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Cloudlifter Saved Me (and my SM7) Single-Channel Preamps
Old 11th November 2011
  #1
Here for the gear
 

Cloudlifter Saved Me (and my SM7)

Want to share a story of how a small piece of gear saved my sanity:

For the past several months, I've been equipping a home studio for recording audiobooks, My preferred equipment (in my budget) is a: Shure SM7B, Golden Age Pre73 MKII, Mackie Blackjack, a Mac and really good cables.

I was under the mistaken impression (from much research) that the GAP Pre73 would be able to provide me with enough gain to power the very quiet SM7, while keeping the noise out of the picture (or at least on the low side). As my recordings can be rather quiet, this is a very big issue, as the hiss could kill. Unfortunately, the hiss did kill- every take, no matter the gain or output settings.

Through testing, I was able to isolate the possible culprit as the Pre. So, I contacted GAP and was not given the support I would have expected when I inquired as to whether the unit might have an issue. I was simply directed to the US distributor, who wouldn't talk with me, but emailed me a blind address to which I should send the unit for testing. No further info for contact or tracking. I'm not fond of sending equipment into black holes.

As the return period had expired, I was now stuck with few choices, none of which made me happy. Until I discovered my savior:

The Cloudlifter CL-1. Just as I was about to lose my mind (or a bunch of money) I came across this little gem. I spoke with one of the owners of the company (who answered the phone when I called) and explained my dilemma. He bent over backwards to help me troubleshoot the issue. He then rushed a unit to me which we had a minor bump with, but was very quickly resolved. Ultimately, the CL-1 fixed the problem, and I'm now getting the gain/noise ratio I need.

If Shure had any sense, they would offer to bundle a Cloudlifter unit with each SM7B they sell. It's a simple, elegant solution. And Cloud certainly stands behind their products. I have not experienced this level of customer service in a long time. Sorry for gushing, but it has become so rare to see people striving to 'delight the customer' these days.

The GAP Pre 73 has been lauded for many things, including applications like mine when using a quiet, dynamic mic. But I have to say that I found it to be way too noisy for a quiet recording with a quiet mic. If I had it to do over again, I would skip the GAP but grab a Cloud.

Have a quiet mic and need clean gain? Save yourself some trouble and check out a Cloudlifter.
Old 11th November 2011
  #2
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenzo View Post
Want to share a story of how a small piece of gear saved my sanity:

For the past several months, I've been equipping a home studio for recording audiobooks, My preferred equipment (in my budget) is a: Shure SM7B, Golden Age Pre73 MKII, Mackie Blackjack, a Mac and really good cables.

I was under the mistaken impression (from much research) that the GAP Pre73 would be able to provide me with enough gain to power the very quiet SM7, while keeping the noise out of the picture (or at least on the low side). As my recordings can be rather quiet, this is a very big issue, as the hiss could kill. Unfortunately, the hiss did kill- every take, no matter the gain or output settings.

Through testing, I was able to isolate the possible culprit as the Pre. So, I contacted GAP and was not given the support I would have expected when I inquired as to whether the unit might have an issue. I was simply directed to the US distributor, who wouldn't talk with me, but emailed me a blind address to which I should send the unit for testing. No further info for contact or tracking. I'm not fond of sending equipment into black holes.

As the return period had expired, I was now stuck with few choices, none of which made me happy. Until I discovered my savior:

The Cloudlifter CL-1. Just as I was about to lose my mind (or a bunch of money) I came across this little gem. I spoke with one of the owners of the company (who answered the phone when I called) and explained my dilemma. He bent over backwards to help me troubleshoot the issue. He then rushed a unit to me which we had a minor bump with, but was very quickly resolved. Ultimately, the CL-1 fixed the problem, and I'm now getting the gain/noise ratio I need.

If Shure had any sense, they would offer to bundle a Cloudlifter unit with each SM7B they sell. It's a simple, elegant solution. And Cloud certainly stands behind their products. I have not experienced this level of customer service in a long time. Sorry for gushing, but it has become so rare to see people striving to 'delight the customer' these days.

The GAP Pre 73 has been lauded for many things, including applications like mine when using a quiet, dynamic mic. But I have to say that I found it to be way too noisy for a quiet recording with a quiet mic. If I had it to do over again, I would skip the GAP but grab a Cloud.

