Top 10 Analog Microphone Preamps for Vocals 2021!
The microphone preamp is a device that prepares the signal to be processed by different gear. Microphone signals are sometimes too weak to be transmitted to mixing consoles. multi-track recorders and alternative recording devices with adequate quality.
Microphone preamps are not “100% transparent”. They’ll change the tonal core of microphones and are vital a part of the recording method. An inexpensive microphone preamps might add an extra amount of hiss if you switch the gain up. While, with a good preamp, you’ll barely hear any hiss. Besides the fact, it’s very own tonal qualities may add goodness to the recording. improving the sound.
In most cases nowadays, any low-cost audio interface features inbuilt preamps already. That does not mean you do not need an external pre-amplifier with its own phantom power. For one reason – a dedicated mic preamp like the Focusrite ISA One can give a far better sound output! If you would like to get the most out of your microphone and succeed in the best sound quality, use a clean mic preamp.
Let’s dig into the Top 10 microphone preamps that you can afford and have great results.
1. Focusrite ISA One
The desktop ISA One mic preamp with stereo cues and optional A/D device uses a similar power section found in Focusrite’s ISA 110. Also the channel strips within the million-dollar Forte studio console. With ISA One, the company improves with a completely different range of microphone gain settings and variable input. The unit measures 11.25×9×4.5 inches (D×W×H) and includes a flight case. Made for easy access, its front panel has bright backlit push buttons and a lighted VU meter.
The main input includes a four-position switch that changes microphone and line gain in coarse 10dB steps. Mic gain range is switched between low (0 to 30dB) or high (30 to 60dB) ranges. The line input includes a -20/-10/0/+10dB gain position. Each mic and line inputs have up to 20 dB of extra gain accessible from a smooth-working pot for up to 80 dB of mic gain.
The main input has a switchable microphone impedance (600/1.4k/2.4k/6.8k ohm). Also, it has a 48-volt phantom power, phase (polarity) flip, and switchable 75 Hz, 18 dB/octave highpass filter. Not to forget, an insert in/out jack for connecting an outboard processor.
The Focusrite ISA One could be a nice pick for those trying to find a nice single-channel mic preamp. With a lot of amenities that you won’t usually see in a single channel preamp. The sound is nice and the price is the better part of this. As it’s one of the most complete microphone preamps that you can notice for the worth. Definitely, worth a test drive for anyone within the marketplace. This one-channel preamp is on a budget while not sacrificing choices and quality in your audio gear.
2. The Universal Audio SOLO/610
The Universal Audio SOLO/610 is a mic pre-amp with a handle, not the standard rack-mounted kind. It has that vintage look. It’s about the dimensions of 2 long bricks stacked one atop the other. It’s a form factor roughly utilized by many different standard mono-preamps or DIs.
It is based on the initial Bill Putnam style that was a part of the first UA 610 console. It’s trendy and clean, yet in a great way in the reviewer’s opinion. It has what it must do to add the task to steer clear of any extraneous options.
I find the 610 to be a great preamp for my specific desires. It leans towards a more vintagey sort of material that could fit in every studio. It is a great microphone preamp and finds some old-fashioned distortion in it. It’s cheap value, compared to the best mono pre-amps out there, it’s a bang for the buck for your recording studio. New on the road, it runs around $800. Used they are going for around $500, which makes them a good deal.
3. Avalon vt-737sp
The Avalon 737 is one of the first channel strip boxes that were designed. It was released in the late 1990s. Once it came out, it received great reviews from various engineers and artists. It is still used nowadays on heaps of session work circling on the radio. There are many new pre’s and channel strips that have started since then with larger and punchier sounds. But, the Avalon still stands against the new ones and it brings the best out of the modern recordings.
The 737 SP combines a tube pre, an optic compressor, and a four-band equalizer. In the front panel beginning from the left, there’s a preamp gain and instrument input. An input control knobs that provide a choice of line, instrument, or mic. There are push buttons for high gain, phase, phantom power, and filter. The high pass filter features a knob that starts from 30 Hz and goes to 140 Hz. Avalon additionally has recall sheets which will be useful in remembering your settings.
In regards to the mic pre, it has two twin vacuum tube preamps designed with small negative feedback. The mic pre includes a clean but sleek sound that’s pleasant. As compared with a Neve Portico, the 737 mic pre is more even sounding and not as huge. While this is often all subjective, I still like the sound of the 737 preamps. But on its own, it lacks some of the punch or sparkle that several alternative mic preamps have.
Fortunately, the 737 mic pre doesn’t stop there. After the microphone preamp, there is a very nice optic compressor. I found up to -3db it performed well on vocal tracks and it didn’t alter the sound of the performing artist. The compressor was able to control the peaks and assist in giving an even performance and sound. As you begin to use it, the graceful character starts to get stronger in a very nice manner while you are recording.
This one is a bit more expensive than the other two, but its one great microphone preamp. Including a full channel strip after it. If you can stretch your budget and get the Avalon. You cannot go wrong with this microphone preamp for your recording studio.
4. Neve 1073DPX
The Neve 1073 traditional is among the hottest mic preamps on the earth. The Neve 1073DPX is the brand new, modern-day model of that best-selling preamp. Constructed with identical specs as the unique 1073, the 1073DPX is a really high-quality preamp that provides you with a similar sound to the original.
