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Interface to match Shure SM7B

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Interface to match Shure SM7B

Postby Aidenator » Tue Feb 19, 2019 5:19 pm

Hey guys,

I have a Shure SM7B with a CL-1 preamp and am currently using a Line 6 UX2 interface, which is very outdated, fairly cheap and just doesn't deliver a rich enough sound to justify matching it to the expensive SM7B.

I'm thinking about getting the Scarlett 2i2 but it's fairly cheap and I'm worried about it also not being up to scratch.

My only preference, aside from it sounding amazing, is that it's USB powered - but I understand that most good ones won't be USB powered, which is okay.

One that has been recommended to me a lot is the Behringer X1622USB Xenyx, but I'm worried that it is overkill as the most I'll ever need is 1 XLR input, plus it's not USB powered.

Thank you kindly!
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Re: Interface to match Shure SM7B

Postby Sam Spoons » Tue Feb 19, 2019 5:36 pm

I'd expect the Focusrite to be better than the Behringer all other things being equal.
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Re: Interface to match Shure SM7B

Postby ef37a » Tue Feb 19, 2019 5:48 pm

Yes, that Behringer IS overkill but it is also a mixer! Not, I don't think what you need?

However I am not at all sure what you need? I am assuming another Audio Interface.
The fact that you have the CL 1 means you can cast your net wide as the vast majority of budget interfaces do not have the gain or/and low noise performance needed to do justice to the low sensitivity 7b. The CL means any of the £100-£200 interfaces will serve you well.

Do NOT however I implore you go for the cheap, single mic input interfaces. They are often as basic as they can be and often lack decent connectors. There are some top end "one lunged" AIs but they are rather pricey. All of the interfaces in the above price range have excellent converters and the sound quality will be determined almost totally by the microphone and a tiny bit by the Cloudlifter. After that a £1000 AI would make almost no difference at all.
Tell us what your intended use is and any ideas for the future.

Dave.
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Re: Interface to match Shure SM7B

Postby Humble Bee » Tue Feb 19, 2019 5:50 pm

Audient iD4... :thumbup:
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Re: Interface to match Shure SM7B

Postby ef37a » Tue Feb 19, 2019 5:58 pm

Humble Bee wrote:Audient iD4... :thumbup:

Yes indeed but OP might think "ott" for his intended purposes but of course we know not what they are!

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Re: Interface to match Shure SM7B

Postby Aidenator » Tue Feb 19, 2019 5:58 pm

ef37a wrote:Yes, that Behringer IS overkill but it is also a mixer! Not, I don't think what you need?

However I am not at all sure what you need? I am assuming another Audio Interface.
The fact that you have the CL 1 means you can cast your net wide as the vast majority of budget interfaces do not have the gain or/and low noise performance needed to do justice to the low sensitivity 7b. The CL means any of the £100-£200 interfaces will serve you well.

Do NOT however I implore you go for the cheap, single mic input interfaces. They are often as basic as they can be and often lack decent connectors. There are some top end "one lunged" AIs but they are rather pricey. All of the interfaces in the above price range have excellent converters and the sound quality will be determined almost totally by the microphone and a tiny bit by the Cloudlifter. After that a £1000 AI would make almost no difference at all.
Tell us what your intended use is and any ideas for the future.

Dave.

Thank you for the in-depth response!

I'm looking to replace the UX2 with an interface that can do:
- Noise gate
- Bass/Treble boosting/reduction
- Compression
With the lowest amount of noise generated as possible.

It will be used for commentaries, voice overs and voice acting - most of which will be broadcasted live. I'm looking for the most "professional" sound possible - the ideal sound would be similar to Twitch streamer "Morf_UK".
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Re: Interface to match Shure SM7B

Postby ef37a » Tue Feb 19, 2019 6:03 pm

Hmm, I shall defer to the Top Men here with years experience in broadcasting but I suspect much of what you want is not possible live? Once in the can, slice of Black Forest but live?

And, even if it is, won't be cheap.

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Re: Interface to match Shure SM7B

Postby Aidenator » Tue Feb 19, 2019 7:14 pm

ef37a wrote:Hmm, I shall defer to the Top Men here with years experience in broadcasting but I suspect much of what you want is not possible live? Once in the can, slice of Black Forest but live?

And, even if it is, won't be cheap.

