The best mic preamp provide a high number of input channels, which makes it possible to simultaneously use multiple sources of audio signals, they support self-regulation functions of the user individual settings, in particular, you can adjust the degree of increase (increase) of the signal, you can turn on the low pass filter, thanks to it, you can to effectively get rid of various low-frequency noises, most modern models provide the ability to turn off the power if necessary.

Each user faces the choice of the device in accordance with their own needs, which must perform the microphone amplifier and to their own desires. When you need multitasking, it is better to look at the purchase of multichannel microphone preamplifiers, they can quickly and effectively perform a much larger amount of work than one channel or dual channel models and the very multichannel microphone amplifiers are selected to work in the recording studios, as in them there is a sound recording of more than two microphones at a time. An important point is to get acquainted with the price range of the purchase of different types of models: it is worth comparing the price range of the cost of one channel, dual-channel and multichannel microphones to amplifiers, since it’s the price that affects the number of microphones connected to the device at the same time, according to which, a particular model becomes more professional and more expensive. Users point out that, despite the higher price, multichannel microphone preamplifiers can quickly and efficiently perform much more work than one channel or dual-channel model.

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Mic preamp reviews

Single channels

DBX 286s is a powerful model with optimal capabilities

DBX 286s

The dbx 286s is a powerful model that provides users with extensive control over the microphone signal processing process when recording vocals, acoustic instruments, and acoustic sounding, mic preamps for vocals perfectly deal with these tasks.
The dbx 286s includes a microphone and line inputs, powered by a 48V battery, microphone balanced input on XLR connectors, linear balanced input for 1/4 “jack connectors, 1/4” jack rope linear balancer output Dimensions range from 105dB. The compact design (model sizes are 45x146x485mm) and a fairly small weight of 2.13 kilograms, make the model extremely popular on the market.
Users note the wide possibilities of feeding symmetrical and asymmetric linear signals, which are then used to process electronic instruments or sound material that was recorded on the tape. The insert that is installed between the microphone amplifier and the signal processing sections allows the users to connect the external processing devices, including the equalizer, to the delay, also, it can be used as a method for signaling. Users point out that it is practical to use this model for the purpose of studio, concert and general use.

Pros
  • efficiency and speed when referring to acoustic signals
  • multifunctionality
  • many inlets and compact design
Cons
  • all microphones would only appear on one master fader
  • you would not be able to set EQ, compression etc. for each different microphone

Focusrite Scarlett Solo (2nd Gen) – a powerful compact unit in the best price range

Focusrite Scarlett Solo (2nd Gen)

Looking for a model that delivers excellent sound quality? Do you want to enjoy the sound recording and you need a model that will ensure the recording of audio signals at the highest level? Focusrite Scarlett Solo (2nd Gen) is designed for you!
The model is compact and lightweight, therefore, it is easy to carry and use, and unlike older models, it can be easily exploited outside the home.
The device is equipped with 2 special inputs, which are required for using the microphone, which connects through the XLR-input, connection of electric guitars through the TRS-input.
The front panel also features a volume control and a stereo headphone out jack. The rear panel contains 2 RCA outputs. Aside from the fact that the model, as mentioned, contains 2 inputs and 2 outputs, there is a headphone output, 48V supply voltage, which can be powered directly through the USB bus, there is also a high-quality USB 2.0 audio interface – 24 bit / 192 kHz, the model is fully compatible with Mac, which makes it popular and widespread among users!
Users have set a lot of positive reviews about this model, the reviews say that this device delivers excellent sound not only in the speakers, but also in the headphones, thanks to two special inputs that are required to use a microphone, thanks to the volume control and the stereo output for connecting the headphones, this model has become extremely convenient and versatile in use.

