Best Microphone Preamps

The 10 Best Microphone Preamps in 2019

Here are the best microphone preamps for professional recording that deliver power to your microphone and recording instruments for optimal signal output. These microphone preamps feature adjustable gain to dial in the optimal signal level and are compatible with condenser, dynamic or ribbon microphones. They also come with the standard headphone jacks and works with almost any audio or video recording app device. Furthermore, some of these microphone Preamps are compatible with iLine camera adapter cable for use with digital cameras for recording purposes. Our experts have tested numerous microphone Preamps to determine which ones provide the best sound quality and value for money. If you are looking for some of the best microphone Preamps for your microphone and studio recording instruments, be sure to check out our top picks below!

#1 Best Overall: 1K Multimedia iRig Microphone Preamp

1K Multimedia iRig Microphone Preamp

Type: Portable microphone Preamp

Inputs: XLR microphone input with adjustable sensitivity

Features: 48V phantom power for use with condenser microphones

View Full Specs: 1K Multimedia iRig Microphone Preamp

The iRig PRE is a high-quality portable microphone preamp for iPhone, iPad and Android. It has a high-quality, low-noise preamp to preserve the sound of your favorite microphones, delivering crystal clear sound performance. It features adjustable gain to dial in the optimum signal level, +48 V phantom power for use with condenser microphones, and 1/8” headphone output to allow for real time monitoring with supported apps.

The iRig microphone preamp connects through the standard headphone jack it works with almost any audio or video recording app. With the optional 48 V phantom power, iRig PRE supports any XLR microphone, from dynamic to condenser to ribbon. The 3.5 mm output returns the processed audio from your device so you can hear the final result while recording (with apps that support real-time monitoring).

You can easily mount iRig PRE anywhere you need it with the integrated velcro strip and 16″ / 40 cm cable. It runs on a 9 V battery to avoid drawing off your device’s battery. In normal usage the 9V offers 30 hours battery life, or 10 hours when using phantom power. With the optional iLine Camera Adaptor cable, you can easily connect iRig PRE to a DSLR or other digital camera to capture superior audio for video.

#2 Best Value: ART Tube Microphone Preamp

ART Tube Microphone Preamp

Type: Hybrid microphone Preamp

Inputs: Standard microphone inputs

Features: Aluminium stackable chassis, compact and reliable

View Full Specs: ART Tube Microphone Preamp

The ART Tube MP Project Series is a professional quality audio interface with a hybrid design that lets you connect a microphone, an instrument, and line level signals to a mixer or another audio input. It allows you to adjust the volume to a nice comfortable level without getting the distortion or noise hums that you might get from raising the volume in your computer’s mixer.

The ART Tube features XLR balanced and 1/4 inch unbalanced inputs and outputs and preamps with high output signal drive capability that provide you with up to 70 dB of clean gain. It has a frequency response of 10 Hz – 40 kHz +/-1 dB, a dynamic range of more than 100 db and total harmonic distortion of less than 0.05%. Additionally, it comes with an extremely low noise discrete front end, a fast FET limiter to prevent overload and precision LED metering.

It is also possible to select the input impedance through a switch and the audio interface includes a built-in low noise 48 V phantom power supply to use with condenser microphones. It also incorporates a phase invert switch as well as a high cut filter switch. The chassis is compact, stackable and made of aluminum that ensures both durability and sturdy build quality. On the whole, the ART Tube MP Project Series is both a high-quality and cost effective solution.

#3 Most Versatile: ART Tube MPSTV3 Microphone Preamp

ART Tube MPSTV3 Microphone Preamp

Type: Valve voicing tube mic preamp with limiter

Inputs: Standard microphone input

Features: Rugged all-steel construction, 1.5 lbs

View Full Specs: ART Tube MPSTV3 Microphone Preamp

The ART Tube MPSTV3 is a premium quality variable valve voicing tube mic preamp with an incorporated limiter to avoid clipping. It can accept mic-level signals, line signals, or high-impedance instrument signals on balanced XLRs or unbalanced jacks, while the output is available both on a balanced XLR and an unbalanced jack.

