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What am I doing wrong please?
Old 13th October 2013
  #1
What am I doing wrong please?

Ok so I have an SM7B and an AT4050 that I use to record vocals in my home studio. I like both sounds for different reasons and wanted to try and mix the 2 together for a final vocal sound. However i would like to use both mics at the same time to record so I don't end up with a robotic double sounding take rather than doing each by itself.

I have set both up with the SM7B (through CL-1) end down just above the AT4050 (Not touching each other). I then set each one up through Cubase so that the 'peak meter' does not go above around -12.

Problem - when they are set up individually they don't go above my peak limit but as soon as they both run together the peak limit goes up to like -5???

Is what I am attempting possible and what am I doing wrong please? I dont understand why it goes off the scale when I have them set up fine my themselves. Thanks.
Old 13th October 2013
  #2
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Xander's Avatar
When you add two in-phase signals together, it gets louder. Am I missing something?


More specifically, you can get a level increase up to 6 dB (two identical signals), depending on the phase-correlation of the two signals.
Old 13th October 2013
  #3
I believe this is called constructive interference. but yeah. phase, pretty much. flip that ****.
Old 13th October 2013
  #4
You WANT constructive interference. That's the 2 signals adding together and getting louder. In fact, if you flip polarity and find the signals don't go all thin and quiet, then your capsules aren't lined up together (which it sounds like you're trying to do).

I'm not quite sure what the problem is. You're recording 2 signals; you get a louder summed signal. That's good. Just turn the 2 channels down.
Old 13th October 2013
  #5
Ok thanks for the replies everyone.

The problem I have is that the input levels on my UR28 are already super low - like 1 or 2 on the dial??

Am I missing a trick here? I thought this might be an easy technique to try out!

Old 13th October 2013
  #6
I dunno man. back up from the mic lol. Neither of those mics have pads do they
Old 13th October 2013
  #7
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JTrue's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adamnorrismusic View Post
I dunno man. back up from the mic lol. Neither of those mics have pads do they
4050 has a -10db pad as all 40XX series AT's do. SM7 is tolerant of loud sources and doesn't need a pad.
Old 14th October 2013
  #8
Quote:
Originally Posted by OxfordEmbers View Post
Ok thanks for the replies everyone.

The problem I have is that the input levels on my UR28 are already super low - like 1 or 2 on the dial??

Am I missing a trick here? I thought this might be an easy technique to try out!

But you said each mic isn't clipping individually...so just turn down the channels in the DAW?

Or are you running both mics to the same mic pre/input on your interface?
Old 14th October 2013
  #9
Hmmnn.

Yup correct the 4050 has a -10db pad. The SM7B does not.

So i just set up each mic by itself with the other's bus removed while I did this.

4050 - with -10db pad on. Sang my loudest parts (I am not a hugely loud singer BTW as its folk style stuff). Going into input 2 on my UR28. Had it peaking at -15.1 on the peak meter. On volume 2?

SM7B - through Cloudlifter CL-1. Sang same parts and set it the same at -15.1 on the peak meter. Problem is the volume on input 1 on my interface is now at 1/2?? How is this possible? I thought the SM7B could handle loud sources but I am hardly Linkin Park!

I am singing about 6 - 8 inches from the mics.

When I play the parts back the individual faders do not clip - they stay at the max peak i mentioned before but the peak meter in the control panel goes up to -5 or -6?? Turning down the faders in the DAW on these mic channels does not seem to affect the control room peak meter??
Old 14th October 2013
  #10
are you using some sort of routing software to record both mics to the same channel in Cubase? or is this the "control room" feature in cubase (I don't use cubase).

The "things getting louder" aspect is normal - that's what you want to happen. You've got 2 very similar signals adding together.

It's difficult to tell from your description, but it sounds like you're summing the 2 mics before recording to a single channel in your DAW? If that's the case, just turn down the faders in this cuemixing software till you're happy with the levels.

OR record them to two separate tracks in your DAW, and use the DAW faders to balance them correctly.

I think you're looking at 2 near-identical signals summing correctly and thinking "WTF?" when it's actually normal behaviour. The only problem is that it's possibly too loud - in which case just turn the recorded signal down.