Have a quiet mic and need clean gain? Save yourself some trouble and check out a Cloudlifter.
Nice story....I don't know who you've been listening to, but a 1073 style pre (not just the GAP, but the original, BAE, or any other variant) are not the quietest option pre out there - known for sound certainly, but not really for particularly low self noise.
Old 11th November 2011
  #3
Here for the gear
 

There were many posts and reviews that spoke of the Pre73 MKII having the lowered noise floor and fitting the situation I was in. Especially in my budget range. I know better now...
Old 12th November 2011
  #4
Lives for gear
 
tomdarude's Avatar
Grace m101...nothing sexy, vintage about it....but with the ribbon mode,
tons of clean great gain for very small money!!
Old 12th November 2011
  #5
Here for the gear
 

That's funny. In the 'do it over' scenario, the m101 is the Pre I would be getting. It's more expensive than the Pre73, but I can justify the stretch now that I've suffered my mistakes.

The point of the post was to laud the Cloudlifter. I really think it has added a great deal to the chain.
Old 12th November 2011
  #6
Lives for gear
 

With all the lust over color and dirt everyone forgets how nice strong, clean gain can be.... glad you worked it out.
Old 12th November 2011
  #7
Gear Nut
 
Plugses's Avatar
 

cool story bro
Old 12th November 2011
  #8
Gear Maniac
 

I found exactly the same problem with the same case (reading, untreated room, amateurs / no talent readers).

In my case the solution of emergency was the Fethead, another booster (cloudlifter is hard to to get outside US)

This solves the urgent work. I could have left here, but I am very stubborn and curious, I inquired and did some tests, without being an expert: put carnhills (now dropped and restored the stocks) change some ground, replace some capacitor with very high ESR. Nothing to do, the hiss are the same, only a bit lower with the ground rework.

Finally (and desesperated) I copied an indication of Mr. Jim Williams to replace transistors for matched Toshiba's 2SC3329 ....and Voila! Magic noise solved my pre73 is silent as the grave and still retains this tone soft / grainy stock version.

Ironically, thanks to this BIG problem, was desperate and I ventured to Fethead/cloudlifter way, and now I can use the SM7 with tube preamps (low gain) cheaps transformeless preamps, audiocards preamps, etc with also with low level sources, like a child girl telling a poem in the middle of a loudness classroom/home room, using a microphone for the first time (proximity, not proxímity, biting the foam, touching table, papers, yep!) WITHOUT the damn hiss.

The best gear is not noticeable and not tuning out, do not lose the focus. That is the greatest achievement for me.

I even have used it with a Behringer MIC200 (the hiss machine) without generating noise.

SM7+Xlifter "the narration pack" It's a great idea, SM7B can be very disappointing and bittering when you make this mistake for inexperienced. It is as essential as the foam.

Jim Williams, got some tips to further improve cloudlifter, not a mod, was an advice to the manufacturer. I think with this new version will be better than Fethead.

Pre73+SM7 for quiet recording is the big trap, the noob issue, due to the 80db that you read on the front panel and after every said "clear", "round" "richer" "nice" yes... and hissy if you don't sing.
Old 12th November 2011
  #9
Lives for gear
 
Bryce's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by manzini View Post
Jim Williams, got some tips to further improve cloudlifter, not a mod, was an advice to the manufacturer. I think with this new version will be better than Fethead.


Unless I misread Jim's comparison of the two in this thread, the Cloudlifter is already better than the Fethead.

dB
Old 12th November 2011
  #10
Gear Maniac
 

Well, don't worry.

I have a FetHead, That I was explain before.

My post are the words of a very happy person using their ears.

No hiss, no audible distortion, no audible artifacts, no undesirable sense. (*1)

Fethead cost for me 70€ and cloudlifter are near the cost of another SM7B or a cheap preamp. In my universe, "better" cloudlifter is not a happy tooltip or affordable way.

In my case, Perfect it's enemy of good.


(*1) except with one unique combination with pricest, mid-level preamp, could be possible a phantom or impendance issue, pending to check.
Old 24th November 2011
  #11
Gear Nut
 
Succulence's Avatar
2 cents

I recently bought a cloudlifter to try out with my Velo 8 ribbon mic. What I learned was that there is absolutely no need for the cloudlifter if you have a decent (quiet) preamp. I have an empirical labs Mike-e and had an ISA one and all the cloudlifter did was boost the gain level in a way that was a tiny tiny bit more noisy then my preamps. So, there was no need for it since my preamps were less noisy (only by a hair). Obviously there are likely other uses for the cloudlifter but, as the case with person who started this thread said, be aware that all it's doing is the same thing a good preamp could do -- boost the gain! The question then becomes whether you want to spend your money on a nicer preamp (like an ISA one or a grace or auteur) or the cloudlifter.
Old 24th September 2014
  #12
Gear Maniac
 
terence's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenzo View Post
Want to share a story of how a small piece of gear saved my sanity:

For the past several months, I've been equipping a home studio for recording audiobooks, My preferred equipment (in my budget) is a: Shure SM7B, Golden Age Pre73 MKII, Mackie Blackjack, a Mac and really good cables.

