Show 217 – Cloudlifter CL-Z review and more!

This week Ryan reviews the Cloud microphones Cloudlifter CL-Z mic (see show 116 for original Cloudlifter review), we also talk about the Keith McMillen QuNeo and Yamaha 01V96I digital mixing console. We also answer questions about high-end interface options; dome shaped building acoustics; LCR panning; and versatile guitar amps.

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Cloud Microphones Cloudlifter CL-Z | Buy on Amazon and support HRS
Keith McMillen QuNeo 3D pad controller | Buy it at Amazon and support HRS
Yamaha 01V96I Mixer | Buy it at Amazon and support the podcast
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31 thoughts on “Show 217 – Cloudlifter CL-Z review and more!

  1. Listening to you make fun of me (re: “Rob likes to talk a lot!”) and all I can say is: “Guilty as charged!”
    And no offence taken…

    I think I really went off the rails explaining the patch bay array, but oh well…

    Think ill recut the video, keep a hard 7 or 10 min max, and then repost… Short version and relabel the other “extended version”

    Anyway, love the show, and also love a good “burn” even if its at my expense…


  2. My name is pronounced Le Pay, but no worries, I don’t expect anyone to get it right.

    Thanks for your advice guys, you rock. It’s good to know that the Deluxe Reverb is so versatile and you have gotten heavy tones out of it with pedals. I think I will forego my interest in the Blackstar as many reviewers have had bad power in theirs. Ryan’s experience with the DRRI was super helpful in killing my concerns and this amp has secured a future spot in my studio for sure.

    Jon’s mention of the Humboldt Hot Rod prompted me to take another look. The first time I heard about it, it sounded too dark to be versatile although I did like the sound. My Pro Junior is very similar to the Blues Junior, being the next step down in the Hot Rod line, and shares the same heavy treble issue. I am considering a Weber Alnico v10 hemp speaker to balance it out at some point, although a tube swap helped some. The Humboldt Hot Rod was a modified BJ (giggety) with a hemp speaker at that time but had the opposite problem as the BJ (giggety giggety, alllriiight) where it lacked treble unless the tone was turned up to 11.

    The second time I looked into the Humboldt, it had sold out for good. Now I see they have just released a version 2 that addresses the lack of treble and tonal versatility of the first one. While it’s in stock I will be grabbing one up before they vanish again and save up next year for the Deluxe Reverb, which isn’t going anywhere and will surely one day be mine. People are going to think I’m such a Fender fanboy. People just might be right. Cheap Marshalls can suck it, and my interest in the Bluesbreaker has even waned knowing from Ryan that it is so similar to the Fenders.

    I saved this comment until placing my order so it doesn’t go the way of the Sony F98, haha all the rest of you HRS listening fargin sneaky bastages. Then again do people usually rush out and buy what Jon recommends? One point for Jon. It’s about time ;).

    Thanks again for your help in making a good decision. I’ll drop in and let you know how it works out. I’m going to give the Humboldt a try and put the Deluxe Reverb next on my list. Worst case I can sell the Humboldt for profit when it sells out forever due to all your loyal fans and their greedy, greedy credit cards and use that money on a DRRI. Haha I know I’m one of them now.

    Keep up the kick ass shows!

    Get so high in Humboldt that you ride the chicken. Giggety.

  3. thank you so much for doing a review of the cloudlifter Z. i’ve been eyeballing it for a while now and after that review I can honestly saw that I don’t want one… 15kohms is too low 😛

    high input Impedance is cool for dynamic mics because it reduces the diaphragm loading at the physical level, freeing the diaphragm to become more sensitive to transients and high frequency content (pretty neat, ay?). earthworks ZDT mic pre’s have an input impedance of 100k ohms, (see if you can get your hands on one of those for review 😉

    now, from what I understand, impedance loading also has a large effect on passive guitar pickups (you guys would know this more than i do, im not a guitar guy)

    Here is something i’ve always wanted to try:

    1. Grab a transformer based DI box. most passive DI boxes have a 1:133 impedance ratio.

    2. Grab a mic pre with an unusually high input impedance (20kohms for grace m101, 100kohms for earthworks 1022)

    3. plugin sexy passive electric guitar into passive DI box and then connect di box to high impedance mic pre.

