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Triton Audio FetHead VS Cloud Microphones Cloudlifter
Old 4th March 2011
  #1
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🎧 15 years
Triton Audio FetHead VS Cloud Microphones Cloudlifter

Hi, I've got some low output mics (BK5B and SM7b) and i'm considering getting either the Triton Audio FetHead or Cloud Microphones Cloudlifter. I noticed the CL is 3k ohms and the Fethead is 22k ohms.

I'd just like to know if any of you guys have used both and what are your experiences? I'd expect the Fethead to be brighter, but maybe it actually sounds great....?
Old 4th March 2011
  #2
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🎧 10 years
Experiences with the Cloudlifter

Quote:
Originally Posted by wagz ➡️
Hi, I've got some low output mics (BK5B and SM7b) and i'm considering getting either the Triton Audio FetHead or Cloud Microphones Cloudlifter. I noticed the CL is 3k ohms and the Fethead is 22k ohms.

I'd just like to know if any of you guys have used both and what are your experiences? I'd expect the Fethead to be brighter, but maybe it actually sounds great....?
I have the Cloudlifter and have been very happy with it. I prefer it to than going straight in to my Millennia Media HV-3R even though I have plenty of gain. It seems to increase the presence and clarity of my passive ribbons.(AEA R84, Mod Fathead, RCA77DX). Perhaps in part due to a lower input impedance than the Millennia's 6,750 ohms. I haven't compared it to the Fethead however.

Wiley
Old 5th March 2011 | Show parent
  #3
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🎧 15 years
thanks for your info, wiley. I'm still trying to decide between these. I record pretty quiet sounds.
Old 5th March 2011 | Show parent
  #4
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ordered the FETHEAD from Zenpro. i plan to check in after i receive it. If i could afford the Cloudlifter today, i would have bought that and done a little shootout.

These companies should really have 24bit files with before and afters on the websites. we'll see what's what when i receive it. I'm hoping it's very cool. i'd like to lower my noise floor.
Old 7th March 2011 | Show parent
  #5
nek
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🎧 15 years
Anybody else?

Bump!

I was just about to post the exact same question, "Triton Audio FetHead VS Cloud Microphones Cloudlifter" because I am recording very quiet sound effects and need some help in the gain department. How noisy/clean are both of these guys?


Thanks.
Old 7th March 2011 | Show parent
  #6
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🎧 15 years
i came across one video on youtube for the fethead and a few reviews for the cloudlifter (frontend audio has a video), but other than that, it's just mostly people on the net say "try it".

plenty of people have vouched for these 2 devices, but i haven't really found any 24bit wavs with simple before and afters yet. I guess most people that have these figure it's not worth the time to A/B the cloudlifter and fethead, but i'm curious about the differences(sonically) between these units.

When i get my FETHEAD i plan to make simple comparison files with my SM7B, sm57, and my 2 RCA BK5b mics. I love the sound of these mics, but man, I've gotta improve the noise floor. A few hours ago i was using my bk5b with my pacifica preamp, but i don't get nearly enough clean level. so, i hope this does the trick.

If it's not too boring, i'll test the fethead with the aforementioned mics with Pacifica , NPNG, and Thermionic Culture preamps when i get it. we'll see... i am notoriously lazy...
Old 7th March 2011 | Show parent
  #7
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🎧 10 years
Cloud Microphones Cloudlifter

Quote:
Originally Posted by nek ➡️
Bump!

I was just about to post the exact same question, "Triton Audio FetHead VS Cloud Microphones Cloudlifter" because I am recording very quiet sound effects and need some help in the gain department. How noisy/clean are both of these guys?


Thanks.
Hi Everyone,

I just wanted to make myself available and offer some further insight into the Cloudlifter as the manufacturer. Recording softer sources with lower output mics is precisely the type of task in which the Cloudlifter can be a helpful tool.

Here are a few facts about the Cloudlifter:

The patent pending design, which is unique to the Cloudlifter, uses four hand-matched (by us) JFETs driven by phantom power. This fully discrete, direct-coupled design operates without DC blocking caps (for the phantom) and without any components in the direct audio path, other than the matched JFETs themselves. We choose 3k ohms as the input impedance due to its natural sound with the vast majority of passive microphones, including the vintage RCA ribbon microphones.

Here are some reviews out there for the CL-1 and CL-2:

Recording Hacks
Gearwire
Pro Audio Review
SomeAudioGuy's YouTube Review

I want to be helpful here, if anyone has any questions please feel free to ask.
Rodger Cloud
Old 7th March 2011 | Show parent
  #8
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🎧 15 years
thanks for your input, Rodger. Have you heard the Fethead? If so, how does it compare to the cloudlifter in sound? I'm wondering if the difference in ohms translates to one being brighter sounding than the other.

