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NotMrTaco

SM7B + Audio Mixer and Cloudlifter

My go to mixer when people want me to setup their audio is the AG03, every other mixer below it in price is basically hot garbage. Gives you a lot of control over your audio especially if you have multiple PCs or want console audio through your headphones. The USB input switch allows you to send only the mic in through USB, all inputs, or all inputs + USB loopback, very useful.

That being said it doesn't have the most powerful mic gain, I think it's something like 46dB, Shure recommends mixers with 60dB at the least for the SM7B. 

Personally I believe the AG03 +  the SM7B and a CL-1 is a great option.

Thomann is a great place to pick up brand new equipment for cheap, you can save around $60 (with sipping) on the AG06 + SM7B, however the CL-1 is surprisingly cheaper on amazon:
https://www.thomannmusic.com/shure_sm_7b_studiomikro.htm
https://www.thomannmusic.com/yamaha_ag03.htm
https://www.amazon.com/Cloud-Microphones-CL-1-Cloudlifter-1-channel/dp/B004MQSV04/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1533760022&sr=8-2&keywords=smb7

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Posted · Original PosterOP

I was thinking on getting a SM7B microphone as well as a yamaha ag03 to power it, but then I saw that the CL-1 Cloudlifter is really recommended for the mic since it is a dynamic mic. How would I set up the microphone to work properly, as well as would I need a mixer at that price, or could I get a um2 and save around $100?

 

Edit: The reason I am getting a dynamic mic is because my home is very loud most of the time, and I do not want the mic picking up much of the sound.

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Whether or not you 'need' a cloudlifter is dependant on the gain range of the pre-amp you use. Because the sm7b isn't the most sensitive microphone you need more headroom in the pre-amp to get the signal to a useful level. If a mixer (or interface) doesn't have the required headroom (which can cause issues, especially in live situations) then you can use a cloudlifter to provide additional gain.

 

The SM7B is a dynamic capsule, so going directly into a mixer/interface you don't need anything special (and you don't need to turn on phantom power). If you use a cloudlifter (which is active) you would connect the mic to the input of the CL1, the output of the CL1 to the mixer/interface and you would need to make sure that phantom power is on. All connections would be xlr.

 

If you don''t need the other benefits of a mixer (multiple sources,multiple outputs/busses, in-line EQ/dynamics...) then yes, you could go straight into an audio interface. Personally I would suggest not spending $400 on a microphone and less than $50 on the pre-amp/interface, I would probably suggest either a focusrite or presonus interface instead, the model depending on what inputs you need and what protocol you want to connect it with (thunderbolt / USB / firewire).

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Posted · Original PosterOP
13 minutes ago, anothertom said:

Whether or not you 'need' a cloudlifter is dependant on the gain range of the pre-amp you use. Because the sm7b isn't the most sensitive microphone you need more headroom in the pre-amp to get the signal to a useful level. If a mixer (or interface) doesn't have the required headroom (which can cause issues, especially in live situations) then you can use a cloudlifter to provide additional gain.

 

The SM7B is a dynamic capsule, so going directly into a mixer/interface you don't need anything special (and you don't need to turn on phantom power). If you use a cloudlifter (which is active) you would connect the mic to the input of the CL1, the output of the CL1 to the mixer/interface and you would need to make sure that phantom power is on. All connections would be xlr.

 

If you don''t need the other benefits of a mixer (multiple sources,multiple outputs/busses, in-line EQ/dynamics...) then yes, you could go straight into an audio interface. Personally I would suggest not spending $400 on a microphone and less than $50 on the pre-amp/interface, I would probably suggest either a focusrite or presonus interface instead, the model depending on what inputs you need and what protocol you want to connect it with (thunderbolt / USB / firewire).

So what I could do instead of the AG03 is go with a scarlett solo or 2i2, but would the Cloudlifter be useful for any of those 3 mixers/interfaces?

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Posted · Best Answer

My go to mixer when people want me to setup their audio is the AG03, every other mixer below it in price is basically hot garbage. Gives you a lot of control over your audio especially if you have multiple PCs or want console audio through your headphones. The USB input switch allows you to send only the mic in through USB, all inputs, or all inputs + USB loopback, very useful.

