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cost-effective upgrade to m-Audio MobilePre ??

Member for

21 years
Greetings -

Newbie here.

I've got an old homegrown PC (Athlon XP 2700), Audacity, an SM58, an SM-57 and an AT-2020. Just recording vocals, guitar & mando. Perhaps some keyboards. If I watch my room positioning, I can occasionally get a decent recording of my wretched performances, but there's more background hiss than I'd like (samples at

I'd like to think that it's the M-Audio MobilePre that's the weak link here and, if folks agree, I'd welcome suggestions for new or used cost-effective upgrade for the mic preamp / DAC part of the chain.

2 channels ought to be plenty, and the AT2020 needs phantom power. I could see spending $500 if the end-of-year bonus is kind, but $200-$300 is more realistic. And, if it matters, I have a FireWire card in the PC.

Thanks kindly.

- Richard

P.S. - If folks don't agree that it's the preamp, what might be introducing the hiss?


Member for

21 years

Member Wed, 09/17/2008 - 08:10
ShadowFox4122 wrote: I would assume that your mic's would be causing the hiss. If the gain is cranked, your going to get a lot of hiss from the room. Try micing close if you can.


Hmmm. Gain knobs are typically at 2 o'clock or so. If the mics were any closer, they'd be hitting the strings and I'd be choking.

Recommended solutions? I'm certainly willing to upgrade to (say) an RNP, but then I'd need an analog to digital converter. Sadly, I don't currently have $800 kicking around for (say) a Lucid 9624 / RME ADI-2 / ... .


- Richard

Member for

15 years 10 months

hueseph Wed, 09/17/2008 - 08:28
It's definitely the preamps. As "quiet" as many of these budget units claim to be, they're not. I would invest in a better preamp. In this case, almost any mid level pre would be an upgrade. Consider that the pre's in that mobile pre probably cost less than $20 when you weigh in the cost of the unit as a whole($99?).

Unfortunately the price of a reasonable preamp quickly jumps from $300 to well into the thousands. The only pre that seems within your price range is the Art MPA Gold. I'm not a fan of ART products but this one seems to be well spoken of.

I would do a careful comparison and return it if it doesn't work out.

Member for

15 years 10 months

hueseph Wed, 09/17/2008 - 09:16
You could use the mobile pre's line inputs or you could get a Delta 44 which should run around $150. Balanced line level inputs.

Onother note, when you get to editing, try to edit out as much dead space as possible. In the old days we used to do this by timing and or automating mutes on the mixing console. Noise is cumulative so anything you can do to lessen the signal to noise ratio will help.