Pros
  • modern design
  • the ability to directly feed through the USB bus
  • powerful USB-audio interface format 2.0 – 24 bits / 192 kHz
Cons
  • not iOS-compatible

ART VoiceChannel – a modern, powerful single-channel microphone preamplifier with lots of useful features

ART VoiceChannel

ART VoiceChannel provides a clear sound, which is important for high-quality work. Microphone amplification is in the range of 0 dB – +60 dB; instrumental gain is in the range of +3 dB – +40 dB; A digital section is present which is important for rapid response and adjustment of audio signal parameters, the word clock range is in the range of 30kHz – 204kHz.
Users are well-positioned to make individual flexible sound adjustments, thanks to the ability to adjust various sound parameters over a wide range of signals. Using the digital output, the USB port, the compressor and the limiter can greatly simplify the work, users add that due to these components, the phenomena of overloading the model are not allowed and there are no problems with the settings of the audio parameters, which makes this model a clean and transparent sound, which important for effective work.

Pros
  • available digital output, USB port, limiter and compressor for efficient operation
  • a digital section that allows you to make significant changes to the settings of audio parameters in a matter of seconds
Cons
  • you have to add phono-compatible output cables

BEHRINGER U-PHORIA UM2 – reliability, quality and efficiency

BEHRINGER U-PHORIA UM2

The BEHRINGER U-PHORIA UM2 model features a dual-channel USB bus, which is required for unmatched matching of digital and analog channels. The U-PHORIA UM2 is powered by a USB connection. Thanks to its built-in digital-to-analog and analog-to-digital converters, the model is fully capable of converting a 24-bit signal and a maximum possible 48 kHz audio signaling frequency. The interface of the Behringer U-Phoria UM2 model for operating on the Windows operating system requires a special ASIO driver, however, this driver is installed on most computers, its application is reduced to effective editing and audio signal changes.
Users note that the interface of this model is fully compatible with the whole range of popular software used for sound recording and signal editing; an important point is that the plug-in package needed for processing is open source for free download from the site of the U-PHORIA UM2-Behringer manufacturer. More than 160 plugins and tools can be downloaded from Behringer’s official site. Users also note the fact that the model body is extremely resistant to falls, various mechanical damage, it differs in considerable reliability, it is due to a solid metal structure.

Pros
  • dual-channel USB bus
  • XLR / TRS inputs for high-quality, clean audio read from the microphone
  • a large number of plugins and a simple, intuitive interface that is fully compatible with the full range of popular software that is required for creating and editing audio signals
Cons
  • paint flakes off
  • not grounded

Golden Age Project Pre73 JR is a professional level for affordable money

Golden Age Project Pre73 JR

The model with the console module provides a high, characteristic microphone amplification of the audio signal. The Pre-73 Jr provides a discrete signal path with a balanced transformer that produces high, shock, authoritative sound. The Golden Age Project is the compact audio device with an intuitive interface that can be used both for professional microphones (XLR connector) and for instruments such as guitar, bass, synthesizer, and other linear sources sound.
Users note such things as the ability to work with any professional equipment, including professional condenser microphones, guitars, basses, keyboards and MIDI controllers. Whatever the users connected to this device, this model will cope with it. Thanks to the Input Sensitivity Regulator, users adjust the optimum level of input gain of the audio signal to provide the instrument or microphone the required amount of audio signals and speakers to keep pace. Also, users describe the moments of preventing the submission of any third-party noise to the beep, due to the use of a new high-quality preamp with ultra-low noise, high power, the ability to invert this high-quality model for work with electric guitar, bass guitar, keyboards, various sound modules that are also flexible, customized.

Pros
  • compactness, versatility and broad functionality
  • there is a new high-quality preamp with an ultra-low level of third-party noise
  • compatible with any professional equipment, including professional condenser microphones, guitars, bass guides, keyboards, and MIDI controllers; XLR / TRS combined inputs and separate XLR and TRS output terminals are also available
Cons
  • poor quality duplicates
  • unreliable

IK Multimedia iRig – high level of pure sound

IK Multimedia iRig

IK Multimedia developers iRig have created an incredibly successful product that boasts an absolute set of new features, including the user, can individually adjust the input sensitivity.
A 3.5 mm output is specifically designed to connect headphones, thanks to which this model is ideal for efficient use for electric and bass guitars.
Each user is aware of the wide range of audio control options, which ensures that the correct sound level is obtained for the user, regardless of the way you connect to your device: iPhone, iPad, iPod, Mac or Android smartphone. The volume of the various instruments according to different mobile devices may vary. Most users have indicated that this model does not need to look for adapters for connecting the guitar, the model provides a 1/4 “connector, which aims to provide users with the ability to use a standard guitar cable. With an available standard 1/4” jack output, The user can easily connect to the iRig model, a guitar amplifier, for example, it can be used as an input without having cables or adapters.