That being said it doesn't have the most powerful mic gain, I think it's something like 46dB, Shure recommends mixers with 60dB at the least for the SM7B. 

Personally I believe the AG03 +  the SM7B and a CL-1 is a great option.

Thomann is a great place to pick up brand new equipment for cheap, you can save around $60 (with sipping) on the AG06 + SM7B, however the CL-1 is surprisingly cheaper on amazon:
https://www.thomannmusic.com/shure_sm_7b_studiomikro.htm
https://www.thomannmusic.com/yamaha_ag03.htm
https://www.amazon.com/Cloud-Microphones-CL-1-Cloudlifter-1-channel/dp/B004MQSV04/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1533760022&sr=8-2&keywords=smb7


Main PC: Corsair 900D | Asus TUF X299 MARK 1 | 7900X @ 4.8GHz | GTX 1080 | GS Trident Z (4x8GB) 3000MHz | 600p 1TB, EX920 1TB | RME Fireface UCX

Capture PC: CR1080 | Asus X99-E | 6800K @ 3.6GHz | GTX 1080 | GS Trident Z (4x8GB) 3000MHz | 860 EVO 1TB | Magewell HDMI 4K+, Avermedia 4K | RME Fireface UC
Full Room Watercooling: EK X3 400 | 3xKoolance PMP-500 | 4xEK SE560 | 16x Phanteks PH-F140MP | 3xKoolance Pump Controller | 2xSilverStone PWM Fan Hub

Surface Book 2: 15" | 8650U @ 4.2GHz (Max) | GTX 1060 6GB | 16GB LPDDR3 1866MHz | Samsung MZFLW512HMJP-000MV 512GB

Full setup - PC Part Picker / Pics: https://pcpartpicker.com/b/ZrWD4D | https://imgur.com/gallery/ZinwYhttps://imgur.com/gallery/yLcZ3
 (Needs updating)

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Posted · Original PosterOP
6 minutes ago, TheAgnda said:

Personally I believe the AG03 +  the SM7B and a CL-1 is a great option.

Yes, the mixer can do all of those things, but what would be the benefit from going with a ag03 vs a scarlett solo? I know it has EQ and compression, but I can't really justify spending about $40 more just for EQ and compression(Which is what I will most likely actually use).

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3 minutes ago, NotMrTaco said:

Yes, the mixer can do all of those things, but what would be the benefit from going with a ag03 vs a scarlett solo? I know it has EQ and compression, but I can't really justify spending about $40 more just for EQ and compression(Which is what I will most likely actually use).

You will see many forum posts suggesting use of EQ with the SM7B, it doesn't work best with everyone's voices flat.

But even without thinking about that, the AG03 is only $103 on Thomann brand new, if you bought the SM7B and the Scarlett Solo on Thomann (which is still cheaper than amazon) you'd only save $18. The AG03 is the clear winner in functionality, it also has a much better noise floor than the Scarlet 2i2 which I owned for 4+ years before upgrading to my Fireface UC.

Well worth the extra $18 IMO, of course in the end the choice is yours.


Main PC: Corsair 900D | Asus TUF X299 MARK 1 | 7900X @ 4.8GHz | GTX 1080 | GS Trident Z (4x8GB) 3000MHz | 600p 1TB, EX920 1TB | RME Fireface UCX

Capture PC: CR1080 | Asus X99-E | 6800K @ 3.6GHz | GTX 1080 | GS Trident Z (4x8GB) 3000MHz | 860 EVO 1TB | Magewell HDMI 4K+, Avermedia 4K | RME Fireface UC
Full Room Watercooling: EK X3 400 | 3xKoolance PMP-500 | 4xEK SE560 | 16x Phanteks PH-F140MP | 3xKoolance Pump Controller | 2xSilverStone PWM Fan Hub

Surface Book 2: 15" | 8650U @ 4.2GHz (Max) | GTX 1060 6GB | 16GB LPDDR3 1866MHz | Samsung MZFLW512HMJP-000MV 512GB

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 (Needs updating)

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Posted · Original PosterOP
9 minutes ago, TheAgnda said:

You will see many forum posts suggesting use of EQ with the SM7B, it doesn't work best with everyone's voices flat.