I realize this is like asking a parent to compare their child to another child, but I don't have the funds to buy both the CL1 and the fethead to compare them ATM. I don't mind if you're biased. also, I wouldn't mind owning both of these products, so feel free to brag on the CL1.....i already ordered a fethead.

so, i guess i don't have any real questions.
Old 8th March 2011 | Show parent
  #9
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CloudMicrophones's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Cloudlifter

Quote:
Originally Posted by wagz ➡️
so feel free to brag on the CL1.....i already ordered a fethead.
OK, but I haven’t tried the fethead so I’ll keep it to the CL.

Several things make the Cloudlifter special, in my view. We originally set out to design a world class amplification circuit for our JRS-34 ribbon mics and we tested it in an external enclosure so that we could try it with several prototypes. It was really exciting, everything sounded great with the technology. It's really not that surprising, considering Stephen Sank’s background of upgrading and modifying preamps, ribbon mics, and high end home audio gear for audiophiles. The bar was high, it had to be absolutely transparent and ultra quiet.

you asked so I’ll keep going...

The Cloudlifters will give you a great deal more signal, without altering the sound of the mic. You are correct that the sound can change with the input-Z. As I stated, 3kohms sounded the most natural, which I hear not only in the thickness but the presence as well. I do not like the sound nearly as much loading with really high impedance values, at least with the Cloudlifter. The sound seems too thin by direct comparison, imho.

I will also mention that all the Cloudlifters come with a limited lifetime warranty, and we are always available for support. We are very passionate about audio quality, responsible manufacturing, and customer service. Thanks for asking.

Rodger Cloud
Old 8th March 2011 | Show parent
  #10
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🎧 10 years
I've had a Cloudlifter for a while and am pretty happy with it. It's absolutely necessary in order to get more signal out of my RCA BK-5A before it hits the mike pre. I've tried it with some dynamic mics too. I haven't had the opportunity to compare it to other devices though.

I have a couple of questions for Rodger. Do you have the noise spec (equivalent input noise - EIN)? Does that lower impedance drag down the signal of a ribbon mike?

Thanks!
Old 10th March 2011 | Show parent
  #11
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🎧 10 years
I glad to hear that you are happy with your Cloudlifter. To answer your questions, the noise floor is so low that we are unable to measure it with our equipment. In plain words, it’s way down there and virtually non-existent.

One important feature that stands out and is worth noting- the ultra-low noise floor of the Cloudlifter is not dependent on the quality of the phantom power supply, any potential noise from the supply is easily dismissed by the circuit.

I think it’s fair to mention in this thread, by comparison the Fethead does not offer that feature. This is verbatim from Triton Audio’s website:
“In the real world the noise injected by a FetHead depends on the noise generated by the phantom power supply, if the power supply is quiet, FetHead is quiet.”

As to the impedance question, most RCA mics shouldn’t start to drag down until you get in the 300-400ohms range. Good transformers do need to see some loading in order to function with the intended frequency response. Mic transformers can be unpredictable with an insufficient load, often sounding flabby in the bass, thin, or elevated in the top. 3k seems to offer nice tight bass and a more linear response with a vast majority of the mics we’ve tested.
Old 6th April 2011 | Show parent
  #12
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🎧 10 years
With my sm7b and other dynamic mics running into some low gain pres, i was also looking into the CL..Fethead is just 10db of gain compared to 25db with the CL?...thanks
Quote:
Originally Posted by CloudMicrophones ➡️
I glad to hear that you are happy with your Cloudlifter. To answer your questions, the noise floor is so low that we are unable to measure it with our equipment. In plain words, it’s way down there and virtually non-existent.

One important feature that stands out and is worth noting- the ultra-low noise floor of the Cloudlifter is not dependent on the quality of the phantom power supply, any potential noise from the supply is easily dismissed by the circuit.

I think it’s fair to mention in this thread, by comparison the Fethead does not offer that feature. This is verbatim from Triton Audio’s website:
“In the real world the noise injected by a FetHead depends on the noise generated by the phantom power supply, if the power supply is quiet, FetHead is quiet.”

