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AAA Music | 15 April 2021

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How to Choose the Right Mic Preamp for You

| On 12, Sep 2020

With the ‘stay at home’ campaigns triggered by Covid-19, owning a home recording studio has become the new trend. Well, it’s never easy as you are needed to invest in the necessary equipment, the mic preamp being one of them. If you are reading this piece, then the chances are that you have heard the good things that come with owning this equipment, but you aren’t sure how to acquire one. In this article, we shall continue to give you hints on finding a mic preamp that suits your needs.

Consider the Price Tag

With the current harsh economy, there is a need to watch out where every dollar is spent. Therefore, when buying your first mic preamp, you should consider the cost. Today, the market is filled with different brands. So, there is a chance that you willalways find one that matches your budget. The specialists of suggest that you consider checking reviews for the best items in the market. With a review, it will be much easier down your search based on the features you are looking for and the far you are willing to spend. There are plenty of options below the $100 mark that you can utilize as a beginner. However, if you are looking for perfection, be willing to spend a fortune. 

Consider the Inputs and Outputs

Why do I need a mic preamp? If you are new to the world of music, you must be asking yourself this question. Well, this is a unique device that helps boost a weaker signal to line level. It has a trim/gain potentiometer that helps get the job done. When choosing the right device, you must therefore consider the inputs and outputs based on how you intend to use it. 

Most of these devices come with one input and one line-level output. That can serve for starters, but you may consider those with hi-Z Direct Input (DI) if you need more functionality. Such can work better if you record guitar and other electric instruments often. When it comes to output, you may consider those with more than one output. This will allow for more connectivity. For instance, you can use the device with multiple outputs as a signal splitter. You may also want to consider the A/D converter. This feature means that you can run a digital signal out of the microphone preamp directly to your recording device. This can significantly help boost your music career.  

Tube vs. Solid State Mic Preamp

Picking the right mic preamp is based on the kind of sound you want, and this brings us to two common options (tube and solid-state). Often, tube mic preamps are referred to as old school as they run on vacuum tube technology and have been there for decades. Although old, they are still liked by many musicians. Solid-state preamps, on the other end, are modern and are transformer-based. The big difference between these two models is that solid-state preamps add less distortion to what you record, plus they are more accurate. The good thing is that if you are looking for a taste of both old school and modern, you can invest in a hybrid preamp. This is a combination of the two technologies. 


Another essential factor to consider when buying your first mic preamp is impedance. This is simply the measure of restriction in altering circuits (AC). You must know that every microphone has its range of impedance, ranging from 50 ohms to 2000 ohms. Hence, you must choose a preamp that rhymes with your microphone in this case. Specialists often suggest that you invest in a preamp with an input impedance range around ten times greater than the microphone you are using. 


When we talk about channels, we are not talking about your favorite TV channels. The channel in this setting defines the number of tracks you can record using your mic preamp. Every preamp that the market has to offer usually has a set amount of channels. Every channel will define the number of tracks one can record simultaneously. For instance, single-channel preamps allow you to record one track at a time and are ideal for one-person bands. You can consider dual-channel and multiple-channel preamps if you are looking for more functionality. When it comes to the track number, some preamps come with a channel splitter, a device that provides additional features on top of the ability to record multiple tracks at a go. 

Microphone preamps are essential when it comes to establishing your studio. With the market flooded with plenty of options to choose from, finding the right device may sound complicated for first-timers mostly. Luckily for you, this article highlights the most common features to consider when buying this particular device. The guide should help you narrow down your search.

Happy recording!