    4. The transformer will reflect the mic pre impedance on the passive guitar by 133x. so… a 20kohm mic pre will reflect a 2.6Mohm load on the guitar with the DI box and should sound beautiful.
    … and a 100kohm mic pre will reflect a 13.3Mohm load on the guitar with the DI box…. which, idk what that sounds like….. might actually be too high, but i wanna try it.

  4. Hey, you guys ever get a chance to play with the RME MADI cards? I think I remember Ryan using an SSL MADI card and wondering if you had a chance to try out the RME as well. I’m thinking of buying an RME HDSPe MADI FX to use with my Lynx Aurora 16 and Antelope Orion 32 so I can run all 48 channels of conversion at once. I thought about using the SSL but it looks like there isn’t any onboard routing so any headphone or monitor mixes would have to be done in my DAW, which I’d prefer to stay away from so I don’t have to worry about latency. Just wondering if you had a chance to compare the two.

    And yeah, 48 channels is way more than I need, but I already own the converters, so may as well use them.

    Thanks for the show and for all the work you guys do. BTW, was Jon doing something funny with his voice or mic in show 217? His voice sounded funny sometimes…maybe he was drifting off axis on the mic to play with his Quneo (giggity!)?

  5. Hey guys,

    Thought this one was worth an ask / slash / maybe a whole segment, and I don’t think you’ve covered it before:

    What do you guys have in place to combat occupational injury? Specifically RSI, carpel tunnel, and lower back issues, all of which are common to desk-based work.

    Is that interesting for anyone else? Possibly not.

    • I’d be interested. Another side of maintaining your ability to function, like protecting your hearing. Bad ergonomics can be totally crippling.

  6. Shouldn’t we abandon the comment section on the show? Or maybe just pick a few “relevant” comments and read them at the end. And as for suggestions on sound effects… MORE DR ROCKSO!!!!

  7. RE: Domes
    I have been in a few monolithic dome buildings. The sound is entirely uncontrollable. If you had absorption on every square foot of the ceiling you could probably get away with it. One cool thing you can do in most dome houses is put someone exactly across the dome from you and have a conversation by speaking to the wall. The sound travels over the hemisphere and can be very clearly heard. A small stereo at moderate volume can supply clear audio to the entire perimeter of the building.

    But those buildings are pretty much everything proof. I live in Moore Oklahoma, just a few blocks from where those schools were chewed up by a tornado a few news cycles ago. When I move from this house that I am currently in I will probably build a dome. But the music room will not have contact with more than one curved area as a wall.

  8. Would you guys mind adding your favorite soldering station to your recommended gear page? I am ready to start on some of those DI and re-amping kits but I think my old Weller soldering gun probably isn’t up to the task.

  9. The O1V96I is nice and it does alot. But you really need to check out the Presonus 16.4.2. It does alot more than the 01v96i.. its a bit cheaper and it runs with StudioOne Pro.. (it doesnt have flying faders but thats fine, those are not as cool as people think) I use the M7CL and the PM5D all the time and I will say that I like the 16.4.2 better. You can connect 10 iphones or iPads to it so the talent can mix their own in-ears.. It also comes with Smaart.. You can Smaart your system and save it..

    anyway.. give it a shot before you buy the 01v.. I have done some tests and the pres are identical.

    • I think the main difference between the 2 boards is in programmability. You can store/recall channel strips and “digital settings” (according to the manual) on the Presonus, but the Yamaha can store full routing matrices as well. The motorized faders offer a more complete recall of you stored settings. That’s what kills the Presonus for a lot of potential buyers.

      The Yamaha is built well and has optional expansion cards. I like them both. I’d own them both if I were rich.

      That’s my $.02


      • I like both of these boards. I use them both on a daily basis. I am very familiar with their differences. The flying motorized fader to me was cool at first. But, I learned early on that they are a nightmare when recalling scenes. I spent several years in bands that would use scenes to recall songs. The motorized fader would get stuck, not return to a channels etc. But the biggest pain was hitting scene recall and the system screams feedback because the headamp gains were changed. Those are not recallable. The presonus doesnt do that. None the less they are both really good boards.

