Does a Mixer change audio tone quality?

Twirly

New member
Hi
I was impressed by a certain streamers radio/broadcaster sound/tone quality and asked if he could turn off his processing so I can get a before and after.

The broadcaster like sound quality is something I've been trying to replicate.

I use a: Rode Procaster DBX286S Zoom UAC2

I was shocked by the difference as I have similar equipment. A clip from his stream: https://clips.twitch.tv/CarelessHungryWormBabyRage

Looking at his audio equipment he has: Shure SM7B DBX 286s (Mic Pre Amp/Processor) Behringer Xenyx Q802 Roland VT-3

My question is does his his mixer add that broadcaster tonal effect? Or is the SM7B the sole reason as from what I read a mixers function is to just organize multiple sources.

He was kind enough to send his DBX settings which I replicated on mine and it's nowhere near the same.

I was thinking of buying a yamaha mg10xu or allen heath zed 10fx if it did indeed give that sound tone but I thought I'd ask the pros first before spending money.

Thanks
 

garww

New member
That's most likely the MIC. But, a mixer will degrade audio to some degree - that just comes with complicating a circuit
 

garww

New member
The poster just said the q802 was in the chain. haha Actually, I think there's a ton of the SM7b going into quite modest Behringers on streaming
 
You're not hearing the mixer.
What you like is either his voice, the microphone, the room, the processing, or some mixture of those.

Proximity to the mic will play a big part. Get close to the mic for that boomier, and drier, sound.
If you're even a few inches farther away than him (as you can hear when he leans off to the side), you'll lose a lot of bass and you'll hear room ambience a lot more.

Sounds like he's scooped the mids or boosted the bass, and compressed the balls out of it too.
 

Twirly

New member
Thanks for the replies. He has provided screenshots of his 286S settings which he bypassed in the clip.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/dfu21tj1b94zozp/image1.jpg?dl=0
https://www.dropbox.com/s/5eqhw1vnqbquk44/image2.jpg?dl=0
https://www.dropbox.com/s/p2tz0uugfvg5fk1/image3.jpg?dl=0
https://www.dropbox.com/s/h1481tfhu2kiyhu/image4.jpg?dl=0
https://www.dropbox.com/s/7uzsvnr2e3xbt3b/image5.jpg?dl=0
https://www.dropbox.com/s/oy3rakppd9j14j6/image6.jpg?dl=0

As I mentioned apart from the gain settings I copied his settings and couldn't get that warm, full bodied broadcasater type tone. The reason I didn't increase my gain is that I have a Triton Fethead preamp going into my micrphone.

This is what I had my DBX at. The settings were from following youtube guides and adjusting it for my room.
https://www.dropbox.com/s/7zhi0orl8kehnv0/ipRwWVl.png?dl=0
https://www.dropbox.com/s/y3uxw26iy8d3npu/ne9i8lu.png?dl=0

He hasn't any pics of his mixer because he mentioned he changes them frequently to tailor the sound. At the moment, bass and mids are up (mids slightly higher) and treble is lower. Nothing breaks 50% though.
 
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ecc83

Well-known member
The only REALLY classy thing in that broadcast chain is the SM7b! After making the PSU, case and other bits, $200 does not leave a lot for a high end mic amp in the DBX, I fact I doubt it is much, if any better than the mic pre in the Berry.

Now, mic preamps in budget kit have a problem. To get a low noise performance (and most are V good in that respect) they use a hybrid amplifier. The downside of that is the mic amp produces more harmonic distortion than the rest of the mixer/strip electronics. This is at its worse at high gains, just what the 7b needs!

But, I am really with the other guys, the sound is mostly down to room and vocal quality/technique. Like, you can have all his kit but you will never sound like Clapton!

Dave.
 

Twirly

New member
I loaded up Audacity and had a fiddle. It seems a high compressor ratio and and LF detail is what is giving that sound. Additionally, like what's been mentioned he is further manipulating mids in the mixer. The SM7B also has a better freq response which is probably helping with the audio quality (50 to 20,000 Hz) compared to my Procaster that has (75 to 18,000 Hz)

Now my requirements have changed and I have slightly more knowledge thanks to you guys I guess I should go for the SM7B and a good quality USB mixer with a decent preamp.

What mixer would you recommend for £300 that has a USB interface?

