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Help with noise: Cloudlifter, Apollo Twin, Sm7b
Old 3 weeks ago
  #1
Here for the gear
 

Help with noise: Cloudlifter, Apollo Twin, Sm7b

Hello!

I am currently attempting to record some voiceover with an Apollo Twin MKII and a Shure sm7b. As many of you probably know, the sm7b requires massive amounts of gain. To get an appropriate input level, I need to crank the gain knob almost to 100%...which results in loud hissing white noise.

Of course, the normally recommended solution is the Cloudlifter. This is supposed to add about 25 extra decibels of gain. OK, so I bought a Cloudlifter, and sure enough, this does add substantial gain. Now I can get an appropriate input level plus the loud hissing white noise with the gain knob at only about 50% instead of near 100%! Somehow, I don't think that's what the Cloudlifter is intended to do.

I've spent numerous weeks trying to correct this already to no avail. I definitely have the phantom power activated. I have tried running the computer from battery instead of power adaptor. I have tried various mic cables. I have even tried a different mic altogether (a condenser mic which creates none of this noise whatsoever).

I know I am not the first person to have this exact issue with this exact equipment. I have seen other posts about this, so there is clearly something amiss. Unfortunately, though, I have never seen a solution posted that has actually resolved the problem for me or the other posters.

I'm hoping that maybe someone has recently come up with a solution. Please let me know.

Thank you!
Old 3 weeks ago
  #2
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Flanyc View Post
Hello!

I am currently attempting to record some voiceover with an Apollo Twin MKII and a Shure sm7b. As many of you probably know, the sm7b requires massive amounts of gain. To get an appropriate input level, I need to crank the gain knob almost to 100%...which results in loud hissing white noise.

Of course, the normally recommended solution is the Cloudlifter. This is supposed to add about 25 extra decibels of gain. OK, so I bought a Cloudlifter, and sure enough, this does add substantial gain. Now I can get an appropriate input level plus the loud hissing white noise with the gain knob at only about 50% instead of near 100%! Somehow, I don't think that's what the Cloudlifter is intended to do.

I've spent numerous weeks trying to correct this already to no avail. I definitely have the phantom power activated. I have tried running the computer from battery instead of power adaptor. I have tried various mic cables. I have even tried a different mic altogether (a condenser mic which creates none of this noise whatsoever).

I know I am not the first person to have this exact issue with this exact equipment. I have seen other posts about this, so there is clearly something amiss. Unfortunately, though, I have never seen a solution posted that has actually resolved the problem for me or the other posters.

I'm hoping that maybe someone has recently come up with a solution. Please let me know.

Thank you!
1. Trouble shoot the mic.
Try a different mic and see if you still have the issue. Try a different sm7b and see if you still have the same issue

2. Trouble shoot the mic cable
Try a different cable

3. Trouble shoot the cloud lifter(although unlikely the issue)

4. Trouble shoot the interface
Bring you Mic and cloudlifter to guitar center/etc and see if the noise is still present.

Those are the basic steps to take.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #3
Here for the gear
 

Two tricks I've learned with an SM7b to make it quiet as its intended to be... (VERY VERY QUIET)


1. Place the mic itself away from anything electrical (regardless to what people say this thing has a huge issue with interference) this includes moving around other items too, from transformers/wall warts to speakers, monitors, etc.

2. The interface in the chain always matters no matter what you add with an sm7b.. and although your interface is good for condensers
and maybe clean to the ears with any condenser the SM7b is being boosted from a much lower signal, you wouldn't have this problem with anything in the audient brand. (I'm not throwing the Apollo twin under the bus I just know I went through multiple interfaces and couldn't get rid of the hissing myself until I got an Audient. Try step 1 first, if that doesn't help try an audient/or give up on the sm7b)
Old 3 weeks ago
  #4
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sfilipee's Avatar
 

I have the exact same setup, and multiple recording artists do as well, and it's as quiet as it can be.

Check your cable and interface, if you're using a laptop, make sure everything is grounded.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #5
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nosebleedaudio's Avatar
 

Try this, a 150 Ohm resistor across the input (Pin 2 & 3) and crank to max, THAT'S your noise from the pre..
It's NOT a real quiet pre..Sorry..
Old 2 weeks ago
  #6
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Mundox's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flanyc View Post
I definitely have the phantom power activated.
SM7b is a dynamic mic, it shouldn't need phantom power.
Although I doubt this is an issue.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #7
Here for the gear
 

Thank you, everyone, for your input. I have checked all of the elements that you've suggested (cables, interface, grounding, etc.).

It seems that the problem is the Cloudlifter. Everything else is functioning 100% normally. Without the Cloudlifter, the gain on the Apollo needs to be raised very high, and this introduces white noise. But actually, everybody knows that about the SM7B when used with an interface like the Apollo Twin. It's completely normal. From what I've seen online, every single person has the exact same experience with those 2 pieces of equipment. That's the reason that everyone recommends using something like a Cloudlifter.

