There are several mic preamps available in the market today with a good design and sound quality; there is a huge difference in their efficiency based on the price. Decent sounding preamps cost lesser while the great sounding ones are quite expensive. However, in recent times, many excellent performance new comers have been introduced to the market at a reasonable price. This post reviews the best mic preamps for under $500.
FMR Audio Really Nice Preamp
The concept of most modern microphones is to reduce the output noise levels while enhancing the output signal levels. This requires increasing the headroom of the preamp or incorporating a front end pad; FMR Audio Really Nice Preamp (RNP) does the latter to get a fabulous quantity of gain- 66 db. You can try plugging in any microphone to it and you will see that it will reach almost full potential. The other benefit of this RNP is its adequate headroom, which allows a strong signal to be fed in without any issues of clipping.
True Systems P-Solo Ribbon Mic Preamp
P-Solo Ribbon Mic Preamp from True Systems gives the best results from its antique ribbon microphones and the incorporated advanced technologies. It is designed to sit vertically thus occupying very little space; it one amongst the most portable preamps in this price range. This preamp features a microphone and hi-z input with a balanced XLR and Line out; it also includes a filter that is kept at 80 Hz and for the remaining parameters there is a phantom power knob. It has a real low end shaping and natural sound with a highly detailed sound field. P-solo ribbon preamp offers incredible sound in an affordable pack and is rated as one of the best mic preamps for under $500.
Golden Age Project Pre 73 Mic Preamp
>Golden Age Project Pre 73 Mic Preamp is modeled based on the popular Neve 1073. The user has the complete control on shaping the overall sound as there are separate knobs for adjusting output volume and gain saturation. It features a complete discrete path for signal with individual transformers for the line output, line input, and balanced mic input. GA pre 73 has a line input gain range of -20 dB to +10 dB and a maximum gain of 80 dB. This is one of the best alternatives at a low cost for pre-amplifying.
Groove Tubes Brick Mic Preamp
This is a fully featured preamp in the affordable category; it has the ability to handle condenser mics, ribbon mics, as well as dynamic mics with a real transformer power, phantom power and a gain of +55 dB. It offers balanced low impedance outputs with all kinds of instruments. The lack of a LED display is one of major drawbacks as it forces you to concentrate deeply on what input you are feeding in to avoid overloading. Groove Tubes is based on the unique ViPRE technology and comes with a one year warranty. It is a good option to be considered for studio as well as stage use.
Focusrite ISA Microphone Preamp
The addition of Focusrite ISA preamp is greatly valuable for any producer or engineer; it has the versatility of being used with a classic mic pre, laptop, or individually on a desk. ISA features a VU meter, A/D converter (optional), high-z input with modifiable impedance, and excellent cue functions. All these features make it a versatile preamp in the price range while delivering a tone with clarity and a great bass.