mics?
Old 23rd March 2018
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bushman View Post
Do Cloudlifters drop by to visit? That never happens to me.
You may have mentioned it already, but do you own ribbon mics.... if so, what mics?
Yes and Yes.

The mics we.....and I do mean we..... checked out with side-by-side cloudlifters and fetheads here at the studio in 2011 or so were with my re20, 441, 421, sm57, sm58. A second test in May 2014 was with a royer 121 (courtesy of guitar center for a day).... and get this...... an mxl 44 or whatever those are.

My decision was whether anyone of the four of us felt that cloud/fets were worth it to buy........... for our particular needs.

Into the daw from the console (interfaces were 6 Layla 3gs) were some speaking tests of all the mics, one at a time. No problem there as gainstaging from the console was no problem.

The mics were then individually routed to the daw in separate passes, directly connected to a mic input of one of the Laylas and the Layla set for its nominal gain, which is around half-up on the input volume knob.

As to be expected, the captured audio was lower than any of my condensers (414s, Lawsons etc), but useable. And of course, I COULD have turned Up the layla input knob, but that would've taken it out of its nominal range and possibly introduced some noise......although Layla3gs are very quiet.

Regardless, cranking to 10 is never a historical option for me on consoles or interfaces.

And as I have done since 1998 on daws...... I use normalize after-the-fact to raise captured signals into a more tame level for faders on the daw channels.

With all the above completed, the cloudlifter was connected to each mic one-by-one with the two xlrs and then connected to the layla with the layla input still set to nominal.

What did I notice? Higher gain into the daw channel. No surprise. I didn't notice any hiss/anomalies, so..... the cloud was doing what it was promoted to do. One of the other guys started a fethead test, but stopped after a couple of mics because.... same thing as the cloud....with the only savings being one cable connection and the only downside being....all the potential connect/disconnect problems a few years from now with those connectors.

Cloudlifter/Fetheads do what they say they do.

And I had no reason to buy either.

Because they were not a viable $200 substitute for my free method. The after-the-fact normalled tracks did not sound to me any worse than the pre-boosted signals of cloud/fet

Now.... how does that translate to anyone else?

If you're working by yourself and overdubbing one thing at a time most of the time, the normalize after-the-fact method is very viable... and free. Or hey... go buy a cloud/fet. Whatever your intuition/desire tells you

If you're working with several live mics at a time...ie:...tracking a live band etc, and you need a ribbon mixed in with a bunch of other mics on the main pass and you need the input monitoring up high enough for the musicians..... yeah, a cloud solves that as after-the-fact normalizing may not fit your style...... and maybe cranking the studio monitor feed for that one non-clouded ribbon may not be your style either.

The op..... is a guy tracking one thing at a time by himself in his room on audition. Does he need a cloud? I already gave my opinion.

Now, finally...... I didn't feel the royer really needed the cloud/fet when tested. Man, that mxl though was just about the lowest gain mic I've ever connected in my life. The cloudlifter, as with the other mics tested here, did indeed get that into useable territory.

But.... so did normalizing the very low mxl mic after-the-fact.

By the way, I did these tests during a week when Presonus FedExd an adl 600 to me to test. Neve had fedexd some stuff too so we were doing all these tests in separate passes over the course of the days. A couple of the other guys ended up buying the adl, but no one opted for the cloud/fetheads.
Old 24th March 2018
  #29
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To thenoodle,
Thanks for the detailed reply.
I see your thinking. It just surprised me that in an earlier post you said that Cloudlifters and Fetheads are “bogus” devices. Your longer post clarifies that you know they work as advertised. “Bogus” is a term usually pinned on things that are fake or do not work.
You simply have no use for Cloudlifters and have a workaround that gives you the same results at zero cost. Or almost the same results.
I don’t use normalization except as a last resort, so I’m no expert in the effects of it, if any, on the sound of the track.
I currently own six ribbons and two very low gain dynamics (the Audix OM7 is a very, very low gain mic) so having two channels of Cloudlifters has been worth the expense for me. The high impedance of the Cloudlifter usually makes ribbons and dynamics a little brighter, but that difference isn’t worth a dollar to most people.

Last edited by Bushman; 24th March 2018 at 06:07 AM.. Reason: Extra words
Old 23rd May 2018
  #30
Here for the gear
 

Bought a new 2018 Mackie Thump 12A 1300 watt for a personal vocal monitor to hear my self more clearly and most of all more loudly.
Already running 1200 watt peavey amp into 2 peavy passive 15 inch speakers. Its level has been loud enough for years but i knew I needed to hear myself better to perform better and avoid vocal fatigue. Its not loud enough and disappears as soon as we start playing. Tried different cables, dynamic and live condenser mics etc. Mic gain and mon both up at 90% then starts feeding back at 100. Sounds ok when no one else is playing. Plays music from phone or ipad much louder than singing. Were not crazy loud either. Loud but not intrusively or out of the ordinary for a rock band. This thing would be great for kareoke or an acoustic quieter band but not for rock music. Talked to several techs who were all confused from different companies. Finally received a replacement and its exactly the same. 1300 watts should be blowing my hair back. Is one powered wedge usually good enough or do you absolutely need 2? Never had many problems on stage hearing myself on 1 of the houses though they were not self powered. We have an old powered old JBL 500 watt or or something that's around 30% louder and lower watts.
Anyone else experience this with Mackie or any other mfgs? Is this normal? Thanks!
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