I will buy a condensor mic like the SM7B or maybe a Heil PR40 or even a rode nt1-a depending on how much money I have left in the kitty and keep the DBX2896 as it has a okay noise gate, de-esser and compressor for Twitch. I can flog the Zoom UAC2 and Rode Procaster and the money raised can go towards funding the upgrade.

Thanks again.
 
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garww

New member
I don't know if there is a need for a better mixer. Maybe a 802 with effects. There is also the RE320 MIC.
 

ecc83

Well-known member
"I will buy a condensor mic like the SM7B or maybe a Heil PR40 or even a rode nt1-a depending on how much money I have left in the kitty and keep the DBX2896 as it has a okay noise gate, de-esser and compressor for Twitch. I can flog the Zoom UAC2 and Rode Procaster and the money raised can go towards funding the upgrade."

Whoa there Twirly! Firstly, the SM7b is a DYNAMIC mic and a damn good one. If you need a mixer in the system add a Cloudlifter to amp up the mic as that will allow the mixer pre to be backed off by some 25dB with a consequent reduction in distortion of an order.

Are you driving the mixer's main outs into the Zoom? If so you might like to try putting it an FX send/return instead? (I bet 'The mane' is doing that!)

Tis all a bit of a shame really because the UAC-2 is noted to have truly excellent mic amplifiers.

Dave.
 

Twirly

New member
"I will buy a condensor mic like the SM7B or maybe a Heil PR40 or even a rode nt1-a depending on how much money I have left in the kitty and keep the DBX2896 as it has a okay noise gate, de-esser and compressor for Twitch. I can flog the Zoom UAC2 and Rode Procaster and the money raised can go towards funding the upgrade."

Whoa there Twirly! Firstly, the SM7b is a DYNAMIC mic and a damn good one. If you need a mixer in the system add a Cloudlifter to amp up the mic as that will allow the mixer pre to be backed off by some 25dB with a consequent reduction in distortion of an order.

Are you driving the mixer's main outs into the Zoom? If so you might like to try putting it an FX send/return instead? (I bet 'The mane' is doing that!)

Tis all a bit of a shame really because the UAC-2 is noted to have truly excellent mic amplifiers.

Dave.

Whoops :facepalm:, I remember when I was researching for mics that Dynamic ones were the ones suitable for bedroom Twitch broadcasting, but yeah I don't want condensors.

I've reduced the gain output from my DBX all the way down -30db and increased the gain on the UAC2 as it seemed the logical thing to do.

Are you driving the mixer's main outs into the Zoom? If so you might like to try putting it an FX send/return instead? (I bet 'The mane' is doing that!)

I don't have a mixer and don't quite understand what you wrote (too technical lol) but atm my chain is:

Procaster > Triton fethead > DBX286S > UAC-2 > PC

When I do upgrade I need to be 100% sure that the USB mixer interface I choose (allen heath zed 10fx or yamaha mg10xu seem to be popular choices) has a decent warm sound character preamp or if I should just add the UAC2 into the chain.

Should I have a setup like:

1. SM7B > Triton fethead > DBX286S > Mixer > PC or
2. SM7B > Triton fethead > DBX286S > Mixer > UAC-2 > PC

Cheers
 

Farview

www.farviewrecording.com
Don't turn down the output only to turn up the input 9f something else.

Here is what is supposed to happen:

Mic into preamp. Preamp gain is set so that the mic signal is brought up to line level.

Line level out of the preamp into the compressor. The threshold of the compressor is set so you get the amount of reduction you want. The compressor output (or makeup gain) should be set to bring the output back up to line level. (Compressors make the signal quieter)

The idea behind the output level on any piece of hardware is to make up for any gain changes that happened in that unit. The level between each piece of equipment should be line level. (0dbVU)
 

ecc83

Well-known member
2. SM7B > Triton fethead > DBX286S > Mixer > UAC-2 > PC

That ^ is the better bet IF(!) you really need a mixer and if you do there are few better than the ZEDs. However, good though the A&H USB converter is I have it on good authority that the Zoom UAC-2 is better, better in fact than any USB AI at the price.

Take note of Jays comments re gain staging. Especially watch the level from mixer to AI since the mixer will put out +22dBu or more and I doubt the Zoom can handle that and to be fair no other AI in that range could either, nor do they need to.