Dave.
All of the previous interfaces I've mentioned are capable of it, I'm just unsure as to which will deliver the best sound quality
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Re: Interface to match Shure SM7B

Postby Sam Spoons » Tue Feb 19, 2019 7:24 pm

You'll be hard pressed to hear a difference between the preamps. Give this article a read https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/pick-preamp
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Re: Interface to match Shure SM7B

Postby Aidenator » Tue Feb 19, 2019 7:44 pm

Sam Spoons wrote:You'll be hard pressed to hear a difference between the preamps. Give this article a read https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/pick-preamp

I'm simply in need of an interface that can adjust bass/treble in realtime, like the previously mentioned Xenyx, just preferably one that's USB powered
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Re: Interface to match Shure SM7B

Postby ef37a » Tue Feb 19, 2019 8:08 pm

Aidenator wrote:
Sam Spoons wrote:You'll be hard pressed to hear a difference between the preamps. Give this article a read https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/pick-preamp

I'm simply in need of an interface that can adjust bass/treble in realtime, like the previously mentioned Xenyx, just preferably one that's USB powered

I really don't know of an INTERFACE that can do T&B in real time and so you would have to go to a mixer but aim a bit higher than the Berry and with fewer inputs.

You want a late generation USB mixer from Soundcraft or Allen & Heath. Their latest 2 mic input mixer are also 24 bit USB interfaces. Not POWERED by USB but connect that way to a PC. Are you perhaps in a mains free situation? If so you are a bit stuffed!

The sound quality issue is IMHO a red herring. You have one of the best "talk mics" in the business but, WTGR, you are looking for interfaces in the lower end of the market. To get any possible improvement on the Steinbergs and Focusrites of this world you would have to pay five to ten times the price and, as you have been told, you would be unlikely to tell.

This is not because the high end stuff is rooking you (though some of the audiophool gear certainly is!) No, it is because the £150ish area for a simple AI is so, so good!

The room you talk in and the monitors and cans you listen through would have to be of THE best quality to show up a 2i2 or similar against £1000 AI.

Dave.
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Re: Interface to match Shure SM7B

Postby Sam Spoons » Tue Feb 19, 2019 8:29 pm

That Berry mixer you mention is not USB powered, and for less money you can but the Scarlett or the Audient, both of which will almost certainly sound better.

Aidenator wrote:All of the previous interfaces I've mentioned are capable of it, I'm just unsure as to which will deliver the best sound quality

As has been said, once over £100 quality is much the same across all the reputable makes until you get to exotic £1k=+ kit. Choose the one that gives you the most useful facilities.

What software are you using to broadcast? And is this internet streaming or on air broadcasting? The DAW/Podcast/WHY software will almost certainly allow you real time control of eq.
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Re: Interface to match Shure SM7B

Postby Mike Stranks » Tue Feb 19, 2019 8:42 pm

I'd be looking more at a mixer-type approach rather than an interface, but until I know a bit more about the processing chain from mic to ears and the application I'll reserve judgment on that.

But first thoughts are that the Rodecaster Pro is probably worth investigating...

https://www.rode.com/rodecasterpro
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Re: Interface to match Shure SM7B

Postby Bob Bickerton » Tue Feb 19, 2019 8:49 pm

The problem is that most audio interfaces are designed so that you process the signal in the box rather than live. One exception, and there may be others I’m unaware of, is the UAD range of interfaces where their associated ‘Console’ software allows you to pop up to four plug-ins on a channel on the way in - in other words live.

The Arrow entry level interface is also buss-powered BUT off Thunderbolt 3 (and not back compatible).

Otherwise you’re talking a mixer which won’t be buss-powered, in which case I’d look at one of the small Yamaha desks rather than the Behringer.

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Re: Interface to match Shure SM7B

Postby Aidenator » Tue Feb 19, 2019 8:56 pm

ef37a wrote:
Aidenator wrote:
Sam Spoons wrote:You'll be hard pressed to hear a difference between the preamps. Give this article a read https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/pick-preamp

I'm simply in need of an interface that can adjust bass/treble in realtime, like the previously mentioned Xenyx, just preferably one that's USB powered

I really don't know of an INTERFACE that can do T&B in real time and so you would have to go to a mixer but aim a bit higher than the Berry and with fewer inputs.

You want a late generation USB mixer from Soundcraft or Allen & Heath. Their latest 2 mic input mixer are also 24 bit USB interfaces. Not POWERED by USB but connect that way to a PC. Are you perhaps in a mains free situation? If so you are a bit stuffed!

