In this article, we’ll explain how to set up the Elgato Wave XLR audio interface and Electro-Voice RE20 dynamic microphone. We’re also going to answer the common question of whether you need an inline preamp with this setup.

Quick Answer: The Elgato Wave XLR and EV RE20 are really simple to set up and use, making them two of our current favorites. The Elgato Wave’s 75 dB preamp can power a hard-to-power mic like the RE20 with ease, so there’s no need for a Cloudlifter.

How To Set Up The Elgato Wave XLR & EV RE20

Time needed: 2 minutes

Let’s kick things off with a quick start guide to setting up the Elgato Wave XLR and RE20. We’ll cover some of the below steps in more detail later in the article.

  1. Connect the Elgato Wave XLR to your computer (USB connection)
  2. Position the RE20
  3. A fist away from your mouth and off-axis.
  4. Connect the RE20 to the Elgato Wave XLR
  5. EV RE20 > XLR cable > Elgato Wave XLR.
  6. Check phantom power is turned off
  7. Set gain
  8. Tap the control dial until the light under the microphone symbol comes on and increase the gain until the level in your audio software peaks between -18 dB and -12 dB as you speak normally.

Electro-Voice RE20 Microphone Position

Often overlooked, the position of your microphone has a massive impact on how it sounds. There are 2 factors that come into play:

  • Distance
    Raise the RE20 up near to your face and position it about a fist’s width away from your mouth. This offers a good balance between gain requirements and background noise.
  • Angle
    Ideally, you don’t want to be speaking directly into your microphone. The RE20 has excellent plosive protection, but it’s still best practice to position the microphone off to one side, so the majority of air leaving your mouth flows past it and not into it.

Elgato Wave XLR Mute Button

The Elgato Wave XLR has a software mute button on the top of the device. You can easily tap this button without realizing it, leading to a moment of confusion when the microphone doesn’t work.

You’ll know the mute button is active if you see a ring of red lights around the dial on the front of the Elgato. Tap the button again to unmute, and the red lights will go out.

Elgato Wave XLR & EV RE20 Phantom Power

The RE20 dynamic microphone doesn’t need 48 V phantom power to work, and it will do nothing to help the microphone sound better. In fact, there is a very small chance phantom power could damage the RE20, so it’s best practice to make sure it’s turned off.

The Elgato Wave has a 48v symbol on the front of the device. If the light is on, so is the phantom power. Press and hold the control dial to turn it off.

Elgato Wave XLR & EV RE20 Gain / Preamp Set Up

Microphones like the Electro-Voice RE20 generate a small audio signal that needs to be boosted to a level more appropriate for a computer. The preamp in an audio interface like the Elgato Wave adds gain to boost this incoming signal.

The downside to this process is that pushing a preamp too hard introduces hiss and other noise. So the goal is only to boost the signal to a workable level, peaking somewhere between -18 dB and -12 dB. This leaves room for more dynamic moments and manages the risk of clipping.

We only advise working outside of this range when using the Elgato Wave XLR for live streaming. In that scenario, we recommend aiming for -8 dB to -6 dB so that your audio isn’t too quiet for your listeners.

Do I Need A Cloudlifter With The Elgato Wave XLR & EV RE20?

We don’t think it’s necessary to use an inline preamp like the Cloudlifter CL-1 with the Elgato Wave XLR and Electro-Voice RE20. The XLR’s 75 dB preamp delivers sufficient volume with the gain set to around 50%.

We generally only recommend using a Cloudlifter when an interface’s preamp lacks the power (less than 60 dB of gain) to boost the microphone’s signal without pushing the preamp above 75%, creating excessive noise and hiss. In those circumstances, the Cloudlifter can add more “noise-free” gain in exchange for phantom power.

Elgato Wave XLR & EV RE20 Pricing & Specs

Elgato Wave XLR & EV RE20 | Setup & Demo Topics

  • 0:00 – Introduction
  • 0:35 – Pricing & Specs
  • 1:03 – Video Setup
  • 1:11 – Microphone Position
  • 2:10 – Connect EV RE20 to Elgato Wave XLR
  • 3:04 – Mute Button
  • 3:20 – Phantom Power (+48v)
  • 3:55 – Gain / Preamp Setup
  • 7:13 – Do I Need A Cloudlifter?
  • 9:11 – Summary
  • 10:02 – Final Thoughts