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Buying my first Microphone/Preamp/stand combo
Old 11th March 2014
  #1
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
Buying my first Microphone/Preamp/stand combo

I need some advice, I've searched around and read a lot about microphones, but I had some specific questions I could not find answers to.

I am looking at the SM7B mic for use in my home studio, it will be used mostly for voiceovers/podcasting, however, I may experiment with some singing vocal content as well. The singing is not nearly as important as the voiceover/podcast part.

I currently have a Focusrite 2i2 audio interface. I would like to use this paired with the mic, however, I hear the Focusrite does not have enough gain to support this mic. I would like to save money and avoid buying a preamp if possible, because I won't be doing any live streaming. I would like to know if taking my recorded audio and processing it with a limiter to bring up the volume would meet the same quality as having a preamp at 60db of gain and recording.

I am looking to get the highest quality sound that I can for this, in an untreated room, and would like to not have to upgrade in the future.

I am also looking at getting a shockmount and an overhanging boom arm that secures to the table, much like this:

Amazon.com : RODE PSA1 Swivel Mount Studio Microphone Boom Arm : Microphone Stands : Musical Instruments

Other mics I have considered is the re20, and the procaster.

Questions:
Would the Focusrite suite my needs on sound quality if I boost the gain in post production? Or, should I sell the Focusrite and invest in something else? what preamp/audio interface would you recommend I look at that is cost efficient?

What microphone would you recommend? is the re20 worth the extra cost over the sm7b for recording podcasting/voiceovers?

What shockmount and boom arm would you recommend? It needs to be one that secures to the table and has a good range of motion, but likely won't be moved much during recording.

I'm fairly new to this, I haven't purchased any quality microphones before but have tried to do my homework before posting this. Thanks!
Old 11th March 2014
  #2
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
Not High End but the Focusrite works fine with the SM7. I've used it at a friends house with the 6i6 which is the same just more i/o and it was fine.
Old 11th March 2014 | Show parent
  #3
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Inverted314 ➑️
Not High End but the Focusrite works fine with the SM7. I've used it at a friends house with the 6i6 which is the same just more i/o and it was fine.
I've heard if you drive the gain on the focusrite all the way it can cause static, the manufacturer recommends 60db of gain for the SM7B and it only does 55db. most seem to suggest getting a preamp adapter like the cloud filter, I'm wondering if this is necessary if I just record quietly and boost the levels in post production?

I want good sound quality, so if upgrading to a 200$ audio interface will make a big difference, it's worth it to me. Just wanting to know if it's important if I don't need the initial gain during recording.
Old 11th March 2014
  #4
Gear Maniac
 
