Now that you know which microphone gives you the best response for your vocal range, the next purchase on your list should be a good preamplifier. A good preamp will allow you to control your mic’s gain and sound.
There are 2 main types of preamplifiers, tube preamps and solid-state preamps. Both use different technologies, therefore the way they work is quite different. Also, before choosing which preamp you’re going to buy regardless of the type, you should keep an eye on your mic’s sensitivity. This will allow you to determine which preamp offers the most appropriate gain and noise levels so you get the best out of your microphone.
Tube preamps are made of vacuum tubes that increase the amplitude of the signal. When it comes to sound, tube preamps will add a very special color to recordings given by the tubes itself and how they react. Tube preamps are recognized for adding a nice deep bass, having open highs and for giving a distinctive warmth to the mid-range. This warmth is provided by their great response to distortion and on how the distortion is created. On the other hand, these preamps tend to be quite expensive. They’re also often pretty heavy due to the tubes and can be quite big as well. However, this shouldn’t pose a problem if you have your own rack in your studio.
Solid-state preamps use transistors to increase the amplitude of a signal. One of their biggest advantages is that they’re very efficient as they create gain with less heat. Also, they can hold pretty high levels without creating distortion making them very stable on that front. However, once they have hit their maximum levels, the distortion is very noticeable which makes it prone to loud clips, so you must keep a close eye on levels when you use one of these. They are usually cheap and tend to be small and offer a variety of prices and sizes so you can find a portable one if you are the traveling type.
Do you own one of these? Do you have a preamp yourself? Which one do you prefer? Share your thoughts on them with us!
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