The frequency response is 10 Hz -30 kHz (±0.5 dB), and the equivalent input noise is -129dBA on the mic input. The dynamic range is typically 100 dB and the output level on the XLR is +28dBu. There is up to 70dB of mic gain available, allowing for a lot of headroom, and it features an illuminated moving-coil VU meter to read the output level. Separate gain controls are included for the input and output, and there’s a switchable 20 dB gain boost, 48 V phantom power, and phase reverse.

A multi-colour LED shows that the unit is powered, as well as indicating clipping/limiting. It also comes with an EQ presets knob with 15 different switchable voicings, which allows you to improve considerably the sound of your bass or synths. The amp comes in rugged all-steel construction that ensures continuous, reliable performance for years. Its dimensions are 5.0″D x 5.5″W x 2.0″H and it only weighs 1.5 lbs.

#4 Best Two Channel Preamp: ART Pro MP Microphone Preamp

ART Pro MP Microphone Preamp

Type: Two channel discrete Class A microphone preamp

Inputs: Standard microphone inputs

Features: Rugged all-steel construction, 1.5 lbs

View Full Specs: ART Pro MP Microphone Preamp

The ART Pro MPA II is a two-channel discrete class A microphone preamp. Each microphone input circuit features variable input impedance which can vary the overall performance of any high quality dynamic or ribbon microphone. It also features selectable 48 V phantom power in order to use condenser microphones.

The Pro MPA II can be configured for dual mono or stereo operation with selectable mid/side mic support, summing the adjacent channel, to decode left/right signals. It can operate at either a low or high plate voltage on the two integrated hand-selected 12AX7 tubes for wider variation of preamp tone and performance. It delivers crystal clear sound performance with low noise at lower gain settings as well as extremely low total harmonic distortion.

The large back-lit analog VU output meters display input or output levels while multi-colored LED arrays, with average or peak hold, show tube gain. The amp is housed in a standard 2 space rack-mountable steel chassis, with CNC routed black anodized aluminum face panel, which ensures sturdy build quality, durability and reliable operation in the studio, production facility, or on the road for live sound reinforcement. The ART Pro MPA II is highly recommended to people who are mixing music primarily “in the box” and don’t have any hardware.

#5 Best Budget: TNP 2 Channel Microphone Preamp

TNP 2 Channel Microphone Preamp

Type: Two channel compact microphone Preamp

Inputs: RCA ports, 2 3/4 microphone ports for variety of microphone inputs

Features: Control 2 microphone volumes separately with a simple knob

View Full Specs: TNP 2 Channel Microphone Preamp

The TNP 2 channel microphone mini audio stereo mixer is a high-quality, compact audio mixer. It is very easy to set up and has been designed for both beginner and professional users, delivering crisp and clear audio quality for your projects. It allows you to independently and smoothly control 2 microphone volumes separately for balanced audio quality. It has an input impedance of 600 Ohms and provides a mic Preamplifier gain of 50dB.

The 2 1/4 6.35 mm microphone input ports allow for a wide variety of different microphone types. You can adjust your audio quality using a simple knob with precision. A supplied adapter powers directly in to your mixer for consistent audio performance with a power source of 12 VDC. The RCA ports which are compatible with a whole host of audio equipment will ensure you always have something to hook into.

The TNP 2 microphone Preamp also incorporates points to anchor the body to a stable surface. The package includes an AC adapter as well as a set of securing screws. Its dimensions are W: 4in x D: 2.5in x H: 1.25in and it weighs 11.2 ounces. On the whole, the TNP 2 channel microphone mini audio stereo mixer is suitable to use in various occasions, ranging from DIY to DJ events.