The sound quality issue is IMHO a red herring. You have one of the best "talk mics" in the business but, WTGR, you are looking for interfaces in the lower end of the market. To get any possible improvement on the Steinbergs and Focusrites of this world you would have to pay five to ten times the price and, as you have been told, you would be unlikely to tell.

This is not because the high end stuff is rooking you (though some of the audiophool gear certainly is!) No, it is because the £150ish area for a simple AI is so, so good!

The room you talk in and the monitors and cans you listen through would have to be of THE best quality to show up a 2i2 or similar against £1000 AI.

Dave.
Thanks for the in depth response again!

I only say interface because I used to call them mixers and someone told me off for it saying that the ones with bass/treble options are "interfaces" and not mixers - any form of device that allows me to adjust my sound would do!
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Re: Interface to match Shure SM7B

Postby Watchmaker » Tue Feb 19, 2019 9:53 pm

Aidenator wrote:I only say interface because I used to call them mixers and someone told me off for it saying that the ones with bass/treble options are "interfaces" and not mixers - any form of device that allows me to adjust my sound would do!

otherway round. mixers usually provide signal processing, interfaces usually limit themselves to preamps and AD/DA conversion with some foldback and headphones functionality.

If you require the ability to tweak the sound before it goes live, you can do that in a number of ways. Most flexible will be to run through either a DSP or DAW, although DAWs tend to introduce more latency than native processing.

If you can spring the cash for a UAD Apollo twin, that will meet anyone's criteria for pro gear, and the unison plugins are nothing short of incredible. It's USB 3 so should be backward compatible with USB 2 and future proof for another genration or so. Not bus powered.
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Re: Interface to match Shure SM7B

Postby James Perrett » Tue Feb 19, 2019 9:58 pm

Stick with what you've got and maybe learn to use some alternative software. Reaper will allow you to process the audio on the way in if you want to - although I usually prefer to do the processing after recording so that you aren't committed to a sound that you later realise you don't like.

I would also add that room treatment and learning to use your voice effectively are far more important than the choice of interface. It may be worth seeing if there is anyone locally who might be able to do some one to one tuition and help you achieve your aim without spending out on more gear.
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Re: Interface to match Shure SM7B

Postby Watchmaker » Tue Feb 19, 2019 10:10 pm

James Perrett wrote: without spending out on more gear.

Surely this is heresy?
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Re: Interface to match Shure SM7B

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Tue Feb 19, 2019 10:55 pm

Rather than change the interface, another solution allowing you to process the mic signal on the way in to the computer would be to invest in a 'channel strip' -- a hardware mic preamp with built-in EQ and compression facilities. It would produce a line level output which you would need to connect to the line input of your interface. There are lots of channel strips to choose from depending on our budget.

H
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Re: Interface to match Shure SM7B

Postby ef37a » Wed Feb 20, 2019 9:02 am

Hugh Robjohns wrote:Rather than change the interface, another solution allowing you to process the mic signal on the way in to the computer would be to invest in a 'channel strip' -- a hardware mic preamp with built-in EQ and compression facilities. It would produce a line level output which you would need to connect to the line input of your interface. There are lots of channel strips to choose from depending on our budget.

H

Good call Mr H. The DBX 286s seem to get a good rep' and has all the bells and whistles the OP could surely want? It is £150 though and he would have to run it through his existing AI and he is I think wanting to upgrade that? Peeps have repeatedly told him that is very unlikely to make a difference and indeed, after processing a signal through a good but to be honest "budget" strip, the most expensive A/D converter in the world would be a waste!

I have also found a snag with the A&H ZED i8 USB mixer? Pulled up the signal flow diagram and the feed to the USB unit is PRE EQ! There is solder pad option to change it to post but how many retailers are equipped for such "customization" these days?

The ZED 10 USB does at least take a post EQ USB signal but pre "pan" although there does seem to be a way to patch around the issue. I would suggest OP asks before purchase of other USB mixer suppliers as to the take off point of USB feed but I feel the "chit of a girl/boy" on the phone would just go "do'er?"

The best I can suggest is to get a decent small mixer and feed that to the existing AI. If OP feels that is not giving him the best quality, upgrade the AI. It seems an affordable, single device that gives sound processing AND conversion simply does not exist?

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