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Lift Your Sound: How Rodger Cloud Has Transformed The Audio Industry
Episode 46 • 10th July 2023 • Dealcasters • Jim Fuhs & Chris Stone
00:00:00 01:39:32

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We uncover the fascinating story behind Cloud Microphones and its visionary founder, Rodger Cloud, who has made a significant impact on the podcast, music and audio industry.  We dive into the world of Cloud, a USA-based company known for their exceptional audio products like the inimitable Cloudlifter and their commitment to providing top-notch solutions for podcasters, musicians and content creators all over the world.

But Cloud Microphones isn't just about cutting-edge technology and artistic collaborations. We’ll also delve into their commitment to their local community in Arizona. Discover how the company actively contributes to the region, supporting local initiatives and nurturing a thriving audio ecosystem.  Rodger and the Navajo Nation are really making a difference in the cloud product industry, working out of their facility in Leupp, Arizona. He believes that it's important to create jobs in local communities and to keep America's proud manufacturing legacy alive. Their work has paid off - Cloud gear is now sold in more than 40 countries worldwide and it's having a huge effect on economies both far and near.

Join us on this captivating episode of Dealcasters as we delve into the world of Cloud Microphones, celebrating their innovative products, their dedication to artistry, and their significant impact on the music industry. Don't miss this opportunity to learn from the industry's finest and discover how Cloud Microphones can revolutionize your audio experience.

👤Connect With Rodger Cloud & Cloud Microphones:

✅  Official: https://www.cloudmicrophones.com/ 

✅  Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cloudmics/ 

✅  YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/CloudMicrophones/feed 

✅  TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@cloudmicrophones 

✅ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cloudmicrophones 

✅ LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/cloud-microphones 

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Transcripts

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The one and only CEO and co-founder of Cloud Microphones, the legendary Mr. Roger Cloud.

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Welcome sir.

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Hey guys.

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I can't believe that we have the one and only Roger Cloud in the house.

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It's a long time coming my friend because we had, we first, I had our conversation a

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number of months ago and it was one of those times where I was like, man, I wish I had

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hit the record button on this Zoom call.

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I had no idea what to expect, but you know, you know, we're fast friends when it's like

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two and a half hours later, we're like, Hey, I think I need to go eat dinner or whatever,

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but it was a great conversation, man.

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And I, I'm just honored.

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I'm hanging out with you guys in Florida too.

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Yeah, that's right.

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Yes.

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That was, that was a lot of fun.

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And we might be doing that again, I think in January, if you're, you're heading back

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that way for the 10th anniversary of Podfest.

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10th anniversary, wow.

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It's a little tricky.

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That's right around the NAMM show time.

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So we might have to have them change the dates.

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Yeah.

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But, but yeah, shout out to Chris Kremitzos who introduced us.

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We want to thank Chris for that and that we really appreciate that.

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But well, he's the one that told me about you guys.

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He said, you got to meet these guys.

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So, you know, he introduced us by email before, before the podcast, Podfest show.

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And, and then we got to hang out in Orlando.

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Yes.

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Yes.

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Yeah, that was, that was a lot of fun.

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Definitely.

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I love what you guys are doing.

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Hats off to you.

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Yeah.

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Thank you.

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We appreciate that.

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I mean, that's huge coming from you because I think, you know, we're going to, we're going

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to talk about your story, Roger.

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You've been, you've been in this thing for a minute and you have quite, and we found

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that out relatively quickly in that conversation that we had with you.

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And you've been around a number of legends and you have a tremendous sort of story as

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to what cloud microphones is all about.

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But I want to start if I could hear, and we've got some questions already on Amazon.

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So Ben, hang out, hang on.

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We're going to get to your question.

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And that is the cloud lifter.

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Okay.

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Everyone, you know, our audience, entrepreneurs, podcasters, business owners, live streamers,

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maybe just a solo creator, right?

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They hear about this thing.

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They hear about this metal box that's blue, that's called a cloud lifter.

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And they just have like a cursory knowledge of audio.

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All they know is like, boy, if I get this, it's going to make things better or louder

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if I have a microphone like a Shure SM7B, but louder isn't necessarily better.

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It's not exactly what it does, right?

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But they have a cursory knowledge at this point of, of audio and they know generally

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that this is a thing that they may want.

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So if I'm a podcaster, solo creator, why should I get a cloud lifter CL1?

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Thanks, Chris.

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Yeah.

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And just to back that up just a little bit, I want to start with, you know, for, for content

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creators out there, you know, a dynamics type microphone, there's, there's three common

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types that are used frequently today.

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The first is the dynamic microphone, such as the SM7B or even basic microphones like

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the SM58 handheld, handheld type dynamic microphones that you see at every live venue

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ever. Right. Right.

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These are one of the preferred, you know, types of microphones to use for spoken, spoken

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voice. And if you're podcasting and you're creating, then, you know, it, it's really,

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it's going to be the type of microphone that gives you sort of the most flattering sound

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where, you know, if you have like the other two types are condenser microphones and ribbons,

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ribbons are also quite gorgeous.

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I have one of the cloud ribbons here.

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We're going to, we're going to switch over to that in a moment and just to show you a little bit of a

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contrast. But to, you know, to get to, to the point of the, of what I'm saying here is that the

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condenser microphones, they're beautiful.

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There's a lot of them. There's a lot of great uses for them, but you really need a treated

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environment and have a lot of, you need to have a lot of control over your room and the sound

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waves that can reflect can, can really make a very expensive condenser microphone sound very bad.

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You know, if, if you're not in the right situation with it.

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So, you know, that being said, most of the USB microphones tend to be condenser types, which

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aren't really the preferred technology because that's why you hear a lot of podcasts and things

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like that. They, they sound like they're in a kitchen or a bathroom or, you know, they just don't

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have a good sound quality to them.

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So I want to encourage people to research dynamic type microphones.

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Fortunately, they're the least expensive of the three types.

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So that's, that's in your favor there.

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But one thing they do need is a lot more gain.

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And that's one of the reasons people use condensers is and that's why condensers sort of took over in

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recording studios and became really popular starting in the 1950s and 60s.

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Because prior to that, the ribbon microphone was the king.

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Every, you know, you see the old pictures of Elvis Presley and, and, and Frank Sinatra and going,

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going back. So the ribbon microphone does need and the dynamic microphone, they both need more

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gain than a condenser.

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So that's where the CloudLifter comes in.

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And here we have the CloudLifter X.

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We also, you guys have all seen the CL1 that's out there.

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So it's all about gain staging.

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And to answer your question is you want to get the best quality of the sound.

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You want to get more of the actual microphone itself and less of the sound of your interface.

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Because when you have to crank your interface up to get the sound of the microphone, it introduces

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artifacts and starts to significantly deteriorate the quality of the audio.

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Podcasters are probably saying, well, why do I need this?

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I've got a, I've got a USB mic or this or that.

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People can hear what I'm saying.

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Well, it's also about you want to when people put the ear pods in and they listen to your

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podcast, it's a very intimate thing.

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You've literally got the sound of someone's voice in your head.

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So you want to give them something that's really comfortable and soothing and enjoyable to

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listen to if you want them to stick around.

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Because if it's harsh or it sounds unnatural or you've got some kind of audio issues like

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that, people might not exactly make the connection as to why, but they'll get audio fatigue

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and they'll want to they'll want to turn it off and do something else because you can

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only listen to that for so long before before it kind of wears on you.

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So what I what I've tried to do is educate people, first of all, to to buy them to the

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dynamic microphones.

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And cloud doesn't even make a dynamic microphone.

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We make a ribbon microphone.

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It's you know, it's a it's a high end studio beast.

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But but dynamic microphones, you can get a really nice one for 50 bucks on Craigslist,

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even a brand new one for 100.

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You know, you can that's that's the the the price of admission just to get, you know,

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a basic like SM 58 style microphone that you can talk into.

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And, you know, you'll find that when you plug that into your interface that you do have

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to turn it up significantly.

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So when you use the cloud lifter, we invented a gain stage that literally becomes part of

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your preamp. It's like modding your preamp in a way, because it gives you I like to think

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of it as free gain, because on a technical level, there's no components such as capacitors

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and resistors in the audio path.

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And those are the components that significantly deteriorate your sound.

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So by eliminating eliminating that in our patented design, you're able to get way more

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of the actual microphone, which also translates to way more of your natural voice

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into the computer through your interface without having to crank your interface and stress

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your preamps. And that's going to give you a much more soothing sound, something that

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people can really, you know, sit and listen to for a very long time.

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You know, the point to me is you want to draw people in.

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You want the sound of your voice to make them come closer as instead of pushing them away.

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So I think that's very important for content creators.

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There's so much content being created today.

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And if you want the edge, if you want to be a standout, don't stand out for the wrong

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reasons. Nice, nice.

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That's how man I love.

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I love that. You know, Jim and I preach this all the time, Roger.

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And it's just like, I know we're the choir right now because like, you know, but it's

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so refreshing to have somebody that, you know, believes as strongly as we do with this.

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It's like, yes, we're we're live right now.

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Those are listening on an audio podcast a week from now.

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They're not seeing what's happening.

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But we have like lots of little pattern interrupts going on in graphics.

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And Roger's got a really cool looking studio and all these amazing microphones and things

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behind us. But if we didn't sound good or if we had like a little crackle going on or

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I had a real noise thing that had like a little weird pitch going on.