I was under the mistaken impression (from much research) that the GAP Pre73 would be able to provide me with enough gain to power the very quiet SM7, while keeping the noise out of the picture (or at least on the low side). As my recordings can be rather quiet, this is a very big issue, as the hiss could kill. Unfortunately, the hiss did kill- every take, no matter the gain or output settings.

Through testing, I was able to isolate the possible culprit as the Pre. So, I contacted GAP and was not given the support I would have expected when I inquired as to whether the unit might have an issue. I was simply directed to the US distributor, who wouldn't talk with me, but emailed me a blind address to which I should send the unit for testing. No further info for contact or tracking. I'm not fond of sending equipment into black holes.

As the return period had expired, I was now stuck with few choices, none of which made me happy. Until I discovered my savior:

The Cloudlifter CL-1. Just as I was about to lose my mind (or a bunch of money) I came across this little gem. I spoke with one of the owners of the company (who answered the phone when I called) and explained my dilemma. He bent over backwards to help me troubleshoot the issue. He then rushed a unit to me which we had a minor bump with, but was very quickly resolved. Ultimately, the CL-1 fixed the problem, and I'm now getting the gain/noise ratio I need.

If Shure had any sense, they would offer to bundle a Cloudlifter unit with each SM7B they sell. It's a simple, elegant solution. And Cloud certainly stands behind their products. I have not experienced this level of customer service in a long time. Sorry for gushing, but it has become so rare to see people striving to 'delight the customer' these days.

The GAP Pre 73 has been lauded for many things, including applications like mine when using a quiet, dynamic mic. But I have to say that I found it to be way too noisy for a quiet recording with a quiet mic. If I had it to do over again, I would skip the GAP but grab a Cloud.

Have a quiet mic and need clean gain? Save yourself some trouble and check out a Cloudlifter.
Delayed response...I know, but I came across this thread by chance. Am I an old cynic? This whole post seems contrived - like a finely sculptured piece of blog-marketing, right down to the bolded Cloudlifter: "Until I discovered my savior: The Cloudlifter CL-1". (excuse me...as I reach for the vomit bucket)

Don't get me wrong, I actually use one of these devices and love it (shame on you - you Cloud Lifter marketing peoploids). But I guess I'm even more blown away that fellow Gearslutz can't see though it and are giving this fakery time-of-day AND have actually posted some rational responses. It seems so obviously a cynical slight-of-hand sales ploy. Or is it me that is just a cynical old git?

Oh, yay, in the words of the enlightened: "Have a quiet mic and need clean gain? Save yourself some trouble and check out a Cloudlifter."
Old 24th September 2014
  #13
Gear Nut
 

You seem to be a cynic. If you bother to read the thread linked half way down this thread you will see Roger from Cloudlifter posting in a very even manner talking about his product and the direct competition.
Old 24th September 2014
  #14
cloudlifter plus gap

I recently purchased a cloudlifter after having a similar experience. I purchase the Gap pre and returned it only because one of the outputs was screwed. But I noticed at the time that even with condensers, let alone the sm7, it was hard to get get a clean enough colored sound. I've since returned it and purchase a focusrite one, great river, and I already had the warm pre.

I'm dropping putting the cloudlifter in front all of em with my sm7. That way, I get some of the pre colors without the noise.

Don't regret purchasing the Gap pre. Put the cloudlifter in front of it and it's to a large degree fixed.
Old 24th September 2014
  #15
Lives for gear
I'm wondering if the slightly odd input knob is confusing some GAP owners.

I've never had a problem with getting adequate an adequate gain/noise floor stage with my condensers. Spoken word, SM7? I could see that being problematic but I would've chosen the gold standard, RE20, for VoiceOver work.
Old 24th September 2014
  #16
..the gap

I may be overstating it a bit with the condensers. It was definately cool and usable...but flawed. I'm somewhat new to digging in deep with pres and this taught me what every one means when they are saying it sounds great but is potentially too dirty. If I had one, and I wouldn't be opposed to nabbing one again, used at the right price, I would be using the cloudlifter before it for dynamics and ribbons. Of course, can't really do so for condensers...though there is a special cloudlifter for that.
Old 24th September 2014
  #17
Lives for gear
 
loujudson's Avatar
Yes, Gravyface, I would not use a dynamic for VO at all. And I've done several hundred audiobooks. At the studio where I did about 150 as an empoyee engineer, it was a U87. In fact, the U87 was the selling point, even in a poorly soundproofed booth!

