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Better preamp or better mic?
Old 22nd October 2013
  #31
Baz
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I’m still blown away by people that complain they need 60db of gain to record their 7b’s…What kind of levels are you going for, 0dBFS!
I recently did a test thinking I was going to post it using my 7b and SMP500 in my regular speaking voice (the mic was initially designed for broadcast I believe) and to obtain an average of around -12 -18dBFS I think I was a couple clicks past 12 o’clock on the mic amp. It doesn’t indicate how many db’s that is but given the enormous headroom of this thing, probably 45, maybe 50db?

7b is effortless with ANY decent mic amp.

Is this intimate and acoustic enough for you? I seriously doubt Ole’ George is using a cloudylifter

Also, for a Cornell style vocal, my limited mic selection, my 7b would be probably would be my first choice over my 414BULS followed by 87i

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MWZPThWahcI
Old 30th October 2013
  #32
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Shure even recommends a Cloudlifter with an sm7 on their own website.

SM7 Output Level and Preamp Gain Specifications
Old 30th October 2013
  #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fred Taylor View Post
Shure even recommends a Cloudlifter with an sm7 on their own website.

SM7 Output Level and Preamp Gain Specifications
They recommend it to get the signal louder if you have a preamp that only has 40 db. That is the context. And not, to turn it into a better sounding microphone *completely regardless of your preamp's available gain*,which is what some people in this thread are claiming.
Old 30th October 2013
  #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Topgear View Post
They recommend it to get the signal louder if you have a preamp that only has 40 db. That is the context. And not, to turn it into a better sounding microphone *completely regardless of your preamp's available gain*,which is what some people in this thread are claiming.
I think that it's just a way to get a low output microphone farther over the noise floor of a less than stellar preamp.
It doesn't matter if that preamp has 40dB or 80dB of gain.
It just makes said preamp work less.

Nothing magical, here.
It's just math, folks.
Old 31st October 2013
  #35
Registered User
In my experience an SM7 is less effected by the room for vocals. They do need a lot of gain.
Old 13th November 2013
  #36
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Blue Kiwi, Blue Cactus, U87ai, Tlm103, SM7b

Hi guys, and thanks for all replies.
I had the chance to test a few mics paired with the Ua 610 (The one with compressor) and i thought i would post it to see what you think would be a good investment.
The files were just intended for me so there is just babbling, and no consequent thinking behind..
First i recorded very close to the mic and in the end of the file, further away.
Thankful for any opinions!
Attached Files

Blue Cactus.mp3 (630.3 KB, 710 views)

Blue Kiwi.mp3 (1.62 MB, 714 views)

SM7B.mp3 (1.58 MB, 598 views)

TLM 103.mp3 (1.04 MB, 631 views)

U87ai.mp3 (1.23 MB, 645 views)

Old 13th November 2013
  #37
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If I were to record you I would start testing with a neutral mic, as the TLM 193 or AKG 414 BULS or XLS.

I'm not sure what's their price, but I guess they can be found second hand for $1000 or less, specially the AKG.
Old 13th November 2013
  #38
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Ok, never thought of that. Is there a particular reason to why?
Thanks for the tip though, will check it out
Old 13th November 2013
  #39
My 2c.
In this order (and importance):
1. Treat your room so you have at least one spot that's free from bad reflections.
2. Change the mic if you're still not happy with the sound you are getting. I like my Brauner Phanthera a lot but maybe that's too bright aswell.
3. Make some music.
4. Try some other preamps.

Old 14th November 2013
  #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pianolando View Post
My 2c.
In this order (and importance):
1. Treat your room so you have at least one spot that's free from bad reflections.
2. Change the mic if you're still not happy with the sound you are getting. I like my Brauner Phanthera a lot but maybe that's too bright aswell.
3. Make some music.
4. Try some other preamps.

Tack så mycket, ska finna nåt sorts tålamod att hitta rätt mic! Har du några råd när du hör dom mickarna jag redan provat? Själv är jag väldigt glad i Kiwi och u87.

Riktigt fina låtar du skrivit förresten
Old 14th November 2013
  #41
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Working in less than ideal room conditions, you need to be very objective about
your own room & noise situation.

A good preamp and a super sensitive mic may yield dream results in a dead quite room, but at home you have traffic noise, air handler noise, appliance noise, neighbors, kids, pets, air traffic, all kinds of issues that may mean a more sensitive system will only add more noise issues.

For home recording, I'm getting best results with highly directional mics with good off axis rejection.

