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Author Topic: Does a Drawmer MX60 have enough gain for an SM7b?  (Read 4611 times)

adie

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Does a Drawmer MX60 have enough gain for an SM7b?
« on: October 01, 2006, 04:13:40 PM »

I'm recording in a less-than-ideal acoustic setting right now and the LDCs pick up on it a bit too much, so I was wanting to switch to a SM7b (mostly for vox), but am worried my MX60 won't have enough gain because of all the talk I've heard about needing big-league pres for this mic.  Any help?

Thanks!
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Teddy G.

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Re: Does a Drawmer MX60 have enough gain for an SM7b?
« Reply #1 on: October 02, 2006, 09:24:46 AM »

I'll be interested in hearing about this too, from someone who knows...

I don't know what an MX60 is? Is it a really bad mic preamp? Are your LDC's "pretty good"? Would your money/time be better spent working on your "less than ideal" recording space? I could do quite a bit of treatment, especially in the "voice range", for the price of an SM7...

Far as it goes, as the SM7 is a dynamic mic I would think any ol' preamp would do?


BTW: preamp aside, I know it's sometimes tough, but, if there is ANY WAY you could try one yourself(Preferably the combo), before purchase that would be best. Maybe make sure you can send it back if you don't like it? Even if a "re-stock" charge, it might be worth it? You'd really rather go somewhere to test mics - take your pre along! You'd love to hear an EV RE20, a Senn 421 and a Beyer M99(Whatever you can find in same category). You would also appreciate hearing both an SM57 and an SM58, at same "test session"(Just so you hear what you're paying the extra money for - if you DO hear "it"?). The store person would probably want you to hear "others", as well, along with other pre's - cool! Always best to try before you buy - no matter what. Even if it would be a day trip to a larger city(Calling first to make sure you can "test", of course.). Matter of fact, if you'd do this with most everything you buy(SEE IT/HEAR IT instead of counting on the internet) you'd be less likely to make mistakes, learn more and have alot more fun with this.

BTWB: Drawmer or Shure or whoever makes the MX60 might know? Maybe friendly emails to each TS or engineering department would be helpful(Internet's got to be good for something?).

It's nice asking questions on the forums, but, this time, for instance, you're asking for someone of knowledge to have had experience with The MX60, an SM7b and "some other" preamp of some known qualities(Which you wouldn't have anyway.) -- that's alot to ask, though I hope you'll get a useable answer. There is no substitute for personal experience.

TG
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adie

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Re: Does a Drawmer MX60 have enough gain for an SM7b?
« Reply #2 on: October 02, 2006, 09:59:53 AM »

to address a few of your points...

the MX60 is pretty good pre (not a 1960, although still quite good), but it's not on the level of a 1073, which is the classic pre that is talked about when we talk about an SM7.

As far as your comment about an SM7 being dynamic, so any pre would be fine...I don't mean to offend you, but the SM7 is pretty famously in need of a LOT of clean gain, and "any ole pre" is most certainly NOT fine.  While it is a dynamic mic, it puts out a very low level and is very well-known to have issues with this kind of thing.  On the other hand, it is also a mic that every big studio I've ever been to is always sure to have around because of how useful it is, so I'm sure there are plenty of people with a pretty extensive background with SM7s.

Treating the room isn't really an option, which is why I asked the question that I asked.  And if there was any way to try them out, I wouldn't need to ask, would I?

Also, asking the companies isn't really the best idea because they are pretty biased about these things -- is Drawmer gonna tell me that their Channel Strip can't handle an SM7 or is Shure gonna tell me not to get an SM7 because I don't have a 1073 (or even a 512C)?  Of course not.

I know I just started posting here, but this isn't my "first day."  Lots of people know what level of pre the MX60 is on and have also had plenty of experience with the SM7, so this question is geared towards them.  I already know where my money and time is going, and know what options I have.  Right now, I just want an answer to the question I asked.  Thanks again to anyone that has some input on this.
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Teddy G.

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Re: Does a Drawmer MX60 have enough gain for an SM7b?
« Reply #3 on: October 02, 2006, 12:28:22 PM »

OK, you win.

I don't understand why you're addressing my points at all? What are you fighting with me for, it's your question, I just did my best to help you out? My first line was that I hoped you would find someone who actually knows... Gee, the one guy that probably actually knows, from experience, Klaus, kicked you out of his forum page - even though his column is for "high-end mics" and the SM7 is among the highest-end dynamics on the planet(No accounting for elitism, ey?)! I was just trying to help. Sorry I rankled - I'm a born rankler - somebody's got to do it.

So let's rankle some more, ey! This can be fun! I expect you to rankle back(Along with anyone else who feels rankley, of course...).

