DIY Mic Booster (Cloudlifter style)?

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Rodgre
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DIY Mic Booster (Cloudlifter style)?

Post by Rodgre » Mon Dec 21, 2020 5:24 am

Hello all.

I have been using a CL-2 Cloudlifter for a few years now to get the most out of my SM7B and ribbon mics. I really do like what it does and I thought it would be cool to build up a couple more similar circuits for the studio just to have extra channels at the ready if I needed them.

I have built one from this schematic: https://www.jp137.com/lis/Alctron.MA.1.jpg

It has worked well as is, but something tells me that it's not exactly the Alctron schematic. This schematic has a gain range switch not on the Alctron, and does not have any transformer, which the Alctron claims to have.

Information on such circuits is hard to find on the internet, probably due to the fact that we should all just buy Cloudlifters. Since I've already done that and just want to DIY a couple more channels of it for my own use, can someone shed some light on how a transformer could/should be used in this circuit? What kind of transformer? Is it worth it?

Has anyone else built something like this? How about an Impedance adjustment? How could something like that be implemented?

Thank you
Roger

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Nick Sevilla
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Re: DIY Mic Booster (Cloudlifter style)?

Post by Nick Sevilla » Mon Dec 21, 2020 6:32 am

Well, you have one, you could always reverse engineer it.

Open the one you have, and copy the circuit = Reverse Engineering.

Now, do not share that info with anyone. Or possibly get sued.

Cheers!
Howling at the neighbors. Hoping they have more mic cables.

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Re: DIY Mic Booster (Cloudlifter style)?

Post by Rodgre » Mon Dec 21, 2020 6:45 am

Yeah, I had been thinking about that as well. I have no interest in making them outside of just to have a couple extra for my own use. The circuit that I built based on that schematic I posted was super-simple and worked well.

Thank you
Roger

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Re: DIY Mic Booster (Cloudlifter style)?

Post by Dr Tony Balls » Mon Dec 21, 2020 6:46 am

Nick Sevilla wrote:
Mon Dec 21, 2020 6:32 am
Now, do not share that info with anyone. Or possibly get sued.
There is nothing illegal about that. Tracing and making public a schematic is perfectly fine.

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Re: DIY Mic Booster (Cloudlifter style)?

Post by The Scum » Mon Dec 21, 2020 10:54 am

There's no need to trace the schematic - the basics are in the patent. You might want to verify them against the actual device, if you're really cloning it.

You can also draw your own schematic and do whatever you want with it. You drew it, it's your creation to do what you want with. Schematics are artwork, and covered by the copyright rules for images.

You can't clone the circuit and sell it without getting sued. Building one for personal use, you're in fair use under the patent...that Alctron schem is likely represents an infringement (and maybe a 39 vs 390 tail resistor mismatch?)...curious about what's in the Klark Technik...

Personally, I'd hold out to see if anyone has nice boxing day sales on the real deal.
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Re: DIY Mic Booster (Cloudlifter style)?

Post by Dr Tony Balls » Mon Dec 21, 2020 11:05 am

The Scum wrote:
Mon Dec 21, 2020 10:54 am
You can't clone the circuit and sell it without getting sued.
That's not technically correct. You can clone the circuit and sell it all day without getting sued. BUT if you sell it as "Cloudlifter" or even list as a Cloudlifter clone you're using their trademark and can be sued. Electronic components arranged in a circuit is like ingredients in a dish. If you crack Coca-Cola's formula and make and sell it yourself you're perfectly safe because they dont have patents on sugar etc. But if you call it "Coke" anything or directly say "this is the Coca-Cola formula and we're making a direct clone of it".

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Re: DIY Mic Booster (Cloudlifter style)?

Post by Nick Sevilla » Mon Dec 21, 2020 1:46 pm

Dr Tony Balls wrote:
Mon Dec 21, 2020 6:46 am
Nick Sevilla wrote:
Mon Dec 21, 2020 6:32 am
Now, do not share that info with anyone. Or possibly get sued.
There is nothing illegal about that. Tracing and making public a schematic is perfectly fine.
Until someone invariably decides to profit from it. BEHRINGER.
Howling at the neighbors. Hoping they have more mic cables.

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Re: DIY Mic Booster (Cloudlifter style)?

