The Cloudlifter X contains a custom-designed Cinemag transformer plus an ultra-clean, phantom-powered pre-amplifier circuit. The two gain ranges available are: a 12dB boost (default) with the More/Max button pushed in and a whopping +36dB jump with the button out! The CL-X is turbo-charged compared to the singular, +25dB offered by the Cloud CL-1 and others in the line.
The nickel-core transformer has wide-bandwidth for typical microphone levels but, as transformers will do, begins to add a colorful presence when driven at higher and higher levels. Now there are two additional choices for the recording engineer to dial in the recorded sound's dynamics and exact recording level using the CL-X.
The gain pushbutton is easily operated out in the studio adjacent the mic and its location. I liked that CL-X has a built-in clamp/clip with an included Velcro® strap to strap it right to the mic stand—a super clean setup so it doesn't get kick around just sitting on the studio floor.
I used the default 12dB boost for loud, close-miked sources such as snare drums, Marshall cabs or percussion instruments. In the case of this particular snare drum, it sounded better to use the X's 12dB boost right at the mic and drive a hot signal to the console set to minimal gain.
On the other hand, the 36dB boost was a lifesaver when, during a session, I ran out of expensive condensers to record a quiet acoustic guitar and used a Shure MV-7 dynamic mic. This lower output mic came to life and gave me plenty of latitude in its exact placement anywhere near or far from a big-bodied Gibson acoustic guitar.
Cloud Microphones' Cloudlifter X sells for $229 MSRP and adds another model to Cloud Microphones line of mic activators: the CL-1, CL-2 (dual-channel), CL-4 (four-channels), CL-Z, and CL-Zi models.
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