The Microphone Pre Amp

A microphone pre amp basically boosts the voltage from your instruments to your recording device. The way a microphone works is to convert the sound energy into voltage.

However, the voltage that is generated through a microphone is significantly lower than your instruments. In order to record the sound, the signal must be boosted a great deal. This is where a microphone pre amp comes into play. If you use a computer to record music, you already have a built in pre amp. Likewise, if you have a mixing board, you may also have one built in.

However, if you want to boost the sound to an even higher level you will need a separate microphone pre amp. The one that is built in to your computer is sufficient for voice but usually will not be nearly good enough for any serious music. You have a better chance at having a good one on your mixing board, though. Sometimes, though, you just want a little better quality sound.

If you do not have a mixing board, a microphone pre amp is a necessity. It is one of the core components that will provide sound quality to your music. To connect a pre amp, connect the output into the line inputs of the sound card, mixing board or audio interface. Some microphone pre amp models have digital out lines to avoid having to undergo another digital to analog conversion. The digital out lines would connect to the audio file transfer format of your interface or soundcard.

There are many different models that are available. You will need to find one that will boost the microphone signal but will not create a lot of noise to the recording which will defeat the purpose. There is a model of pre amp that is suitable for every budget. The lower end models start at a little over one hundred dollars. The higher end models will start at approximately five hundred dollars. Depending on your needs, you may want to go with a midrange lower end model then upgrade as you need to. The resale value of a microphone pre amp is fairly good and some electronic stores will even trade in your old one for a newer model, giving you credit for your old one. This is a great option for gradually stepping up equipment and also for purchasing used equipment for your first pre amp to boost your microphone.
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