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It doesn't matter if you're watching this thing or not.

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And seeing all of the frosting and the bells and whistles and the clouds and the lightning

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and all of that stuff.

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None of that matters because you're being annoyed by the audio.

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It's not. And people will stick around if right now my camera went dark.

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They're still hearing a conversation.

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You know, maybe some people would prefer that I go dark right now, but I won't.

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But it's so refreshing to have someone that understands that even on video, audio is

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the most important thing.

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And it's it's hard to it's hard to really understand that until you become really annoyed

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by really bad audio and really noisy, noisy audio.

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And you touched a little bit on USB microphones, Roger.

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And I really wanted to roll into that because I think a number of creators, especially

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solo creators, are gravitating towards USB microphones because there's well, there's

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a couple of reasons. Number one, it's super easy, right?

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Just plug it into your computer and you could you know, we have USB microphones and we've

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used them before.

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But once I mean, once you have an interface and you have an ability to plug a traditional

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microphone cable or XLR into an interface, it does you do hear a difference.

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I mean, do you want to sound like you're on a Skype call or do you want to sound like

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you're broadcasting on the radio or on television?

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You know, that's really the question.

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And, you know, I can I can almost feel people thinking, well, you know, I've my podcast

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has thousands of followers and I'm just using this little basic setup or, you know, I

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have a USB microphone and it sounds OK and people are still following us.

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And that may well be true, but, you know, you've got those people because they're

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really into what you're saying and the people that might be more into what you're saying

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could get more into what you're saying if there wasn't this barrier between you and

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the audience. And that's my argument for trying to really step up your audio.

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Because, you know, if if someone's, you know, walking on the moon for the first time,

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you're going to listen to it no matter how it sounds.

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Really, it's something really super interesting.

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But, you know, if it's if it's a little more casual, you know, and you want people to

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be drawn in and become part of part of your your your broadcast and part of your family

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in a way, you know, then then take some time to think it over, you know, try to see

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what you can do. It's not it's not that expensive to get into really great sound these

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days. The technology is there and it's very affordable.

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That's true. I was going to. Yeah, go ahead, Jim.

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No, I was going to say, too, and I love that explanation because, like Chris said, we

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both came from that. And as much as we've heard, you know, you both right now are

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talking on an SM7B with a cloud lifter, I'm actually using the MV7X with a cloud

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lifter. And so it doesn't matter what microphone you use.

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If it's an XLR and I'm now definitely, you know, I'm at the church of Roger Cloud

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when it comes to this, it makes you sound better.

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And the way you explained it, Roger, of how when we were at PodFest, of how you're

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really getting the natural sound of the microphone because you're not having to use

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as much of the preamps and the software was like, that's when the light bulb went on

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for me. I'm like, wow, that's just, you know, it's mind blowing and love it.

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And most dynamics type microphones, you know, this SM7 is what we call a large

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diaphragm dynamic microphone.

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It's got a little more body than a small diaphragm.

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You know, a small diaphragm example would be your venerable SM57, which is

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essentially what the SM7B is, but with a small diaphragm.

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It's very, very similar.

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Right. And, you know, but there are any number of dynamic microphones between

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eighty nine and one hundred and ninety nine dollars.

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And all of them sound great.

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They all just have a little different flavor.

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I don't really think of microphones as, oh, I need a better mic.

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I mean, maybe if you're using a USB, you need a better mic.

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But all kidding aside, they're really all just different flavors.

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And, you know, I was on a panel down there at that at that show and we were

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talking about the different microphones and how, you know, people don't know what

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microphone to get.

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Like if you're in New York City and you go into B&H, they have a room where you

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can talk into several different microphones.

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Or if you go to a guitar center, you can get the guys to to let you try some of

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their demos and listen to the sound of a few different microphones.

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And why I think that's important is because they're all great.

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It's just which one expresses you.

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Like if you have a highly sibilant voice, then maybe you want a microphone that

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tames that a little bit as a little more mellow in the upper band frequency.

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Or or if you have a really deep muffly voice, maybe you want one that's a little

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brighter that that pushes those frequencies.

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So, you know, there's always it's to me, it's a joy to try different microphones.

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We have, you know, several hundred microphones in our recording studio.

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This is actually our podcast studio.

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So it's just one room set up like this.

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But we, you know, just about 90 feet from here, we have a full production,

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large format style recording studio and we have microphones going back to the

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1930s and and and 40s and 50s and all the way through today.

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And each one of them has their own unique voice that expresses

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something a little different.

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Every microphone is great on something.

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You just got to find what that something is.

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And, you know, when it comes to your voice, you know, you can get a for 30 bucks.

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You could probably find a dynamic microphone on Craigslist that'll get you by for a

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while until you can get something a little nicer.

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So, you know, that's kind of where I'm coming from.

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Is there all different flavors of of you?

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Yeah, which one is where you're at, you know, and find out what, you know, you

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don't have to jump and spend 600 bucks and, you know, on all of the stuff and an

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amazing interface just because so and so has one and told you on a YouTube video

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that this was the best one or whatever.

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It's like, I love that.

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I love the start where you're at.

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And, you know, you guys have this huge, you know, I mean, it's a studio, but it's

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a lab, right? You guys are testing out microphones constantly and research and

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just kind of like looking at sine waves and how it affects different people's

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voices and all of that stuff.

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And, you know, that you guys are like to say that you're in the weeds is sort of

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a of an understatement.

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So like for you to be able to say that.

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We are the weeds.

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Yeah, we are. We are the weeds.

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I love that. That needs to be your T-shirt.

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You know, we are the clouds. We are the weeds, you know.

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But you did mention something about how, you know, obviously you have ribbon

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microphones and you said that you don't make dynamic microphones.

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Did you ever think and start going down that road of making dynamic microphones?

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Yeah, you know, we're we're we're looking at some things.

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You know, our time may come.

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It's the challenge with the dynamic microphone is is that, you know, we have a

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very strong commitment.

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You mentioned this earlier before the before the before the podcast started,

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you know, how we manufacture.

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And this is a great lead into that.

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One of the reasons we haven't made dynamic microphones to this day is because

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if we were going to make those in the United States 100 percent.

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You know, it's going to be tough to sell a thousand dollar dynamic microphone.

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You know, it's just it's going to cost a lot of a lot of resources.

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So we're trying to look into some kind of hybrid things that we might be able to do,

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because we do have a strong commitment to our manufacturing,

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being local here in the United States.

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And with the heart of the heart of the cloud lifter and the circuit boards for

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all of our products are made, you know, on the Navajo reservation in northern

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Arizona. So, you know, all of the every single one of these is put together by

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people who are have high tech, good paying jobs in one of the most impoverished

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communities in the entire country.

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That's that's an amazing story.

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And I'm glad you segue to that.

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And, you know, I guess, you know, I would love to hear a little bit more about it,

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because we discussed it on our phone call that we had months ago.

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Was it did you guys just see that need in in that community of a way for for

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cloud to give back to to them or to to find like what what sparked your interest

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in in involving yourself in the Native American community there?

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Well, it's interesting. There's a lot of different factors that sort of all came

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together at once to make that happen.

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I've you know, I moved to Arizona.

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You guys are from Georgia. I'm from Georgia, too.

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So I grew up outside of Rome and and whatnot.

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So I moved to Arizona.

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It was it was a couple of decades ago.

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And when I moved here, I got involved with a lot of the native communities

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because there are a lot of Native American people here in the Tucson area,

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as well as the rest of the state.

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And getting to know some people in those communities and being a part of some of

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the ceremonies and things that they do here has touched me in a lot of ways

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and helped me on my personal journey of growth as well.

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And, you know, when when we first started cloud,

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we were hand building all the circuit boards right here at our facility.

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You know, I mean, we get an order for 20 cloud lifters.

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We were doing a victory lab because that was that was a lot, you know,

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you know, in those early days.

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And so but each one of them was hand soldered and it was really challenging.

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It was really challenging to to to do that kind of work,

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especially as the volume started to come up.

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And so we started looking for someone that did

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SMT type of technology boards.

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And interestingly enough, one of the engineers here came across

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they call it 12 and industries is the name of the company upon.

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It's a Navajo owned company in Loop, Arizona, on the reservation.

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Came across some information about them.

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And as it turns out, they used to make circuit boards for Apple and GM and Ford.

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And they had a lot of

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circuit board manufacturing going on on the Navajo reservation

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up until sometime in the mid 90s.

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And it really started to taper off for them because everything started

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moving to China and so forth.

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So, you know, we found them and reached out and it

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and we were delighted to find out that they still had the capabilities.

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And that's kind of how it started.

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And once we once we made that connection, it was a no brainer.

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We just had to go forward with it.

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And so that that happened in 2011 and we're still there to this day.

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That's great.

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And so the other the other question I think about as you're

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as you're talking about the story of we got an order for 20

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and everybody's doing a victory lap.

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When somebody figured out that using a CL one with an SM7B

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was the right way to go to, you know, sort of

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alleviate and become the solution, so to speak, between

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I mean, maybe the distance between your voice and the diaphragm or whatever,

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in order to give it the gain that it needed to sound really great.

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What's that story like?

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Like when when that sort of hit, because I know it's been

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like it's been a great thing for you.

