The preamp is a very important part of your whole recording equipment. It plays a significant role in what your final sound quality will be. And while the basic purpose of a preamplifier is to boost a low-level microphone signal, there are plenty of other things to consider if you want to get the most out of your mic.
Your first consideration should be how many channels of preamplification you need. Here at Sweetwater you can find preamps featuring anywhere from 1 all the way up to 32 channels. If you are a beginner, a single or dual channel preamp is a solid option, but if you're growing your studio (or even thinking about it), check out a multichannel preamp. Even if you don't need the extra channels now, you'll may need them later.
Do you know what type of circuit design you're looking for? We carry three main types " solid state, tube and hybrid. Your preamp's sound will mostly depend on which circuit design you choose. Tube preamps will definitely add a significant amount of color to your sound. They usually add warmth in the midrange, bass in the lows and air in the highs. Solid state preamps have great performance and high transparency, with minimal distortion at high levels of gain. If you're not a fan of either of these options, try out a hybrid preamplifier. These preamps combine the best of both worlds " they have minimal distortion and give you lots of clarity like solid state preamps, while still retaining the rich harmonics of tube preamps.
Remember to consider your number of rack spaces. Sweetwater carries preamps from half a rack space up to 4U.
What about phantom power? Sounds exciting, doesn't it? Phantom power is an option of powering devices which sends DC power back through the same cable that carries your audio signal.
Do you want additional sound-shaping controls on your preamp? Go for one with an EQ. This allows you to adjust the volume of individual frequencies. For example, you can add some bass to your sound without affecting other frequencies.
Finally, remember to double-check the technical stuff. What inputs and outputs will you need for your preamp to play nice with your other equipment?
If by this point, preamps are seeming more complicated than you realized, fear not. Call our Sweetwater Sales Engineers, and we'll get you the best preamp for your studio. Learn More
Sweetwater's Sales Engineers are regarded as the most experienced and knowledgeable professionals in the music industry, with extensive music backgrounds and intense training on the latest products and technologies. They are available to offer you personalized product advice any time you need it.