You may recall some months ago Dan did an excelent review of the Cloudlifter CL-1 Mic Activator.
I’ve had the CL-1 on my shopping list for some time and then last week Neil pointed the team to an alternative the TritonAudio Fethead high-end in-line microphone preamp.
So we contacted TritonAudio and they sent us both the TritonAudio Fethead and the TritonAudio Faehead Phantom, the only difference between the two units is that the latter allows for phantom power to reach the microphone.
The TritonAudio Fethead
FetHead is a low-noise, high quality, in-line microphone preamplifier. It provides improved sound for Ribbon and Dynamic microphones. The electronics are housed in a robust metal chassis with a balanced 3-pole female XLR input and a balanced 3-pole male XLR output, rugged enough for use at home, in the studio or on tour.
FetHead is available in three versions
Fethead: A regular version for Ribbon and Dynamic microphones
Fethead Phantom: A FetHead for Condenser microphones
Fethead Filter:A FetHead with high-pass filter for Ribbon and Dynamic mic’s
The TritonAudio Fethead In Use
The TritonAudio Fethead Tested
As I use a Shure SM7 for all my voice over work I decided this would be an ideal candidate for the test, it’s a dynamic mic that requires a significant amount of gain and therefore the noise floor can also be lifted when using it in recording.
I decided to run the test using an acoustic guitar as TritonAudio claim that some microphones using the Fethead “sounds more responsive over a broader frequency range.” An acoustic guitar has the need for such a response and so I considered this an ideal victim for the test.
TritonAudio Fethead Review - The Results
Rather than trying to describe the results in detail I’ve created audio examples of the recordings both with and without the TritonAudio Fethead. Two examples are the entire recording and two are simply the end with the fade so you can listen for noise in both examples. The main thing to say is that with the Fethead the need to increase gain is greatly reduced, for example to achive the same volume for speech using my Apogee Ensemble the gain required without the Fethead was 60db, whereas with the Fethead was 27db, of course it is a preamp so this is somewhat stating the bleeding obvious, however the noise was greatly reduced and as claimed the sound did feel more open and responsive, so the Fethead does assist in getting the required gain from low output microphones without increasing noise.
TritonAudio Fethead Review - Summary
Dan will be running and A/B test on both the Cl-1 and the TritonAudio Fethead in the coming days, but my own feelings are that the TritonAudio Fethead does what it says on the tin, futhermore it is half the cost of the Cloudlifter CL-1, so unless the A/B test that Dan runs reveal a significant difference between the two units, then the TritonAudio Fethead is a no brainer. If you need such a thing then check it out.
TritonAudio Fethead Features
Low noise Class A JFet amplifier
double single ended amplifier topology
Lots of headroom
18-48 v phantom power