#6 Best Portable: ART Tube MPC Microphone Preamp

ART Tube MPC Microphone Preamp

Type: Tube-based preamplifier with optical compressor circuitry

Inputs: XLR balanced inputs and outputs

Features: Tube based mic/line preamplifier with up to 80 dB of gain

View Full Specs: ART Tube MPC Microphone Preamp

The ART Tube MP/C is a tube Preamplifier and compressor that is a multi-purpose tool for audio engineering and recording. It incorporates a tube-based mic/line preamplifier with a hand-selected 12AX7a tube that provides you with up to 80 dB of gain. The preamplifier’s second stage 12AX7a tube runs on a regulated DC voltage providing an additional 20dB of gain.

Its optical (VCA-less) compressor circuitry allows for transparent dynamics control. It comes with XLR balanced inputs and outputs as well as 1/4-inch unbalanced inputs and outputs for maximum flexibility. The ¼-inch high impedance input prevents loading of any connected device making the Tube MP/C suitable for DI or line level applications. It incorporates a transformer isolated XLR output along with selectable output range for line/instrument interface levels.

The preamp has an EIN (Equivalent Input Noise) of -128dBu A-weighted, and the frequency response is 30Hz to 60kHz ±1dB balanced, with the non-transformer jack output going down to 20Hz. It features LED meters for tube warmth, gain reduction and output level as well as a phase reversal switch. In addition to that, it allows you to select the release time settings and it provides you with 48 V of phantom power in order to use condenser microphones. Its custom extruded aluminum chassis ensures both sturdy build quality and durability.

#7 Best Audio Mixer: Saramonic SR-PAX1 Microphone Preamp

Saramonic SR-PAX1 Microphone Preamp

Type: Two channel audio mixer with phantom power

Inputs: 2x balanced XLR, 2 x 3.5mm (TRS), 2 x 6.3mm

Features: Gain control knobs, line/mic/phantom switch

View Full Specs: Saramonic SR-PAX1 Microphone Preamp

The Saramonic SR-PAX1 is a two-channel audio mixer with phantom power, specially designed for mirrorless digital camera, DSLR camera and camcorder with a microphone jack. It comes with two sets of inputs, accepting signals from a wide variety of mic or line level sources such as balanced XLR microphones, wireless microphones, guitars, or any musical instruments with a 6.35 mm connector.

The 3.5mm inputs are also compatible for connecting audio devices with a 3.5 mm output such as a smartphone or an MP3 player. It also provides you with 48 V phantom power for XLR jacks and 5 V  for 1/8″ (3.5 mm) jacks, allowing you to connect various types of microphones. The input levels of each channel can be easily controlled with the dual control knobs. It features a 3.5 mm TRS output for DSLR Cameras, Mirrorless, Camcorders and more.

The Saramonic SR-PAX1 is suitable for recording professional quality audio from two sources and mixing them into your camera. It also features gain control knobs, a Line/Mic/Phantom switch, a mono/stereo Switch, a 3.5 mm headphone monitoring jack, and 3 cold shoe mounts directly on the device. It requires a 9 V alkaline or lithium battery to be powered (not included in the package). A phone jack allows you to monitor the audio in real time. Its dimensions are (L×W×H) 101.2 mm × 85.0 mm × 65.5 mm and it weighs 357 g.