  10. Hello, great show again. I’ve been trying to search for a good resource for DIY-effects. Specifically, I’m interested in building a stereo low-pass filter with one knob and bypass for “reamping” and live effect needs. It would be nice if it had line level I/O. I’ve never built any effects, but I know how to use a soldering iron having fixed some stuff. I would guess that an LPF would not be too difficult, is it? An is there a place to find some instructions for such a gadget? Thanks a lot for a great show! PS. Inspired by your show, I got a reamp box that I don’t think has been mentioned in your show, its the Palmer Daccapo, a thoroughly recommendable and affordable option, its very well made and has a level pot.

  11. Hey guys,
    Jon’s new toy was a welcome addition to this weeks show. The well-placed samples of Ryan’s “oh yeah” and “amazeballs” were fantastic. I realise that not only is this podcast full of great recording advice; I find I listen for equal amounts of humour. Oh yeah, the cloudlifter was cool too. Have either of you done the TapeOp sm57 mod? I hear it gives it a more SM7-type of sound but that it also impacts the ouput. Sounds like the cloudlifter might be a good thing to have for this mod.
    Keep the laughs coming, always a pleasure to listen.


  12. Quick question, likely for Ryan since he re-amps everything under the sun. My current interface only has main outs so I use the left channel output and some clever routing in the interface mix control software for re-amping. How do you manage all of the gain variables? Guitar > preamp gain, channel level in DAW, and master output level in DAW. I use the Line 2 Amp and a MOTU 8Pre. Am I simply aiming for unity? It seems like I am tweaking my pedals every time.

  13. Question: Does anybody have experience with electronic drums? I’m wondering if you could get something usable just for triggering e.g. Steven Slate drums on the cheap? Or am I stuck with mouse-click-playing?


    • If you really want to try it on the cheap, get a used Rock Band kit. It’s can be USB or wireless and it can be done. There’s plenty online with info how to do it. At least you can use both and actual sticks. These can usually be found on Craigslist for ~$25. Ddrum makes triggers you can clip on pretty cheap too. Use drum practice pads as your playing surface with the triggers or anything else you can clip them to. There are a lot of less expensive electronic kits available now with nice playing surfaces. Look for them used or without the sound module.

      As a drummer I actually have a hard time programming on a mouse. Maybe more practice would do it but playing exactly what you want to hear is easier to do with the natural movements of really playing. Probably more than you’re asking here, hope some of it is helpful.

      • Thanks for your reply.
        I think I should elaborate on what specifically I’m looking for :-).

        I’m not a drummer, but I’m looking for something that would allow me to track drums easily and catch the dynamics of my playing, especially on the snare, kick and hat, so I would not have to manually alter the midi velocity by mouse later (unless I made a mistake). Multi-zone snare and cymbals would be nice, but maybe not necessary, as I guess it is pretty easy to shift the hits to other midi notes for the sections that require this.

        What I would ideally want is a setup with 3 toms, a snare and kick, a hihat and two cymbals (three would be nicer, but hey).

        So, in a nutshell: a kit to catch a performance 90%, with only tweaking and smaller adjustments from there. Snare, kick and hihat I would guess are the most important as these are typically played most of all during a song.

        Medium-cheap would be OK 🙂 but is it possible? It sounds like you know what you’re talking about – are there any kits you can recommend?

        • I use the Roland TD-3 set with Steven Slate. I wouldn’t call it cheap but it’s the entry level Roland set. I’m happy with the performance of the kit. Like you however, I don’t really consider myself a drummer. You may find that the time that you will save with the velocities will be made up for by having to edit your performance.

          • Yeah, I’m looking at the Roland HD-1 kit used (not in production anymore). Relatively cheap from time to time, and has a mesh snare. Don’t know if it’s the exact same pads as the HD-3, but they should be pretty responsive from what I read. The pedals are not real drum pedals, which seems to be what most of the grievances are about.

  14. Hey guys,

    Quick question..

    Picked up a really nice MIM Fender Precision.. Looks great, necks straight, etc. just wondering about the electronics…

    Are the pick ups good? Or should I swap them out with the 62 Fender Pick ups I see at various online stores for about 89 bucks ..



    • That’s a very subjective question. Tom Morello won his first grammy for a song that he recorded with an $80 dollar pawn shop guitar. It all depends on the tone you’re looking for.


  15. Hey guys.. I have the Steinberg Mr 16 csx interface…I love the sound of it…the only downfall about the unit is that two of the xlr inputs are on the face of the unit…would of been nice to have all 8 in the same location on the back! Other then that…Its awesome…

  16. I have a small home studio, and won’t delude myself to thinking that I can get any decent room sound recording drums. I’m looking at the option of putting triggers on each drum head and micing the cymbals. Anyone have any experience or recommendations for this?

