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Cathedral Pipes Micro-Amp for Passive Mics

From Cathedral Pipes, the Durham Micro Amp Buffer, designed to add up to an additional 25db of clean, transparent gain for all passive microphones.
It uses typical 48v Phantom Power - found on most mic preamps - to add more db to low-output passive mics, which often require ramped-up gain levels to work at their optimum, and that many lower end preamps don't usually have available.
An example of a passive low output mic that would benefit from this would be the Shure SM7B, which is a great sounding dynamic mic, but is inherently low in output, as well as many Ribbon mics, which also require a significant amount of gain - that most cheaper preamps usually don't have enough of.

This appears to be similar to the Cloudlifter, except that at $65.00 (U.S), it's much cheaper ( the Cloudlifter retails at $149.00)

From CP:

The simple "XMB" technology used inside is the same circuit found within our new Ribbon microphones. It is found to both improve SNR for all passive microphones and provide a fixed impedance to the Ribbon Mics.

Features
Uses 48V phantom power found on most preamps.
2 LSK389 J-Fet matched pairs.
Works on all Passive Microphones
Ideal impedance loading for optimal performance @3Kohms
Rugged and very compact.

Made entirely in the USA.

MSRP for The Durham Micro Amp is $65.00 ( U.S.)

http://www.cathedra…

FWIW
-d.

Comments

kmetal Sun, 12/20/2015 - 15:54

Didn't know they made such a device. I've used the sm-7 with a calrec and a eureka. While I had to put the gain higher than typical, I didn't notice it weak in any way. This was for vocals. The pres are fairly quiet, but at 30years old I wouldn't imagine a newer pre being much louder than the calrec as far as self noise. Even my art vla rack pre was almost silent except at full blast. Maybe I just don't have enough experience w the sm-7b.

Davedog Tue, 12/29/2015 - 22:15

All of the parts and components including the cases are made in-house. All are of the highest quality. Charles' whole point is to build something that sounds like it should, will last a lifetime, not cost an arm and leg, and look cool in the process. I have two and its not out of the question there will be another.

DonnyThompson Wed, 12/30/2015 - 02:39

I've never heard anything bad about CP; to the contrary, they've developed a reputation for doing exactly what Dave has mentioned.

I think the availability issue is more about the fact that they aren't shopping out their assembly jobs to outside fabricators... they do everything in-house, which is great, because they set their own quality control and can oversee it personally, and that insures a well-built product.

But, there is a downside to this process... especially with a smaller company that has developed a reputation for making great products - and that's the inevitable back-orders that can ultimately occur, because they don't have 5,000 Third-World human robots being paid a dollar a week, working 24/7/365 in a tar-paper shack, cranking out a product that is often inferior due to those aforementioned conditions.

We have to try to be something that most of us have forgotten how to be, in this modern world of "I want my oompa-loompa now", instant-download, "microwave a full meal in 30 seconds" type of lifestyle that we've all become so accustomed to ...

...we have to be patient. ;)

d.

kmetal Thu, 12/31/2015 - 19:58

Just for the sake of playing devils advocate. The one thing about handmade stuff is it can vary in sound. Sometimes a lot sometimes a little. Cp is probably very meticulous and stringent so I would expect a consistent quality, especially given than they aren't nationally branded and available at major retailers.

I did have two different Mesa boogie triple rectifiers both were handmade, although not boutiquey, and were from guitar center. Those amps, while both sounded like rectifiers, sounded very different. This I'm sure is due in part to the number of people putting them together, and less stringent parts sourcing. I guess what I'm addressing is handmade can mean different things.

That said I'm jealous a bit of Daves mics, and I like to see companies like cp and bees neez and Wes dooley, and that guy in the carolinas making the Neumann type mics (who's name escapes me), keeping things going against the Harmon monster.

One thing I do wish was for a bit more innovation. It seems everything is based on a 'classic' design, mainly neumannn/telefunken/Akg. Royer kinda took an old thing with a bit of a modern spin, and I hope to see more of that.

Davedog Thu, 12/31/2015 - 20:29

There are extremely modern innovations in the Cathedral Pipes mics. Some of which, which I won't discuss here, can bring a large outcry of "snake oil" which I guarantee it is not. It is amazing that most of the circuits used in the very best gear are things that were designed when there wasn't anything like a solid state circuit.
As for Charles' mics, they are very very consistent from one unit to another. Not to be a shill but until you have experienced what they bring to the table you can only read the many many glowing comments here and other places and take my word for it, They are truly 'high-end' in every respect.

I realize this is an old thread but I had to chime in. I had 1 of the Cathedral Pipes line amps and the first mic I tried it on was my SM7b. I had used the SM7 with my high gain preamps like my AEA RPQ and it was quiet and well boosted....but...somehow the un-eq'ed richness and power the CP line amp brought out made a believer out of me. As soon as I could I ordered another. Had to wait a bit for production but when it arrived the second one was identical to the first.

Since I already had a 2 channel Cloud rig and a couple of Triton line amps I haven't ordered another. As I write this I believe I will likely sell these to finance more CP amps. I'm thrilled to see others speak so highly of the Cathedral Pipes as I only stumbled upon them and hadn't heard much if anything about them.

No I am not a shill, just a true believer! I'm strongly considering having a conversation with Charles about customizing a tube mic for me thanks to Davedog's enthusiasm about his experiences with the company and thier products. And Donny; ditto to everything you said!