Preamps Buying Guide

Tubs vs. Solid state preamps
How can multiple preamps help my studio and me?
Why some preamps more expensive than others?


While a person learning a musical instrument like guitar, they primarily focused on how to play the instrument where as the effects or commonly known as FX is a secondary learning factor. An effect can be distorting, bass effect or some other kind of symphony. Buying a effect or FX box I a great way to spice up your music, but if you want to boost your effect, you must have a preamp; preamp is the first part of the whole word pre-amplifier.

Now the question is- which gadget should I purchase? a preamp or a channel strip? Well, it is a difficult question. You must decide, in which purpose you want to use your gadget. Both the gadgets had some advantages and disadvantages. A channel strip is a combination of signal processing tools including a preamp, compressor, EQ, enhancer as well as, it may record the vocals. In short, it is a convenient and cost effective tool for professional vocal recording. On the other hand, preamps convey the signal into recording devices followed by EQ, Compressors and other processing devices. It is rather costly and need lots of experience to manage everything efficiently. The main reason of the channel strip’s popularity is – different manufacturer develop their products with different sound variations. Not only that, two different units can create very unique sound.


Tubs vs. Solid state preamps

There are numbers of musicians and sound engineers ask the question – does the tube sounds better than solid-state preamps? But to be very frank – the answer is not very much clear. Here are some basic features, hope that will help you to take proper buying decision –

First things first, The quality issue – a poorly designed tube preamp definitely sounds bad, equally a poorly designed solid-state preamp make bad sound similar to previous. It is a simple quality issue. If both of the properly designed, with low distortion through their normal amplitude range, only then the difference will clear to you. Usually, solid-state device tend to abruptly transition from low distortion to extreme distortion.

In tube preamps, the distortion is even order harmonics with the second harmonic dominant. In short, it will make your instrument more musical. Additionally, it will add a musical component in your music.


How Can Multiple preamps help my studio and me?

Well, the microphone and preamps usually used in recording integrated with mix console. Here is some key points you must consider –

- Single high quality preamp can give you much better recoding and music experience in a effective manner.

- Numbers of preamps can provide you a most advanced and robust tool for recording vocals, guitars and other instruments.

- Preamps can handle numbers of microphone. There are numbers of preamps available in the market, which has the ability to do that such as – Avalon AD2022 and many others.

- Remote recording using preamps – some symphony orchestras using 2-chennel preamps like – Amek/Neve 9098 DMA for more microphone intensive environment.


Why some preamps more expensive than others?

The reason is not just one, there are numbers of factors can affect the preamp’s price. Better peripherals, overall quality and of course a great brand has a great price. Maximum quality preamps manufactured with gold plated connectors. Enhanced electronics parts and liable for the cost. Like excellent quality of – resistors, capacitors, inductors, connectors has a handsome price. So, if a product manufactured with those goods, surely it cost high than others.

Finally, what you must look before purchase one? If you need it for vocal recording, you must check the following issues – impendence, gain and phantom power etc… apart form it, if you need it for recording instrumentals, you must check miking approaches.