The Cloudlifter is one of the most popular inline microphone preamps and is used to increase the gain of the signal to an optimal level for recording.
However, there are many other options that can also be used for this purpose.
What are the best Cloudlifter alternatives?
Good Cloudlifter alternatives are Inline microphone activators that provide around +25dB of clean gain and can be used in place of the Cloudlifter.
Some notable options that can boost the signal of your microphone include the GoXLR by TC Helicon, the RODECaster Pro, and the FetHead by Triton Audio.
Although the Cloudlifter is undeniably one of the best-known gain booster devices, this doesn’t necessarily mean it is the ideal option for your recording setup.
All inline microphone preamps produce varying tonal and dynamic results, so it’s a good idea to explore all of the options available to you before deciding which to go for.
In this guide, we’ve identified the best alternatives to the Cloudlifter and provided some vital information on how they work.
Are There Any Good Alternatives To The Cloud Lifter?
The Cloudlifter was first introduced in 2010, and since then it has become extremely popular amongst recording engineers, musicians, podcasters, and other audio creators.
There are many contributing factors to this mic preamp’s success, but perhaps the most prominent is its ability to add up to +25dB of clean boost to a microphone’s signal.
The transparent way that the Cloudlifter boosts the signal has led to many Shure SM7B users preferring this device over alternatives. When the Cloudlifter was initially released, there weren’t a lot of other options available.
However, over a decade later, a large number of capable alternatives have been created with the capabilities to rival it.
One of the main reasons that creators may be looking for an alternative to the Cloudlifter is that it is a fairly expensive device.
The reputation that it has built over the years means that many people are willing to pay the hefty price tag to acquire it.
Those who are on a tight budget, or would rather save some of their funds to invest in improving other aspects of their audio setup will be pleased to know that there are many more affordable alternatives to the Cloudlifter which produce very similar results.
Some of these cheaper alternatives even have additional features and capabilities which the Cloudlifter doesn’t provide.
They may be less well-known than the Cloudlifter, but many would argue that these alternatives provide an equal if not better clean boost in addition to being better value for money.
It’s important to note that the Cloudlifter is worthy of all the success it has experienced in recent years. The device is brilliantly designed, very easy to use, and for many, is a good investment.
However, when you’re considering buying new audio gear it’s always a good idea to look at all of the options available to ensure you get the best product to suit your budget and requirements.
High-End Cloudlifter Alternatives
Although the Cloudlifter can be used with any low-gain microphone, it is best known for its compatibility with the popular Shure SM7B.
The SM7B is one of the best-selling vocal microphones in the world and is brilliant at capturing spoken word, making it a good choice for podcasts, voiceovers, and interviews.
The Cloudlifter isn’t the only inline microphone booster that can be used with the SM7B and similar microphones, though. Another great option is the GoXLR by TC Helicon.
In addition to providing ample gain to the signal, this device also acts as a mixer. It has a built-in compressor, limiter, and de-esser, making it the ultimate tool for vocal recordings.
Unlike the Cloudlifter which only performs the function of adding +25dB of clean boost to the mic signal, the GoXLR allows you to process your recordings before they reach the audio interface.
It includes a wide range of high-quality vocal effects, including reverbs, delays, and pitch shifters.
You can even correct the pitch of your vocal recordings in real-time with this device by using the innovative hard tune feature.
Furthermore, it includes an onboard sampler, so you can record loops of audio and integrate them into your recordings.
The GoXLR app also allows you to control all of the various aspects of the device, and import more samples and presets from TC Helicon’s extensive online library.
Another high-end alternative to the Cloudlifer is Rode’s RODECaster Pro. Designed for podcasters, this device goes above and beyond the capabilities of the Cloudlifter.
It is laid out like a digital mixer, with a series of faders, LCD touchpads, and rotary knobs.
A total of four microphone channels are installed on the device, each of which has independent gain controls. Even when using low-gain microphones like the SM7B, the RODECaster Pro provides an adequate boost without adding noise to the signal.
It’s also possible to record the audio directly from the device onto a microSD card, or a computer using a USB connection. This means that you can record audio in any location even if you don’t have your laptop or computer with you.
Affordable Cloudlifter Alternatives
Now that we’ve explored some of the high-end alternatives to the Cloudlifter, here are some more affordable options that perform the same function.
These devices lack the additional features that the aforementioned alternatives have installed on them, but they can still provide a high-quality boost for low gain mics.
The SE Electronics Dynamite DM-1 is designed very similarly to the Cloudlifter, but it is less expensive. Offering +28dB of clean, consistent gain, it is more capable than the Cloudlifter in this respect.
It is also very compact, and easy to use. Simply connect it to your microphone and audio interface, and it’s ready to go.
With high-quality FETs and Class-A electronics, this inline mic preamp can boost the signal of low-gain microphones without compromising on sound quality or altering the tone.
Another affordable alternative to the Cloudlifter is the popular FetHead by Triton Audio. This smartly-designed device keeps noise issues at bay by providing +27dB of clean, transparent boost to a microphone’s signal.
It is housed in a robust metal chassis, and the XLR connectors are also solidly constructed.
Compared to the DM-1, the FetHead has a slightly less extensive frequency response, but it makes up for that with its stellar sound quality. Like the Cloudlifter, this device is powered by +48v phantom power supplied by a mixer or audio interface.
The FetHead can be used with low-gain dynamic or ribbon microphones to provide them with a much-needed boost when recording vocals or instruments.
Radial Engineering’s McBoost is slightly more expensive than the Cloudlifter, but it is worth considering. Offering 26dB of boost to low-gain mics, this device retains the clarity of recordings excellently.
Is The Cloudlifter Worth It?
After exploring the alternatives in this guide, you need to decide whether the Cloudlifter is the best option for you.
There’s no denying that it is a brilliant inline mic preamp, but as we’ve illustrated, there are many other great options available, some of which are less costly.
The standout quality of the Cloudlifter is its clean, clear sound. Some cheaper mic preamps may offer more gain, but if they don’t deliver the pristine audio quality, you’ll probably be disappointed with the final results.
The Cloudlifter is often paired with the SM7B, but some of the options we’ve listed are better suited to this mic. The GoXLR and RODECaster Pro are two examples of this, as they provide more control over the amount of gain that is added to the signal.
Choosing the ideal preamp for your setup requires you to assess what you intend to use it for.
If you’d like to have a wide range of effects at your disposal, investing in a more advanced preamp is probably the best option.
If you simply want to use the preamp to provide a clean boost to a low-gain microphone and aren’t interested in any additional features, you should opt for one of the more affordable, basic options featured in this guide.
For more information on getting a Cloudlifter take a look at this YouTube video.
Can you use SM7B without a Cloudlifter?
The Shure SM7B is often used with Cloudlifter or another inline mic preamp, but it can be used without one of these devices. However, the signal will be very quiet if there is no additional gain added to the signal, so the sound source will need to be loud enough to be picked up.
Is the Cloudlifter a mic activator?
Mic activators are simply devices that are used to boost the gain of a microphone, so yes, it would be accurate to put a Cloudlifter in this category. They are also commonly called inline mic preamps, but this means the same thing.
Can a GoXLR power the Shure SM7B?
The GoXLR audio mixer is a great choice for powering a Shure SM7B. Not only does it provide a gain boost to the microphone, but it also includes a range of effects and additional features.