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And obviously, it has been a great thing.

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You know, I think the Ari 20 might have been the first microphone that that

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that was not a ribbon that I heard of, because when we so

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interestingly enough, some people don't know this.

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The first cloud lifter that we actually made was the CL two.

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It just wasn't called a CL two.

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It was just called the cloud lifter.

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And and my thinking behind that at the time was that,

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you know, because the cloud lifter, that that's a whole other story

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we can delve into if you want.

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But, you know, I really when we discovered the cloud lifter,

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it was kind of by accident.

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But my reasoning was is that this is so good, everyone's going to want to.

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So we just made the two channel right away.

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We didn't even think about the one channel, right?

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Because and so we we sold, you know, we sold those for about a year

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and realized that there was a need for a single channel.

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And that's when we broke it off into the CL one, CL two.

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But, you know, it started off.

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OK, so a little backstory on the cloud lifter is

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I'm going to switch over. This is our ribbon microphone.

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OK, I'm going to right now you're still hearing the SM seven,

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but I'm going to I'm going to pull this forward a little bit.

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This is one of the cloud,

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cloud ribbon microphones and return down the SM seven.

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OK, can you can you guys hear me OK? Oh, yeah. Yeah.

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OK, so this is the cloud ribbon.

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It has the cloud lifter built inside. So

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when we designed the cloud lifter, it was specifically to be the internal

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component of the ribbon microphone in order to give the ribbon microphone

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enough output level and strength

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to be compatible with your modern equipment.

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Ribbon microphones have you know, they were the first type.

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They were the first super high fidelity microphone,

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full bandwidth type microphone.

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And it was around 1929

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when RCA was put the first commercial ribbon microphones together.

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By 1931, they had the PB 144, I believe it was called.

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And that eventually evolved into what they called the 44A,

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which evolved over time became the 44B and then the BX.

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Eventually, it was retired and replaced with a microphone called the BK11.

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So, you know, the thing about the ribbon microphone

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was that it needs a huge amount of gain, even more than the SM7.

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If you think the SM7 needs gain, well, the ribbon microphone needs even more.

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So in the 1930s, they had these preamps that RCA designed

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called the OP6 that had about 90 decibels of clean gain.

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And they were just phenomenal.

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We have about I think we have about 10 or 12 of them next door

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that are in use and restored in the studio.

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We use them all the time because they they're so clean.

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Because they they sound they have a sound, you know, we like.

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But so, you know, I fell in love with the ribbon microphones,

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you know, with the RCA microphones and some of the other vintage microphones.

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And so we started restoring them and using them in our studio

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and selling some and keeping some and just trying to outfit our studio

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with that that gorgeous sound.

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As you can see, it sounds quite different compared to the dynamic microphone.

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And if you get close, it has a lot of proximity effect.

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Right now, we're using the voice mode.

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If I flip this switch.

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Now you're in full frequency mode, so it's even bigger.

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Oh, and I'm not too much for voice, so that's why we pull the voice mode.

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But but for an instrument or at a greater distance, it's the perfect balance.

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So the 44 R44A is is named in homage to the RCA 44A,

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but the A actually means active in our case, which wasn't the case,

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of course, with the RCA mics.

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And ours was the first active mic to come ribbon mic to come out

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and have the voice music settings so that you can instantly tame

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those giant plosives and low end frequencies in order to get a more clear signal

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in the mid range in the upper band frequencies. So. Yeah.

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And so that's kind of what led to the cloud lifter.

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And when we.

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Design the circuit, the first prototypes of the circuit for the active mics,

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we put it in a little box.

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This was before cloud was even announced.

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We weren't even a company yet. And

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we put it in a little box to try it with our prototype ribbon microphones

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that we had been designing.

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And it was it was like a light bulb moment where we said, hey,

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this box is just killer.

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So I started plugging other mics into it and I plugged an SM58 into it.

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And I was like, wow, this is going to change the world.

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We have to do this.

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And that's when, of course, when we came out with the two channel cloud lifter.

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And that was when we launched our company in 2009.

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It was the the Javits Center in New York City.

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We got a 10 by 10 booth and we just showed up there and put our mics

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and cloud lifters on the table and everything after that's history now.

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So that's great. It's almost like a little happy accident.

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It was a happy accident.

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But I knew the moment I plugged in that box that

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this was going to be a thing. Wow.

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And we literally within like maybe three, four, six weeks,

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something before that before that initial show,

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we put that whole product together, got the spring screen print

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and the boxes made and and we went forward with it.

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And man, it was the middle of the recession.

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It was a bad time for a lot of people financially.

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And the cloud lifters, they just took off because that was something

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that helped people, empowered people and saved them actual money.

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Because to get a preamp to operate at the level

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that a cloud lifter allows you to operate with your basic interface,

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you're going to be in for several thousand dollars

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if you know, for something really high quality.

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And the cloud lifter gives you that quality

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or a similar quality, at least just by,

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you know, having it between your basic interface and your microphone.

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Do you have like a.

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This is this was the other thing, too, is that a lot of

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kind of newer interfaces are coming out and they'll still they'll kind of

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they phrase it somewhat of like it has plenty of gain for, you know,

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you know, the more gain hungry dynamic microphones.

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They may not say sure, you don't need a cloud lifter with a sure SM7B,

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but we all know what they're saying, right?

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But, you know, the one of the roadcast or pro two,

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which Jim and I are both using right now.

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Sure, I can plug in and it's got a SM7B setting,

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but I'm still cranking up the gain.

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And this is great.

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I think, you know, decent preamps in it.

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But when I put the cloud lifter, when I put the CL1 in the chain,

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which is what you're hearing right now,

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and I dial back the gain to keep my my signal

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between negative six and negative 12 dB,

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and it's just you just get the it just it's hard to explain.

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It just feels better.

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It just feels better hearing my voice in in my head

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and knowing that I'm not stressing the preamps of the mixer

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or the interface in this concert in this is just for me, it's

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it's great peace of mind.

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But in your estimation, Roger, like, is there an interface?

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It let's let's just say, quote unquote, affordable interface

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out there that plays well with the cloud lifter.

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And you're not allowed to say all of them.

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But like, are there are there are there certain, you know,

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is it a, you know, focus right?

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You know, or or the road

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roadcaster pro or, you know, sure, MVI or whatever.

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Is there a particular interface that you found in your in your research

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that has great preamps that works well with the cloud cloud?

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Well, I mean, the cloud lifter is going to help just about any

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any interface to get the most out of it.

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I'm really liking the new SSL 12.

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That's what we're that's what you're hearing right now. OK.

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The SSL has come out with a very affordable

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interface, but it has some pretty pretty nice preamps on it.

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They sound really good.

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They still need a cloud lifter, but right.

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But, you know.

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The thing about, you know, there's.

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All gain is not created equal, you know, all gain is not equal in quality.

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Just because you have enough gain

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doesn't mean that the quality of the gain is there.

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And what's unique about the cloud lifter is it becomes a modification

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to your preamp, allowing you to have a really elegant

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gain stage before your signal ever has to go through

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components that could do that could reduce the quality of your signal.

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Now, on a very technical level,

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all preamps have capacitors and resistors in the audio path,

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unless the preamp doesn't have phantom power, which is almost unheard of today.

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Then there's there's a need to have capacitors to block the DC voltage

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so it doesn't damage your preamp.

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So.

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The thing that's so unique about the cloud lifter is

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it gives you all that gain without having to go through any capacitors

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or resistors in the actual audio path itself.

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And so it's like this.

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It's like cheating in a way.

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You're getting free gain and you don't didn't have to use these,

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you know, capacitors in your in your audio path.

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So it's like it mods your preamp in a way.

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It's it sort of mods your microphone in a way.

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It puts something between the two, a buffer that gives you

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significantly more of the actual mic itself.

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So it's going to sound different, not because it changes

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the way the microphone sounds, but because it gives you more of the way

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the actual microphone does sound.

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You know, it gives you more of the authentic microphone

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as you get to the upper band, upper gain range of your preamp.

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As you know, even with the roadcast, the pro caster, their road caster,

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excuse me, you know, it has enough.

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It has enough gain to so that you can hear the SM seven.

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But something about the sound, the balance of the sound

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is improved when you do use the cloud lifter because

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you're getting a fuller, more complete picture.

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It's like having more resolution.

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It's like HD audio or something.

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It's like, you know, it's like the difference between,

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you know, an iPhone three and a or an iPhone four and an iPhone 14.

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You know, it's like there's so much more resolution in the photographs.

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It's kind of similar to the sound.

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You're getting a ultra resolution, full bandwidth, more richness,

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more character that's authentic to what you're doing

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as opposed to a different type of character that gets introduced

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because you're driving this preamp so hard.

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So, you know, do people need cloud lifters to hear their mic?

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Maybe not, you know, but does it sound more significantly different?

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Yes. And is that better?

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Well, I'll let I'll let you guys be the judge of that.

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You know, I don't like to speak in terms of better.

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I like to speak in terms of different.

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But it is a very nice choice to have because it is more of the authentic

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sound of the microphone itself and more resolution and depth of of

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of your sonic, you know, character.

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That's right. Yeah, it's definitely spoiled me because I know it.

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I definitely see the difference.

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And, you know, even doing some of the dialing in on some of the other things,

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but just by having that gain before, you know, going into the soundboard,

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I think Chris could tell he's made a big difference for me.

