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Why is my input signal from my Dynamic Mic too low?

Applies to: Any interface with a microphone input

Dynamic moving coil microphones, or 'Dynamic mics' as they are commonly referred to, include mics such as Shure SM7Bs, 57s and 58s, SE V7/V3s, Beyer M201, Electrovoice RE20, Audix OM6, AKG D112, Sennheiser E945 and other typically live environment microphones. To find out if yours fits this category, please see the manufacturer spec.

These microphones are good for use on loud instruments as they are not as sensitive as other types of microphone, for example, condensers.

However, they are often used in the studio for recording voiceovers, drums, guitar cabinets and can be used on pretty much anything. The problem is that in most home studios or speech applications the level provided to the microphone is not very high and, thus being such insensitive microphones, the level into the recording software is not high enough. 

Shure, the manufacturer of the SM range, state in the user guide for the SM7B:

'The output level of the SM7B is -59dBV/Pa. For typical speech applications, three inches from the grille, the SM7B requires at least +60 dB of gain at the microphone preamp. Many modern microphone preamps, which are designed for the “hot” output level of condenser microphones, provide only 40 to 50 dB of gain'

For reference, our Clarett interfaces provide 57dB of gain and Scarlett 3rd Gens 56dB and that above spec is for speech three inches away so these preamps give enough gain in most applications. 

Due to this, if you have a dynamic mic and are not getting enough level, it is often a popular choice to add an in-line preamp to the chain. Popular choices are:

- SE Electronics DM1 Dynamite
- Cloud Cloudlifter
- Triton Audio Fethead

For the most part, our current range of interfaces can supply just enough gain for these mics but for some circumstances, the above boosts are enough to give you just what you need. 

For more information on how high you should set your gain levels, please see the following article:

How High Should I Set the Gain Control on my Interface?

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