Cloud Microphones Introduces the Cloudlifter

(AlexV | Posted 2010-07-06)

Cloud Microphones Introduces the Cloudlifter

Perfect for location recording or in the studio, the two-channel Cloudlifter from Cloud Microphones was designed in collaboration with Stephen Sank to interface passive, low-output ribbon microphones with any phantom-powered input device. Offering two channels of portable, world-class, initial preamplification for any passive signal, the Cloudlifter simplifies the task of using ribbon mics in any application.

The son of Jon R. Sank, the designer of some of the best and last of RCA’s ribbon microphones such as the BK-11 and BK-10A, Stephen Sank is Cloud’s chief design engineer. “The Cloudlifter is small enough to go anywhere and use with your favorite preamp,” he explains. “The purity of its sound makes it a pleasure to work with. With only a minimum amount of makeup gain required, your tracks will always shine.”

Capable of elevating your ribbon mic’s sound over 20 dB, the Cloudlifter is equipped with direct-coupled JFET (Junction Field-Effect Transistor) circuitry that is ultra-transparent. Offering clean gain while preserving the natural sonic characteristics of the source, the technology keeps the audio path free-and-clear of transformers, capacitors, and resistors. Pure sound is the end product, without any coloration.

I was lucky enough to meet with Cloud Microphones Founder, RJ Cloud, a few weeks back at Summer NAMM in Nashville. His love of all things ribbon is reflected in this beautifully crafted preamp. Although unable to get a demonstration of it at NAMM, I’ll be reviewing sometime in the near future along with their signature JRS-34 and JRS-34-P – a match made in heaven!

Safe for use with any passive ribbon or dynamic mic, the Cloudlifter is ideally suited for voice and music alike. With a suggested retail price of $329 and a street price around $289, it’s a relatively cheap addition to the family.

About Cloud Microphones

The story begins in the 1930's at RCA* with Harry Olson developing the 44 and 77 series ribbon microphones. Mr. Olson was followed in his post by engineer Jon R. Sank, for whom the JRS-34 is named. He was charged by RCA with improving on Harry's best mics. He did just that with the BK-11, a direct descendant of the 44 series. It’s been an inside audio secret for many years among top engineers that the BK-11 is the most advanced ribbon microphone in the world. Jon Sank passed away in 1998, but before he died he passed more than 50 years of skill and technology to his son, Stephen Sank. Trained by his father beginning at age 10, Stephen’s studies continued to build upon lessons learned from the original RCA Laboratory Studies. Today, Stephen and his wife Cynthia continue the family tradition of developing quality hand crafted ribbon microphones in collaboration with Cloud Microphones. The Cloud JRS-34, with modern appointments such as neodymium magnets and Cinemag transformers takes the next evolutionary step in the immortal BK-11 and 44 series microphone design line.

All Cloud products are completely built in the USA. Most parts are fabricated locally with our partner company Aerofab, inc. Each microphone is then assembled by hand at our manufacturing lab in Tucson, Arizona under the supervision of Stephen Sank. The ribbons are all cut, corrugated, and installed by hand in precisely the same manner and with the same care that Harry Olson prescribed at RCA, when ribbon microphones were first introduced. Each individual mic is thoroughly inspected for sound quality and craftsmanship by Stephen personally, and no corners are cut in this process. The result is a beautiful completely hand crafted high quality ribbon microphone.

From a press release.

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