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Preamps: Fethead vs Cloudlifter vs ?


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I have not tried any of the Triton Audio units (they look interesting, and my friend Ronan Chris Murphy seems to like them), but I use the Cloudlifters on a regular basis and love them! If you use low-output mics, they can really make a huge difference.

 

I recently reviewed the latest version of the Cloudlifter - the Cloudlifter Zi, which has some very cool additional features that you won't find on the Fethead - including the ability to handle mics or instrument DI, as well as the ability to vary the impedance load for either mics or instruments you're recording direct, which can be a very useful tonal shaping tool.

 

You can check out the full review right here.

 

 

 

 

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Ok Phil....Now I'm walking in here completely naked in that my knowledge about microphones, generally is pretty danged poor. I just hope my ignorance and stupid questions don't put you off or send you into catatonic fits off laughter.

 

Would I benefit from a microphone pre-amp in my signal chain? For the past several years my signal chain for microphones has been to simply plug them into my Scarlett Focusrite and go. I have one Cardioid condenser microphone, a pretty cheap CAD model that uses phantom power from the Scarlett. All the others, mostly Shure 57's, 58's, and some old AT Pro models are pretty straight ahead dynamic mikes.

 

I gotta say...In the old 4 track days I used all the dynamic mikes through a Yamaha board and they all seemed so much more alive. If that even makes any sense. I've taken good care of these mikes over the years, all in controlled environments, so I tend to believe they are ok. The CAD is probably the biggest disappointment but I guess you get what you pay for y'know.

 

Do you think I'd reap a benefit from a pre-amp? While I'm not a wealthy guy, after looking at what these Cloudlifters go for I could swing one. I rarely use more than one mike at a time as it's only me involved in what I do. Every now and then if I'm using an amp I'll use 2 57's in an X-Y pattern.

 

Speak to me.

 

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Hey Joe, I'm a poor substitute for Phil to say the least and take this with a grain of salt, but my guess is not much...as I recall none of those are especially "quiet" mics like an SM-7B or even Sennheiser 835/etc that would benefit. Do you have a problem with your existing mics?

 

And if Phil or anyone else knowledgeable reads this, have you had the nerve to try this cheap option, and if so, is it not worth it or might it be good value? https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/MIC100--behringer-tube-ultragain-mic100

 

 

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Ok Phil....Now I'm walking in here completely naked in that my knowledge about microphones' date=' generally is pretty danged poor. I just hope my ignorance and stupid questions don't put you off or send you into catatonic fits off laughter.[/quote']

 

There are no dumb questions. :)

 

Would I benefit from a microphone pre-amp in my signal chain? For the past several years my signal chain for microphones has been to simply plug them into my Scarlett Focusrite and go. I have one Cardioid condenser microphone, a pretty cheap CAD model that uses phantom power from the Scarlett. All the others, mostly Shure 57's, 58's, and some old AT Pro models are pretty straight ahead dynamic mikes.

 

I gotta say...In the old 4 track days I used all the dynamic mikes through a Yamaha board and they all seemed so much more alive. If that even makes any sense. I've taken good care of these mikes over the years, all in controlled environments, so I tend to believe they are ok. The CAD is probably the biggest disappointment but I guess you get what you pay for y'know.

 

Do you think I'd reap a benefit from a pre-amp? While I'm not a wealthy guy, after looking at what these Cloudlifters go for I could swing one. I rarely use more than one mike at a time as it's only me involved in what I do. Every now and then if I'm using an amp I'll use 2 57's in an X-Y pattern.

 

Speak to me.

 

What are you using the mics to record - mostly guitar amps? Vocals? Acoustic guitars? Are your sound sources fairly quiet?

 

You might not be liking the sound of the onboard preamp on your Scarlett interface, but in my experience they're really not that bad. They're not the quietest preamps on the planet, and they're certainly not flavorful like something from API or Neve, but they're relatively inexpensive and their fairly neutral character is a good choice for a product like a low-cost audio interface.

 

You could try using a FEThead or Cloudlifter with them, and you would probably get a bit less noise and certainly hotter levels (if you needed them), but outside of that, I wouldn't expect huge tonal shifts or added coloration. It would be something I'd recommend trying, or at least looking into if you have problems getting your recorded levels into the -15 to -18dB FS range, but if you can get the levels there without having to crank the mic gain knobs up too high on your interface, it's not really a necessity.

 

Maybe you can pick one up from a retailer with a good return policy and try it for yourself? Ideally that's the way to go - that way, if you don't like it and it doesn't make a significant improvement in the sound, you can just return it.

 

 

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And if Phil or anyone else knowledgeable reads this, have you had the nerve to try this cheap option, and if so, is it not worth it or might it be good value? https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/MIC100--behringer-tube-ultragain-mic100

 

 

I'm not sure if it actually is or not, but that looks like a clone of the ART Tube MP pre. I've only tried them a couple of times. Fairly well respected for a low-price "toob" preamp, but it's not a true high-voltage feeding the plate... it's a starved plate design. Highly colored-sounding when you are looking for that, and a good budget choice if you like that particular color.

 

https://express.google.com/u/0/product/1390440501129723758_14063080393072476973_12145

 

 

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Jeez.....I'd forgotten I'd posted this question.......But thanks to you both, Phil and Bill5. The behringer looks like a cheap enough option, but I've got a Behringer mixer sitting in the closet because it was so noisy..So I'm skeptical....

 

But thanks to both of you for the help.

 

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