The 1073DPX has two microphone preamp channels. Every channel has a three-band EQ and a high-pass filter that provides warmth and depth to recordings. It’s very simple to carry out delicate details with this preamp all while protecting the spatial picture and positioning, which is what the unique Neve 1073 preamp was all about.
As it’s a modern-day model, the 1073DPX additionally provides a direct injection input, phantom power capabilities, stage meters, and even headphone monitoring capabilities. You may also conveniently plug your wires into the frontal input connectors.
5. Universal Audio 710 Twin-Finity
The 710 Twin-Finity microphone preamp for vocals from Universal Audio is an actual bargain. You get the most effective of both worlds, with tube and solid-state tones, and you’ll even mix them collectively.
The Twin-Finity has a microphone input entrance, balanced line, and instrument input to be used with vocals, bass, guitar, and extra. The 710 has a Class A FET mic preamp as well as a Class A tube preamp.
A tone mixing knob allows you to mix the chunk from the solid state with the wealthy saturation from the classic tube circuit as much as you wish to get the tone you’re in search of. The 710 Twin-Finity additionally features twin gain controls to gain stage your audio whereas throwing in additional classic coloration.
6. DBX 286s
DBX are godfathers of the audio tools and recording business. Established way back in 1971 they’ve launched numerous preamps and have been answerable for pushing the boundaries of this subject for years. Lots of their releases have been groundbreaking throughout the early days of some of the related technology and their title is synonymous with high-quality mic preamplification.
They first began only creating single signal audio tools however via varied mergers and acquisitions over time their product vary has expanded significantly. They had been best identified in the ’70s for releasing among the finest Compressors in the youth of the expertise, nonetheless, they now have a formidable and enviable back catalog.
The 286s is certainly one of their flagship preamps and it’s straightforward to see why. Identified for including an unmatched high quality and readability to vocals, particularly, it’s a vital piece of kit for singers and voiceover artists.
7. Solid State Logic Alpha VHD
Solid State Logic is a small outfit from Oxford, England that’s all concerning the quality over quantity method. Their items are at all times some of the finest and boast a few of the most spectacular know-how of any in the marketplace. That is highlighted by a few of the greatest names in music utilizing Solid State gear over time for their live sound engineering similar to Blink 182 and Depeche Mode. Their releases are additionally broadly featured within the TV and broadcast news fields.
The Alpha VHD boasts a few of the most spectacular options of their well-known back catalog resembling their flagship Duality console and constructed on it. It features Solid State Logic’s well-known VHD Pre Circuits in 1U. Wealthy harmonic distortion can be achieved through the variable harmonic drive circuit. This can be a unit filled with unimaginable and distinctive options.
By means of the preamp, your sound will probably be immaculate and flawless. Impressively, whereas retaining this clarity of output the Alpha VHD also can attain gain levels of +75db which is excellent. On the low gain end an easy, analog warmth will wash over your sound and convey out every individual layer completely.
8. ART Pro MPA-II
The ART Pro MPA-II is certainly one of many preamps on this record with the best worth. The MPA II is a 2-channel tube microphone preamp and comes loaded with skilled features to be able to offer you an enormous sonic benefit over those that don’t have this piece of gear in their home studio.
The MPA-II is extraordinarily versatile, allowing for variable input impedance to match the microphone you’re utilizing so as to get a bunch of various tube tones. The MPA II supports twin mono and stereo recording, and there may be additionally a mid-side micing switch that offers you much more flexibility when recording, which is particularly helpful when recording vocals, guitar, and even things like pianos.
You can use a wide range of microphones with the MPA-II, from dynamic ribbon mics to condenser mics because of the phantom power switch. Onboard gain management can be accessible for bringing up the levels of ribbon microphones so as to truly record with them.
9. Millennia HV-3C
The Millennia HV-3C Microphone Preamp for vocals is the preamp that you just go to when a mistake just isn’t a possibility and it absolutely should be right from the start. The Millennia HV-3C is the preamp that pros entrust for a long time.
The developers at Millennia Media provide the HV-3C as a 2-channel/stereo model of the wildly well-liked HV-3D that may be configured to accommodate quite a lot of obtainable choices. An extra input slot on every channel can house both the DC input possibility (Direct Coupled – good for Ribbon mics and all Dynamic microphones) or the +130V Input possibility which works for some particular DPA microphones.
10. Chandler Limited TG2 Pre Amp/DI
The Chandler Limited TG2 Pre Amp/DI is a recreation of the uncommon EMI TG12428 pre amp utilized in EMI/Abbey Road recording and mastering consoles within the late 60s and early 70s. The sound was used on many well-known recordings accomplished at Abbey Road including The Beatles’ “Abbey Road” and Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon.
The sound, as defined by many customers, has “heat” and punch, however with a “lovely” expanded top end. In truth, the unit does have a small rise in its top-end frequency response and some heat-inducing distortion which contributes to its sound.
All TG items require and function on the PSU-1, Chandler Limited energy supply. The PSU-1 has an inside switch for setting voltage to 120V or 220V (115V/230V).
Do you want a unit for a home studio? Are you a sound engineer working in a massive, huge budget recording universal studio? Are you a sound engineer who mixes sound for live shows and concerts? These are all questions that have to be asked once picking the simplest microphone preamp.
Do you need to check alternatives to analog gear? Here are the top 3 choices for VST preamps!
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