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User Review

Every studio should have a Cloudlifter! - Reviews Cloud Microphones Cloudlifter CL-1

The Cloudlifter CL-1 is a single channel, in-line microphone pre-amplifier that delivers a transparent gain boost of 20db via 48V phantom power. It is manufactured by Cloud microphones, who are renowned for their boutique quality passive and active ribbon microphones. They designed the Cloudlifter series with powering high-end, passive ribbon microphones in mind, which require a considerable amount of gain compared to comparable studio condenser mics. However, they have been proven to be a secret weapon when combined with low-output, high-end dynamic microphones, such as the Shure SM7b and the Electro-Voice RE-20.


The Cloudlifter requires no consultation of the manual, simply plug and play! The XLR connections are top quality and are very stable. The unit is sturdily built and would be perfectly at home in the studio or on stage. It is delivered with a sensibly designed velcro strap that allows you to attach it to a microphone stand. This is an important feature, as Cloud say the CL-1 should be placed close to the microphone with as short of cable as possible. That being said, I do feel the velcro strap should be easier to tighten flush to the microphone stand.


The gain is perfectly transparent and makes for a night and day difference with the dynamic mics I tested it with. Even when paired with a trusty old SM57 on a preamp that already had plenty of clean gain, I found I could attain crisper results and more efficient gain staging. In the audio samples below, I compare an SM57 mic'd guitar cab both with the Cloudlifter and without:

Without Cloudlifter:

With Cloudlifter:

You can consult the attached image showing the waveforms to verify these recordings were done at unity gain.


For me, the Cloudlifter is an essential tool for any studio owner. In particular, if you own an SM7b, I don't see how you could live with out it. In my personal case, I had high hopes of using an SM7b with my Universal Audio LA-610 channel strip. Given the vintage output of the LA-610 and the notorious low output of the SM7, my initial results were poor. However, the Cloudlifter instantly solved my problems and I've enjoyed great success with this trifecta. Additionally, the contributions it has made to any situation where I'm using a dynamic mic has been much appreciated. Anytime I've used it with an SM57 on any sound source, I've always found gain staging to be much smoother with the Cloudlifter than without.

+Ease of use
+Truly transparent gain
+Added clarity to any dynamic mic recording
+a much needed boost of clean gain for use with vintage style preamps
+Every SM7B user should have one!

-The velcro strap can be a bit difficult to get flush and tight to the mic stand.
-No small light indicating that phantom power is successfully reaching the unit