I admit that I prefer the RE20 for such a mic, though I use a Beyer M99, 'cause I got it really cheap, brand new - it's OK. I worry about all the exposed foam on the Sm7's? I might get nervous and start to "pick" at it??? Most studios I'VE been in seem to prefer the Senn 421, most radio stations the RE20, but that's another story. I've seen SM7's, but not nearly so often...), but I have never heard that the SM7 was so desirous of more gain than a "normal" preamp could provide - sorry! I admit most of the studios I go to have some fairly serious pre's, maybe no prob? My own DBX 376 offers, what, 80 db of gain! Hate to turn it all up, flat-out though, as I don't know if ANY of it is, truly, "clean"..? I'd rather have a Millenia Media Origin and a great LDC - for ME! Oh well, gets the job done. Certainly anywhere I've seen SM7's, they just run through whatever pre the studio/station happens to have - maybe not so good, eh? I don't know?

Me? I would think anything Drawmer would be pretty good, quality-wise(Though I think the 1960 looks a bit "busy", knob-wise, ya'know? So does the Origin...) with more than enough gain to handle any dynamic you could throw at it. How much gain does the MX60 offer?  Does it seem "clean" all the way up? How much gain do you need?

I just put on my glasses, got down on my knees and looked. The DBX is set at around +48 on the input and about +8 on the output(I have a little compression in-beteen), this for the M99 - that DOES seem like alot, no? Think the 7 would need more than that? Maybe? I don't know...

My biggest "point to ponder" to you would be:

IF IT CAN'T - if your pre won't work with the SM7, what are you going to do?????? Buy another pre? Buy another mic? If you WANT an SM7 and you get it and your pre can't handle it, OR if someone/anyone says it won't handle it, what will you do??? Me? I'd be buying the Shure(That's what I wanted) and be looking for another pre soon after I bought the Shure, if it really didn't work. No biggie... gotta' do what you gotta' do.

There are lots of ways to try one out(Every big studio you've ever been in has one, take your pre to one of them and try it! They're nice people, they'd like to know, too!). There are lots of ways to "treat" your room which are not permanent or expensive(Gobo anyone? Used office supply "cubicle" panels?), you can even buy or build something to go around just the mic itself(I just saw some semi-circular thing in a magazine?), and of course you can always turn down the pre and speak-up, to minimize the effects of "the room", but..? You can't, right? Tough sleddin'...

If you don't believe the companies you buy things from are at least reasonably honest, what in the world do you buy from them for??? Drawmer might say "fine for an SM7" or they might say "no, but THIS model pre would be great!" No??? Same for Shure, I would hope??? No? We see things differently, here... If it's that "famous" a deal, these folks should know and not mind telling you - even telling you why. Wouldn't it be worth an email? Least if they blew you off, you'd know not to buy anything they sell in the future..?

You know what I might do? I might just run down to the store and pick-up an SM57 or 58, take it home and try it. Just to see if it DID help with minimizing my room??? You can always use a 57 or 8 somewhere? And it's cheap. If it "works" great! THEN work on the 7 and it's potential problems.

Again, sorry to rankle(I enjoyed it!). I'll let you to your quest,

TG
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Teddy G.

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Re: Does a Drawmer MX60 have enough gain for an SM7b?
« Reply #4 on: October 02, 2006, 12:41:56 PM »

A small addition.

A very quick look at the MX 60 specs seems to say that(Adding the stated input and output gains together), the MX60 has gain capability of 41 db? Is this right??? If so, my M99 shouldn't work either? As stated(Above) I'm using 48 db of gain right now(Combined input/ output gain), with the Beyer! I must be reading something wrong? I'm only running at around -6 to 8 db peaks, once it gets into the software, too..?

The MX60 looks nice, though! What do they cost? Good otherwise, other than the gain question?

TG
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hargerst

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Re: Does a Drawmer MX60 have enough gain for an SM7b?
« Reply #5 on: October 02, 2006, 01:23:49 PM »

Looking at the front panel of the MX60 shows about 60dB of mic pre gain, plus more from the final output section.  Should be more than enough to get a 0 signal out,considering the SM7 is rated as -59dB sensitivity, with a 94 dB signal going in.
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Harvey "Is that the right note?" Gerst
Indian Trail Recording Studio

Teddy G.

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Re: Does a Drawmer MX60 have enough gain for an SM7b?
« Reply #6 on: October 02, 2006, 03:05:03 PM »

Thankyou HG! What in the world are the specs on the Drawmer web site talking about? 21 input 20 output or something?

TG
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hargerst

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Re: Does a Drawmer MX60 have enough gain for an SM7b?
« Reply #7 on: October 02, 2006, 05:41:38 PM »

I think that's headroom.
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Harvey "Is that the right note?" Gerst
Indian Trail Recording Studio
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