As to the impedance question, most RCA mics shouldn’t start to drag down until you get in the 300-400ohms range. Good transformers do need to see some loading in order to function with the intended frequency response. Mic transformers can be unpredictable with an insufficient load, often sounding flabby in the bass, thin, or elevated in the top. 3k seems to offer nice tight bass and a more linear response with a vast majority of the mics we’ve tested.
Old 6th April 2011 | Show parent
  #13
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2 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
2 thumbs up for the Cloudlifter

Build quality is great and the unit delivers as promised. Using it with ribbons, and SM7B
Old 6th April 2011 | Show parent
  #14
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimsi ➡️
..Fethead is just 10db of gain compared to 25db with the CL?...
FetHead is actually 20dB of gain. I have not used the Cloud Lifter yet, but I recently reviewed the FetHead for Ronan's Recording Show and was very impressed with it.
Old 6th April 2011 | Show parent
  #15
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🎧 15 years
It seems to me like it might be hard to find a review comparing these against each other from an "average Joe" since if you already have either the FET Head or the Cloudlifter you wouldn't buy another unit that basically does the same thing as the one you just bought.
Old 6th April 2011 | Show parent
  #16
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🎧 10 years
Another thumbsupthumbsup for the Fethead's. Got mine from Oktavamod and love what they do for ribbons. It's like having an active ribbon. heh
Old 6th April 2011 | Show parent
  #17
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
Hi Roger I am interested in seeing the difference in gain and noise between using your JRS-34 P with a cloudlifter vs just using the JRS-34. my understanding is that the electronics in the cloudlifter are much the same as the inbuilt electronics in the JRS-34 or am i way off??

cheers
Old 6th April 2011 | Show parent
  #18
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by CloudMicrophones ➡️
As to the impedance question, most RCA mics shouldn’t start to drag down until you get in the 300-400ohms range. Good transformers do need to see some loading in order to function with the intended frequency response. Mic transformers can be unpredictable with an insufficient load, often sounding flabby in the bass, thin, or elevated in the top. 3k seems to offer nice tight bass and a more linear response with a vast majority of the mics we’ve tested.
I'm interested in the cloudlifter, particularly to use between AEA44 or 88 and a Millenia HV3D. However, Mr. Dooley's RPQ preamp , designed with ribbons in mind, has an impedance of 18K. This particular feature, though unusual, seems to mean a lot to the quality of the preamp. Threfore, I'm rather surprised by the 3K figure, all the more if the Millenia has a 6K+ figure in that domain.

Mr. Cloud (or anyone savvy) : I'd appreciate to have your opinion on this.
Old 15th April 2011 | Show parent
  #19
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🎧 10 years
I saw that video the other day (love your vids!) and decided to go with the Fethead (Bought it from ZenPro Audio)with 20d gain to use my sm7b with my Electro Harmonix 12ay7 and Groove Tube Brick...It realy amplified my EH 12ay7 but for the brick, it added a smaller amount of gain, maybe a Mic impedence input thing on the pre, but it works good also on my rnp with same mic...thanks all
Quote:
Originally Posted by RCM - Ronan ➡️
FetHead is actually 20dB of gain. I have not used the Cloud Lifter yet, but I recently reviewed the FetHead for Ronan's Recording Show and was very impressed with it.
Old 15th April 2011 | Show parent
  #20
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🎧 10 years
oh, the Electro Harmonix 12ay7 loves the FetHead and Sm7b...realy a huge usable boost...
Old 16th April 2011 | Show parent
  #21
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shadow Boxer ➡️
Hi Roger I am interested in seeing the difference in gain and noise between using your JRS-34 P with a cloudlifter vs just using the JRS-34. my understanding is that the electronics in the cloudlifter are much the same as the inbuilt electronics in the JRS-34 or am i way off??

cheers
Thank you for the questions. Yes, using the JRS-34-Passive with a CL-1 or CL-2, will give you basically the same result as using the active JRS-34. Some engineers prefer the active version for its compatibility with the vast majority of preamps. Others prefer the passive, especially if they have a selection of high gain pres. The JRS-34-P with a Cloudlifter would give you the most possibilities, simply because the JRS-34-P’s transformer would be loaded by the external preamp, and would be effected by the input impedance. The JRS-34 Active is loaded by the internal Cloudlifter and is not effected by the impedance of the preamp. The JRS-34-P, with a Cloudlifter, provides the choice of using the CL, or the pre to load the mic.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Washington ➡️
I'm interested in the cloudlifter, particularly to use between AEA44 or 88 and a Millenia HV3D. However, Mr. Dooley's RPQ preamp , designed with ribbons in mind, has an impedance of 18K. This particular feature, though unusual, seems to mean a lot to the quality of the preamp. Threfore, I'm rather surprised by the 3K figure, all the more if the Millenia has a 6K+ figure in that domain.

Mr. Cloud (or anyone savvy) : I'd appreciate to have your opinion on this.
It depends on the way a microphones output transformer interacts with the input impedance of a preamp. Preamps with transformers interact differently than transformer-less designs. If it sounds good, that’s all that really matters in the end. Every preamp is different, what seems ideal in one design could be different in another.

