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Getting a clear and stable sound

Discussion in 'Microphones (live or studio)' started by Inbal, Mar 30, 2020.

  1. Inbal

    Inbal Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2020
    Location:
    Israel
    Hi,

    I've been having troubles setting an SM57 mic on my Mac for recording vocals.
    The current setup is:
    Shure SM57 --> XLR --> Cloudfilter CL-1 --> XLR --> behinger U-Phoria --> (well USB) --> Mac (connected to power).
    *Using Ableton Live (and Pod Farm).

    When I try to record, or just get feedback - I can get a strong sound, and the voice sound quality is good for a split second - but there are many cracks/jumps/electrical noises (not background noises) - like something isn't connected well or isn't configured properly. It also happens if I'm not holding/ moving the mic at all, and it only happens when there's a sound.

    I tried to switch between the cables, checked with and without the cloudfilter, it's 100% not the speakers/headphones, and tried to change all sorts of things but no success so far..

    Any ideas what could cause it?

    Btw, something that doesn't help but generates a different kind of noise is that I don't have a windscreen at the moment, however even if I improvise something - I can still hear that noise.
     
  2. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2010
    Location:
    Boulder, Colorado
    Home Page:
    U-Phoria is a whole line of products. It might help to specify the model.

    Are you using the direct monitor function or trying to monitor through the software?

    Do you know how to adjust the buffer?
     
    kmetal likes this.
  3. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2000
    Location:
    BC, Canada
    Home Page:
    Welcome to our community :)
    Find buffer setting and double its value. Use our search to learn more about buffer settings. https://recording.org/tags/buffer/
     
    Inbal, Kurt Foster and kmetal like this.
  4. Inbal

    Inbal Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2020
    Location:
    Israel
    @bouldersound - you're correct, I thought I did, I'm using UMC202HD.
     
  5. Inbal

    Inbal Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2020
    Location:
    Israel
    Thank you @audiokid ! I did turn it down because I wanted to decrease the delay, and didn't realize that it got much worse because of that.
     
    audiokid likes this.
  6. paulears

    paulears Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2014
    Location:
    Lowestoft - UK
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    The delay is called latency - but on most modern computers, it's normally a set and forget - and the default setting works fine for most people. If you try to set a value right on the edge of your computers capability, it only takes something like AVG to suddenly fire up to wreck stability. There's no need to try to get out down to silly levels. Mine currently sits at about 9ms, and I can work with anything up to 13-14 before I detect a tiny lag.
     
    kmetal likes this.
  7. Inbal

    Inbal Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2020
    Location:
    Israel
    @paulears - I don't know how I can reach the low latency levels you describe.
    The minimum buffer that seems relevant is 512 and it leads to 20.2ms latency, which is not practical.
     
  8. paulears

    paulears Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2014
    Location:
    Lowestoft - UK
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    I couldn't play the piano with latency of that degree - this MacBook which I don't use for cubase often I just checked and is 14ms - which I'd be able to work with. Just a thought though? Have you checked the driver you are using - some computers load up ASIO drivers instead of the dedicated ones you should be using. I'd be very surprised if the Behringer proper driver had figures that large. Loading up the ASIO driver on my Cubase PC gives over 20ms on the ASIO driver - they're really not good! Worth double checking. Windows does have a habit of loading what IT thinks is the best driver, even when you tell it! Macs can sometimes get out wrong - hopefully you'll discover that's what's happened.
     
  9. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2008
    Location:
    Western Pennsylvania, USA
    Hello and welcome.

    There would be no reason in the world to use the Cloudlifter. The SM57 puts out sufficient level to use with any interface. An SM7b would benefit from a Cloudlifter, the SM57 doesn't need it.

    I have a few questions:

    A) Do you have the Direct Monitor button engaged, or not?

    B) Do you have the Pad button engaged, or not?

    C) When you get the horrendous feedback you talk about in the first post, what are the Sig(signal present) and Clip lights doing on the mic channel?

    D) Do you have the 48v switch on the back On or Off?

    E) You're not trying to sing through Pod Farm are you?
     
