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sm7b - tone beast - clarett - hiss
Old 5 days ago
  #1
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sm7b - tone beast - clarett - hiss

I'm using an sm7b into a tone beast into the line in on the a clarett. There is a ton of hiss on this recording. The gain and/or output are not maxed on the tone beast.

No, I do not generally record acoustic with sm7b. This is just an example of the problem I'm having when recording vocals. This same chain does not have a problem when I hook up a condenser.

I know that the knee jerk answer is generally to plug in a cloud lifter. Is that actually the answer here? thx!!
Attached Files

sm7b.mp3 (1.09 MB, 339 views)

Old 5 days ago
  #2
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My knee jerk answer is going to be to remove the Tone Beast (whatever it is) from the chain and plug the SM7B straight into the Clarett interface and see what you get.
That's the first test.
Old 5 days ago
  #3
Gear Head
 

The tonebeast is a mic preamp : a transformer based (cinemag) API style mic pre with a few twists.
The most important one is the addition of an output attenuator which allows to drive harder (or not) the trannie to obtain different colors.
Anthony is right though, you should simplify the chain to find who's responsible of the hiss.
It 's possible you get some hiss even plugged directly in the Clarett 's pre you m8ght have to max the gain (57dB) with acoustic stuff through a SM7.
I don't know the Clarett. ..maybe it's quiet at max gain...
Old 5 days ago
  #4
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thanks for the replies. I mean the clarett is just noisy as hell if I use the pres on that guy. Nowhere near enough gain.

I'm circumventing the pres and currently with the tonebeast. Any other tonebeast users want to chime in?? Maybe somebody with a similar setup? thx!
Old 5 days ago
  #5
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by studioguitarman View Post
thanks for the replies. I mean the clarett is just noisy as hell if I use the pres on that guy. Nowhere near enough gain.

I'm circumventing the pres and currently with the tonebeast. Any other tonebeast users want to chime in?? Maybe somebody with a similar setup? thx!
Hmm what are the settings on both units, which clarett interface is it 2, 4 or 8 pre?
What's your exact path from the TB to the Clarett (which output, which input, what cable...)

Output should be at max on TB, no pad, no 48v, line and hi-z out (no led)
I'd try to play around with the tone control section...
Make sure the Clarett see your incoming signal as a line (signal)

Last edited by johnjj; 3 days ago at 11:19 AM..
Old 4 days ago
  #6
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Maybe the Clarett is just faulty. It may not be just the preamps in it. The fault could be somewhere else in the unit. Your going to have to plug different things in and out to trouble shoot. Maybe its the SM7B itself that's noisy.

I have a first gen Scarlett 18i8 and I find it to be pretty quiet.
Old 4 days ago
  #7
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by AnthonyG View Post
Maybe the Clarett is just faulty. It may not be just the preamps in it. The fault could be somewhere else in the unit. Your going to have to plug different things in and out to trouble shoot. Maybe its the SM7B itself that's noisy.

I have a first gen Scarlett 18i8 and I find it to be pretty quiet.
Recording quiet acoustic stuff with a SM7 is a bit a of a challenge for a mic preamp.
I've done sessions with a friend's scarlett 2i2, wich I remember having mic pres with 54dB of gain? (correct me if I'm wrong) and it worked out fine but there's no way we could have recorded acoustic guitar or even soft vocals with his SM7, that's just not enough gain and the preamp at max gain brings an audible amount of hiss.
I assume with 57dB of max gain (Clarett) instead of 54 dB it's not much better.
65dB would be safer for that kind of task.
That said the scarlett was great for the money, he recorded a whole album with tons of acoustic instruments..even a Steinway grand. An external preamp was used most of the time.
Old 4 days ago
  #8
Gear Head
 

Did you try with the tone switch engaged? that should give you a bit more gain (+6db)
Did you try with another cable?
Normally with the 65/71dB of gain through the TB it should be fine.
Old 4 days ago
  #9
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I'm using a Clarett 4pre thunderbolt. My exact signal path is that I'm going out of the back of the tone beast from balanced output (microphone male slot) using a mogami cable (female on the Tone beast end, and TRS on the clarett end) going into line input 5 of the clarett. Line input 5 on the clarett doesn't have any settings on the unit or software I don't believe cause its just a line input. My gain and output are both at noon on the tone beast. no pad, no 48v, and regarding hi-z, I haven't engaged that button. There is no light on. I have messed with different settings, the tone button etc. No improvement. Did you happen to listen to the audio? Is this a normal amount of white noise for this mic?

thx!!
Old 4 days ago
  #10
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by studioguitarman View Post
I'm using a Clarett 4pre thunderbolt. My exact signal path is that I'm going out of the back of the tone beast from balanced output (microphone male slot) using a mogami cable (female on the Tone beast end, and TRS on the clarett end) going into line input 5 of the clarett. Line input 5 on the clarett doesn't have any settings on the unit or software I don't believe cause its just a line input. My gain and output are both at noon on the tone beast. no pad, no 48v, and regarding hi-z, I haven't engaged that button. There is no light on. I have messed with different settings, the tone button etc. No improvement. Did you happen to listen to the audio? Is this a normal amount of white noise for this mic?

thx!!
Hi!