Sorry about the boggling! I did not think I was getting PARTICULARLY technical? I am in fact only a 'bit' sorry! This IS a technical hobby/job. You need the jargon! You can ALWAYS ask and I have plenty of time to break things down.

Dave.
 

garww

New member
The ZED10fx might be OK. My needs are different, but I recently shopped the low end. I thought the basic Soundcraft looked pretty good. Then we get into more this and that which is still the same old sound. And the we start seeing better quality again with less channels and features. Make a quick evaluation of that range and see if you want to go there.

Thomann has vocals of the re320 up;
https://www.thomann.de/gb/ev_re320.htm

With dynamic, you may want to consider a stand alone MIC preamp going line in to a(any old) mixer;
https://www.thomann.de/gb/golden_age_project_pre_73_jr.htm
 

Twirly

New member
Don't turn down the output only to turn up the input 9f something else.

Here is what is supposed to happen:

Mic into preamp. Preamp gain is set so that the mic signal is brought up to line level.

Line level out of the preamp into the compressor. The threshold of the compressor is set so you get the amount of reduction you want. The compressor output (or makeup gain) should be set to bring the output back up to line level. (Compressors make the signal quieter)

The idea behind the output level on any piece of hardware is to make up for any gain changes that happened in that unit. The level between each piece of equipment should be line level. (0dbVU)

Nice explanation thanks.

I was under the impression if the UAC-2 has the better pre-amp that I should reduce the gain output from the 286S and let the better pre-amp in the UAC2 increase the gain even if it is the last peice of hardware in the link. It's what the chap in the clip also did as his output gain was at around -20
https://www.dropbox.com/s/oy3rakppd9j14j6/image6.jpg?dl=0

The problem I've had is that I went into this blind not knowing what is best for my budget or how to set things up. I mainly relied on Youtube and didn't know the science behind anything and why things need to be done in a particular or ideal order.


2. SM7B > Triton fethead > DBX286S > Mixer > UAC-2 > PC

That ^ is the better bet IF(!) you really need a mixer and if you do there are few better than the ZEDs. However, good though the A&H USB converter is I have it on good authority that the Zoom UAC-2 is better, better in fact than any USB AI at the price.

Take note of Jays comments re gain staging. Especially watch the level from mixer to AI since the mixer will put out +22dBu or more and I doubt the Zoom can handle that and to be fair no other AI in that range could either, nor do they need to.

Sorry about the boggling! I did not think I was getting PARTICULARLY technical? I am in fact only a 'bit' sorry! This IS a technical hobby/job. You need the jargon! You can ALWAYS ask and I have plenty of time to break things down.

Dave.

I'd love to learn as it will allow me in the future to make better decisions like what to buy or why I need to buy certain things. For example the chap in the Twicth clip advised me to ditch my UAC2 and use a USB Mixer as adding more things in the chain will degrade and add noise to my mic thus changing the sound signature.

If I can keep my UAC2 and there is no negative impact then I will. What would you suggest is better than the A&H at that price range?

Thanks
 
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garww

New member
The ZED10with effects is at a nice price point in the US. If I didn't have stuff to mix, I might have that. You are, actually, mixing stuff, right : ) MIC1, MIC2, Commercial 1, Commercial 2, Farm Report, etc..
 

garww

New member
Well, a MIC input isn't a combo jack and often there is additional gain structure. So take their advice and see if you need to adjust it upwards
 

Twirly

New member
Well, a MIC input isn't a combo jack and often there is additional gain structure. So take their advice and see if you need to adjust it upwards

yeah I also found another article which explains the reason why the gain offset is reduced.

dbx 286s: Beyond The Basics … – produceNewMedia

Output Gain Compensation

Gain Compensation is an integral part of Audio Compression. It is most commonly used to offset the gain reduction that occurs when audio is compressed. It is often referred to as Make-up Gain. When this gain offset is applied to compressed audio, the perceived, average level of the audio is increased. Excessive Make-up Gain can sometimes elevate noise that may have been previously inaudible at lower average levels.

Earlier I discussed how an elevated Drive control setting on the 286s will increase the input signal of low level source audio. In doing so you may pick up a suitable amount of compression. However you also run the risk of a noticeable increase in noise. In this particular scenario, try setting the Output Gain on the 286s to a negative value to offset the gain (and noise) that may have been introduced by the Drive setting.
 
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