Made in the USA. Not a phrase we hear often in the audio industry any more.
When I first started in the business quite a few years ago, most well known brands made their products in places like Elkhart, IN, Buchanan, MI or Anaheim, CA. Those days are long gone. Many of those companies disappeared. Even if those names still appear on products, most are now made far away.
I’m not one to sound the bell of protectionism. I believe that fair trade is the best way for us to advance the interests of the people of the US and the people around the globe. But when I see a new product introduced that is not only engineered, but also manufactured here in the US, I'm intrigued.
I want to introduce you to such a product from Cloud Microphones. Now, the first thing you need to know about these products is their pedigree. Stephen Sank is a name with cache’. His father was Jon R Sank who succeeded Harry F Olson at Bell laboratories and worked to build upon Mr Olson’s foundation. (One of my most prized books is a first edition of one of Mr Olson’s “Dynamical Analogies” that I got from my wife’s grandfather.)
Today, Stephen continues the Sank family tradition of developing quality hand crafted ribbon microphones in collaboration with Cloud Microphones. The Cloud JRS-34 takes the next step in the legendary BK-11 and 44 series of ribbon microphones.
Cloud Microphone products are made in the Tucson, Arizona. Their website states:
“Made in Tucson Arizona, Cloud’s continued commitment to high quality, USA made, sustainable, and environmentally friendly manufacturing, has created new jobs and economic growth throughout the supply chain.
Cloud’s products are made regionally from start to finish, benefiting dozens of small businesses in the process. From metal fabrication in Tucson, SMT circuit board manufacturing and assembly on the Navajo Nation, powder-coating and finishes in Phoenix, to final assembly and testing at Cloud Microphones HQ in Tucson AZ.
Cloud Microphones partnership with Tooh Dineh Industries, which is located within the Navajo Nation, remains a wonderful and mutually beneficial relationship to this day.”
Cloud Microphones JRS-34 Active Ribbon Microphone
With lineage from RCA comes the best of the vintage style ribbon sound. Handcrafted entirely in the US, the JRS-34 combines the best attributes of vintage and modern technologies to create a high-quality active ribbon microphone ideally suited for music and voice. The active electronics of the JRS-34 require phantom power and it has an output level compatible with virtually any modern preamp. Included is a beautiful handcrafted wooden box and a microfiber mic cover, designed to properly store and clean the microphone.
The Cloud® ribbon mics were given the model number prefix JRS in homage to the late Jon R. Sank, Stephen Sank’s father (1934-1998).
If you’re not quite ready for the $1499 price tag of the JRS-34? There’s another Cloud product I’d like to introduce you to today called the Cloud Lifter CL-1. It’s a single channel preamplifier intended for use with ribbon and dynamic microphones. It provides up to 25dB of gain to mics that typically have a lower output and like to operate into an impedance that is lower than many modern preamps. Using the phantom power provided by your preamp channel, the CL-1 gives your mic ribbon or dynamic microphone enough high quality, low noise gain that it can drive long mic lines, and have an input level at your mixer comparable to condenser mics. Available today at mightymics.com.