The only part of my experience that is NOT normal is the behavior of my Cloudlifter. Instead of my Cloudlifter giving me 20-25 decibels of additional clean gain, all it does is lower the gain level where the white noise starts. With my Cloudlifter in place, the white noise starts with the Apollo gain near 50% instead of near 100%. That is definitely not normal, and not at all what the Cloudlifter claims to achieve.

So, I will investigate replacing my Cloudlifter (which seems to be defective) and/or using an alternative device. Thank you all again for your input.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #8
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sfilipee's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Flanyc View Post
Thank you, everyone, for your input. I have checked all of the elements that you've suggested (cables, interface, grounding, etc.).

It seems that the problem is the Cloudlifter. Everything else is functioning 100% normally. Without the Cloudlifter, the gain on the Apollo needs to be raised very high, and this introduces white noise. But actually, everybody knows that about the SM7B when used with an interface like the Apollo Twin. It's completely normal. From what I've seen online, every single person has the exact same experience with those 2 pieces of equipment. That's the reason that everyone recommends using something like a Cloudlifter.

The only part of my experience that is NOT normal is the behavior of my Cloudlifter. Instead of my Cloudlifter giving me 20-25 decibels of additional clean gain, all it does is lower the gain level where the white noise starts. With my Cloudlifter in place, the white noise starts with the Apollo gain near 50% instead of near 100%. That is definitely not normal, and not at all what the Cloudlifter claims to achieve.

So, I will investigate replacing my Cloudlifter (which seems to be defective) and/or using an alternative device. Thank you all again for your input.
Aren't you recording too hot? I keep my Apollo at like 30%.

Is it possible that the issue is that you have everything else so loud you're pushing the Twin/ Cloudlifter to unreasonably high input levels? Because it's really not needed.

I'd still recommend getting another Cloudlifter or Fethead to compare it to, and then return it if it's not the issue.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #9
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Flanyc View Post

So, I will investigate replacing my Cloudlifter (which seems to be defective) and/or using an alternative device. Thank you all again for your input.


You are 100% wasting your time. Take it from experience the cloudlifter/fethead trick is barely a trick at all and is only meaningful for giving additional clean gain, but since your gain isn't clean to begin with its just giving you an addition 25db of gain and you will hear the interfaces preamp hiss much earlier I know this for a fact.

To have any real success with a SM7b you need to have a interface that is clean enough to drive the SM7b. Or bypass the pre's in the interface all together (if possible)
Old 2 weeks ago
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IntentionalPro View Post
its just giving you an addition 25db of gain and you will hear the interfaces preamp hiss much earlier I know this for a fact.

To have any real success with a SM7b you need to have a interface that is clean enough to drive the SM7b. Or bypass the pre's in the interface all together (if possible)
Wow, it sounds like you understand my dilemma perfectly. As you described, I am simply hearing the preamp hiss earlier with the Cloudlifter.

I must say...I am disappointed by this reality. I spent several hundred dollars for the Apollo Twin MKii. I did so because I was under the impression it was a nice interface with good preamps.

I have seen numerous videos online of people successfully using the SM7B and a Cloudlifter with an inexpensive, entry level Scarlett interface. Do those little Scarletts actually have quieter preamps than the Apollo Twin? I guess the answer must be yes, but I just find that to be so surprising.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #11
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sfilipee's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Flanyc View Post
Wow, it sounds like you understand my dilemma perfectly. As you described, I am simply hearing the preamp hiss earlier with the Cloudlifter.

I must say...I am disappointed by this reality. I spent several hundred dollars for the Apollo Twin MKii. I did so because I was under the impression it was a nice interface with good preamps.

I have seen numerous videos online of people successfully using the SM7B and a Cloudlifter with an inexpensive, entry level Scarlett interface. Do those little Scarletts actually have quieter preamps than the Apollo Twin? I guess the answer must be yes, but I just find that to be so surprising.
Here's what you're ignoring:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=M4ZoCHID9GI
This has been recorded with a SM7B > Cloudlifter > Apollo Twin

and so has Devonte Hynes aka Blood Orange's and Solange Knowles last album. The pop singer Charlie Puth has also used the exact same setup on a few songs that he left the initial demo takes on the final print.

I also personally use that exact same setup. There's no hiss, no noise unless I go crazy with the levels, and it's always clean. You can even search on Youtube tests with the cloudlifter and sm7b and they are using the Apollo. That's how I got mine.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #12
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nosebleedaudio's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Flanyc View Post
Wow, it sounds like you understand my dilemma perfectly. As you described, I am simply hearing the preamp hiss earlier with the Cloudlifter.

I must say...I am disappointed by this reality. I spent several hundred dollars for the Apollo Twin MKii. I did so because I was under the impression it was a nice interface with good preamps.