But even without thinking about that, the AG03 is only $103 on Thomann brand new, if you bought the SM7B and the Scarlett Solo on Thomann (which is still cheaper than amazon) you'd only save $18. The AG03 is the clear winner in functionality, it also has a much better noise floor than the Scarlet 2i2 which I owned for 4+ years before upgrading to my Fireface UC.

Well worth the extra $18 IMO, of course in the end the choice is yours.

Oh okay, thanks for the clarification about EQ with the mic, but I'd actually have to spend more $137 due to shipping which is a whopping $35. Sorry in advance if i'm asking the same thing multiple times, but is it really worth the extra $40?

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Posted · Original PosterOP
1 minute ago, ButsAndNolts said:

I know the SM7B is rather gain hungry, so a cloudlifter would be handy, tbh.

Ok I will make sure to pick it up. Thanks!

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44 minutes ago, NotMrTaco said:

So what I could do instead of the AG03 is go with a scarlett solo or 2i2, but would the Cloudlifter be useful for any of those 3 mixers/interfaces?

You could, yes. It might be worth having a CL1 with any of those interfaces.

 

Personally what I would suggest (if you're set on a 7b) is probably a Presonus audiobox, and then use something along the lines of voicemeeter for EQ and dynamics. I suggest that over the AG03 as you have direct control over detailed EQ rather than having to use the software for the mixer to alter any settings. You also have the ability to route any other audio you may want to the same output. You keep the ability for direct monitoring (through the audiobox), but you don't need as much physical space as you would with a mixer.

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Posted · Original PosterOP
3 minutes ago, anothertom said:

You could, yes. It might be worth having a CL1 with any of those interfaces.

 

Personally what I would suggest (if you're set on a 7b) is probably a Presonus audiobox, and then use something along the lines of voicemeeter for EQ and dynamics. I suggest that over the AG03 as you have direct control over detailed EQ rather than having to use the software for the mixer to alter any settings. You also have the ability to route any other audio you may want to the same output. You keep the ability for direct monitoring (through the audiobox), but you don't need as much physical space as you would with a mixer.

Okay, I will keep that in mind as I make a choice on which interface/mixer to get. Thank you!

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25 minutes ago, NotMrTaco said:

Oh okay, thanks for the clarification about EQ with the mic, but I'd actually have to spend more $137 due to shipping which is a whopping $35. Sorry in advance if i'm asking the same thing multiple times, but is it really worth the extra $40?

Do you already own the SM7B? The reason I wasn't factoring in the total shipping cost is because it would be shared between the items as far as I know.

SM7B + Scarlett Solo + shipping = 475

SM7B + AG03 + Shipping = 493

Definitely more of a decision if you already own a SM7B, if you weren't planning on using the AG03's features at all that's 40% savings. Although I still think you'll have a worse noise floor with the Solo.


Main PC: Corsair 900D | Asus TUF X299 MARK 1 | 7900X @ 4.8GHz | GTX 1080 | GS Trident Z (4x8GB) 3000MHz | 600p 1TB, EX920 1TB | RME Fireface UCX

Capture PC: CR1080 | Asus X99-E | 6800K @ 3.6GHz | GTX 1080 | GS Trident Z (4x8GB) 3000MHz | 860 EVO 1TB | Magewell HDMI 4K+, Avermedia 4K | RME Fireface UC
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Surface Book 2: 15" | 8650U @ 4.2GHz (Max) | GTX 1060 6GB | 16GB LPDDR3 1866MHz | Samsung MZFLW512HMJP-000MV 512GB

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 (Needs updating)

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Posted · Original PosterOP
2 minutes ago, TheAgnda said:

Do you already own the SM7B the reason I wasn't factoring in the total shipping cost is because it would be shared between the items as far as I know.

SM7B + Scarlett Solo + shipping = 475

SM7B + AG03 + Shipping = 493

Definitely more of a decision if you already own a SM7B, if you weren't planning on using the AG03's features at all that's 40% savings. Although I still think you'll have a worse noise floor with the Solo.

No I don't own the SM7B yet, I wasn't thinking about it that way. I will go with the Ag03 since all of its features as well the comp and effects. Thank you!

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Oh, I just want to pitch this in to just give you options/suggestions to consider (though its up to you on what you want to do).