#8 Best Audio Interface: Tascam US-4X4 Microphone Preamp

Tascam US-4X4 Microphone Preamp

Type: Two channel audio mixer with phantom power

Inputs: 2x balanced XLR, 2 x 3.5mm (TRS), 2 x 6.3mm

Features: Gain control knobs, line/mic/phantom switch

View Full Specs: Tascam US-4X4 Microphone Preamp

The Tascam US-4×4 is a USB Audio/MIDI interface with microphone preamps and iOS compatibility. It features four XLR or TRS (MIC/LINE) inputs, TRS analog balanced outputs and two headphone outputs, each with 45mW/ch output power. The mic input features a professional XLR connector, which supplies +48V phantom power for condenser microphones.  An additional TRS input jack is provided for balanced line-level signals from professional processors and synthesizers. The first two inputs can be switched to high-impedance for direct recording of electric guitar and bass. (Only the XLR or 1/4″ input can be used, not both at the same time.) Four of TASCAM’s Ultra-HDDA mic/line preamps provide up to 57dB of gain with very low noise and distortion specs. The audio design features high-performance, musical components like NE5532 op amps for rich sound quality without coloring the source. The US-4×4 includes class-compliant drivers for plug-and-play operation on Mac OSX and iOS devices like the iPad, and a simple driver adds ASIO compatibility for Windows. MIDI in and out are also included for connecting synths, drum machines, and controllers. The interface includes two DAW applications to choose from (Cakewalk SONAR X3 LE and Ableton Live Lite), while the package includes a dedicated AC adapter. The US-4×4 is built from heavy-duty metal throughout, so it stays on your desk even when moving mics around. The angled design desktop make viewing and operation comfortable for table-top use.

#9 Best Vacuum Tube: Behringer MIC100 Microphone Preamp

Behringer MIC100 Microphone Preamp

Type: Vacuum tube preamplifier with limiter

Inputs: Standard condenser microphone inputs

Features: 12AX7 vacuum tube with UTC technology

View Full Specs: Behringer MIC100 Microphone Preamp

The Behringer Tube Ultragain MIC100 is an audiophile vacuum tube preamplifier with an incorporated limiter that has been conceived and designed by BEHRINGER Germany. It offers high-end preamplification for all microphone, instrument and line-level sources and has been made to match your studio, live and hard disk recording setup. The balanced 1/4″ TRS and gold-plated XLR inputs and outputs gives you flexibility to use it both for studio and live applications.

It features hand-selected 12AX7 vacuum tube with UTC technology for warmth and very low noise. The sound performance has a deep and warm character with a vintage tube vibe. It ensures very high signal transparency when used as a high-end DI-box. Its high quality output limiter prevents the output signal from being distorted. It provides you with optional 48 V phantom power to use with condenser microphones, a phase reverse switch and a 20 dB pad for flexibility.

An accurate 8-segment LED level meter lets you control the volume levels of your signal, offering accurate monitoring. The design is beautiful with a vintage style and it features vintage-style knobs that let you control both gain and output. Its high-quality components and rugged construction ensure both sturdy build quality and durability.

#10 Best Vintage: Golden Age Pre-73 MKIII Microphone Preamp

Golden Age Pre-73 MKIII Microphone Preamp

Type: Integrated microphone Preamp

Inputs: Standard microphone inputs; input and output is transformer balanced

Features: Selectable 6 dB/octave two frequency high pass filter, switchable impedance

View Full Specs: Golden Age Pre-73 MKIII Microphone Preamp

The Golden Age Project Pre-73 MKIII is an one-channel premium quality microphone preamp. It incorporates vintage style electronics, without integrated circuits in the signal path: it uses only discrete components like resistors, capacitors and transistors (this is the way audio components were built before integrated circuits became available).

The input and output are transformer balanced, using two different transformers, each one optimized for its purpose. As a result, the sound performance comes out with a sound character that is warm, punchy, sweet and musical. The preamp provides enough gain to handle passive ribbon mics with quiet sound sources. It includes a GAIN/LINE mode switch, reducing gain by 30 dB in LINE mode. It incorporates a selectable two position high frequency AIR boost EQ, with 3 or 6 dB at 30 kHz.

In addition to that, MKIII microphone Preamp includes a selectable 6 dB/octave two frequency high pass filter as well as switchable impedance in MIC mode. It also provides you with optional 48 V of phantom power in order to connect condenser microphones and absolute phase control. On the whole, the Golden Age Project Pre-73 MKII has enough features to allow you to adjust it in order to get just the right amount of color, and this gives you not just a high quality mic volume boost, but another creative tool for your palette.

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