Pros
  • compactness, versatility, and compatibility with iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac and Android smartphones
  • 1/4 “connector, which allows users to use a standard guitar cable
  • wide opportunities for full-fledged line-level sound, including synthesizers, keyboards, and mixers
Cons
  • it is not possible to adjust the genes, as a result, the user can not adjust the level of input signal sensitivity

ART TubeMPSTV3 – the Innovative device with flexible sound settings

ART TubeMPSTV3

In the model, there is an arrow indicator, as well as a selector knob for the present user. The dynamic range is in the range > 100 decibels; the range of reproducible frequencies is in the range of 1 Hz and up to 20 kHz; the coefficient of nonlinear distortion is <0,1%; An important moment in using this model is the maximum amplification of the sound, which is 70 decibels.
In addition to high-quality sound and multifunctionality, the users celebrate the innovative V3-Variable Valve Voicing technology, which boasts a simple logical functionality, which has 16 presets that are needed by users for optimized work with totally different signal sources (you can use these signal sources, such as vocals, guitars or bass guitar). Users point out the wide range of flexible individual settings that allow unprocessed sounding of signal sound streams, sound parameters, which includes a variety of settings for combiner limits.

Pros
  • V3 technology – Variable Valve Voicing
  • high technical characteristics and compact design of the device
  • the arrow indicator and the selector knob for the present user
Cons
  • some elements of the design of the model are not qualitative and reliable

Grace Design m101 – single-channel mic preamp under 1000 with wide functionality

Grace Design m101

The Grace Design m101 is a single-channel micro preamplifier that is known for its wide range of volume and ultra-wideband audio signal. The company, a manufacturer of the Grace Design m101, provides not only the launch of a high-quality, problem-free product on the market but also provides customers with a long-term support for their products.
The purpose of the embedded M + S decoder circuit is as follows: the main outputs include parallel outputs that provide functional access to the user to send the microphone source specifically to two completely separate recording devices, mixers. Each channel is equipped with a Hi-Z input, which is required to amplify the devices. Each channel has phase-shift switches (20 decibels), as well as two-color LED indicators for notification, for the user to alert.
Users have a wide range of volume and ultra wide bandwidth.
The Grace Design m101 has received high customer reviews and gained popularity among its quality, clean sound and preservation of signal integrity and the initial nature of the source signal source. This microphone preamplifier provides users with a significant boost for most microphones. In the model M101 fully functional special background mode, created primarily for tape microphones, which, without the addition of noise, shifts the range of gain by 10 decibels.

Pros
  • a wide range of volume and wide bandwidth
  • there is a background mode
  • built-in M + S decoder circuitry, width control, and dedicated XLR outputs
Cons
  • ribbon cables inside
  • needs more power

Mic preamps with 2 channels

ART ProMPAII

ART ProMPAII

Users notice the great potential of connecting absolutely any dynamic, capacitor and tape microphone, regardless of their own resistance, effective sound signal with the help of a special mode of dual mono or stereo to improve the quality of sound. Users in the reviews highlight the effectiveness of working with sound, high technical characteristics, regardless of the state of the anode voltage, whether it is high or low voltage, the model in any case provides a pure, natural, “warm” sound.