Its that, or I am forced to shut down everything to get the house quiet enough,
especially for acoustic guitar and detailed vocals.
Old 14th November 2013
  #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johanlive83 View Post
Ok, never thought of that. Is there a particular reason to why?
Thanks for the tip though, will check it out
Obviously I'm just guessing, based on your samples. The feeling I get is that even though your voice is in the baritone range, when you sing the highest notes certain excess of medium-high frequencies appear, making the sound a bit harsh, especially with mics like the TLM 103. Maybe your natural voice does not sound like this. It has happened to me with some singers who had beautiful live voices but once recorded didn’t sound well. The solution has always been one of the mics that I have proposed.
Old 22nd February 2014
  #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johanlive83 View Post
Hi guys, and thanks for all replies.
I had the chance to test a few mics paired with the Ua 610 (The one with compressor) and i thought i would post it to see what you think would be a good investment.
The files were just intended for me so there is just babbling, and no consequent thinking behind..
First i recorded very close to the mic and in the end of the file, further away.
Thankful for any opinions!
Noone thanked for Johan for doing this shootout?!!? Come on slutz. This man spent his valuable time doing this for us & made it really easy to sit in our cushy studios propped up comfortably between our monitors & painlessly judge these great mics..

Johan= let me be the 1st to say "thank you."

Now that that's outta the way. Here's wut I'm hearing & feeling. Kind of wut I expected tho:

Blue Cactus = would sound great on a Country or Jazz or Blues record.

Neumann U87ai, TLM103, Blue Kiwi = all sound great for Pop, R&B, & Hip Hop. Best sounding one to me is the Kiwi. Really cuts thru a mix but sometimes may need to dip a lil 1.5 or 2k w/ EQ in the mix (& also run some parallel processing to thicken the vocal up a bit).

SM7b = killer mic for Rock. This & RE-20, & an SM57 or 58 would be my instant go-to mics for a Rock singer.

Wow.. Very revealing. Thanks again!
Old 22nd February 2014
  #44
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shure sm7b is a steaming pile of awful
Old 22nd February 2014
  #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by waldie wave View Post
The micpre and room are key. I have recorded some excellent vocals with microphones ranging from an SM58 to Manley through my micpres. Go with a good pre that you like. Try different ones if you can.
+1...you can color a mid level or even cheap mic with a great pre enough to make it sound great
Old 22nd February 2014
  #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seamus TM View Post
Maybe you should get a tracking limiter, then...
It could be a whole new world for you.
Old 22nd February 2014
  #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seamus TM View Post
Maybe you should get a tracking limiter, then...
It could be a whole new world for you.
This is what I'm thinking as well. I don't know the sound characteristics of the Neumann 103. But you could do a WHOLE lot with an SM7B, a really good mic pre with tons of gain like Great River, BAE, Avedis MA5 (Avedis would be my choice for you but it's only in 500 series), and a good LA2A like tube compressor/limiter. Not a cheap set up, but I think you could do really well with that. Tubes in the compressor/limiter warm it up in a nice way, clean but character neve-like mic pre is a world class sound and necessary gain-wise for the rock solid SM7b.

The nice thing about the Shure mic is that you don't need to worry much about your room - it's a dynamic mic not a condenser. And for a Chris Cornell type approach with some intimacy that ramps up into heavier, greater attack, that mic is kind of perfectly suited. You WILL need that limiter/compressor though if you are going into the digital realm. Really with that style of vocal it's important even in the analog realm, but with digital you don't want any overs. My suggestion isn't a cheap one - but check out a Manley ELOP. They sound great and are pretty much set it and forget it.

Get yourself a stand alone Great River mic pre or channel strip, or a BAE DMP, MP or channel strip (1073/1084), or an Aurora Audio channel strip or mic pre and you will NEVER regret it. That's world class stuff.

If you want a killer sound, you're going to have to pay a little to get there. The good thing is the SM7b was cheap and it's absolutely acceptable, an industry standard for a good reason, and in your case might even be the exact go to mic that is the most appropriate for your style. Pair that with a powerful, class A neve-like mic pre and you are almost all the way there. The limiter/comp on the way in though is the one other thing that will be necessary to control dynamics on the way in and give you your optimal sound and performance. The difference is night and day. If you upgrade your mic pre to channel strip you would have the added feature of greater tonal control with the EQ.
Old 22nd February 2014
  #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gearjones View Post
This is what I'm thinking as well. I don't know the sound characteristics of the Neumann 103. But you could do a WHOLE lot with an SM7B, a really good mic pre with tons of gain like Great River, BAE, Avedis MA5 (Avedis would be my choice for you but it's only in 500 series), and a good LA2A like tube compressor/limiter. Not a cheap set up, but I think you could do really well with that. Tubes in the compressor/limiter warm it up in a nice way, clean but character neve-like mic pre is a world class sound and necessary gain-wise for the rock solid SM7b.

The nice thing about the Shure mic is that you don't need to worry much about your room - it's a dynamic mic not a condenser. And for a Chris Cornell type approach with some intimacy that ramps up into heavier, greater attack, that mic is kind of perfectly suited. You WILL need that limiter/compressor though if you are going into the digital realm. Really with that style of vocal it's important even in the analog realm, but with digital you don't want any overs. My suggestion isn't a cheap one - but check out a Manley ELOP. They sound great and are pretty much set it and forget it.