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And I, you know, I don't know what I'd do without it now.

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Right. That's the other problem you've run into. Right.

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Well, it's easy to take it with you.

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That's true. I'm going to switch back over to the SM7.

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I want to. I want to.

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Well, before I before I turn the SM7 up, I'm going to.

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I'm going to just completely remove the cloud lifter X.

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Oh, so that you can hear what this I mean,

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I know that you guys are familiar, but for the audience here.

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This will be fun for me to edit afterwards, Roger.

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I appreciate all of the changing you're doing to your your track.

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I'm kidding. This is awesome.

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OK, so I'm going to turn down the cloud ribbon for a second.

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OK, and then I'm going to turn up the SM7.

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I'm going to have to turn it up a lot more than I did. Oh, yeah. Before. And

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so.

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So that's about where the SM7 was.

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I don't know how much of that you hear.

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Maybe if I get really close to it, you get a little bit more

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and see how I'm having to like, basically, I'm pegging this

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input input gain here.

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I've got it totally pegged and I'm right on top of the microphone.

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And if I back up like this or I turn my head,

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you're losing your sound, right?

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Now, I'm going to enter the I'm going to enter the cloud lifter.

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So now we're now we're with the cloud lifter

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and I'm not on the mic.

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I can get on the mic, but also if I'm back here,

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I've got enough headroom.

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I could be way back here and you can still hear me, right?

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Yeah, yeah. Coming coming through fine.

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So that's one of the benefits.

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It's not that I can't get sound without the cloud lifter,

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but with the cloud lifter, I can get sound without the cloud lifter.

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With the cloud lifter, I've got a lot more flexibility.

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I don't have to have the mic right in my face.

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I can if I turn my head because I'm talking to someone else

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or if there's you know, if I'm at a table with several people

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talking or whatever it is, you're not going to get those dropouts.

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And you've got tons of headroom.

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And even if I come way back here, you can still hear the mic.

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Yeah. So if you have a microphone such as the SM 58,

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something that's less, you know, less expensive,

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you're going to have a similar sort of result.

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You're going to have more flexibility.

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And the thing that I like about dynamic microphones like these

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is that they're hyper focused on what's right in front of them.

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But you can still get a little more extra headroom

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by having the cloud lifter.

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But it's also still rejecting all the stuff that's going on

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in the back of the room.

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And it's not necessarily reaching out to the to the road

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to hear the trucks going by or the dog barking next door,

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whatever it may be.

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You're able to just have a more natural experience.

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I mean, the point of the microphones and the technology,

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even though it seems complicated and you've got an extra thing

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you got to hook up and you've got to learn all this stuff

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with your board and all this kind of thing, all these kind of things.

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But the whole point of the end is to make your content

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and your experience a much more natural, realistic experience.

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And I feel that the cloud lifter helps do that because of,

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you know, all the extra gain that you get.

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And we're actually using the X today, which has gives you up to 36 DB.

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But yeah, can we talk a little bit about the effect of the noise

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and a little bit about noise floor without getting without getting too,

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you know, in the weeds, so to speak.

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But like, I think generally people think, OK,

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my microphone needs to be louder.

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And so they crank up their their preamp in their interface. Right.

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And what that does is it introduces more noise from the room around you.

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Whereas if you use a cloud lifter

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and then you were to bring up your gain,

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commensurate with everything else that's going on.

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How does that affect the noise in your room?

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So I'm switching back over to the ribbon now.

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So, yeah, noise is a there's there's a lot of different types of noise

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and understanding.

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What kind of noise you're experiencing,

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one of the one of the things the cloud lifter does is it

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it helps to get rid of the noise that comes from your preamp.

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Most you know, there's like a white noise, a hash sounding like static

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that comes from your preamp when you get to the upper gain range.

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It, you know,

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you know, it sounds fuzzy.

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It's, you know, it's in the background.

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It the signal of the microphone is sort of in this cloud of

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of of static noise, white noise.

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What the cloud lifter does is it gives you more of the actual microphone.

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But the noise actually stays the same.

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It's just the signal of the microphone is much greater in relationship to it.

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So as you turn down the input gain,

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because you've got so much more signal, the noise goes down with it

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because you don't need to have your preamp at that same setting anymore.

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So that's one type of noise that's preamp noise.

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And there's other types of noise like electrical man,

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electrical magnetic interference and RF and stuff like that.

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It comes from you've got power running through the walls.

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If you run your XLR cable along a power cable,

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you'll hear the hum, the 60 cycle hum.

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There's like radio towers everywhere all around us these days

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and different things that can cause noise to infiltrate your signal.

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And sometimes it's because your microphone cable becomes like a giant antenna

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without proper grounding.

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You know, a lot of these old buildings, especially like you go

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somewhere like New York City, a lot of old buildings where the grounding

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might be maybe out of date.

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And you're going to you're going to find grounding problems that create hum

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and these types of interference noises.

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They come through literally more as like a hum hum.

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You kind of hear that.

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And that's that's usually a grounding issue or

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or some kind of, you know, interference issue.

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And the cloud lifter can actually help with that, because once again,

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you're getting more of the actual microphone

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and whatever is infiltrating your microphone cables

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via electrical interference, it's still there.

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But in relationship to the signal, now you've got much greater amount of signal.

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And that is reduced to a point where it's not really audible or distracting.

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And so the cloud lifters help with that as well.

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What the cloud lifters can't do is help with the noise

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that's happening in your room right outside of your window

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or on the other side of your door, your air conditioner.

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Actually, you know, that's not entirely true.

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The cloud lifters, there there is.

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I should go over the cloud lifters and do another little great.

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Yeah, that was definitely on my list to talk about.

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But to wrap up that part of it, though, it's a noise that's going on

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in the background of where you're recording.

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That's going to increase with the game.

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I mean, it's just acoustic,

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you know, organic acoustic noises that are happening in your room.

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So the way to control that is like we were talking about earlier.

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Get a nice dynamic microphone that's more more focused

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that that rejects a lot of that stuff, something that's hyper focused

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that just picks up just you.

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And that's I think that's one of the reasons the SM7B has become so popular,

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because it's excellent at just focusing on what's in front of it and nothing else.

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Yeah. And it's you know, we always when people ask us, what kind of mic do you

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we ask them what kind of room they're in.

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We need to make you know, you need to make sure that you don't

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you don't have fans and air conditioning and all of that stuff.

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And I guess is it is it safe to say that like

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the cloud lifter can is can turn a dynamic microphone essentially into a condenser?

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Yeah, I would.

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I would say that it

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it does help it to perform like a condenser. Right.

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But you still retain the natural characteristics of the dynamic microphone.

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And what's nice about that is that

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the character and the and the way that the dynamic microphone

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rejects the room is still still there.

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It still does that.

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But the amount of like signal that you get

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is definitely more consistent with what you would expect out of a really nice

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condenser mic.

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So I've hooked the SM7 back up.

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And now this time we have it with the cloud lifter Z,

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as you can see here. Yeah. And

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I don't know if you can hear this.

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I'm going to this is our full frequency mode.

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I'm going to be really quiet and turn up the gain.

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It's pretty low in the background, but we do have an air conditioner on in here.

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I mean, it is Arizona. So

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about one hundred and nine outside right now.

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But I'm going to be really quiet as a mouse here and I'm going to turn up the gain.

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I don't know if you can hear the air conditioner.

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And the reason I'm doing this is because the cloud lifter Z

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has a variable high pass, which you can use to filter out

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some of that type of low frequency background noise. And

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here we go. So I'm I'm really cranked at this point.

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You hear it a little bit. Yeah. You can hear the air.

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So as I turn as I turn the Z knob,

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you're going to hear it disappear.

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Oh, yeah.

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So we've just filtered out.

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The low frequency acoustic noise that's in the room

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with the cloud lifter Z by engaging the high pass filter here.

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And then using the impedance knob, which is basically a variable high pass

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to shave away that low frequency material until it's gone and just focusing on

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the voice and all that low frequency rubbish that you don't really want.

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It's gone. It's also great for closings.

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If you'll notice, like a lot of people have trouble with, you know, sounds that

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words that begin with P and you hear that sound.

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Oh, yeah. We'll check this out. So, right.

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I've got I've got the cloud lifter Z here.

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I'm going to go back.

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I'm in full frequency mode now, so you'll hear the air

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so you'll hear kind of the plosive.

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It sounds like a kick drum, right?

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I don't know how well that's translating because I'm not listening with my phones, but

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but.

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Like that.

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And if I shave that away.

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And then it's gone, right?

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So you can you're dialing out that low end that could be pushing that that

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that clip sound, that that extra air that's pushing the diaphragm.

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Exactly. And that that clip sound.

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You know, that that literally just destroys your headroom.

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It just eats away at your headroom.

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So headroom is for for those that might not know is that, you know,

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the amount of rise to your signal that you can get before you reach a distorted

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level in your chain, you know, if you're if you're recording,

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you know what not having enough headroom sounds like because it just totally

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distorts that nasty sort of digital clip sound.

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You don't want that in your in your audio.

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So by having plenty of of headroom,

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you're able to get a really loud, loud enough signal, clear enough signal,

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but without going over that threshold,

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which causes that digital clip to happen, which doesn't sound very good.