    • Here’s what I do……

      1. Try a cymbals only approach to the overheads. Use a low cut filter to get rid of all the frequencies except those of the cymbals. This will take a lot of the room sound out of the recording. This leaves the other drums a little dry and flat but there are ways to compensate.

      2. I use the Drumagog vst plugin and Steven Slate Drums to blend in samples with my recorded drum tracks. These are samples of great sounding drums recorded in great sounding rooms. The Steven Slate sample packs include samples of each drum recorded at multiple distances. This allows you to mimic a room sound and add definition. I typically blend in a close mic sample about 50-80% on my kick and snare tracks. Then, I’ll dulpicate those tracks. On the duplicate track, I’ll use a more ambient sample of the same drum at 100%. Use the volume of the track to blend in the ambience to taste. This works much better than simply using a reverb to add ambience.

      Here is a sample of some drums that I have recorded this way…..

      This may not be the best way to do drums but I’ve found it helpful.


  17. Hey guys,

    I found your podcast by complete accident a few months ago and have been catching up from Episode 1 ever since. I have down loaded all the episodes onto a memory stick and listen to them in my car whilst I travel around.

    Just wanted to say that you have done something to my mind because I can no longer play music in the car… it’s just not interesting enough when i can listen to you guys.

    I have tried seeking help from my wife but when i tell her about the episodes she just looks at me with that “You know that I don’t really care what you’re talking about but bless you for having an interest” look on her face. If i could stop listening, I would and then there’s You Tube to contend with.

    That Graham Cochrane and Dave Pensado and other’s like them.. pretending to be nice people when all the while they are forcing us to watch their channels at the expense of having a life. They are like drug dealers for audio advice.. they lure you in, get you hooked, then they own your ass!

    Anyway, I am currently up to Episode 174 of your show so, in a way, I am talking to you from your past. What’s more, I am not even listening to this episode because i want to hear them all in order so if you read this comment out, you are talking to me from my future. As i listen to each show, I am creeping up behind you and you may never know when i am getting closer or when I catch up with you… time travel is both and confusing and exciting and the mushrooms on that pizza i ate tasted funny… that’s the last time i eat at my mother’s house!

    Anyway, keep up the good work and a special BIG thanks to Jon for publically spreading the word about REAPER (or weaper as a Logic user said to me recently). I love that DAW and love the fact that you validate it!

    Do that chicken!

  18. Gentlemen,

    First off, I would like to say that the Home Recording Show is the reason I thoroughly enjoy my thirty minute walk to and from work every weekday. I have been listening to the archives (starting from the very beginning) for a few weeks now and cannot believe the amount of valuable knowledge and insight I have gained thus far. (I am just shy of episode 100 now.)

    I am college student, and I have been seriously considering buying a nice USB microphone for quite some time now, and here is why… As I said, I’m in college, and thus live in dorms or small student apartments—I’m currently living in a fraternity, where I share a small room with a roommate. I don’t have much room to set up my audio interface and a couple microphones on mic stands each time I want to record an idea, and I have to take it all down and put it all away again when I’m done. Usually I record in short sessions, and it’s simply to jot down some ideas. I find that taking five minutes to plug everything in and mic myself takes away from the creativity that I often want to capture in the moment.

    I do occasionally go back home and there I have a modest setup in a quieter environment where I track instruments and vocals which I ultimately use in the mixes of my songs. But I want a quick and easy mobile solution for recording scratch takes on my laptop while I’m away from home. However, I do still want a microphone that I could use in a pinch during a session at home if necessary (i.e. not a crappy $50 USB mic.)

    I have been eying the Apogee MiC for a while, but know that the ATH-2020 is quite popular as well as some Blue Microphone USB Microphones such as the Yeti.

    Do you have any suggestions as to which USB mic I should buy?

    Thanks, and as always, ride the chicken.

  19. Hey, at one time you guys were saying that you needed the sound of a tumble weed blowing across a deserted town to underline a moment of no response in the show. Well hell, how about just using one of Ryan’s white noise segments? I think it would convey the same thing. Maybe even insert him saying “There’s plenty more where that came from”.

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