I have seen numerous videos online of people successfully using the SM7B and a Cloudlifter with an inexpensive, entry level Scarlett interface. Do those little Scarletts actually have quieter preamps than the Apollo Twin? I guess the answer must be yes, but I just find that to be so surprising.
The noise level will be VERY dependent on how loud the source is..
A loud vocal requiring LESS gain results in less mic pre noise..
So, comparing ONE track with the above setup to another track with the same means very little without knowing all the facts, better yet, being there...
Old 2 weeks ago
  #13
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Flanyc View Post
... With my Cloudlifter in place, the white noise starts with the Apollo gain near 50% instead of near 100%...
Have you tried making a recording with the gain at say 30% then adjusting later in the DAW during mixing? Can you give us samples of a couple recordings, one at 30% and one at the 50% you've been recording at, just the raw track with no further processing?
Old 2 weeks ago
  #14
Here for the gear
 

Thanks, everyone, for all the comments and suggestions. Honestly, it's time for me to just let go of this. I have a nice condenser mic that I'll use instead for this project. The project is spoken word, and I have a pretty quiet speaking voice. I think the SM7B just wasn't the right tool for this job. Why the Cloudlifter gave me a different kind of gain effect than other people get, I'll never know...but I can't spend any more time trying to figure it out.
Thanks again. All the best to all of you.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #15
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nosebleedaudio's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Flanyc View Post
Thanks, everyone, for all the comments and suggestions. Honestly, it's time for me to just let go of this. I have a nice condenser mic that I'll use instead for this project. The project is spoken word, and I have a pretty quiet speaking voice. I think the SM7B just wasn't the right tool for this job. Why the Cloudlifter gave me a different kind of gain effect than other people get, I'll never know...but I can't spend any more time trying to figure it out.
Thanks again. All the best to all of you.
You just gave us a major clue, soft VO.. Solution: Condenser Mic NO doubt..
Old 2 weeks ago
  #16
Lives for gear
Some audio interfaces have poor electrical isolation from the computer and bring in all sort of noises. Maybe you could try isolate the connection with something like this https://hifime.uk/Accessories/high-s...olator-480Mbps
Old 2 weeks ago
  #17
Gear Addict
 
Sybille's Avatar
 

I've been there.

Several things to consider :

1) UAD sound cards do get pretty hot and might add more and more noise as time goes by in this specific phantom power configuration. So keep it cool or record in the beggining of your sessions.

2) The cable between the mic and the cloudlifter has to be shielded at all cost and needs to be the shortest possible, 50 cm being great. The type and length of the cable after the cloudlifter to the soundcard is less relevant.

3) Your cloudlifter need to be working properly (had one which failed and had to send it back). Be careful cloudlifters are very fragile.

4) Check your gain staging, you need to get as much gain as possible as soon as possible in your chain, which means cranking your cloudlifter (if you have the CL Z) and then adjusting on your unison preamps or DAW for the rest.


So all in all, be sure to use short shielded cables whenever you're dealing with phantom power and dynamic mics (with tube condensers you can go the unshielded silver route if you want but that's an all other world).

Hope this helped.
Old 1 week ago
  #18
Gear Addict
 
audiospecific's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Flanyc View Post
Hello!

I am currently attempting to record some voiceover with an Apollo Twin MKII and a Shure sm7b. As many of you probably know, the sm7b requires massive amounts of gain. To get an appropriate input level, I need to crank the gain knob almost to 100%...which results in loud hissing white noise.

Of course, the normally recommended solution is the Cloudlifter. This is supposed to add about 25 extra decibels of gain. OK, so I bought a Cloudlifter, and sure enough, this does add substantial gain. Now I can get an appropriate input level plus the loud hissing white noise with the gain knob at only about 50% instead of near 100%! Somehow, I don't think that's what the Cloudlifter is intended to do.

I've spent numerous weeks trying to correct this already to no avail. I definitely have the phantom power activated. I have tried running the computer from battery instead of power adaptor. I have tried various mic cables. I have even tried a different mic altogether (a condenser mic which creates none of this noise whatsoever).

I know I am not the first person to have this exact issue with this exact equipment. I have seen other posts about this, so there is clearly something amiss. Unfortunately, though, I have never seen a solution posted that has actually resolved the problem for me or the other posters.

I'm hoping that maybe someone has recently come up with a solution. Please let me know.

Thank you!
Well lets start with background with this mic. The Sm7 was made in for the broadcast sector. Those mic preamps were either transformer coupled or dc coupled at somewhere with a 150-300 ohm input impedance. Neither of these input standards are utilized with these interfaces. It does not use phantom power, so don't even bother with using it on this mic.

Lets look at our interface in question: the Apollo Twin MKII, it uses the TI PGA2505 with a capacitor coupled input circuit. When someone looks at this they might say "wow, it specs the input can go low as 40 ohms". But that doesn't really include the input circuit. If they made a dc coupled input interface version, it would work flawlessly in any of the gain ranges we use. But unfortunately, only gain range sets i can suggest you use it in is range 1 (-20 to -16dbfs peak) or in range 2 (-14 to -10dbfs peak).


Someone could mod these, which someone like me would charge you $200 to do.

edit: btw the Cloudlifter is a buffer amp that may or may not work, and it goes into the audio snake oil realm on its marketing claims...
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