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June 2017 Giveaway

What Does the Tube in a Tube Mic Do?

Capacitor (condenser) mics generally reproduce a signal with low levels that need internal pre-amplification so that the mic can output a strong enough signal to survive the trip through a cable and into a microphone preamp or console preamp. In the early days of electronics, the only option was to use preamplifiers built around very small tubes to amplify the signal — not unlike how large instrument amplifiers were built around large tubes. However, with the advent of solid-state electronics, FET pre-amplifiers could be built into microphones more cheaply and solid-state mics largely took over. Nevertheless, many people still prefer the tonal characteristics of tube mics, due to the natural compression and tonal response of the pre-amplifier tube in the circuit. For this reason, many manufacturers now make tube-based microphones.

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