Some microphones just don’t have enough output when you need it, causing you to crank up the preamp and the noise along with it. Cloud Microphones released a solution for this a few years ago with its Cloudlifter, and now it’s gone another step with its new Cloudlifter CL-Zi, which is finally shipping.
The original Cloudlifter added +25dB of super clean gain to boost that SM-7B or ribbon mic up to a level similar to your favorite condenser mic. The new CL-Zi provides the same gain but with a lot more control. For one thing, it now has three position gain switch for either minimal gain, or +12dB or +25dB operation, but it also has a high-pass filter as well. The biggest difference from a standard Cloudlifter is that it has a large variable impedance knob so you can tune the mic or instrument’s sound in a way that you just can’t match with EQ. This is a very powerful tool in conjunction with the high-pass filter as it will allow the filter to be tuned from 20Hz to over 200Hz. The impedance is continuously variable from 150 to 15k ohms.
This is a lot more versatile box however, since it now comes with a combo jack, so the CL-Zi can now be used as a DI for instruments as well. Now you can add gain as you need, and even tune those passive pickups with the Z knob to make the instrument fit perfectly in the track.
The Cloud Microphones Cloudlifter CL-Zi uses patent pending Class A discrete JFET circuit that’s powered by phantom power, so you don’t have to worry about batteries running out of juice at the most inopportune moment. It’s built like a tank, handcrafted in the USA, and comes with a free lifetime warranty on parts and labor. The MSRP is $379. It’s one box that should be a must for every studio. You can read about it here, or check out the video below.