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Thread which is the best mic preamp?

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1 which is the best mic preamp?

I'm looking for a mic preamp for around $100 - $250 price range.  I'm running the M-Audio Fast Track Pro and Rode NTA-1 Mic. Windows..etc. I was considering the ART Pro Channel Microphone Preamp and Compressor (Model 215) or PreSonus BlueTube DP Stereo Tube Microphone Preamp. I'm up for any suggestions or experience with other pre-amps. Thanks in Advance.
I'd personally go with the ART preamp, but there are plenty of good options out there in this price range.  It really just depends what kind of sound you are going for, but if you're just looking for a good tube preamp to add some warmth to your sound, the ART stuff is as good as any in this price range...

I have many preamps including the ART Pro Channel. It works really well, especially the variable mu compressor (transparent). My only complaint is that the bottom end is thin sounding in a way that I can't make up for with EQ. It is still acceptable but not as good as the ART Pro MPA (I haven't tried the new version).

The best sounding inexpensive mic pre I have found is the Aphex 107. They can be found used for under $100, (at least I did)it is very good quality and two channels. The onlu time I commit to compression on record is when I have an unknown vocalist that I have to make sure there won't be any "overs". With the dynamic range that most recording systems have these days, I would be inclined to leave 10 to 15 db of headroom and bring up the level after it is recorded.


Just sticking a tube in an otherwise solid state circuit (especially with a low voltage plate) doesn't do all that much to fatten up the sound. It is a good marketing tool though. A cool way to thicken the sound is to buy a nice line transformer and wire it up with jacks so you can insert it in the channel and bounce that track to another for comparison. You can use it over and over if you do one track at a time.

Each transformer sounds different so you might want to pick up a couple different brands. The ratio should be close to 1:1 and handle up to +4 db or so. Jensens are so transparent that I wouldn't use one of them for this purpose.

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Now I might already be a little late but....

I would recommend to steer as far away from any "low plate voltage" valve devices as they really aren't adding anything positive (or subtracting anything negative in reality?) to your recording. Please consider a second hand unit, maybe a single channel device and it may be tube or solid state. For example I picked up some time ago a second hand dbx 376 and although not equal with the best UA / Focusrite / Avalon etc. etc. I do find it an excellent workhorse, and in particular when teamed with a low to mid priced large diaphragm condenser mic. Go and test some out, hopefully while using the same interface as yours and listen, followed by more listening (a bit of time listening is good). You will find what devices will work for you.