Product review - Cloudlifter CL-2

Cloud 3 way mic Comparison

I wanted to compare the ribbon characteristics of a Cloud JRS34 microphone to some mics I figured we all knew well - the venerable and ubiquitous Shure SM58 dynamic, and the classic Neumann U87 condenser. I asked a friend of mine, Rhode Island-based soprano Shoshana to help me by singing an aria from Puccini's opera Tosca.

Together we found a beautiful studio outside Boston, Futura Productions - a former Masonic lodge which coincidentally just happend to have dimensions a mere two feet shy of the B room at Abbey Road - 60' x 38' x 22'. It also contained a 9' Steinway concert grand piano with 'Hamburg' action - a stunning piano for recording. We put two Cloud JRS34 active mics in the piano, they sound superb.

How it was recorded:

We recorded three microphones simultaneously-- The Cloud JRS34 Passive Ribbon mic with the Cloud CL-Z Mic Activator, The Neumann U87 Condenser mic and the Shure SM58 all through a GraceDesign m802 preamp and Digidesign converters into Protools HD.

We had the variable impedance of the Cloudlifter CL-Z set to 13k and all of the mics were equidistant from the singer @ approx 4.5 feet.

Audio and video were recorded at Futura Productions in Roslindale, MA.

How it was mixed:

A ribbon mic naturally calls for different EQ than other types of microphones and to have a proper comparison of the three microphones for this demo and to show the ribbon mic how it is normally used in the studio, we put a touch of EQ on the ribbon mic (+7db @ 13khz). No other signal processing was used. A ribbon mic such as that JRS34 is designed to be accurate to what the human ear hears, much more so than other types of microphones. This means that if we want it to cut through the mix of strings or piano,we use a little bit of EQ in the high frequencies. One must note; however, that with this slight use of EQ, the ribbon mic will cut through the mix in a completely musical and non-harsh fashion, leaving out the harsh sibilance found with a condenser and dynamic and leaving only the beautiful smooth high end. The Cloud JRS34 does just that and sounds clear yet silky smooth.

Oh - we decided to make an accompanying video for your perusal as well:

For this demo, we switch between the Cloud, dynamic and condenser microphones periodically, so be sure to keep your eye on the pop ups at the bottom of the screen to note which microphone you are hearing...

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