Preamp For sm7b? Help please

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SpaceFrac14
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Preamp For sm7b? Help please

Post by SpaceFrac14 » Thu Aug 13, 2020 4:30 am

Hey, everybody.

I have a question. Can you answer me?

I have an Sm7b like this one https://stereodamage.com/best-preamp-for-sm7b/ and I would like to improve the sound. What kind of preamplifier me need to put in to make them sound better. I've already looked at a few options, I like the first one better, but can you advise me on something too?.
Last edited by SpaceFrac14 on Fri Aug 14, 2020 7:23 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Preamp For sm7b? Help please

Post by marqueemoon » Thu Aug 13, 2020 5:57 am

SpaceFrac14 wrote:
Thu Aug 13, 2020 4:30 am
Hey, everybody.

I have a question. Can you answer me?

I have a Sm7b and I would like to improve the sound. What kind of preamplifier me need to put in to make the sound better. I've already looked at a few options, I like the first one better, but can you advise me on something too?
Have you looked into adding an in-line phantom powered booster like a Cloudlifter, FETHead, etc...?

If you’re using it for vocals and it isn’t sitting in the track right try high passing (or high passing more) before your compression and/or adding a bit of subtle amount of dirt to it.

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Re: Preamp For sm7b? Help please

Post by mbene085 » Thu Aug 13, 2020 10:37 am

SpaceFrac14 wrote:
Thu Aug 13, 2020 4:30 am
Hey, everybody.

I have a question. Can you answer me?

I have a Sm7b and I would like to improve the sound. What kind of preamplifier me need to put in to make the sound better. I've already looked at a few options, I like the first one better, but can you advise me on something too?
I see this is your first post. Welcome to the forum.

There's a lot to unpack in your statement because of how vague it is.

What are you using the mic for? What is your current signal chain? What about it don't you currently like? What are these mysterious "options" you've looked into? What's your budget?

There's a lot of internet lore out there about the SM7b, like how it "needs" a cloudlifter before your preamp. The simple reality is that it needs a preamp capable of about +60dB of gain. Some preamps only offer, say, +45dB, so adding a cloudlifter with its +25dB is a solution to that problem. Depending on budget, there are plenty of great-sounding pres with enough gain on their own to handle an SM7b.

Of course, this is all talking about gain, and not about how the mic actually sounds, which is why I asked what you're trying to do with it. Sometimes it's about using the right tool for the job, and dropping $1000 on a preamp in an attempt make the SM7b sound different is less fruitful than spending $1000 on a different mic that might be better suited to the task.

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Re: Preamp For sm7b? Help please

Post by Larry Mal » Thu Aug 13, 2020 11:38 am

Everything Mike says is correct, I would like to add that there is a $30 mic booster that I bought for use with a ribbon mic of mine, it's from Klark Teknik and adds 30 dB of gain:

https://www.klarkteknik.com/product.htm ... Code=P0E2N

It does what it says it will for a lot less than a Cloudlifter. I detected no noise or issues.
Back in those days, everyone knew that if you were talking about Destiny's Child, you were talking about Beyonce, LaTavia, LeToya, and Larry.

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Re: Preamp For sm7b? Help please

Post by øøøøøøø » Thu Aug 13, 2020 6:54 pm

The preamps I like best with Shure dynamics cost many times more than the microphone itself costs. This is good if you have those around already. But to buy a very good preamp just to make an SM7 perform a touch better... well, at that point, it can make sense to ask whether the mic is really the right one for the task.

If you find it's lacking for what you need, the best way may not be to keep dumping money into preamps

The SM7bis a fine mic for what it is--it's a very good announce mic, and does a decent job with many instruments. But it gets a lot of internet love.

So much internet love, in fact, that I find it kind of silly. Out of those people who love on it so much, it's indeterminate the percentage who really have a basis for informed judgment.

It's a $300 mic around which has sprung up a very attractive narrative... one that's probably a bit exaggerated at times. If you don't love it, it doesn't mean something is wrong with your ears. It may mean it doesn't work for what you're asking it to do.

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Re: Preamp For sm7b? Help please

Post by OffYourFace » Thu Aug 13, 2020 9:58 pm

øøøøøøø wrote:
Thu Aug 13, 2020 6:54 pm
The preamps I like best with Shure dynamics cost many times more than the microphone itself costs.
Spill it please? I think it's a great pop vocal microphone that somehow is great at making it stick out on top, especially if it's an energetic performance. Like in a full synth pop track, not an acoustic track.

My partner uses it with a UA LA-610 mk II and gets amazing results. The singers he usually records happen to have great voices so almost anything would work but the SM7/LA-610 combo gives it that little extra forward presence with big/fat drums and synths.

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Re: Preamp For sm7b? Help please

Post by øøøøøøø » Fri Aug 14, 2020 3:06 am

Neve 31102, 1084, 1073, 1081, etc.

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Re: Preamp For sm7b? Help please

Post by northern_dirt » Fri Aug 14, 2020 6:07 am

I have a cloudlifter but have never needed it to boost my SM7b.. I have decent preamps though.

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Re: Preamp For sm7b? Help please

Post by mbene085 » Fri Aug 14, 2020 11:58 am

øøøøøøø wrote:
Fri Aug 14, 2020 3:06 am
Neve 31102, 1084, 1073, 1081, etc.
The 1073 is the only Neve I've ever gotten to run an SM7b through, and it was such a beautiful pairing for the vocalist we were tracking.

