The signal produced by a microphone is a relatively low level signal and needs to be amplified to ‘line level’ in order to be processed, routed and recorded. Next to the microphone itself, the choice of preamps is critical in achieving a great sound. As with microphones, there is no perfect preamp.
While every recording console has built in mic pres, many engineers favor the quality produced by outboard mic pres. Some popular mic pres, such as Neve, API, Trident, Chandler, actually originated in classic recording consoles. Many of the newer brands are based around vintage designs, with varying degrees of success. There are also several fine tube designs and a number of remarkable modern designs.
As a mic manufacturer, we’ve had the opportunity to work with many brands of preamplifiers. Here are a few we’ve had good results with, in no particular order:
- Millennia Media
- Great River
- Universal Audio
- A Designs