Pros
  • each microphone input has the ability to turn off phantom power
  • there are special switches with LED backlight, discrete microphone preamplifier, Hi-Z instrument input
  • extremely low noise level with high signal strength
Cons
  • flimsy construction
  • poor sound
  • file to mix inputs

Mic preamps with 4 channels

Behringer AMP800

Behringer AMP800

The Behringer AMP800 can definitely be called an ultra-compact, modern, efficient, and feature-rich model that delivers maximum sound to any user! The model is designed and manufactured in Germany.
Users leave positive feedback on this powerful, ultra compact device, with a rather interesting detail, with maximum volume, this model provides high-quality sound with virtually all types of headphones. The AMP800 provides users with 4 completely independent interconnecting stereo units intended for individual monitoring operations, including a functional volume control and a six-segment LED output level according to each channel. An important point is the device’s 6-segment LED indicator, which accurately shows the level of signal on both linear inputs, which adds considerable convenience to using this model to users.

Pros
  • ultra compact design
  • 4 stereophonic sections and 6-segment LED indicator
  • functional level regulators, balances, switches of the direction of input signals in accordance with the output sound channels
Cons
  • the body is not scratch resistant

Solid State Logic Alpha VHD

Solid State Logic Alpha VHD

The Solid State Logic Alpha VHD model contains an SSL preamplifier with a gain of up to 75 decibels. The device provides the user with fully independent, harmonious Drive systems and present phantom power.
Users leave positive feedback on the line-level sound level switch, which produces 100% analogue sound, a super-tone sound, the multifunctional model, and hardly perform any tasks and functions before it!

Pros
  • a linear sound level switch that outputs 100% analog audio
  • ultra-compact design, 4 completely independent VHD-Harmonic Drive circuits, an effective SSL pre-amplifier
  • hi Z switch, 4 “jack” functional jacks, small weight model
Cons
  • the slots are located in visually unavailable places

Mic preamps with 8 channels

Focusrite OctoPre MkII

Focusrite OctoPre MkII

The user feedback points out the positive moments in the work of the compressor, which is able to work in two full modes: the first mode is normal, the second mode is “More”, the essence of which is to provide users with a wide range of opportunities for editing and further changes in the behavior of the compressor, taking into account and in accordance to various musical instruments. Also, users point out the effectiveness of the special extra button, which allows users to make sound more aggressive and high level of software synchronization, this model can absolutely synchronize with Pro tools through the ADAT interface absolutely without any problems. Users notice the fact that this model fully works with analog audio representation, without any converters in digital format, contains the necessary inputs and outputs. The user can perform a full-fledged work with analog audio, while simultaneously performing synchronization with the software in the same mode. Also, this model has optical slots and can perform digital audio operations, according to a sampling frequency of 96 kHz, 24 bits.

Pros
  • 2 operating modes of the compressor
  • high level of synchronization with the software via the ADAT interface
  • effective optical slots for quick operation with audio tuning
Cons
  • unreliable construction

BEHRINGER ULTRAGAIN DIGITAL ADA8200

BEHRINGER ULTRAGAIN DIGITAL ADA8200

The ADA8200 has been greatly improved for high-performance and easy-to-use, high-quality sound. With eight additional MIDAS microphone preamplifiers, it is useful to connect the output signals via the ADAT protocol and then forward the sound to the XLR sound amplification channels on the front for its instant conversion, provided by the Cirrus Logic 24-bit converter.
Users notice 8 effective separate channel sections, each with a separate XLR connector, a linear input, a rotary knob, which allows the user to easily change sensitivity, as well as users point out the usefulness of the two LED indicators whose purpose is to alert the user about the presence of a sound signal and other sound parameters. There are 8 output XLR connectors on the back, and there is a digital input on the back and digital ADAT connectors – and a BNC input that is designed to synchronize. Users notice an available useful synchronization mode switch. In particular, due to this, the model can use the switch as a source of a signal that controls the external clock, an internal counter of a digital-to-analog converter that runs at a frequency of 44.1 or 48 kHz.