One thing to note here is that the Cloudlifter is intended to work inline with the microphones and preamps you already have, which makes direct comparisons to other preamps difficult. The idea is to enhance your microphone’s performance, by nicely loading its output transformer and providing ultra-clean gain up front. In a way it can make all your mics and pres seem new again, since the 3kohm load may offer a different flavor than that of your pre. This is demonstrated by what Wiley Ross, head of the UofA’s recording program, stated early in this thread. He prefers to use Cloudlifter with the Millennia Media HV-3R, presumably due to the lower impedance, even though the HV-3R is a great sounding pre with plenty of quiet gain.

With regard to the RPQ, I’ve only heard really good things about it. Since the RPQ has phantom power available, the Cloudlifter would be an option if you wanted to load the mic with a lower impedance, while taking advantage of the RPQ’s other features.

The point is that the Cloudlifter is not so much a an alternative to these pres, but rather a tool that can be used with any setup. It can be a problem solver by providing extra up front gain for lower output mics like an SM7b, RE20, or a passive ribbon, but it may also be used simply because you like the way it sounds with the Cloudlifter loading a mic’s output transformer.

I have heard from several people using the CL with higher output dynamics, 57’s, 58’s, 421’s, etc., not because they need more gain, but because they like what the 3kohms load does for the sound. The input impedance of the preamp becomes largely irrelevant, since the Cloudlifter does not have an output transformer.

I hope this helps.

Rodger
Old 20th May 2011
  #22
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🎧 10 years
About to buy one of these ostensibly handy tools to use with R84 into a low gain Magnecord tube pre.
As well I have a pair of fatheads w luhndals.

Any new thoughts on any sonic differences between the two... other than 5db of gain ?
Old 20th May 2011 | Show parent
  #23
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1 Review written
🎧 15 years
I've had the Fethead for about a month, and have tried it on ribbons and MC dynamics.

It sounds like NOTHING except gain.

Seriously, I simply cannot hear any timbre to this device. I did direct comparisons using two different (clean) preamps, and can only hear the sound of the mic and the preamp that follows it.

It's a very cool little device!

- Jim
Old 20th May 2011
  #24
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That's what I hope for.
Just wondering if there's any clear (ha ha) advantage of one over the other. I'm guessing not but ?
Old 20th May 2011 | Show parent
  #25
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🎧 10 years
Just got the fethead to use with my R84 on quiet sources. I can finally record things that had too much noise before.
Old 20th May 2011 | Show parent
  #26
Gear Guru
Quote:
Originally Posted by CloudMicrophones ➡️
I glad to hear that you are happy with your Cloudlifter. To answer your questions, the noise floor is so low that we are unable to measure it with our equipment. In plain words, it’s way down there and virtually non-existent.
If you guys send me one to test and let me post the results here, I'll run all the Audio Precision tests on it here for free. Same offer goes to the fethead, I'd like to see them compared apples to apples.
Old 20th May 2011 | Show parent
  #27
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1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Roger, can the CL-1 be used with a condenser mic that operates on a 9 volt bat? I have a Sony C-48 - it's output (normal) is somewhat lower than many other condensers, thus not always making it the best source for quiet recording.

TIA for your comment.
Old 20th May 2011 | Show parent
  #28
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Williams ➡️
If you guys send me one to test and let me post the results here, I'll run all the Audio Precision tests on it here for free. Same offer goes to the fethead, I'd like to see them compared apples to apples.
Great idea! THAT I would love to see. Jim, if get the cloud version and need a FETHead, I'll volunteer one of mine if you can get it back to me in a week or so.
Old 20th May 2011
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill ➡️
Great idea! THAT I would love to see.
X2-
Old 21st May 2011 | Show parent
  #30
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by RCM - Ronan ➡️
FetHead is actually 20dB of gain. I have not used the Cloud Lifter yet, but I recently reviewed the FetHead for Ronan's Recording Show and was very impressed with it.

I think that following Ronan's impressions on the fethead he was working on finding a few minutes to check out the cloudlifter??
Maybe soon...

One interesting point between the two seems to be impedance. Below is from the recording hacks cloudlifter review wherein the impedance differences are somewhat addressed ...

The input impedance difference among these pre-preamps deserves additional explanation. As noted in the table, the Cloudlifter’s input Z, 3000Ω is much lower than in competing products. I asked Stephen Sank about it:

"[3000Ω] is a range much more friendly to the vast majority of ribbon mic transformers than [is] a 22k load. So, [the Cloudlifter will have a] more even response from at least 90% of ribbons, and 99% of classic ribbon mics."


As in all things audio, opinions vary. I received this response from Triton Audio about the Fethead’s high input impedance.

Peter-Paul Wijte

"The 22k input impedance was decided after extensive listening; it gives dynamic and ribbon microphones a more open character."
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