Of course, the 1073 sounds fantastic with a very wide range of mics, so it wasn't particularly shocking, but the mic really came alive through it.

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Re: Preamp For sm7b? Help please

Post by tdbajus » Fri Aug 14, 2020 1:55 pm

I'm going to agree with previous statements that you probably just don't like the SM7b. I love mine- it's one of my two go-to dynamic mics.

If you want something that is less warm and soft, I use a Beta56 (favored by Pete Townsend for miking guitar amps). It has a bit more edge to it. I also love using an 421, which sort of splits the difference.

There are a lot of differing opinions here, but having either owned or had regular access to a Manley Dual Mono, a Langevin Dual Mono, Chameleon Labs Neve Clones, Avalon, and probably a few I'm forgetting, I miss absolutely none of them since I bought my Apollo8.

The one preamp I miss is my old Sytek, because it was clean and uncolored and had a shit-ton of noiseless gain. But I would suggest that if you have enough gain already, another fancier preamp isn't really going to deliver much for you.

I think exploring where you put the mic is going to have several orders of magnitude more effect on the timbre of your recordings than any preamp. Perhaps it would benefit you to get another dynamic mic that is noticeably different, maybe an inexpensive ribbon- I have a Fathead and it's fun, though personally I prefer the beta56 over the ubiquitous Royer 121 on a guitar amp.

But you should maybe look at a good wide diaphragm condenser. There's a ton out there- I have a few Joly modded Studio Projects U47 mutations that I find to be quite nice. Just make sure your mixer/interface supplies the full voltage- I have heard that this can be a problem with some interfaces.

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Re: Preamp For sm7b? Help please

Post by cpeck » Sun Aug 16, 2020 5:09 am

øøøøøøø wrote:
Thu Aug 13, 2020 6:54 pm
The preamps I like best with Shure dynamics cost many times more than the microphone itself costs. This is good if you have those around already. But to buy a very good preamp just to make an SM7 perform a touch better... well, at that point, it can make sense to ask whether the mic is really the right one for the task.

If you find it's lacking for what you need, the best way may not be to keep dumping money into preamps

The SM7bis a fine mic for what it is--it's a very good announce mic, and does a decent job with many instruments. But it gets a lot of internet love.

So much internet love, in fact, that I find it kind of silly. Out of those people who love on it so much, it's indeterminate the percentage who really have a basis for informed judgment.

It's a $300 mic around which has sprung up a very attractive narrative... one that's probably a bit exaggerated at times. If you don't love it, it doesn't mean something is wrong with your ears. It may mean it doesn't work for what you're asking it to do.
Do you think there’s truth to the internet lore that it is ideal for recording vocals in less than ideal rooms?

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Re: Preamp For sm7b? Help please

Post by øøøøøøø » Sun Aug 16, 2020 7:36 am

cpeck wrote:
Sun Aug 16, 2020 5:09 am
øøøøøøø wrote:
Thu Aug 13, 2020 6:54 pm
The preamps I like best with Shure dynamics cost many times more than the microphone itself costs. This is good if you have those around already. But to buy a very good preamp just to make an SM7 perform a touch better... well, at that point, it can make sense to ask whether the mic is really the right one for the task.

If you find it's lacking for what you need, the best way may not be to keep dumping money into preamps

The SM7bis a fine mic for what it is--it's a very good announce mic, and does a decent job with many instruments. But it gets a lot of internet love.

So much internet love, in fact, that I find it kind of silly. Out of those people who love on it so much, it's indeterminate the percentage who really have a basis for informed judgment.

It's a $300 mic around which has sprung up a very attractive narrative... one that's probably a bit exaggerated at times. If you don't love it, it doesn't mean something is wrong with your ears. It may mean it doesn't work for what you're asking it to do.
Do you think there’s truth to the internet lore that it is ideal for recording vocals in less than ideal rooms?
In my opinion: not particularly!

It’s not a very sensitive microphone, which can tend to influence a vocalist to get very close to it. My hunch is that this has as much as anything to do with that particular bit of lore.

There’s a measurement for the point at which the proportion of direct versus room sound are equal, and it’s called “critical distance.” I’ve never seen any data that would support the idea that the SM7 has different characteristics in this regard from other moving-coil dynamics. Perhaps it does, but when you see these kind of claims, they never seem to be supported by data.

What I will say is that, more and more these days, I’m far more concerned with the character of the off-axis signal than the literal amount of off-axis information. And I don’t necessarily think of the SM7 as a standout in this regard.

There is no doubt it works well on some voices in some circumstances, (which may include suboptimal acoustics). Does it do so a higher proportion of the time than a Beyer M88, or Sennheiser MD441? Not really, in my experience.

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Re: Preamp For sm7b? Help please

Post by jorri » Tue Aug 18, 2020 5:07 am

To really make dynamic mics shine a higher impedance is ideal.
Coupled with whats already been mentioned about sensitivity so it needs more gain.

Inside a fethead, it does these two factors. It has an impedance of 22k, whilst most budget mixers and pres may have 1-2k to suit condenser mics. Some even vary impedance based on switching phantom power under that assumption.
Some prefer a variable impedance which then lets you control and fiddle more.

So those two bits of spec. Dont know any specifically suites personally.

These in-line boosters can be expensive for what they are considering you can just buy a higher gain pre in the first place. Although as above some cheaper lesser-known ones exist. How much would you spend on a boost pedal vs an amp? I know there is physically barely anything in them it would be interesting to see how many components they have.

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