Pros
  • the connection of output signals via the ADAT protocol and sound supply to the audio amplifiers through the XLR inputs
  • phantom power available on all inputs, the cirrus logic 24-bit converter, MIDAS mic amplifier, which gives the user a distinct and silent input signal
  • 8 separate channel sections, each with a separate XLR connector, a linear input, a rotary knob for sensitivity change, two LEDs, ADAT connectors and BNC inputs, ¼-inch balanced TRS connectors
Cons
  • rather complicated design of the model

Focusrite Scarlett OctoPre 8-Channel

Focusrite Scarlett OctoPre 8-Channel

Microphone pre-amplifier Scarlett OctoPre 8-Channel is designed and released on the market to replace the popular OctoPre MkII model. The new version of this model has received a modern external amplifier, which is located in a high-quality, durable housing, which has a compact design and a small size, thanks to which it is portable, this model can be easily carried and easily installed in any place.
Users mark a high-quality, durable case that has a compact design and a small size, thanks to which it is portable, users can easily carry and easily install this model in any place. Most users claim that this micro preamplifier can be used both for work in the studio, for studio recordings and for live performances. The switching of the device is provided with eight microphone / line combo inputs, these inputs can also be used as instrument inputs. The output section includes eight balanced linear outputs, Word Clock input and output, two ADAT digital outputs and optical outputs.

Pros
  • 8 microphone/line combo inputs that can be used as instrument inputs
  • 8 balanced linear outputs, Word Clock input, and output, available 2 ADAT digital and optical outputs
  • a special + 48V phantom system that is used for both studio recordings and live speakers, there are PAD switches according to each channel, 2 Hi-Z instrument inputs that are designed for direct bass connection or electric guitars
Cons
  • the absence of the two phones in the front panel, like the 18i20, but in the rear panel, you can find eight analog outs that can partially solve this problem

Roland OctaCapture

Roland OctaCapture

There are ten inputs from the eighth preamplifier, ten exits, and there are also 24-bit / 192 kHz high-performance transducers that offer maximum sound levels that are not only clean but also free of any excess noise. You can individually set the level of input you need, adjust the compressor, have the ability to turn phantom power on, use AUTO-SENS for make the flexible adjustment of the overall balance by using the mixer monitoring. The device is fully compatible with platforms such as PC and Mac, which provides access to Octa-Capture with almost any device.
The model provides absolute control according to the recording of each channel, this is possible due to the powerful software interface, which screen is located directly on the body of the model. You can use the automatic AUTO-SENS function, which will optimally adjust all the sound parameters instead of the user. The model offers wide-ranging functions for changing the parameters of the compressor, the Low-Cut filter, it is performed individually on each channel, and 4 software mixers provide significant changes on the balance for specific sources of monitoring the independence of their positions.
Users note optimized, clean sound, minimalist design, a simple yet durable case, a wide range of useful features of the device that will satisfy any professional needs, such as the owners of sound studios, as well as studio performers (excellent software interface, compressor, phantom power, technology AUTO-SENS, compatibility with PC and Mac).

Pros
  • high and powerful technical characteristics
  • XLR / TS (6.3mm jack) connectors, phantom power, MIDI interface, 8 microphone preamplifiers VS PREAMP
  • versatility, compactness, durability of the body of parts and component of which this model is made
Cons
  • does not have RCA output in Composite format. Easily mitigated with TRS to RCA converter

Mic preamps with 16 channels

Roland Audio Interface UA-1610

Roland Audio Interface UA-1610

The UA-1610 is a model that has been developed to meet all modern standards for audio recording systems. The device has 16 inputs and 10 outputs, with a wide range of functionality, it is the main tool for many sound studios. 12 VS PREAMP microphone preamplifiers combined with combined jacks and high-quality converters provide wide functionality for a high quality, clean, live recording of 24 bit / 192 kHz sound from any microphone or another musical instrument. There are large technical indicators on each channel, through which, users without difficulty provide an opportunity to control the optimal, it requires the level of the incoming audio signal.
The model comes with a compressor, a low-cut filter, functional features of the phase-effect phase, and a modern, innovative sound technology AUTO-SENS that allows you to quickly and efficiently adjust all sound parameters automatically in an automatic mode.
Users point out useful combination jacks and high-quality converters, thanks to which they get wide functionalities for a high-quality, clean, live recording of 24-bit / 192kHz sound from any microphone or other musical instrument. To the advantages of the model, users note the existing compressor, low-cut filter, present the functionality of effective phase change, present-day, innovative sound technology AUTO-SENS, technology VS Streaming, 4 connectors 6.3mm, MIDI interface and microphone premium preamples of the VS PREAMP provide users high-quality, clear sound.