The confusing part is your descriptions. "volume on input 1" isn't that clear - are you talking about the mic pre metering? the level in the software? the level on input in the DAW? level on output at DAW, coming from that channel? "volume" is a perceived quantity by ears - you can change the volume by turning the amp up, yet not changing the signal gain or recorded level at all.

Some screen shots or routing description would probably be helpful.
Old 14th October 2013
  #11
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johnblue's Avatar
 

In ableton, I would make another track, send the first track to the new one, and mess with the levels, or i would go ahead and record them into two tracks and again, send them to a third and record them all simutaniosly, I mean, with your preamps Included that's like 5 gain stages to tweek.

Sent from my XT907
Old 14th October 2013
  #12
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doom64's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by OxfordEmbers View Post
SM7B - through Cloudlifter CL-1. Sang same parts and set it the same at -15.1 on the peak meter. Problem is the volume on input 1 on my interface is now at 1/2?? How is this possible? I thought the SM7B could handle loud sources but I am hardly Linkin Park!
Take the Cloudlifter out of the chain if your preamp is too hot as it already is. That thing adds about 24 dB of gain to the signal which is A LOT. The CL-1 is great for people doing spoken word (like radio voiceovers) but not so much for singing at loud volumes.
Old 14th October 2013
  #13
Once again many thanks for all the input. I have taken a few pics and screenshots and shall try and explain things a bit better. There is a good chance I am just being very 'Newbie' here so bear with me!

So rightly or wrongly when I have been tracking my acoustic and vocals I try not to go over -10 on the peak meter for any part of the song to allow headroom for mixing and mastering when i take it to a studio.

My basic set-up is:

Mic - Steinberg UR28 - Macbook - Cubase 7

I have attached some pics of the '2 x mic' set up (SM7B & AT4050). Also a pic of the interface panel and some screenshots from the mixer.

As you can see both mics are running into separate inputs on the UR28. I was just trying to set the levels by gain staging initially to get them almost the same. They are not being mixed into one channel.

1) Input 1 = Shure SM7B Phantom power turned off and no cloud lifter. The problem here is that I have to crank the interface volume up to 7 or 8 without the CL-1 which seems odd to me? Anything above this is really noisy and even at 7 or 8 i only get -24 on the peak? When the CL-1 is in the chain then I have to run phantom and then the level on my input is down to around 1.

2) Input 3 = AT4050. I ran this to 3 as needed phantom power and didnt want to phantom power the SM7B.

Even when I set both mics at a much lower level it still seems to peak above -10?

Final question - you will notice in the mixer i have 2 channels in grey labelled SM7B and 4050 (I set them up initially then changed my mind) - I cannot work out how to permanently remove these - they do not show on the main project window but still seem to have an output?

Any help still much appreciated before soon I revert to using one mic!
Attached Thumbnails
What am I doing wrong please?-screen-shot-2013-10-14-10.37.57.jpg   What am I doing wrong please?-screen-shot-2013-10-14-10.28.45.jpg   What am I doing wrong please?-p1020872.jpg   What am I doing wrong please?-p1020871.jpg  
Old 14th October 2013
  #14
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How does it sound? It seems to me that you are concluding that there are problems based on looking at things.

If your peaks are too high above your average level then you would either need to sing less dynamically, or tame the dynamics by using a compressor and/or riding the fader. Once you do this you should be able to keep the buss under control so that it doesn't clip when they are summed together.
Old 14th October 2013
  #15
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First thing that jumped out at me from your photos: you have the SM7b set up as a side address (same as the AT), when in fact it is an end address mic. Might be causing some pretty strange things to go on.
Old 14th October 2013
  #16
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disinfor's Avatar
 

Yeah, as ADAThead pointed out, your SM7 is pointing at the top of your AT, not your voice.

The cloudlifter will do that. The SM7 needs a bit of juice (gain) to get a good signal. Leave the cloudlifter in if it's solving your noise issue.

