No it's a normal condenser, you don't need a cloud lifter, but of course phantom power is a must. All my audio engineer friends are raving about it as the ultimate workhorse mic at an unbelievable price. I have a ton of cheap mics, and have learned the hard way that it's just not worth it - it's a waste of money in the long run, just save up and buy something decent from the start. If you want a sm7b wait till you can afford it - you will get one some day anyway and then that cheap mic was just a waste of money. Better to put that money into an sm7b from the start, and you will get there sooner. Take it from someone who's learned this the hard way!The Aston Origin is about $300, so not a huge price difference from the SM7B. I wonder if thats gain hungry & needs a Cloudlifter too ? One or two Amazon reviews seem to suggest so.