A microphone preamplifier plays a consequential role in what the final output of the sound will be like. You will require a preamplifier to boost your mic or musical instrument to get the best out of them.
A typical mic preamp has one mic input and output which will run one line-level. Few mic preamps have more than just one input/output containing a 1/4″ TRS output along with a XLR output to provide one with more options. This will be in addition to hi-A Direct Input for directly recording electrical instruments.
The best mic preamp can also give you the option to transmit a digital signal out of it and into your recording instrument directly through its in-built A/D connector. With this, you would be able to get a decreased noise output as compared to an analog input/output.
A preamp with multiple outputs can do the job of a signal splitter. A signal splitter can help you run one line-level output to an EQ processor or compressor and another to the recording device.
Types of microphone preamps:
Produces gritty, euphonic, and lush sound and are generally large in size with a bit heavy. Sounds outputs of tube preamps vary with the manufacturer.
2. Solid State
Produces crystal clear and crisp sound and are lightweight in addition to being portable.
Hybrid preamps contain both the characteristics of tube and solid started. You can choose either of the features or a combination of both. Hybrid preamps are considered the most versatile and produce both the sound production of solid state and tube.
I have enlisted 5 mic preamp reviews that can work great for musicians:
The FocusriteOctoPreMkII offers 8 digital channels output that come from optical port 1 with 44.1khz and 48khz. On the other hand, optical port 1 and 2 additionally house 4 digital channels with88.2khz and 96khz.
One of the best mic preamp, itsUSPs lies with its ADAT digital connectivity included as a built-in feature; which came as an expansion with the previous model i.e. the OctoPreMkI.
Compared to OctoPreMkI, the MkII includes a revamped ladder LEDs for each of its channels. As I have many users’ feedback, the previous model had a fault metering system.
Users will get the option to switch to hi-Z instrument inputs with channels 1 and 2, thanks to the availability of individual mic and line-level sources on each input. Moreover, 4 channels have 2 independent switchable blocks that produce phantom power.
Each input can carry mic and line level sources with the option to switch to hi-Z instrument inputs on channels one and two, while phantom power is provided in two independently switchable blocks of four channels, all from the front panel.
The availability of 8 channels enables users to connect more microphones as well as digital instruments becoming its major USP.Hence, this can be an apt product if its features match your requirements.
As I have studied manymic preamp reviews, Grace Design m101 is the second most popular among users. It comes in a chrome panel with a mirror finish and a curved front. Its 1U metal case with a half-width design adds more elegance to its overall design.
Two gold-plated XLRs can work together and eliminate the cause of tarnishing. Simultaneous use can be beneficial when connecting a source monitoring path with zero-latency.
m101 features discrete 11 5dB steps ranging from 10dB to 60dB for switching the gain. The front panel provides the option to toggle phantom powering although it does not come with a status LED.
There’s more. Its front panel also houses an instrument jack of high-impedance which can extend the gain range from 10dB to 40dB. Its output can be attenuated to 10dB thanks to the conducive-plastic Trim control that is also continuously variable.
Overall, I found Grace Design m101 with its single channel to perform exceptionally and as mic preamp reviews have suggested,another version of m101 gives users the option to increase the gain to 10dB.
The ART Pro MPA II is one of the best mic preamp that provides several options to users to set up:
- Convectional stereo
Being 2 channel, one performs as the Mid mic and the other as the Sides. The 12AX7 offers low and high anode voltages that produce a tonal variety.
Labeled tube warmth and LED bar-graph meters show the used amount of tube drive and is located between the VU meters.
Again, the front panel contains a high-impedance instrument input while the back panel contains a balanced XLR and TRS outputs for connecting microphones. With a frequency response extending from 15Hz to 48kHz, you can receivesuperior music and voice performance from ART Pro MPA II.
It is considered as thebest mic preamp by most users as it produces a powerful inline boom of up to -25dB gain and also provides passive mic signals.
One of its key advantages I found is its ability to provide extra gain through phantom power that many require for using passive microphones.Supporting all passive mic models as well as improving the function of microphone signals are things that Cloudlifter CL-1 does with exception.
What makesfor a superior addition to boost microphone performance is the stylish and rugged look of Cloudlifter CL-1. I would say,this model can certainly prove helpful in the long run.
Last on this list, the PreSonus Blue Tube DP V2 is another among the 5best mic preamp available in market.
You can experience rich tube saturation with its dual 12AX7 tube gain circuits. Its dual-signal paths enable individuals to dial in their tone and add a warm feel to vocals.
Moreover, superb gain and crystal clean sound are what you can receive from this Class A XMAX mic preamp. Live recordings as well as studios house this XMAZ preamp for their magnificent clean signal path that goes all the way up to 80dB.
Overall,PreSonus Blue Tube DP V2 makes for a splendid preamplifier that also comes in a 1/2U rugged chassis which is mountable.
The above were the 5 best mic preampcurrently available in the market. Choosing one from this list can get a bit difficult; however, it solely depends on your individual requirements. So, which one would you go for?