dirtythirties's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Triton Audio Fethead $99 (smaller footprint that cloud lifter and cheaper) to boost the gain. Works great with my SM7B on voice over work as well as vocals.
Old 11th March 2014 | Show parent
  #5
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by dirtythirties ➑️
Triton Audio Fethead $99 (smaller footprint that cloud lifter and cheaper) to boost the gain. Works great with my SM7B on voice over work as well as vocals.
Thanks for the advice! But my real question is do I really need to increase that gain if I do it in post production? I'm not live streaming anything so would using a limiter or something to increase the gain have the same effect and save me 100$?
Old 12th March 2014
  #6
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McWreckinBall's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
RE20s are great, you should also consider the RE320, both mics sound good but sound very different. A lot more top end in the 320, but maybe you want the mellowness of the re20. Personally I would stay away from the Procaster. I used to own one and while it was an okay mic for voice over, I never got any other uses out of it like you would with an EV. Having said ALL of that, my SM7b is the mic I would never ever get rid of. That mic is essential. Its not a one trick pony. Far from it. I've used it successfully on amps, snare, hats, kick, percussion, claps, banjo, and of course makes an AMAZING vocal and VO mic. Take of the foam though, that stuff is a bit too thick. I haven't had any issues with gain so far. I haven't used it on super cheap pres however. I would maybe reccommend just getting a nicer interface, Forcusrite Forte, Apogee Duet... those digital pres have plenty of gain and extremely low noise floors. Or an Apollo Twin, burl pres have plenty of juice too. And the benefits would go well beyond simply getting the gain stage right. Just my grain of salt opinion
Old 12th March 2014
  #7
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McWreckinBall's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
And to answer another part of your question, its not the best idea to simply gain up your tracks in post. The reason is because it wont change the noise floor. Every amp will have noise if you turn it up loud enough. Unless of course it has filtering in it. So a pre that only has say around 50db of gain means you have a much smaller distance between healthy signal and noise. The idea behind the cloud lifters and fetheads is to boost the volume going into the pre so that the distance between signal and noise is much greater.
Old 12th March 2014 | Show parent
  #8
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by dirtythirties ➑️
Triton Audio Fethead $99 (smaller footprint that cloud lifter and cheaper) to boost the gain. Works great with my SM7B on voice over work as well as vocals.
That version of the Fethead is also unshielded, whereas the Cloudlifter is shielded and a higher quality product.
Old 13th March 2014 | Show parent
  #9
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by McWreckinBall ➑️
And to answer another part of your question, its not the best idea to simply gain up your tracks in post. The reason is because it wont change the noise floor. Every amp will have noise if you turn it up loud enough. Unless of course it has filtering in it. So a pre that only has say around 50db of gain means you have a much smaller distance between healthy signal and noise. The idea behind the cloud lifters and fetheads is to boost the volume going into the pre so that the distance between signal and noise is much greater.
Thanks for the great advice, I guess I will sell off the Focusrite and look into something a bit stronger, since I will likely be using this for voiceovers/podcast type work. My friend works at a local studio and has offered to let me try it out, so I can hopefully get a taste of it before I decide on which mic to get. I've pretty much set my mind on either that SM7b or RE20, does the RE20 perhaps need a lower gain amount than the SM7B? Or are all microphones of this caliber like that?

In regards to the noise ceiling, could I not just use a gate with a lower threshold to cut out some of that? I have a little bit of noise with my current setup but so far have boosted the volume with some compression and used a noise gate to cut out that extra sound when there is no speaking. I am looking at something like the cloudlifter regardless.

Had another question about the cloudlifter, since the RE20 and the SM7B do not use phantom power, does this mean I would not use phantom power with a cloudlifter in the chain? Just want to make sure so I don't blow up anything!
Old 14th March 2014
  #10
Gear Addict
 
McWreckinBall's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
A gate isn't a great solution because you'll still be dealing with that noise when you're talking. I don't know personally how low gain the RE20 is. Its probably slightly better than the SM7, but this is a common idiosyncrasy of dynamic mics in general and large diaphram dynamics tend to be particularly prone to this. The only type of mic you can damage with phantom power is a ribbon mic. And not all of them, primarily the older ones. But you wont need phantom power for the RE20 or SM7.
Old 20th March 2014 | Show parent
  #11
Gear Maniac
 
dirtythirties's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Darren Appeal ➑️
That version of the Fethead is also unshielded, whereas the Cloudlifter is shielded and a higher quality product.
Good to know...looked over that detail.
Old 21st March 2014 | Show parent
  #12
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jdier's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Inverted314 ➑️
Not High End but the Focusrite works fine with the SM7. I've used it at a friends house with the 6i6 which is the same just more i/o and it was fine.
I do not know this from experience with your audio interface, but I do own an SM7 and have run in through every preamp I have ever owned without issue. I think the whole "SM7 needs all this power" is bull.

I have a buddy the does the podcast "This Week in Dispair" with three SM7's and no fancy preamp. If you would like I could inquire what his interface is?

Either way, just buy the mic then try it. I would venture a guess that it will work perfectly for you.

SM7 of RE20, you can't go wrong for VO. Just get one and make it work with your current set up.
Old 6th April 2014 | Show parent
  #13
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Inverted314 ➑️
Not High End but the Focusrite works fine with the SM7. I've used it at a friends house with the 6i6 which is the same just more i/o and it was fine.
The 6i6 and 2i2 are not the same. The 2i2 is bus powered by the USB port, whereas the 6i6 has a wall wart and therefore supports phantom power.

There's a good discussion on this at
Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 & Scarlett Studio
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