 

 

While yes, dynamic mics reject alot of background noise, you may also want to consider shotgun mics such as the Audio Technica AT4053B, AT8035,or the Sennheiser MKE600. I currently use an MKH416 (and its wonderful for even voice acting and I'm surprised its even an industry standard in BOOTHS.. freaking booths, where voice overs for voice acting and other things aside from singing are done... and that's just its second purpose since its mainly used in sets where there are actors and what not... though I cannot say the same for other shotgun mics) and its wonderful, though its expensive and I only got mine during a sale. With a shotgun mic, since they're mostly, if not entirely, Condensers (but with the intent that they are very, very directional with pickup pattern), you may not need a cloudlifter in your system, and the shotgun mics I recommended are cheaper than the SM7B. However, if you like to move alot while you speak (even some streamers are guilty of this sometimes), shotgun mics are not ideal at all (which is why some studios even have other mics in-hand because some voice actors like to get "physical" which means they like to act physically while doing the voice acting to help with emotion and/or intensity).

 

That said, I also have a bias in favor of the SM7B. Its a lovable mic, especially in post, and is actually quite good for singing. Yes, MJ used it for an album, but its not suitable for everyone else's voices, though it can do it very well. Its just that Condensers are much more ideal for singing (shotguns don't count, IMO, due to how they've mostly been designed for). But for podcasts, voice overs, streaming, etc... where its a live environment or in a poorly treated room (not everyone can treat their room, even if they have the money, mostly because of other factors), Dynamic mics are ideal for that.

 

There are also weird exceptions that may also be in your favor. Some people even use shotgun mics for podcasts due to them wanting a more natural and more conversationally-sounding, well, sound in their podcasts, rather than having a "voice of god" effect. There are also end-address Condenser mics like the Rode Broadcaster (not to be confused with the Rode Podcaster or the Procaster, as those are both Dynamics) which is surprisingly very good at rejecting background noise, though may not be as good as Dynamic mics. Some even get the DBX 286 S and plug that to their interface's line-in and let it do the heavy lifting and with the benefits of a compressor, de-esser, EQ, and even expander/gate (which helps so much in reducing background noise) along with their SM7B, RE20, some even like using it with their Condensers, I have a friend who uses this with his MKH416.

 

Anyways, I'm just suggesting things that could help you out. I also do recommend the AG03 like the others said since its great value as an interface in general.

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Just going to say fuck the cloud thing waste of money getting anything inline these days.


I find I only comment on posts which are either incredibly stupid or slightly interesting.

Don't forget to keep telling your self it's the latter. 

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23 hours ago, Ahoy Hoy said:

Just going to say fuck the cloud thing waste of money getting anything inline these days.

I've never had a good experience with an inline low pass or high pass barrel filter but the CL-1 works as advertised.

Shure themselves cites the CL-1 as "useful" in conjunction with lower gain interfaces and the SM7B in their FAQs:

Shure_FAQ.png

Even on my Fireface UC, which is pretty dang high end, I experience more promising results with the CL-1 in-between a gain hungry dynamic microphone and the interface.


Main PC: Corsair 900D | Asus TUF X299 MARK 1 | 7900X @ 4.8GHz | GTX 1080 | GS Trident Z (4x8GB) 3000MHz | 600p 1TB, EX920 1TB | RME Fireface UCX

Capture PC: CR1080 | Asus X99-E | 6800K @ 3.6GHz | GTX 1080 | GS Trident Z (4x8GB) 3000MHz | 860 EVO 1TB | Magewell HDMI 4K+, Avermedia 4K | RME Fireface UC
Full Room Watercooling: EK X3 400 | 3xKoolance PMP-500 | 4xEK SE560 | 16x Phanteks PH-F140MP | 3xKoolance Pump Controller | 2xSilverStone PWM Fan Hub

Surface Book 2: 15" | 8650U @ 4.2GHz (Max) | GTX 1060 6GB | 16GB LPDDR3 1866MHz | Samsung MZFLW512HMJP-000MV 512GB

Full setup - PC Part Picker / Pics: https://pcpartpicker.com/b/ZrWD4D | https://imgur.com/gallery/ZinwYhttps://imgur.com/gallery/yLcZ3
 (Needs updating)

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