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How The Pros Choose Microphone Preamps

Microphone Preamps

In the audio recording with a microphone, a preamp can play a crucial role. Now you might wonder what a preamp is. It is a sound engineering device that takes audio signals and processes their quality before outputting them. Now, this can have a considerable change in the sound quality, a positive one to be specific. So even though it’s not necessary, you might want to use it. Keep reading to know how to choose the best microphone preamp for yourself.

How do you find the best microphone preamp?

When you’re looking for a good preamp, you’ll find a lot of viable options. Among them, you have to choose the one that best suits your requirements. For that, you have to consider a few things about the product. If you’re new to this, you might wonder where to start. So here’s a list of the questions you must bring into consideration:-

1. What type of preamp do you want?

There are three main kinds of preamps that you have to choose from: solid-state, tube, and hybrid. Now you might wonder what the difference is between each type. In that case, they mainly differ in their sound qualities. Now this means they can bring a significant change in how your recording sounds. So you have to choose wisely, depending on the type of quality you want. If you want a warm and smooth sound, you must go for a tube preamp. Do you want the recording to be more transparent, without much change? Then solid-state preamps would be the way to go. If you want some qualities of both types, you can go for a hybrid one. It must be noted here that most musicians seem to go for a tube preamp. That’s because it has a more suitable sound quality for their purpose. Even if there are distortions, it doesn’t cause the audio to become unpleasant. While it’s just the opposite for tube preamps. They are the go-to choice for recording nature sounds, as is preferred by some users.

2. How many inputs do you need?

In case you didn’t know, you can use a preamp for more than one sound at the same time. However, not all of them allow that. So you need to bring into consideration the exact number of inputs that’ll be suitable for you. In other words, you have to take into account the number of channels available in a preamp. For microphones, you would rarely need more than two inputs.

3. What additional functions do you need in it?

You might not be done by just recording the audio. After that, you would probably want to equalize the sound to bring out the best results. In that case, you need to take into account the functions that you need to perform exactly.

4. Does it keep the noise to a minimum?

Naturally, while using a preamp, there will be some noise added to the recording. You would want it to be as low as possible. Now, not all preamps would perform the same in this matter. So you need to make sure they do so to your satisfaction. For that, you have to test it by recording audio. Only then can you be sure about its performance. Generally, the better the quality of the preamp, the more effectively will it keep away the noise. Therefore, you would probably want to go for the best one you can find.

5. Does your microphone require power to work?

In case you’re using a condenser mic, you’ll need a power source. You might wonder how this is related to the preamp. In that case, some preamps come with phantom power. You must go for one of those to power up your microphone. Also, not all of them have this feature, so you need to take this question into account.

6. Is the preamp in harmony with your microphone?

This is yet another important thing to consider. To determine this, you have to take into account its impedance. This might be a little complicated for you. So to simplify it you can say that you have to compare the impedance of the mic and preamp. Then, you need to make sure that the figure you find for the preamp is at least 10 times that of the mic.

Some of the best microphone preamp options

After considering the questions given above, you’d want to move on to find the perfect product for you. However, you might be confused about where to look. So here are some of the best options you can choose from:-

1. API 512C

If you’re familiar with the world of preamps, you’d know that this model is popular all over the world. It essentially comes with a single input and has superb sound quality. When it comes to keeping away noise, it is unrivaled. Moreover, you can get it at a reasonable and affordable price.

2. Solid State Logic Alpha VHD

Are you looking for a suitable preamp for your home studio? Then this model would be perfect for you. The distortions caused in this one are like those in tube preamps. Now, this is a feature that no other model of any brand has.

3. Presonus TubePre v2

This is yet another great choice that you have in single-input preamps. This one comes with phantom power for your microphone and can also be used with various instruments. Considering the features and quality, it has a pretty reasonable price.


As you know now, you have to make careful considerations before choosing a preamp. Also, the products mentioned here are some of the best you can find. Other than these, there are other viable options for you as well. Hopefully, the information given here has helped you in finding the best microphone preamp for yourself.

Also Check – How to Keep Wireless Earbuds From Falling Out of the Ears?

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