On my own, I use an AT 3035. No problem with gain!

With some authors who are amateur readers, an over the ear mic is ideal as they cannot wander off mic! Mostly removes the room from the acoustic equation, too.

Izotope RX is the new acoustic treatment.
Old 24th September 2014
  #18
Lives for gear
 
Jazz Noise's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by loujudson View Post

Izotope RX is the new acoustic treatment.
That Deverb sh*t is insanely good at what it does.
Old 24th September 2014
  #19
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by terence View Post
Am I an old cynic? This whole post seems contrived - like a finely sculptured piece of blog-marketing, right down to the bolded Cloudlifter: "Until I discovered my savior: The Cloudlifter CL-1". (excuse me...as I reach for the vomit bucket)
There's enough negativity on this forum already without you digging up an old thread to bring some more.

The OP found a piece of hardware that filled a very specific problem, relating to two of the most-discussed pieces of low-end gear, and he wanted to share. It's always refreshing to read POSITIVE threads about gear instead of nonstop complain-fest.

if you have such a hard time believing that someone was genuinely excited about a quality product (that you also use and is useful to you, as do I), then you need to dial back your cynic alarm.
Old 24th September 2014
  #20
Lives for gear
 
Hyder boy's Avatar
 

I just don't get the whole sm7 gain problem. I use mine with my chandler limited ltd1 all the time without issue. I use it with my old 1073 as well, but usually prefer the ltd1. With or without compression on the way in (usually with).
Old 24th September 2014
  #21
Gear Nut
I've seen a lot of earnest endorsements of the cloud lifter like this. Honestly, it seems like it might not be a bad substitute for a pre-amp if you are on a budget. This thread is useful to me because I've been considering whether or should I get a golden age or just a pair of cloud lifters to tide me over... I don't use a 7b, but it seems like the cloudlifter is a worthy investment either way.
Old 24th September 2014
  #22
Gear Maniac
 
terence's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by inasilentway View Post
There's enough negativity on this forum already without you digging up an old thread to bring some more.

The OP found a piece of hardware that filled a very specific problem, relating to two of the most-discussed pieces of low-end gear, and he wanted to share. It's always refreshing to read POSITIVE threads about gear instead of nonstop complain-fest.

if you have such a hard time believing that someone was genuinely excited about a quality product (that you also use and is useful to you, as do I), then you need to dial back your cynic alarm.
Fair enough. It's rather the style of the piece. Cynic alarm has been reset to -5dB. And, just to show true repentance: I LOVE my Cloud Lifter too!
Old 15th June 2017
  #23
Here for the gear
Well I'm adding an SM7B to my hire stock and I will be getting a Cloud Lifter to offer as an optional extra; I've been wondering what little box may resolve this problem and I've been looking at various ribbon boosters. The Cloud Lifter seems to be fairly universally liked for this application. The mic works perfectly fine with many preamps but there are quite a few that do not have the required clean gain and in some situations people might even want to plug it straight into... a desk!

Of course one option that Shure could explore is making an active version of the SM7. Rupert Neve is only 90; if Shure were very nice he might knock up a design for them!
Old 16th June 2017
  #24
Lives for gear
 
Bryce's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Meow Sound View Post
Well I'm adding an SM7B to my hire stock and I will be getting a Cloud Lifter to offer as an optional extra; I've been wondering what little box may resolve this problem and I've been looking at various ribbon boosters. The Cloud Lifter seems to be fairly universally liked for this application.
Even Shure themselves recommend it on their web site.

Quote:
Of course one option that Shure could explore is making an active version of the SM7.
Probably easier for them to just recommend the Cloudlifter.

dB
Old 16th June 2017
  #25
Here for the gear
Hi Bryce

It's interesting that Shure do; I believe there is some connection between Radial Engineering and Shure, it might only be a distribution thing but one of the devices I looked at was the Radial McBoost. The McBoost is actually about £34 more expensive than a Cloud Lifter CL-1; although the McBoost does have load and level switches and a gain adjustment pot.

I was going with Cloud Lifter in the end because I think it has been used enough in conjunction with the SM7B that people are familiar with the combination and are positive about it; the fact that Shure recommends it can only help me in a hire situation...

I do like the idea of an active dynamic mic and the SM7B seems a good candidate; very low gain and enough room to put a complete ISA One inside!

Peter
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