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So by using the cloud, if you're Z with the high pass filter up front.

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And by the way, if you have a high pass

Speaker:

filter on your device, you can use that to the cloud.

Speaker:

If you didn't invent the high pass, it's a cool feature.

Speaker:

It's nice to have.

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But there are other ways to do that.

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But most people end up doing it in

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post because that's what they have in a form of a plug in.

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And the reason it's better on the front end and the reason we included it with the

Speaker:

cloud literacy is because by by getting rid of that low frequency material that

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will drive you to go over that clip of headroom,

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you're able to get more headroom on the way in because that that signal never hits

Speaker:

your interface.

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Once it's there, you can't really get rid of the clip.

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You might be able to get rid of the

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plosive, you know, the the pop of the P as long as it didn't go over that threshold.

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But you're never going to truly get rid of that digital clip.

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I mean, there are some tools if you want

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to spend, you know, an hour trying to get rid of one little sound and that kind of

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thing, you know, it can be done, but it's a lot of work.

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It's better if you can get if it's never there in the first place,

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then you've got all this headroom and once again, it's about making it empowering

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people to make it easier and more natural to capture without having all these things

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that can distract us. Yeah.

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Anytime you can avoid doing any of that stuff in post and using Isotope RX 9 or

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whatever it is that's going to, you know, they have a plug in called

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plosive remover.

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And I mean, it tries to do the same thing,

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but you're just at that point, you're already paint like the house is painted.

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Right. You have you have something done already.

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There's already a distorted version of of that.

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I love the idea of being able to say, hey,

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when I record it, this will never go there.

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This is, you know, not necessarily limiting, not a limiter, but it's like, hey, listen,

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there's a there's a frequency range here that does not need to be on your voice

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ever. And that's like the first thing I do in EQ for voice is like there's just

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just get that low, low, low, like only a dog can hear kind of stuff out because it

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all that does is just it's just in the way.

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Right. And so I love the fact that you

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can just never useful in a mix either if you're producing music.

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Yeah. Right.

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Both vocal, you know,

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and it's you know, it's not like you can feel it really either.

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But I love I mean, you said like, you know, people can do it with plugins

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and the whole preemptive thing makes sense, too.

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But I like to just have like a dial like that, like that.

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Just having a dial just for some reason just feels like I don't know if you just

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feels feels good to me to be able to dial.

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Maybe it's the bass player in me, you know, dialing in that right amount of

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distortion.

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So it just sounds like geezer Butler or whatever.

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But we do have a question, Roger, from our friend Phil Hill on Amazon.

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He wants to know how to get trained on the setup and the tuning

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after he buys a cloud lifter and a mic.

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And I do have an overhead shot here to give everyone sort of an example of

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input and output here.

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But Roger, I'll roll this over to you in terms of, you know,

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I mean, this thing in terms of what you need to do is very simple, right?

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You just need an extra mic cable.

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I think that's one one thing you definitely will do.

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It sits in your chain, right?

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So you got your mic,

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you know, whatever dynamic mic you've got, you're going into the the cloud lifter

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and you're coming out with your mic cable and you're going into your interface.

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And then from there, I think maybe that's where Phil kind of feels.

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Is there I'm assuming you've got spots on cloud microphones dot com that kind of

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walk you through this stuff, right?

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That's right.

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So we do have some some videos on our website and Phil.

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And thank you so much for your question, Phil, by the way.

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Cloud is also always here to help with any kind of one on one questions.

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You just have to call into the number and,

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you know, dial in the prompt for support.

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We're always happy to help.

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But we do have videos.

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You can also email us at support at cloud

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microphones and we can shoot back those videos with a direct link.

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We have a cloud that your users guide video.

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It's really quite simple.

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Now,

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Chris is right.

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You do need an extra cable with the cloud lifters.

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And

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I think that that is actually a feature.

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If I may explain that, yeah, there are a few type of knockoff brands

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and stuff out there that have come out.

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Some of them will actually plug directly

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into the back of the microphone and hang off of the microphone.

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But I don't in my opinion, I don't want that

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because that will that can start to stress your connectors and cause

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shorts over time with your your microphone.

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And it's also this clunky thing that just kind of hangs off your microphone

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by using an extra cable, you're able to make it clean and protect your microphone

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and be able to utilize the technology without sacrificing something else,

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which in that in that case would be the integrity of the the the the XLR port

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on the microphone itself.

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And it's really just as simple as putting

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the cloud lifter between your mic and your interface and using the 48 volts

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phantom power feature on your your interface to engage the cloud lifter.

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The cloud lifter will not pass any signal

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if you don't use the 48 volts phantom power because it needs phantom power to

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operate now once again, it doesn't pass phantom to the microphone.

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So that's really helpful in the case of ribbon type microphones.

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A lot of the ribbon microphones can actually be damaged by using phantom power

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if you apply phantom power to them and it's a passive type of microphone.

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Certain other types of microphones and

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like power supplies can also get damaged.

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So by utilizing the phantom power in the cloud lifter, but not passing it through

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to the microphone, and it's actually a feature that protects

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the microphone from potential damage.

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Good stuff. And what's up, Mr.

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Maude is in the house and Amazon, we appreciate the comments.

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Mr. Maude, if you don't have a cloud lifter by now,

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we need to get you and Christina Nietzsche on the cloud lifter train because,

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you know, this is this is where it's at.

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And also, I would be remiss, Roger, we've talked like we we could go on for a long

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time, but we didn't really go in depth too much on the cloud lifter X.

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And I do I do have this as well.

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You did mention, you know, it's got additional gain.

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So there's a there's a toggle switch on it.

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But I was very interested when you were

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talking to us about this originally and that this is a transformer based mic

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activator, and I think generally again, you know, our our audience may not know

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like, you know, you know, transformer more than meets the eye, you know,

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Decepticon, like that's what they think a transformer is.

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Right.

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But I'd love to I'd love to get your take on,

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you know, sort of what the cloud lifter X is.

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And if you're a content creator, if you're a solo creator,

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if the X is for you and maybe some, you know, some others who are using it and are

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benefiting from it.

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Yes. So basically the the standard cloud lifters, which are tried and true,

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which everyone, you know,

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uses already with their a lot of people use already with their their

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podcast, they give you more of the actual microphone itself.

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There is no change or alteration to the character or any kind of colorization or

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anything that occurs, it's just a very natural, clean, super clean,

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more of the actual mic represented by the gain stage in the cloud lifter.

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The cloud lifter X was a departure from that in a way,

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but not really.

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So to explain that, you still actually do have the ultra clean gain that the of the

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standard cloud lifter.

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But what we've done here is we've added an input transformer.

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And what that means is it's literally wires that are wrapped around a metal core

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that produce a magnetic energy that increase.

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They actually give you some gain in this case.

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Transformers have been used.

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For well, at least since the night,

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at least since the 1920s, probably before that.

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And basically, you know, all of your electrical grid, if you if you look out

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your window and see your your your power lines coming into your building,

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there's usually a big box of some sort hanging off of that.

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That's probably a transformer because, you know, you've got thousands of volts

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of electricity going through your wiring, but you only need, you know,

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one hundred and twenty at your house.

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So it bleeds that off and it transforms that into something that you can use.

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So there's different types of transformers

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in the audio world.

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Transformers have been mostly used on large format type recording

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consoles and broadcast consoles.

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So when you see the big mixing board at the

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you know, NBC or a major studio, most of those have transformers on all

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the inputs and what the transformers do is they.

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You know, there's a purpose for them.

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A lot of times it's to increase the gain.

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In the case of the Cloudlifter X, we're using one to two and a half.

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So you put one signal in and two and a half times comes out and then that feeds

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the Cloudlifter core, so in the total you get 36 DB with the with the standard

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Cloudlifter being around 25 DB, that extra, you know,

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bit of gain, the extra 10 DB or so is a result of the transformer transforming

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that audio signal as it runs around this this core into something that's even more

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powerful. OK, now I know that's this is I know that's pretty technical, but

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what happens is and one of the reasons you if you watch documentaries like Sound City,

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where the Foo Fighters, they purchased this gorgeous Neve console from Sound City

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and they brought it back to their studio and installed it.

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Well, that that's a console that's full of transformers.

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And the reason that people like those

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transformers is because they actually have a sound.

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The sound produces a type of character that's

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that's really desirable for a lot of people.

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Same thing as a bass player.

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You know this guitar players, you know, they're always looking for the tube amps.

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And, you know, one of the things that about tube amps for guitarists is sure the tubes

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do have a sound and that's a big part of it.

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But what people a lot of times don't even

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realize is that more than half of the sound that they're getting, more than half

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of the reason they like that amp is because of the transformers themselves before it

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even gets to the tubes, goes to these transformers.

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And these transformers have a way of just taking the audio and.

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You know, they make it sound like it's just bursting with frequency and sound.

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It's just so rich and it's like it's like your cup is overflowing.

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You know, it's like full of character and vibe.

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And, you know, that's why people like

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transformers a lot of times in our in our industry for the pro audio folks that are

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actually producing music and they're going out and buying preamps.

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Well, it's always about the transformers that are used and this and that.

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And

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that's why people love the big large format consoles.

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They say, oh, I want to get that Neve sound.

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Well, what was that Neve sound?

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You know, more than half of it was the transformers.