Post by Nick Sevilla » Mon Dec 21, 2020 1:47 pm

Dr Tony Balls wrote:
Mon Dec 21, 2020 11:05 am
The Scum wrote:
Mon Dec 21, 2020 10:54 am
You can't clone the circuit and sell it without getting sued.
That's not technically correct. You can clone the circuit and sell it all day without getting sued. BUT if you sell it as "Cloudlifter" or even list as a Cloudlifter clone you're using their trademark and can be sued. Electronic components arranged in a circuit is like ingredients in a dish. If you crack Coca-Cola's formula and make and sell it yourself you're perfectly safe because they dont have patents on sugar etc. But if you call it "Coke" anything or directly say "this is the Coca-Cola formula and we're making a direct clone of it".
Cool. I'll go ahead and tell all these people...

https://www.muzique.com/misc/patents.htm
Howling at the neighbors. Hoping they have more mic cables.

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Re: DIY Mic Booster (Cloudlifter style)?

Post by Nick Sevilla » Mon Dec 21, 2020 1:51 pm

Dr Tony Balls wrote:
Mon Dec 21, 2020 11:05 am
The Scum wrote:
Mon Dec 21, 2020 10:54 am
You can't clone the circuit and sell it without getting sued.
That's not technically correct. You can clone the circuit and sell it all day without getting sued. BUT if you sell it as "Cloudlifter" or even list as a Cloudlifter clone you're using their trademark and can be sued. Electronic components arranged in a circuit is like ingredients in a dish. If you crack Coca-Cola's formula and make and sell it yourself you're perfectly safe because they dont have patents on sugar etc. But if you call it "Coke" anything or directly say "this is the Coca-Cola formula and we're making a direct clone of it".
I think you are confusing a Name Copyright, with a Patent for a device. They are not the same thing.

Coca Cola is a Trade Mark Name, copyrighted.
Their formula is Patented.
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Rodgre
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Re: DIY Mic Booster (Cloudlifter style)?

Post by Rodgre » Tue Dec 22, 2020 3:09 am

by the way... there is no transformer coupling in a Cloudlifter. I checked last night.

As you were.

Roger

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Re: DIY Mic Booster (Cloudlifter style)?

Post by A.David.MacKinnon » Tue Dec 22, 2020 6:33 am

Rodgre wrote:
Tue Dec 22, 2020 3:09 am
by the way... there is no transformer coupling in a Cloudlifter. I checked last night.

As you were.

Roger
I would expect a transformer would colour the sound (even slightly) which is the opposite of what you want from an in line booster

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Rodgre
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Re: DIY Mic Booster (Cloudlifter style)?

Post by Rodgre » Tue Dec 22, 2020 6:52 am

A.David.MacKinnon wrote:
Tue Dec 22, 2020 6:33 am
I would expect a transformer would colour the sound (even slightly) which is the opposite of what you want from an in line booster
Very good point!

Maybe that's what I should do then! Make transformer-coupled boosters that DO color the sound! Hmmmmmm Head scratch emoji.

Roger

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Re: DIY Mic Booster (Cloudlifter style)?

Post by The Scum » Tue Dec 22, 2020 12:03 pm

Rodgre: first, go read the patent - it explains the variable input impedance thing, and some other clever Cloudlifter tricks. It looks like the PCB in my CL1 has pads & jumpers that would enable some of those features.

The Cloudlifter with a transformer is the Zi, which uses a Cinemag DI transformer for the guitar input.

For a similar gizmo with an input transformer, you're describing the Crimson Magnetics Mogaine.
Last edited by The Scum on Tue Dec 22, 2020 12:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: DIY Mic Booster (Cloudlifter style)?

Post by The Scum » Tue Dec 22, 2020 12:44 pm

To those if you debating the intellectual property aspects of this:

Circuits are indeed patentable. There are an awful lot of patented circuits at USPTO. Bell labs/AT&T patented negative feedback before WWII, and a bunch of early guitar amplifiers had to license those patents (old Fender schematics have a "made user license..." note on 'em)...looks like the later of those patents expired in 1957.

Is the Cloudlifter patent valid? I could probably find a cascode JFET diff pair in old literature from Fairchild (or Borbely or Pass)...is it's application for boosting a ribbon mic novel enough for the patent to hold? I wouldn't want to have to pitch that to a jury of laypeople.

The Coca Cola formula doesn't fall under any formal protection. It's the classic example of a trade secret, not copyrighted, nor patented. Those who know the formula don't share it. The formula is theirs for as long as they can keep the secret. Coca Cola are also notorious for enforcing their trademarks.
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