Will a cloudlifter get rid of noise for (RE20, Focusrite solo) combo for talking?

TalismanRich

Well-known member
The purpose of the Cloudlifter is to boost the signal of low output dynamic mics. When using mic preamps with insufficient gain, or relatively noisy preamps, boosting the signal allows you to minimize the preamp noise.

Now, the question of whether it will help your situation depends on the source of the noise. If you have boosted the signal fully and are still getting electrical noise (it will sound like hiss) yet don't have adequate signal level for your voice, then you might just need to adjust how you are using the mic. How far is the mic from your mouth when you are recording? WHAT are you recording? If you are doing something like acoustic guitar and have the mic 2ft away, you're going to have a relatively weak signal.

However, if the noise level is due to ambient room noise, then no cloudlifter, preamp boost or other adjustment is going to fix that. As they say, "a rising tide lifts all boats". Raise your signal, and raise your ambient noise floor the same amount. You might need to move much closer to the mic to boost your level, while at the same time, tracking down and minimizing any ambient noise.

It will help us to actually hear your situation. Set up your mic, set the levels, and record 10 or 15 seconds of silence, then add in your voice or instrument. Then we can tell you if it is an issue with the equipment, or if it is a problem with your recording environment.
 

TalismanRich

Well-known member
One comment, if you do get a cloudlifter, or FEThead, you will need to turn on phantom power, which is not needed with a dynamic mic. Those inline preamps work by using the 48V phantom power to run the preamp circuit.
 

rob aylestone

Well-known member
I think that you need to post up an example of your noisy recording so we can hear to make sure we are talking about the right thing. Soundcloud or even YouTube would work.

RE20s are rarely cited as the mics that need cloudlifters. They're not high output mics, but normally quite nice free with usual preamps. Hearing the problem will help.

I'm not helped by the link to the other place - loads of questions - very few answers. Loads of questions generate no answers at all and then get closed! Bizarre.
 

sebastian3495

New member
The purpose of the Cloudlifter is to boost the signal of low output dynamic mics. When using mic preamps with insufficient gain, or relatively noisy preamps, boosting the signal allows you to minimize the preamp noise.

Now, the question of whether it will help your situation depends on the source of the noise. If you have boosted the signal fully and are still getting electrical noise (it will sound like hiss) yet don't have adequate signal level for your voice, then you might just need to adjust how you are using the mic. How far is the mic from your mouth when you are recording? WHAT are you recording? If you are doing something like acoustic guitar and have the mic 2ft away, you're going to have a relatively weak signal.

However, if the noise level is due to ambient room noise, then no cloudlifter, preamp boost or other adjustment is going to fix that. As they say, "a rising tide lifts all boats". Raise your signal, and raise your ambient noise floor the same amount. You might need to move much closer to the mic to boost your level, while at the same time, tracking down and minimizing any ambient noise.

It will help us to actually hear your situation. Set up your mic, set the levels, and record 10 or 15 seconds of silence, then add in your voice or instrument. Then we can tell you if it is an issue with the equipment, or if it is a problem with your recording environment.

Okay, to be fair, I don't have me RE20 right in front of me when I speak, I would say roughly 30cm away from me. And yes, noise is indeed reduced if I bring it closer. But so are you saying that a cloudlifter can help to reduce the noise, even if the problem just is that I am talking into it from too far away (and maybe also speaking too softly)?

I would like to keep the RE20 at a distance from my mouth, because I tend to move around a bit with, so it's not easy to keep it close at all times.
 

TalismanRich

Well-known member
You didn't address whether the noise is from the room, or from the preamp. If ambient room noise is the problem, NO amount of signal boost will separate your voice from the noise. If your voice is at -30dB and your room noise is at -50dB, and you put a cloudlifter on, you increase EVERYTHING by 25dB, so your voice is -5 and the room noise is -25dB. Still a 20dB differential.

Again.... POST A SAMPLE of "silence" followed by your normal speaking voice at the distance you normally use. Then we can listen and tell you which problem you have.

(I'm guessing it's ambient noise, not preamp EIN (Equivalent Input Noise) which is the noise contributed by the Scarlett.)
 