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You know, it was like that's such a big part of the whole thing.

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And you can use transformers a lot of different ways.

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For example, for a DI, if you're taking an instrument into your preamp,

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instrument has what we call a very high impedance.

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And you have to step that down to something low because microphones have a very low

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impedance and what impedance is, is kind of that's a whole nother thing.

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That's why we made the Cloud Lifter Z is to

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not to get technical and mathy about the whole thing, but to just be able to turn

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the knob until it sounds right by using impedance to your advantage.

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And.

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You know, I guess what I'm really getting

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into here is that the Cloud Lifter X,

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what we've done with this is we custom designed a transformer with Dave

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Gehran over at Cinemag, it's wound right over here in in Canoga Park,

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California, just about 500 miles away here.

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And.

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It's.

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It had to be good enough for a cloud.

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It had to be like.

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You know, it had to really knock our socks off.

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And what we've done with this is we've created a very large bandwidth transformer.

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So you're getting like below 20 hertz up to almost 100 K, which I know we can only

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hear to 20, but the harmonic resonances that are produced

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at different bandwidths actually do affect the total sound.

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And sometimes it's more about the way the sound feels like you can't necessarily

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measure it on a scope.

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You don't necessarily see a difference in the frequency response itself,

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but you can hear that it sounds different and it's more about the character.

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So what we wanted to do was design a transformer that wasn't particularly

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colored, that didn't have a lot of like colorization.

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And by colorization, I mean fundamentally changing the frequency response

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of your microphone. I didn't want it to get real mid-rangey

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and honky or something like this.

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Sometimes that's desirable, but not for a cloud lifter.

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I wanted it to be full massive bandwidth.

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And one of the things that inspired the transformer that we're using here is

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listening to Rupert Neve, who designed, of course, the Neve consoles and

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had passed away a couple of years ago, but listening to him talk about his

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transformers and why he had these very wide bandwidth transformers that went out

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to 100K and what that does for the sound and knowing that, you know,

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many, many of our favorite records were recorded on his consoles.

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And we have a Neve console ourselves here at our studio as well.

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I wanted to produce something

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that was accessible, that kind of gave you a little slice of that philosophy

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in a cloud lifter.

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So you can get sort of a large broadcast format, large format style

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console character, but without sacrificing something by the way of color.

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I know that color and character can be real similar.

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But what we're looking for here is we're

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looking for the way that the audio just is bursting with frequency

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as opposed to something that fundamentally changes the way it sounds.

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I wanted more of what it sounds like.

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So what the Cloudlifter X gives you is

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the authentic sound of what your microphone, in this case, the SM7,

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we're going through the Cloudlifter X, what your microphone sounds like,

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coupled to that transformer and then going into the Cloudlifter gain stage,

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which is ultra clean and pure so that what you the end result that you get is

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this beautiful sound that's totally clear, super clean,

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but does have some of that broadcast quality vibe to it.

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Some of that, you know, if you're recording guitar,

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you might use the Cloudlifter X to get it, you know, to get more of that sound.

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And one of the features that I really love about the Cloudlifter X is just this

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little button, you can see it here on your screen.

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And what this button does is it reduces

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the overall gain that you're putting out on the output, but not on the input,

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because the transformer is dynamically responsive to what you put into it.

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The harder you hit that transformer with signal,

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the more it starts to give you a little bit of that harmonic content.

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That's that that vibe, that character,

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the overtones that start to come out.

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If you slam like you can use this button to reduce the gain to 12 dB

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and then you can put a snare drum through it and it just fattens it up and it gives

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you kind of that more round sound, you know, this is really helpful.

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Game changer for for you guys recording at home with your basic interfaces like

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I'm using the SSL 12, the focus rights, any of that stuff.

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Well, there's no transformers in most

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of that stuff because transformers are expensive and they're labor intensive

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to make and manufacture. So by using something like the Cloudlifter X,

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you're able to get more of that character that you would expect if you walked

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into a multimillion dollar studio to record.

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And that's that's kind of what we're looking for to make that accessible for you guys.

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That's awesome.

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Good stuff.

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Yeah. And I think, you know, you had mentioned to me as well, like,

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and maybe you've tested some of this there.

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I'm not going to say maybe I know you I know you test this stuff.

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You let us know that sometimes in particular situations,

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maybe the harder you hit it, right, the maybe you get some other sort of nuances

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that you could get the harder you hit that that's right, that transformer.

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And so what we did with this button here to reduce the gain is we're

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reducing the level of the output coming out of the cloud.

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If you're not padding the input, that's a very important distinction.

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It's not a pad.

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A pad would reduce the amount of signal before it hits the device where the output

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reduces the output so that it doesn't overload your preamp.

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If you want to record hotter material

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through the Cloudlifter to take advantage of that, that that overtone and that that

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harmonic content that you can get by kind of slamming it.

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So we use these with the button and we put like a fairly hot dynamic microphone

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on our guitar amps or on a vocal or on a snare drum, kick drums, toms, any of that

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stuff. Do you need a do you need a Cloudlifter to record drums?

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I mean, drums are pretty loud.

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You can get drums into your computer without a Cloudlifter.

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No question.

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But we like the way it sounds.

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So we use that button to reduce the output level so that we can hammer the input

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and really take advantage of just pushing that audio through that transformer so

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that it gets that that vibe and that sound of that harmonic content that happens.

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It's really a beautiful thing.

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Great stuff.

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Jim, you got anything?

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I'm sorry.

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I'm hogging Roger here.

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No, this is amazing.

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I mean, I'm just I'm just a sponge soaking this stuff up because you guys are

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definitely the the audio files.

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Is that the right term to use, Chris?

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I don't know. That feels like a bad word to me.

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Yeah, you know, nerd.

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I just love it. Sounds good.

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You know, that's

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I started this company because I wanted music to sound better.

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You know, there you go.

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Like it was going in the wrong direction around in the mid 2000s.

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I felt like this the tonality of music,

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not the creativity, not the artistry, that that's not what I'm talking about here.

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I'm talking about the production quality, like it's it's, you know,

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the history of recording and how it's progressed.

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Sometimes it's like you take a step forward, but it's like two steps back.

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And there's this this harshness, this this lack of realism.

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And that's why I wanted to revive the ribbon microphones.

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And, you know,

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we think it's time for people to rethink the ribbon

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because the ribbon microphone for many years was

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the best you could do.

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And then the tube mics of the 1950s and 60s came out and they made things much

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easier to deal with on tape because the ribbon microphones naturally have a bit

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of a softer sound, more they're a little more mellow where

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the condenser mics and the tube mics were much more aggressive and they cut

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through and that was a beautiful thing if you're recording to tape.

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Because by the time you bounce down several

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generations, you still needed to have the brilliance there to be able to clearly

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hear what was going on.

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But now that we're in a digital age,

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that's, you know, all the more reason to turn back to ribbon microphones.

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I feel that the ribbon microphones,

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you know, even though they they come from the past, they really are the future.

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I'm going to switch back over

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to the cloud here.

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You should have the cloud now.

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And, you know, they do naturally.

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You can hear the difference.

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I mean, you definitely can.

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It's very rich.

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And I remember, too, it was it was

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it was funny because I think all these people have it on their wish list.

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But you guys had the ribbon mics for people to try out at PodFest and people

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would like have the headphones on and they would speak.

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And then they'd be like, oh, my gosh, it was just like, you know, you should.

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I don't know if you maybe did like the

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reaction video like, wow, that's like that they've never heard their voice sound so

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good. And I know Julie Riley from String Art is like, you know, I've got this on my

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list, I'm saving up for that microphone.

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Yeah. Well, ribbon microphones have in our case, we have about a it's about two

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inches long and it's this little narrow strip of aluminum.

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It's very fragile.

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We hand make all the ribbons here.

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It's myself and Kevin, our lead engineer over here at the at the R&D facility at

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cloud, we're the only ones that do the ribbons here.

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We make all the ribbons by hand.

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We're using the corrugating.

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The corrugation tool that we're using is

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an exact replica of Harry Olsen's personal prototyping tool from the 1930s.

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And the person that I designed this with,

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Stephen Sank, he inherited those tooling,

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those toolings, the cutters and the corrugators.

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And he allowed us to to replicate them for our production.

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And, you know, it's still made the ribbon

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itself is still exactly like it was in the 1930s.

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But everything else we've brought into the modern age.

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This is a modern microphone.

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It's got robust character to it.

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It can be used for a lot of different sources.

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There's a lot of myths.

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I want to do a whole episode sometimes just on myth busting here because ribbon

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microphones are full of myths that are just totally.

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Well, the thing about myths is there's a little there's a little grain of truth in

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them, but then there's so much myth that gets built up around it.

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Yes, ribbon microphones are more fragile,

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but you're not going to destroy them by normal use.

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You know, I could go on and on.

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I'm not going to get too far into that right now.

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That's a whole other episode, I think.

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But but, you know, we want to help people to incur, you know,

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to learn about what the modern ribbon is.

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The cloud ribbon is very much a modern representation.

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We kept the heart of it the same, but we wanted to bring everything forward

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to into our modern era and every single day as we were developing these

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microphones, the the the primary thought was

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what would Harry Olsen himself do if he were redesigning this for the modern era?

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And it was like that.

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What would Harry do? That was our mantra every day.