Get yourself a stand alone Great River mic pre or channel strip, or a BAE DMP, MP or channel strip (1073/1084), or an Aurora Audio channel strip or mic pre and you will NEVER regret it. That's world class stuff.

If you want a killer sound, you're going to have to pay a little to get there. The good thing is the SM7b was cheap and it's absolutely acceptable, an industry standard for a good reason, and in your case might even be the exact go to mic that is the most appropriate for your style. Pair that with a powerful, class A neve-like mic pre and you are almost all the way there. The limiter/comp on the way in though is the one other thing that will be necessary to control dynamics on the way in and give you your optimal sound and performance. The difference is night and day. If you upgrade your mic pre to channel strip you would have the added feature of greater tonal control with the EQ.
Curious: how would u compare the Electro Voice RE-20 to the SM7B? And if u had to choose between those 2 mics, which would u choose & why?
Old 23rd February 2014
  #49
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I will reveal the ultimate truth right here and now !
Microphones wins over micpres any day of the week . Please go here and check out both shootouts and you`ll find more truth than
any micpre fanboy can ever give you .
Thank me later
Old 23rd February 2014
  #50
I've gone back & forth with my passion for either side of this argument, but I resolve that microphones have the most profound effect on the tonality of a source [after the source itself, of course]. However, when you take an ok mic and plug it into an incredible pre, you go from good to great. It's all cumulative, ya know? All of your choices make a difference if you ask me. Right down to how you take your coffee the day you record. It's all related, relative and ridiculous.



BRAD DOLLAR
BRAD DOLLAR // Producer & Engineer
San Francisco Bay Area Recording Engineer, Producer & Artist
Old 23rd February 2014
  #51
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Better mic of course.

(not that your current mic is bad, but better mic will make much bigger difference than better pre)
Old 23rd February 2014
  #52
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1 vote for room treatment. You already have all the gear needed to make excellent recordings.
Old 23rd February 2014
  #53
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Treat your room and sell the 103 if you don't like it.
The apogee is a fine pre, something discrete will look cooler which may or may not invoke a better performance but it's not flawed. With 75 db of gain it has more gain then most preamps on the market anyways. It runs my sm7 fine and even my friends focusrite 6i6 ran it.
Old 28th February 2014
  #54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Filthrill View Post
Curious: how would u compare the Electro Voice RE-20 to the SM7B? And if u had to choose between those 2 mics, which would u choose & why?
I have both but have only used the SM7B for vocals. I've used EV RE-20 for Kick Drum and Bass amp applications. I like that mic a lot. I think it's a good comparison you are asking for as both are popular broadcast microphones. I just haven't used the RE-20 on voice yet myself.

Best thing to do would be to rent and shoot them out on the same subject to hear the differences. They are both workhorse mics and can be used on a number of ways to good effect. They are both very reasonably priced, too. I don't think you could go wrong with either one of them.

For recording vocals the SM7B is absolutely acceptable and in some cases it might be the best possible fit for a singer. I love mine. One of the best $300 purchases I've ever made. And from the original poster's description of his voice I absolutely think it could work extremely well. For him to get a world class sound though I can't recommend enough to get a stellar mic pre (preferably used to save money), and to top everything off to get some kind of compressor/limiter to deal with the dynamics and to get good volume without any digital overs. So I'd probably say if he/she had $1000 to spend, maybe couple that with cash from selling that Neumann M103($600?). Buy a used A Designs 2 space 500 rack ($200), grab a used or new Neve or Neve-like 500 series mic pre with a lot of gain, and a compressor/limiter if possible. Or go with a BAE DMP (you get a stellar DI in that, too), or a standalone Great River NV-1. Kick in some extra dough for a nice compressor/limiter and you have world class vocal chain with that SM7B. For a rock vocal, that's a great place to be. If you want some smokier, in the room, crooner vocals, then you are going to need other things to fall in line - a great sounding treated room, a much more expensive condenser microphone as well as a great pre and probably a comp/limiter, too. That's a lot of dough and a lot of variables. And even after all that it might not be appropriate to the music the original poster sings, nor necessarily give him/her the vocal sound he/she wants.

So yeah, I'd start with the more working class dynamic mic - SM7B is good enough for Michael Jackson, Bruce Springsteen, Eddie Vedder and others - and get that matched with a rock solid mic pre with lots of gain and top off with a nice comp/limiter. An LA2A type comp is probably too expensive for this discussion, but there are many comps on the market that will do the job. Maybe a FET for that 1176 aggressiveness.
Old 6th March 2014
  #55
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Kind of figured this. So it seems like most people would describe the RE-20 as an instrument (kick & bass especially) mic like yourself. Maybe on some vocalists it "might" be the preferred choice but seems like the SM7 is a smarter choice if looking to buy one of these if anticipating using it on vocals. Of course not to forget the need for a really good mic pre. Love my Vintechs.
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