Pros
  • audio technology AUTO-SENS, which automatically adjusts all audio parameters in the automatic mode
  • Versatility, compactness, the device can be easily carried at any distance, and with the help of special fasteners that come with the kit, the model can be easily installed on any surface
  • flexible settings for the compressor, phase, low-cut filters on each channel
Cons
  • does not have RCA output in Composite format. Easily mitigated with TRS to RCA converter

Buying Guide

What do mic preamps do?

The microphone preamplifier is a special device, the main purpose of which is to increase the weak sound signal to a predetermined user level. Accordingly, the microphone preamplifier must be located closest to the direct source of the sound signal; the microphone, a variety of musical instruments, a sound recorder, a radio tuner, and many other musical devices can act as a signal source.

Are mic preamps necessary?

The importance of using a microphone preamplifier is as follows. These devices can change the tonal characteristics of microphone voice recordings and, accordingly, they are an important part that affects the quality of the audio recording process. The device only significantly improves the quality of recorded sound, improves its own tone quality, which significantly increases the level of recording the signal, according to this, the user will significantly improve the direct sound of the signal, therefore, one can unequivocally answer that the use of microphone preamplifier and is a very important moment for recording sound.

What is a preamp vs AMP?

Most people do not understand between preamp and AMP, what’s the difference? Everything is pretty simple, the preamp acts as an extremely low amplifier of a variety of noise, it takes a small amount of sound and performs work on its sufficient link, in order for it to be sufficient to enter a more powerful amplifier. AMP is a much more powerful amplifier, which, as a rule, carries out full control and management of various actuators (for a simple example, a speaker). Previous amplifiers are positioned as close to the input device as the microphone and others.

Inputs and Outputs

Each microphone preamplifier model provides users with at least one microphone input and one output. This allows you to efficiently and quickly perform sound quality improvement, you also have ample opportunities to optimize your amplifier. Some microphone preamplifiers provide Hi-Z (DI) direct input, it is required to record the sound of various musical instruments, including electric guitars, bass guitars and other electric tools, for their direct connection, it is enough to connect them to this input, after which you can use your microphone amplifier.
Advanced microphone preamplifiers have multiple inputs and outputs, in particular, they have an XLR output and 1/4 “TRS output designed to provide users with a variety of advanced connectivity options.

Tubes vs. Solid state

If your record contains a rude, rather aggressive sound, you should consider using Tubes or Solid State, many commercial sound recording studios offer their customers these assortments to improve the sound recording. There are hybrid micro preamplifiers that contain these two components, with the ability to select a specific component, some models provide access to two components simultaneously with their combination. This is necessary to ensure that the beep is evenly divided, for example, between vocals and electronic musical instruments or between electric guitars and keyboards. The best preamp for vocals perform roles of devices that handle vocal sound giving it the quality and purity of sound. A solid state amp usually provides a single input transformer and there are no other output transformers. In general, if you make a deep comparison Tubes vs. Solid State, these components mostly do the same things. Some manufacturers of tube mic preamp make amplifiers with a larger solid and rough sound and, accordingly, they sound richer sound than Solid State.

Channels

There are different types of microphone preamplifiers: one channel, dual channel and multichannel. When extending its own sound recording preamp for home studio, the owner will likely choose multichannel micro preamplifiers because they can quickly and efficiently perform much more work than one channel or dual-channel model. Even if, specifically now, you do not record more than 2 microphones at a time, all this may change in the future when such a need arises.