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What would Harry do? Well, I don't think he'd do that.

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So let's try this.

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And that's how we sort of arrived at it.

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And it was the passion for the way these

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things sound and what you can do with them in music.

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We literally thought like it's it's it's, you know, it's

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it's kind of a grandiose thought, but we thought that this would help to save

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music in the end and help to provide a way to.

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Use the past to move forward into the future, because.

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It just I mean, that I was just so full of like I was totally convinced in the mid

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2000s that

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music production was going in the wrong direction because of the microphone,

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because because people didn't know what ribbons were.

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It's the last microphone that people generally buy because by the time they

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come across a ribbon, they have several condensers and some dynamics.

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And and whatever the sales guy that they

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called up online to talk to, they never tell them to get a ribbon.

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This is the last thing on their mind.

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Ribbon is a weird size.

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Is it a cost issue or is it like is is there a preconceived notion that it was

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it's for the recordings that were back in the day?

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Will it do you feel like it's going to take somebody that's more modern that

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that comes out and says, I'm using this and I use this.

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I use this ribbon microphone on these recordings or I mean, we have, you know,

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I've made ribbons for a lot of people.

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Stevie Wonder is a friend of mine, made mics for him, several mics for him.

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And Donald Fagan, Steely Dan and Nick Mason from Pink Floyd uses them for his

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drum overheads in the studio and, you know, the Lucius girls that they would

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actually toured with the cloud and they used it live because of the figure eight

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pattern, you can use it for both sides. Right.

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It's really nice.

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And so there are quite a few.

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Seth Anthony, a current artist, I just saw his video and he's using the cloud mic

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in his music video because he loves to record with it.

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And

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so there there's just a lot of myth busting that needs to happen.

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People think that the ribbons are for those weird guys that do that weird stuff.

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They don't know.

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They think that ribbon microphones are too dark.

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Does this microphone sound dark to you?

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No, no, it's not a dark microphone.

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The good a good ribbon microphone is not dark.

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Yeah.

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You know, some ribbon microphones are darker than others, that's for sure.

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But we designed the cloud to be completely open, full of life.

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We didn't hype the top end, but we wanted to create it in a natural way.

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And that ribbon, that's it's literally the simplest technology in the world.

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I mean, it's like it's a ribbon.

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It's a aluminum ribbon, which is a thin

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strip of aluminum that's very lightweight in a magnetic field with a wire on top

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and a wire on bottom. There's your alternating current.

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And it produces a slight amount of current

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just from the sound waves that interact and vibrate on the ribbon.

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It's very much like our ears work.

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Other microphones, you look at condenser

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microphones and they have, you know, this like round capsule.

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It's really tight, you know, you get this round

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material that's like really tight capsule

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that produces resonant frequencies that alter the sound.

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Now, we like those alterations sometimes for certain things,

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but it's not particularly a natural sound.

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It's very much more of a colored sound where ribbon microphones,

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when done, when done right, in my opinion, they they have a very natural character.

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They sound like it sounds and that's it.

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It's just what you hear is what you get.

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And when I'm placing the microphone, I literally put my ear to the source

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and I find the spot where I like the way it sounds.

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And that's where I put the mic.

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And it always sounds exactly like I heard it.

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And other mics.

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Yeah, I was going to say that's what would Harry would do.

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Right. That's what I would be HD.

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What would Harry do?

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Yeah. Plus, they look cool.

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I mean, they really do look cool.

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I mean, I think there's a lot like, you know, there's a lot of

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microphone companies that make something that looks retro and, you know,

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can kind of look like the the mic that Elvis used or the one that drops into

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the ring when they announced fighters or, you know, but that that has a classic,

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you know, vintage, really cool look to it as well.

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I know that's I know it sound is most important.

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It could it could look right now like a like a chicken for all you care.

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If it sounds great, you know, but I'm just saying it looks cool, too.

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Well, that's interesting that you say that because

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I mean, I do I do think they look cool as well.

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But they don't look like this just because they look cool.

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It's a good it's actually there is a function to this shape and the way it

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sounds, and if you look here at this screen, the way the angles are on the front and back,

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that is actually acting as a as a quadratic diffusion mechanism.

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It's like you see the stuff behind me on the walls.

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Breaking up apart, the sound waves here.

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Well, it's the same thing with the microphone.

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One of the reasons the cloud microphone doesn't sound particularly dark is because

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of the screen, the way the screen is shaped.

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There's some science behind it because it

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breaks apart the pressure of the low frequency material.

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We were talking earlier about plosives and how that can overwhelm your mic.

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And you get so much of that.

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It's almost like sounds like a kick drum

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when somebody says the word Paul or something, right?

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Well, this shape reduces that low frequency

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material by breaking apart that sound wave, and there's no parallel surfaces

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inside the microphone for the sound waves to bounce around.

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So it's very much like the studio here.

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We've got a combination of absorption you can see here.

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And then this is this is more of a diffusion where it it it breaks apart the sound wave

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in our mixing room next door.

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We have even more complex types of diffusion materials because we're mixing in there.

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And we need the room to be true to what's

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coming out of the speaker so it doesn't affect the way the sound is heard and

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perceived, you know, because sometimes in a poor room,

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you'll hear more bass than is actually there.

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You'll perceive the bass when you're

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listening and then you'll start turning down the bass.

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But then you go listen to it somewhere else and there's no bass

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because your room was part as part of your equalizer.

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Right.

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Your room affects the frequency response that you hear.

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It's just like taking a giant equalizer

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and boosting certain frequencies and reducing others.

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And and that's kind of what rooms can do to your sound.

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And that's why we try to treat them and we try to measure them a little bit and use

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a combination of absorption and diffusion and flat surfaces because flat surfaces

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are also natural. We use hardwood floors.

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I love the way they sound.

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They actually resonate with the sound waves and create more room sound in a way

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because it's just like a nice guitar.

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The floor becomes part of part of the

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instrument and becomes part of the room.

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But we're used to hearing when we when we're

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standing around talking with people or what not,

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we're used to hearing the sound bounce off the floor.

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So if you carpet everything and make everything dead,

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you kind of can lose some of that and it doesn't sound quite as good because it's

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not natural anymore and you start to muffle certain frequencies.

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So if there's a little bit of a trick to it, I mean, it's not something you can

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explain in a quick moment, but if you're if you're going to treat your room,

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you know, look into it a little bit and try to find the right combination that,

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you know, will give you, particularly if you're mixing, if you're mixing music

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or doing music production, it's even more important because you want to make sure

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that what you're listening to through your speakers is going to sound

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representative of what you're going to hear when you go listen somewhere else.

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Right. And I think a lot of

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content creators to forget like you can treat everything around you,

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but you're still going to have computer

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screens in front of you, which is made of glass.

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Right. And so it's like and that's probably the closest thing to your

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microphone is this this glass that could be, you know, you could your voice could

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be bouncing off of too. So there's always probably going to be a little bit.

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You can't have a completely dead thing.

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But to your point, why would you want to, you know, you have to have a little.

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That's not what things sound like when we go hear them in the real world.

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And if we're trying to

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produce something that's authentic and has a naturalness to it,

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then you might consider that as part of your overall strategy.

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And I like to use sometimes I actually use the flat surfaces to get a certain sound.

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The nice thing about the cloud ribbon mic is the figure eight pattern

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where it picks up front and back.

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I'm just talking into one side of it now, but this isn't distracting you at all.

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You're not hearing anything over here to distract.

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And that's because, you know, I've got it's angled right.

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It there's some other diffusion over here.

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You can't see it on camera, but there's more diffusion over here,

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similar to what's behind me.

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And I'm using the figure eight pattern to capture the sound because one of the

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things that one of the myth we're talking about myths.

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You're asking why people don't use ribbons is they think that they always need a

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directional microphone.

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And

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what's interesting about ribbon microphones is they can actually be more

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directional sometimes than cardioid microphones like the SM seven because the

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pickup pattern is so tight, the reject is front and back.

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But you've got a deep side null rejection here because the ribbon picks up on both

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sides, anything that's common to both sides gets canceled because the backside of the

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ribbon is an inverse of faith.

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It's like the negative of a photograph, right?

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The inverse of the audio.

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And so

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if I if I talk into the side of the microphone, you know,

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that's I mean, you could barely hear it when you move there.

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And the main reason you can hear is because bouncing off the screen and coming back,

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you know, if I didn't have that screen there, you know, it would it would probably

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be here even less.

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And so what's what's really neat about the ribbon type technology is you're

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getting that side null rejection, but you're also getting it across the top of

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the microphone. It's also knowing here and the floor.

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So this microphone literally rejects the floor, the ceiling, the sides and just

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focuses really tight front and back.

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So as long as you control what's on the other side of the microphone.

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You can get a much more directional

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pattern in a way than you can with cardio mics.

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Now, the interesting thing about cardio mics is.

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They pick up the whole side of the room, they have much more of a wider.

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If you look at the patterns on your

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like technical data sheets and so forth, you'll see that the cardio patterns are

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kind of like a heart, they kind of like come out like a heart here.

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And it's because they're getting a little bit of the backside.

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So in a way, the figure eight pattern is a much more tighter hyper directional,

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even though there's two sides to it, it's much more hyper directional than even

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your basic cardioid mics with two people doing a podcast with a ribbon microphone.

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So people people speaking on either side.

