SM10A microphone output level with USB Pre

FAQ #1807 Updated October 10, 2008

Question:

Recently I purchased a Sound Devices USB Pre and a Shure SM10A microphone. The mike worked fine while I was going through my Mackie 1402-VLZ mixer into the line input of a Gateway 9100 laptop. The signal to noise ratio was quite acceptable as the sound floor stayed at about -50. Now with that mike plugged directly into the USB Pre the best sound floor I can get is about -30 and that isn't acceptable in my line of work.

The USB Pre works great with a Electrovoice N/D 357B plugged into it for the sound floor stays at about -60. If either of you have recommendations please let me know as a head worn mike is extremely helpful in my recording environments!

Answer:

The output level of the SM10 is 15 dB less than the EV 357B. This is due to the much smaller magnet used in the SM10.

Your options are:

1. Insert a mic preamp between the SM10 and the USB Pre.

2. Ask Sound Devices if the USB Pre can be modified for more gain.

3. Use a step-up transformer like the Shure A96F if the input impedance of the USB Pre is 10,000 ohms or greater.

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