Farview

Well-known member
I'm guessing it is room noise because you are pretty far away from the re-20, which is normally used very close to its source. Since you are that far away, the gain will be set higher, so the mic picks up more background noise.
There are two ways to fix this.
1. Get and stay closer to the mic.
2. Get rid of the room noise by making yourself a booth or using the appropriate room treatment and getting rid of anything in the room that makes noise.
 

sebastian3495

New member
Here is a recording of it: https://gofile.io/d/smMNDe

As you can hear, covering the microphone doesn't reduce the noise by any amount whatsoever. So the problem -- I think -- is with the preamp.
I think my room is quite quiet. But then, a professional audio-guy could likely think otherwise.

Also, regarding the recording, when I have it at max power, the noise is actually kind of louder than me speaking!?!?!? So there is no way it is ambient noise. To be fair though, I am speaking quite softly.
 
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Farview

Well-known member
In that case, a cloudlifter would help. You are probably close to all the way up on the interface gain control, which can be noisy on some interfaces.

An RE-20 might not be the best choice of mic in this circumstance, since it was meant to be used close to the source. An LDC might be a better choice and solve the problem.
 

TalismanRich

Well-known member
Agreed. What you hear with the increasing gain is hiss, which is preamp noise. A Cloudlifter or FEThead will boost the voice signal without using the Scarlett's gain control so it should be better.

I'm really surprised that the Scarlett is that noisy. Either you are much too far away, speaking way too softly, or both.

I'm curious as to how you recorded the noise without changing the level of your voice? Did you do two recordings and combine? Otherwise your voice should have been massively louder as you raised the gain on the Scarlett. There's no way it would bury your voice in noise. Something doesn't add up here.
 
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rob aylestone

Well-known member
The noise sounds 'wrong'. I'm in the video studio so don't have access to my mic box so I can't use an EV, but I do have an AKG 202 - probably 40 years old and the deafest mic I think I have. I plugged it straight into the Tascam 1641 interface in the rack. The gain was set to about 60% which on my usual mics means I can accidentally peak. I've recorded it with Cubase - and speaking from 30cm away, the meters hardly move - and there is no waveform display apart from a few tiny bumps. I then repeated the recording, same distance and the knob was set to 75% - this time a continuous waveform obvious at the bottom. Then I turn it to maximum - 100% on the knob and I then got my usual record level on meters and a sensible waveform display.

I then normalised each clip bringing the peak up to -3dB so the level for all three is about the same - the difference being the background noise and the results make me wonder if the EV was either faulty, or some other issue is happening, because my noise levels are still quite low. I actually expected more noise than I got - but your noise is crazy by comparison. before you buy a cloud lifter, I'd suggest trying another microphone - any microphone. Something is clearly adrift here.

The RE20 spec says 1.5 mV/pascal as the sensitivity figure and the 202 is 1.6 mV/pascal so they are quite close. My results, however are quite usable.
 

Attachments

  • mic noise.mp3
    5.3 MB

bouldersoundguy

Well-known member
I would say 30 cm is way too far from an RE-20. I'd recommend 10 cm (or less). That said, I've seen it done, but you'll need a lot of clean gain and a quiet room. Note that the closer you get the more sensitive it will be to small changes in position, so you have to be pretty consistent.
 

rob aylestone

Well-known member
This topic intrigued me, so I took an RE20 and an SM7B to the video studio this morning and did the test with those - to recap. I set 60% gain on the Tascam 1641, mic at 30cms from my mouth. Quiet voice - not speaking up. I left silence at the end. I then repeated the test with the gain at 75%, and then again at 100% - then swapped the RE20 for the SM7B and did it again. With the SM7B I also did the test with a pre=amp in line = an Imperative Audio Fetpre. All clips then normalised to -3dB for comparison.

Conclusions - at 30cm - even the highest gain setting is not bad - with the SM7B and the pre-amp and full gain it was noisy = but because the gain setting that gave made a quiet voice nearly 2ft away from a well known low output mic loud enough - not something we'd do. Clearly the Focusrite is doing something very strange here. I retired the Tascam interface to the video studio because I figured it was a bit elderly, and bought a Presonus with a better noise performance - maybe I wasted the money? I'm quite happy now using it for these dynamics - so I've learned something.
 

Attachments

  • mic noise-re20 and sm7b.mp3
    18.9 MB
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