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Help buying my first mic pre amp

Discussion in 'Pro Audio Equipment' started by Bampot, Jan 1, 2006.

  1. Bampot

    Bampot Guest

    I apologize for my newbie question.

    Up until now, I have only been recording by plugging my mic directly into my digital recorder.

    What exactly will a pre amp do for me? (for vocals, acoustic guitar)

    I'm just looking for a decent one around $150 or even less.

    Many thanks for any info.
  2. TeddyG

    TeddyG Well-Known Member

    Jan 20, 2005
    Others may have actual brand/model suggestions, but, far as it goes any of them may be fine, whatever you like that seems to meet your needs. I might suggest a little - tiny even - mixer(Which, even at a low price can be fine to start and valuable for its' lifetime) could be quite good, which includes a mic preamp or more and may also be good for other inputs like your guitar or a keyboard. A mixer can give you a nice place to run your speakers out of and use headphones with, too.

    General "brand" suggestions. You need not "settle" for "cheap" stuff! I would, personally, lean-on a "major" brand, who makes very good, pricey things, but who also offers the "little stuff". You may get the benefit of some of their "major" knowledge(Lots of "pros" use little things, inexpensive things, for lots of stuff! The "big gear" manufacturers offer such stuff - usually pretty darned good!). Whatever you are considering, go online to the manufacturers site. Check out what they offer as far as "tech support". TS SHOULD be the best "feature" of all. You want to see easy access to TS, as well as lots of set-up info, FAQ's, easy/available upgrades maybe even a customer forum where the manufacturer "chimes in" to answer questions. AND, download the manual(s)! Look at it carefully! If it seems to tell you what you need to know - well written, easy to understand, describes all "features", makes you feel that if you had the thing you could set it up quickly and be "in business", the unit itself will probably be good.

  3. freelight

    freelight Guest

    I agree with Teddy. If you're just starting to get involved get ready for a huge learning curve. I would recommend starting off with a nice convinient USB of Firewire mixer and use the preamps available. You'll have to chose a peice depending on what type of applications you're going to be recording. ie: if you plan on recording drums you'll need at least 4 channels.
    I've never had experience with the Tascam US series, but they're a nice compact USB mixer with a couple internal preamps. What's nice about something like this is the "plug and play" convinience. With this Tascam series (and others) you can easily interact with your recording interface with automated faders and a ton of assignable functions (rubberbanded between computer and mixer). Another great company who seems to keep convinience and "user friendly" in mind is M-Audio. Anyways, keep asking questions and make sure you really look into what you're buying.

    Good luck.
  4. Bampot

    Bampot Guest

    Thanks for the replies - some great info.

    How about this Peavey mixer?

    Is this what I should be looking for?

  5. mugtastic

    mugtastic Active Member

    Dec 9, 2005
    but what sort of digital recorder? if it's a digital 4 track its got pre's. if it's a sound card it doesn't. i use the pre-amps in a board because they are better than the ones in my recorder. going from a cheap baord into other pre-amps wouldn't necessarily be better. in that case you may want a single pre-amp for its better sound track by track.
  6. Pre Amp

    Pre Amp Guest

    only because this is in pro audio
    It's pretty hard to get a decent mic pre, or "anything" for that matter that is worth a rip for $150 or less.
    Esp. a decent mic pre. Maybe a GT Brick would be about the only thing that many on here would call "decent" under a catgory of "pro audio".
    Not trying to discurage you. I know you said you were a "newbee"
    Just want to let you know $150 generally will not get you something better than anything else, in or under that price range.
    Good luck, reguardless

    The GT Bricks are really nice, and sound great on acoustic guitar. They are not too much more $$$ than what you propose to spend.
  7. Bampot

    Bampot Guest

    I apologize for posting this in the Pro Audio Gear section. :oops:

    Thanks for the replies.
  8. Pre Amp

    Pre Amp Guest

    No need to apologize
    Good luck reguardless.
    You might find some good ideas in the budget forum, alot of guys use budget gear. I did, for years.

    You could also, try looking at the Studio Projects SP828. It's an 8 channel pre amp. And it only cost $599. That's only $75 a channel.
    I know that is more than you were talking about spending, so how about these...
    Mindprint Envoice single channel--you should be able to find one on ebay for around $100 or so. It's a great little mic preamp. It uses one 12AX7 tube. I own 1 of them, there's also a Mindprint MKII. (FYI)
    A Joe Meek might be nice for you. I think you could get something really nice off of ebay, used. There is a lot of good deals on ebay. I know I've saved a pile of $$$$$$ buying gear, mic pre's, ect. off of ebay.
    Even if you don't have an e-bay account, look on there and find some good deals. Somebody can help you get it off ebay (friend, parent, guardian)
    Good luck
  9. TeddyG

    TeddyG Well-Known Member

    Jan 20, 2005
    The Peavey could be fine? Never used one... But...

    How about something like this? This is the type of tiny mixer the "pros" buy(Not because they neccessarily know it's the slightest bit better than the one you chose, often just for the name alone!) - and both likely work very well - certainly for the price(Actually, for some years, the little Spirit has garnered excellent reviews).

    link removed

    Note, that on this site, B&H(Very nice folks! Very nice indeed!) there are something like 200+ "mixers" listed! From 20 bucks to 20,000+++ bucks! Note also that the mixer linked, is made by(Or at least sold by) the same company that makes some of the more pricey, very pro, mixers.

    INDEED! For a hundred and a half...??? It'll be surprisingly useable - if YOU DO the best you can to pick the one that includes what you think you need - feature-wise! As my next single channel mic pre, to replace my "cheap" 500 dollar single channel mic pre, will cost from 1,500 to 3,000...? How "useable" is relative(No matter my main pre's, I will still often use my little Mackie mixer and it's pre's, for sure!)...

    Yes! The USB "gadgets"(Someone who even considers 3,000 dollar pres can call them no more(Or we feel the fool for spending such ludicrous cash on what is, virtually, the same thing - though what I buy will do f-a-r- less - capaility-wise - it will do what it does do v-e-r-y nicely..! I hope...).

    GET STARTED! Go to a local music store or the Guitar Center, or online, if you must - I'd really rather you actually SEE and TOUCH the thing you're buying! I really would... Whatever. GET something! STAY WITHIN YOUR BUDGET! OR LESS! Note companies like "ROLLS", who offer pre's/mixers for 50 bucks which are very fine! Spend no more until you really know why you are doing so!!! Whatever you DO get will be just lovely, certainly fun and educational, for now......


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