  10. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2010
    Location:
    Boulder, Colorado
    Home Page:
    Are you using the direct monitor function? If not, is it for a good reason?
     
    kmetal likes this.
  11. Inbal

    Inbal Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2020
    Location:
    Israel
    Do you mean why I'm not connecting my headphones directly to the interface?
    It's an embarrassing reason, and I will blame it on covid-19 if you don't mind :)
     
  12. Inbal

    Inbal Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2020
    Location:
    Israel
    Interesting, I'll dig and see if I come up with anything. Thanks!
     
  13. Inbal

    Inbal Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2020
    Location:
    Israel

    @dvdhawk , @bouldersound - Haa! I missed that button :cautious:

    So now I'm at 25.6ms:
    - input 11.6ms
    - output: 14ms

    @dvdhawk
    I couldn't actually get a decent volume before I got the cloudlifter, and ran into multiple recommendations.
    But I admit I got it before I discovered this forum :)
    A - Now engaged
    B - Not engaged
    C - Currently: clip - no light; sig - light
    D - 48v is On
    E - I added it as plug-in, but I'm not actually using it now, so no
     
    kmetal likes this.
  14. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2008
    Location:
    Western Pennsylvania, USA
    I would expect an SM57 plugged directly into the interface (without the Cloudlifter) to produce plenty of signal, while the Pad is disengaged, and the Gain set to 50-80%. If that is not the case, I'd be suspicious of the SM57. Entry-level interfaces are meant for exactly that type of industry standard microphone.

    Is the SM57 new? Did you get it from a reputable source? The SM57 and SM58 are among the most counterfeited mics in the world. Do you have any other equipment available to test the integrity of the microphone and XLR cables?

    The Cloudlifter requires the 48v to be ON. I'd be curious to hear if the results are any different with 48v OFF and no Cloudlifter.

    Revisiting C: Are you still getting "many cracks/jumps/electrical noises (not background noises)" and seeing Signal / no Clipping?

    Do any of you RO members use Ableton to advise on monitor settings that might be causing an internal feedback loop?

    If you think it's a concern, our friend @pcrecord did a series of videos a couple years ago comparing an authentic SM57 to a fake SM57 he got - and how to make the fake sound as good as possible.
    And even if you don't think you got a fake 57, I'd recommend you subscribe to his YouTube channel for a wealth of recording information.

     
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  15. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2010
    Location:
    Boulder, Colorado
    Home Page:
    You should definitely connect your headphones to the interface.

    But the direct monitor setting means the audio signal goes from the input of the interface to the headphone output of the same interface without making the longer trip to the computer and back. A good reason not to use direct monitor is if you need to hear effects, like a guitar amp sim, but you still should connect the headphones to the interface, not to the computer's headphone output if possible.

    Let me guess, your headphones have a 1/8" plug and you don't have an adapter to go into the 1/4" socket on the interface, and you can't go out to buy one and it's taking longer than normal to get it by mail order.
     
    kmetal likes this.
  16. Inbal

    Inbal Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2020
    Location:
    Israel
    Just to be on sync - I don't have the cracks/jumps/electrical noises anymore since I changed the buffer,
    now I'm just looking to decrease some of the latency.

    And many thanks to all of you!

    You're correct, I checked it now without the cloudlifter and it does work.

    I'm not sure why I wasn't able to get it working in the first place, just remember that when I increased the gain the sound was absolutely horrible,
    only after adjusting the mic using Pod Farm I could get it to sound ok, but the volume was weak (which led to the cloudlifter choice).
    Now I'm not using Pod Farm, so I'm not sure what changed.

    The mic is new - got it from Amazon from a seller that seemed legit.
    I had my doubts at first, watched some other videos and realized it's not likely to be a fake.
    I don't feel difference between with/without 48v when I'm not using the cloudlifter.
    I might have a slight preference to cloudlifter off, but it's hard to tell.
    The latency numbers seem the same either way.
    "C" - for all of those options - I don't get those noises anymore, Sig light is on, Clipping light is off, it was purely low buffer.

    Yep, that's the bottom line. So I connect my headphone to my laptop for now.
     
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