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Absolutely. Yeah.

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OK, we've done that.

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There's a we were at our local radio station.

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KXI uses uses the clouds in their they have a hotel Congress studio and they have

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another studio, they use them a lot to capture bands when they come in.

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They'll use a one mic situation with a

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guitar and singer or something.

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But we were actually when we filmed with them and did an interview, we we used both

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sides of the mic, sometimes we'll just put it right between us.

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Just have a conversation.

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It does great because what's happening on this side is is

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even though they're inverted in phase, if the sounds coming from this side,

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it won't be inverted, it's just inverted on this side.

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It's it's it's it's a lot.

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There's a lot of math to it, but in terms of the phasing and how that works.

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But you can actually take

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you can actually take like an omnidirectional

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microphone, which picks up all around and place it right next to the ribbon.

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And it'll totally cancel one side of the mic when you blend them together,

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because the sum of both of those microphones together,

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it's like the negative image of a photograph.

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If you put those together, it disappears.

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Quite literally, just like some that's some like we just got a we just got like a

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PhD class in sound, and I'm afraid I'm going to fail the test.

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We have to go back and listen to all the notes.

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But one last thing, Roger, I wanted we wanted to ask about people may not realize

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is you got you actually practice this craft and you have a band.

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Why don't you tell us a little bit about your band?

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Oh, sure.

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An artist, Liz Painter, she's from New Mexico.

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She's come down here for an extended period and we've been doing some recordings.

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So we play we play together in a band called Cloud Painter.

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We had a show Friday, local venue here, Monterrey Court.

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We played at Governor's Island in New York City

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a couple of weeks ago, and we have another show this weekend.

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So and then we get a little break

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and we we go into the studio, we try all these different ideas with the microphone.

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So it gives us a chance to use the stuff in practice.

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Yeah, we're having a great time doing it now.

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Our single came out

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a couple of months ago, a few months ago, and then we have some more material

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coming out soon, it's it's called Cloud Painter.

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You can find us at Cloud Painter Music dot com

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and on Instagram and and Facebook as well.

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And yeah, we're having a great time.

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And for those of you watching on Amazon, it's down.

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Love Come Down is the single from Cloud Painter and it's featured right now on

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on Amazon, you listen to it on Amazon Music and I'm sure on all of the places,

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Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube, all of the all of the places.

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But I just I love Roger this whole conversation.

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But, you know, to to this and just to put a button on our conversation as well.

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It's like you you're a musician, right?

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You're a content creator.

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You're not just somebody who's, you know,

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putting together boxes and transistors, you're actually doing it.

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You carry the bag.

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You you, you know what podcasters

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need, what what their struggles are, what their pain points are, what musicians need.

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You're constantly talking to people like

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Bootsy Collins and all of these people who are a part of the cloud family.

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And so, you know, it's just just a tremendous honor to have someone who,

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you know, is is really just a legend, in my opinion, and many people's opinion,

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in the audio industry.

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And we just really appreciate you taking

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the time and just, you know, sharing your your wisdom.

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And to Jim's point, I think I'm going to have to listen to this five, six times

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to really fully get this master class of of of impedance and all, you know.

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Yeah, you know, and all of that good stuff.

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Little bits of it, you know, little bits.

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It comes little bits at a time.

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You know, happy to have more conversations.

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I think that just getting in there and practicing it

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real quick. When we were in New York, we recorded

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Christine Kruta and her, her band, her little Kruta is her orchestra.

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She's she's an arranger and the cellist for the Eagles, her, her,

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one of the other people in her band, the violin players is the bandmaster for the

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Eagles, so they have but they have their own group as well.

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And they were recording at the songwriting.

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We were at Anti Social Club Songwriting Camp.

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And we came and we were one of the sponsors.

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We did some of the sessions at some of the studios in New York City.

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We were in Brooklyn for this particular

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session at Red Convertible Recording with with Ricky Buretti.

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And anyway, it was really it was really wild.

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We had a great time.

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We used seven cloud ribbon microphones to record the orchestra.

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But the centerpiece of it all was using the cloud in a mid side configuration.

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And it was basically one mic like this.

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And one like this, and you point the directly the side null

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at the center of the source and you use this for the center.

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And it's a it's a really cool recording technique that utilizes all these things

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that we just talked about with phasing and the inverse of the audio and the back side.

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Because what you do is you take the side

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microphone here and you make two tracks out of this.

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And this one microphone becomes your stereo image, your left and right.

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And the center becomes right in the middle.

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And then you take in in post or on the way in, you take that negative side

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of the microphone and you flip it so you have two positives.

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Now, if you sum that together in the center, the sound will completely vanish.

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But if you blend it with something coming

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from the center here, it creates this organically through the phase relationship,

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creates a spatial stereo image

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that is just phenomenal, which will literally put the violas over to the right

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and the cellos over to the left and give you this stereo image in a way that you

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can't really get in any other way, and it's much like the way our ears hear.

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Again, it comes back to how do we naturally

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hear music and hear things when we're standing in front of it?

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And this mid side tech is very natural because our ears are the same way.

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There's two sides and we're kind of inverted in phase over here.

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And it's kind of like reproducing a human head.

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You know, you know, and so we tried that with Christine and her

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her beautiful orchestra and they were just blown away.

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They said that they ended up using the room mic, the mid side configuration

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as like more than 50 percent of the sound of the whole orchestra,

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even though we had close mics of clouds over.

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They use a tiny bit of that in the mix,

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but mostly it was this mid side room configuration because what happens is,

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is when you have the center mic here, the sound wave comes.

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If it's coming from the right side,

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then it literally will phase cancel on the left side because we flip the phase

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and it'll push that image so that you literally hear what's going on on this

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side and the right, this side on the left.

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So it's my favorite way to record.

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We use it all the time.

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I use it as my go to drum overheads.

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I use it sometimes for even percussion, even just a shaker,

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just recording a shaker.

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I'll use the configuration because it makes it sound like you're in the room with it.

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You can hear it just just the depth and the and the and the character that it

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brings is phenomenal.

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And that was really commonly used in the 1950s and 60s when stereo recordings first

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came out. And it's one of those things that has just sort of gotten lost along

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the way as we entered this this modern era.

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And so I want to bring the ribbon microphone back.

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I want people to just consider that it's time to rethink the ribbon because it's

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really one of the most powerful things that you can use in music production.

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To bring a realism and a depth to your recordings.

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So

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great stuff, man.

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I mean, that is that I have to I have to see.

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Hopefully. Did you film that?

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Yes, I'd love to see that.

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So we're going to be we've got a newsletter coming out.

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If you haven't already, everyone, if you go to Cloud Microphones dot com,

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sign up for our newsletter.

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If you do it today, you might get to see this newsletter come out.

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I think it's coming out this week.

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And there is a little some video clips there and some audio clips of what we did

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in New York City with this mid side configuration killer.

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So that's a cool way to hear it.

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But regardless, I'll send you a clip

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not to be shared

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just for your own ears to check out.

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Awesome. And I can't I can't wait.

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Roger, this has been and I knew it would be awesome, but I didn't know it would be

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this awesome. So, man, thank you so much.

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I knew it would be this awesome with you guys.

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I love you guys.

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I could do this all day, all night.

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Let's do it. Let's just roll.

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Let's just go six, eight hours back into Atlanta sometime.

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We're going to have to hang out.

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Oh, yeah, that sounds awesome.

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And are you going to to podcast movement at the when is that September?

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August, we're figuring out all of that out.

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We're not going to have a booth.

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We are sponsoring one of the something for the bags, something in the bag or

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something. I think we're going to have a giveaway

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contest or something.

Speaker:

Cool.

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I'm are you going to be there?

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Yes, we'll be there.

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OK, so, yeah, well, maybe maybe so.

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We were thinking about maybe popping up there and just hanging out without having

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a booth. It's, you know, too far from you.

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What's that? Not too far from you.

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Not bad. No, not bad at all.

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Probably still fly, but

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you know, it's it's it's a short hop to Denver.

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I've had this idea.

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Wouldn't it be fun to actually be able to go to one of these podcast

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conventions without being chained to a booth?

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I could actually see what it's like to go to a podcast convention.

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Right.

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Well, if we're there, Roger, you can just like, hey, I really want to go see this

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person. Hey, Chris, Jim, you guys cover the booth.

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I'm going, you know, we'd be we'd be happy to do that.

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You may be missing a ribbon microphone when you get back, but we'd be happy to.

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I'm kidding. I'm kidding.

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Well, it was a real pleasure and honor to be on your show, too.

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You've done great with this show and I love what you're doing.

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I definitely want to support and, you know, thank you guys for inviting me.

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I really appreciate it.

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That was awesome. Thanks.

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Thank you so much, Roger.

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And for everybody who joined us, Ben and Phil and Gina, Matthew, what's up?

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Sorry, we didn't we didn't get to everyone's

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questions.

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We were too busy nerding out with the

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audio legend, Roger Cloud.

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So make sure you go to CloudMicrophones.com, sign up for the newsletter.

Speaker:

Check out a Cloud Lifter.

Speaker:

And as always, don't fear the gear.

Speaker:

Thanks for listening to Dealcasters.

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Congratulations.

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You've taken another step forward in your content creation journey.

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Please don't forget to hit the subscribe or follow button here in your favorite

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