I would try again with the output kept at unity gain (U or maximum) on the Tone Beast
Then I would bring gradually the gain up until the level in the Clarett software or in your DAW is right.
Re-record, post it here and let's compare...

Think of it like this : the Warm Audio preamp is inspired by the API 312 preamp. Most API pres don't have an output pot (which is basically here a variable pad/attenuation) they're at unity gain by default.
(Except the API A2D which has a switch with a 2:1 attenuator)

By setting your TB12's output at noon you attenuate your output level a lot, which forces you to push your gain.
This can be desirable when you have a hot signal like a snare or a guitar cab and you want to push your pre to add some saturation, not when you're recording a quiet acoustic guitar with a low sensitivity microphone (SM7B)

Hope that solves it!

Last edited by johnjj; 4 days ago at 07:43 AM..
Old 4 days ago
  #11
Gear Head
 

SM7 is a funny beast i noticed that same cloud when using an ART pre... neither has been used since. i might try the SM7 on the GR and see the results........
Old 4 days ago
  #12
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Try recording it at about threes quarter of maximum gain straight into the pre to keep the SNR in check, and then normalise the file of the recording to -18 db ready for mixing after you've recorded it. This trick used to work for me with a SM7B into my old UR44. Didn't give me noise-free recordings but certainly noticably less hiss than running the pre-amp maxed out.
Old 4 days ago
  #13
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scragend View Post
Try recording it at about threes quarter of maximum gain straight into the pre to keep the SNR in check, and then normalise the file of the recording to -18 db ready for mixing after you've recorded it. This trick used to work for me with a SM7B into my old UR44. Didn't give me noise-free recordings but certainly noticably less hiss than running the pre-amp maxed out.
Yep but he actually has a mic pre with 71dB of gain! (the Tone Beast has a massive 20dB more gain than the UR44's preamp with only 51dB of gain) so he should try to get his hardware working like it should first...as that kind of gear should not require any trick.
With a mic pre like that he should be able to record flies without hiss!

Last edited by johnjj; 4 days ago at 07:52 AM..
Old 3 days ago
  #14
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James Lehmann's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by johnjj View Post
I would try again with the output kept at unity gain (U or maximum) on the Tone Beast.... By setting your TB12's output at noon you attenuate your output level a lot, which forces you to push your gain.
This can be desirable when you have a hot signal like a snare or a guitar cab and you want to push your pre to add some saturation, not when you're recording a quiet acoustic guitar with a low sensitivity microphone (SM7B).
+1

You don't generally want to be attenuating the output of your pre for the cleanest sound.

I used to own a TB12 + SM7B and it was an excellent combo. The TB12 has more than enough clean gain to drive an SM7B, in fact that's the main reason I purchased one. You certainly don't need to spend more money on anything, i.e. a Cloudlifter - these are for mostly useful for folks operating without a capable external pre (which the TB12 certainly is) and whose interface preamps crap out at +50dB. (There may be other reasons to own one but that's another topic really.)

There are quite a lot of tonal options on the Tonebeast so you need to be sure you're recording with the cleanest possible settings - I don't remember exactly what the optimum clean settings for the op amps, caps and transformers are but I think the manual explains it, or maybe I read a post on here from Bryce of Warm stating exactly which switches to engage or not for what he felt was the purest/neutral signal path.

[EDIT: I see on the newer black TB12s the legending is more explanatory in this regard, i.e. with 'clean' being specifically labelled as such. Plus you get a built-in power supply and they look jolly sexy. Dang I miss my TB12 - I may have preamp envy all over again!]

If your computer interface is behaving properly and you've set it to accept a +4dBV balanced line ouput from the TB12 you should be good to go without needing to make any adjustments in the digital domain to reach a good signal. (You might need to indulge in a little digital gain staging to ensure your meters read accurately but even without this 9 times out of 10 it should sound fine without adjustment.)

As you mentioned, SM7B wouldn't necessarily be first choice for acoustic guitar, but that doesn't mean it shouldn't work without any problems on a technical level.

Last edited by James Lehmann; 3 days ago at 11:38 AM..
Old 3 days ago
  #15
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scrubs's Avatar
 

Also, experiment with the input impedance settings on the ToneBeast. The lower impedance will likely give you a little more output from the SM7B, but does also change the tone some.
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