Peaking at -10 is perfectly fine when you are recording. I tend to record louder and adjust the faders when mixing. So I may have peaks of around -3.
Old 14th October 2013
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adathead 53 View Post
First thing that jumped out at me from your photos: you have the SM7b set up as a side address (same as the AT), when in fact it is an end address mic. Might be causing some pretty strange things to go on.
Definitely point that SM7 toward your pop filter. In fact, I would ditch the foam and the pop filter all together with the SM7 and sing nice and close to it. I think in the case of these 2 mics, your double mic aspirations are going to do more harm than good. The SM7 is best close up and direct with no foam, and that is going to cause you to do a wierd placement with the AT4050. Do a shoot out and pick a mic for each song...

Also, those look like bass traps right behind those mics... Try turning around your setup and have that soundproofing stuff behind you instead of crowding the back of the mic. It will likely open up the sound a bit if it is treating point of reflection and not bouncing your voice back at you. In the very least, back it off a few feet...
Old 14th October 2013
  #18
Wow - once again thanks again for taking the time to reply - much appreciated!

Ha like I said I am new to this so getting tonnes of useful info from you all. So I think it became more of a matter of principle not to be defeated by technology and to understand how I could use the 2 mics. I wont necessarily use the 2 - just wanted to know if I could and how

1) SM7B now turned the correct way and cover removed. CL-1 engaged and although the interface input level is at 1 its delivering a nice sound and is not clipping above -10db.

2) Have been experimenting with my 242 positioning - thanks for the suggestion.

3) I think your right about the mic shootout. I like them both and had already been using both but guess that is how this whole thing started - to whether I could combine the 2 mic sounds i liked

4) Overall I think it is starting to sound good now so once again thanks all!

PS - last question (For now)...

I set all the levels to try and not go over -12 or -10db. Should I worry if I then have to drop my faders by much to achieve the levels I want? Thanks
Old 14th October 2013
  #19
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No need to try and push those levels if you are recording at 24 bits. Essentially, when you are looking at the digital scale -20db = 0db analog. Target around -20db average level for the safest approach and plenty of headroom for the peaks. There is no quality advantage to recording at hotter levels than that... Just less headroom, increased risk of clipping and more level adjustment hassles during mixdown. IMO, the mixer should be targeting around -20 on the overall DAW mix as well. So tracks hotter than -20 will have to be turned down during mixing anyway...



If you were referring to dropping the fader in your DAW to control the digital playback level of the track, then that will not improve any loss of headroom from tracking to loud, but generally having to lower a tracks level with a DAW fader during mixing is perfectly fine.

However, if you are talking about lowering an analog fader of a mixer to control the level, then that is a bad idea. You want to add or maintain gain / levels as you move through your signal chain. Dropping levels at a later stage increases noise and reduces headroom. Better to lower the gain at the mic pre stage to get appropriate levels. Do a gearslutz search for gainstaging for more info...
Old 14th October 2013
  #20
Good advice thanks Archfrenemy. Do you think the meters etc in Cubase cut the mustard or are then any free plugins that you would suggest I get and learn to use?

Thanks
Old 14th October 2013
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OxfordEmbers View Post
Good advice thanks Archfrenemy. Do you think the meters etc in Cubase cut the mustard or are then any free plugins that you would suggest I get and learn to use?

Thanks
Cubase has great metering. I always set the custom meter colors in Cubase to match the look of my analog reference meters (after taking into account digital to analog level adjustments). Once again -20db in Cubase would be the same color as 0db on your interface meters, and so on. (I also make the lower Cubase meter range a different color when it drops below the minimum value of my analog meter. Such as making the DAW's -40db and below meter range a dark background color if my analog meter's lowest value is -20db. It helps with quick visual reference). Once the meters are programmed to look identical it becomes easy to adjust the gain on your interface until they perfectly match up on your interface and in your DAW going both directions. That way you always keep in mind that pushing the DAW levels above -20 is like pushing analog above 0db. That will simplify things a ton from a level standpoint.

Do that, and headroom will never be a mystery or a problem again. You will distort or clip your interface before you ever have a problem with a track. If you push your levels and limit your headroom, then you would have done so for effect knowingly and it will impact headroom equally on both your analog gear and in your DAW.
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