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Triton Audio FetHead vs. Cloud Microphones Cloudlifter Cl-1

April 11th, 2012 | 17 Comments   « Previous  |  Episode 39  |  Next »

After a long wait, I finally get a change to compare the Triton Audio FetHead against the Cloud Microphones Cloudlifter CL-1. We tested with Shure SM57s and Cascade Fathead Ribbon Mics

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17 Comments ~ Speak your mind »
  1. C. May

    I found that using the fethead with an SM7 (as with other mics) that there was great deal of play in the connection with the mic. This caused some of the pins to very easily lose contact and create problems. Having a cable between the mic and the fethead seemed to fix the problem though. Other than that it has worked great for me. It made some very low level mics useable for a wider range of applications.

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  2. Ronan

    Thanks for chiming in. I have been using the FetHead for over a year and have not had any problems yet myself. Fingers crossed.

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  3. jeff

    Thanks Ronan. I have both of these and love them, have had no problems. But I haven’t had time to compare side by side.
    Thanks again, keep up the good work!!

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  4. Steve

    I like the Fethead because it fits right up at the source (The Mic) and so there is less risk of the cable between the mic and the device from potentially adding noise etc. Not a biggie but still a nice to know feature.
    I also like the TritonAudio product because it is such a small and tidy solution

    Re the TritonAudio product (FetHead). It is cool that they also manufacture variations on the Fethead. All worth a try…
    1/ The “Standard” Fethead as shown – no need to explain further
    2/ The Fethead Filter that has a permanent highpass filter built in – I actually prefer this device to the standard Fethead but HighPass can be handled at the preamp or desk or whatever so not a deal breaker .. But I still prefer this. Helps clean out some of the low end “junk” before the PreAmp gets it. Great for stage work as well such as stage rumble…
    3/ The Fethead Phantom – which passes through the Phantom power to the mic so can be used with Condensers etc. Useful but probably not so much as the other two models.

    BTW they also make a BigAmp product – a simplified DI type device that looks like the Fethead, for connecting a Guitar or instrument direct to a Mic Pre.. Nice and handy tool for the toolbox. And an Attenuator for doing the opposite to the Fethead and to reduce the gain rather than boost it. Not totally sure when I would use this but still a nice idea I guess.

    Steve

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  5. M@

    Hey Ronan, thanks for a well needed shoot-out of these two devices.

    I recently purchased a CL-1 and used it like this: SM7>CL1>GAP PRE73. Although the GAP already has adequate gain for the SM7 without producing noise, I thought I might not get as much character from the transformer by using the CL1 with less gain on the preamp. But what I found was that the hotter signal coming in ended up driving the input transformer more and it produced color anyway even at only 25 or 30 dB.

    The change in the impedance also changed how the GAP/SM7 combo sounded especially with the preamp’s LOW-Z switch in.

    My 2 cents with it so far.
    Thanks for the great show.

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  6. joe sedita

    I have the Fethead and use it with my MXL R144 Ribbon Mic. The fethead is amazing and so easy to use. My Ribbon mic would be useless without it and it sounds great. I’ve used it mostly for vocals with the Ribbon and plan on expaning my use of it soon. Most of the vocals on the tracks here were done with the fethead and ribbon-http://www.reverbnation.com/pedestriandetour
    Ronan-your show is fantastic and I love it!

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  7. Matt

    I’m a low end guy using an SM7B for podcasting, and the CL-1 has been invaluable to me. It makes the preamps in my presonus interface sound a couple of price points higher than they actually are. Great show, Ronan!

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  8. Yoav Tzfati

    Cool episode, very helpful.

    If you look at the specs you can see that the Fethead’s input impedance is a lot higher than the Cloudlifter. Would that explain your difference of opinion between the two mics?

    It’s also interesting that the CL is actually the amp from one of Cloud’s active ribbon mics.

    Any thoughts?

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  9. Brian Toye

    This seems like a great solution for my royer 121’s. I checked out the tritonaudio site and am a little scared that the device uses phantom power…phantom power with my ribbons could damage them if i happen to have a faulty cable…Is this not the case with this little pre?

    Thanks!

    Brian

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  10. Tom

    I went with the Cloudlifter CL-2, just for piece of mind that the components were matched from the factory and thus the amps level matched too, as I primarily use it with a pair of ribbon mics for stereo applications. I appreciate having the bulk of the added parts on the floor, rather than hanging, albeit rather small, extra stuff on the stereo bar, it can get a bit crowded when trying to do M-S or something. With this, I can now use my ribbons on a 1073 for acoustic instruments, where in the past, I just ran out of gain or had to give up noise floor with the Neves.

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  11. Nicholas

    Ronan (or anyone else) have you ever tried either one of these wit a tube condenser? I sometimes find that using my favourite tube mic into my favourite tube pre can be slightly noisy when recording really quiet instruments such as lute but tonally it is beautiful. One of these could be ideal in that situation but I’m not sure if the impedance change will have much of an effect.

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  12. Ronan

    NIcholas, I have not tried that set up, mostly because my tube mics have really hot outputs already. Keep in mind that if your tube mic is a bit noisy, both of these will do a great job of bringing up that noise along with everything else.

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  13. Nicholas

    Great, thanks Ronan, that’s what I was thinking. I don’t have the problem on ‘normal’ acoustic instruments like guitars, flute, strings etc, just on really quiet things like lute. I figure at that price it’s worth a try. And thanks for another great show too!

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  14. Martin

    Why they are not making microphones with only the capsule we can plug on that pre? Insead of forcing us to buy a global pre or CHi 3 zigma or blue bottle rocket stage 1. :D

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  15. Shane M

    I just saw this review, but wanted to thank you for sharing this info. I particularly like the way you approach your review from a “how this sounds” perspective as opposed to technical stats that dominate alot of comparisons. And if its close, you say something like “not enough difference worth mentioning” – that’s valuable too – especially when we’re unlikely to know what small differences in technical stats even translate into in the real world. thanks again,

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  16. Patrick

    I purchased the FEThead and used it with my SM7 and M160 through a BAE 1073 mic pre, sounded great.
    However, I tried the FEThead with my Cascade Fat Head II and it only worked when I switched my mic pre to 300 ohms, at 1000 ohms I got insane amounts of white noise.
    Any idea why this would happen?

    Thanks,
    Patrick

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  17. George

    Thanks for this review, Ronan. I had to return a Fethead and order a Cloudlifter. The Fethead produced faint radio reception in my room tone. The “broadcast” (i.e. shielded) version of the Fethead is $100 more than the std one.

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