How Many Mic Preamps Do I Need? All in One Guide!


Are you up to release a new track on your own? Then the sound quality must be the best. Otherwise, no one will find it worth listening to right!

For that mic preamps are a must. But there’s another question that arises, “how many mic preamps do I need”? 

The quantity of mic preamps required is up to you. The number depends on the number of mics used. If you have a band, the number can go from 8 to 16. But if you are asking for a home studio then two preamps are sufficient. Moreover, there are different types of preamps according to your needs.

So, let’s get into the article and find which type and how many mic preamps you will need.

Why Do You Need External Preamps! 

A microphone preamp transforms a low-level signal into a line-level signal. Then it reaches the power amps before going to the output unit or power amp. 

Choosing the right cable to connect preamp and power amp can be a bit tricky. So, be careful about that.

Interface mic-ins, recording console mic-ins, and external, specialist mic preamp gear all have mic preamp hardware.

Preamps are increasingly often seen in high-quality interfaces. But surely those are not enough for recording a professional music track. If you have the question “do mic preamps make a difference”?

Yes, there are different pros of having an external preamp. Let’s have a look at the pros. 

  • Extra Mic Inputs: Using a preamp with your microphone allows you to connect it to the audio interface’s line inputs. Thereby giving you extra mic inputs.
  • Sound coloring: Most Audio Interface preamps sound quite clean and clear. To add an external tube preamp, which is noted for sounding warmer. It may help you generate a distinct sound.
  • Increased Gain: A preamp’s job is to bring the signal level up to line level. Some microphones, such as the Shure SM7B, require a lot of gains to function correctly. Which most cheap audio interfaces can’t manage.
  • Improved sound quality: At lower levels, the change in sound quality may not be as visible. Increasing the gain will make a notable impact. Preamps have more advanced circuitry and give superior headroom, noise reduction, and other benefits.
  • Lower noise: Even with inexpensive audio interfaces, most preamps are quite quiet. However, utilizing a low-output microphone to capture a quiet signal may create noise. Which may be reduced with a decent preamp.

With all that being said, here are a few types of preamps for your different needs.

How Many Preamps Are Enough to Get a Good Studio Setup! 

I hope by now you have got do you really need external preamps or not. Because your interface has already built-in preamps in it. But there are only two mic preamps on your interface.

If you have the question, “do i need mic preamp”? 

Almost certainly! A preamplifier is one of the studio necessities. If you utilize a condenser microphone that demands 48v phantom power, you’ll need to get a preamp to supply it!

Then again let’s assume you have some extra instruments like a drum set or an electric guitar. To get the perfect sound from those instruments you’ll definitely need external preamps. On that note, you might want to get high-end preamps like Mcintosh C53 or C2700, I’ve even analyzed their differences.

So we’ve established the fact that you may need the same amount of mic preamps as mics.

Now, here comes another question, which type of preamps you will need? Because there are several sorts of preamps available. And those preamps are basically for different types of sounds.

Let’s take a closer look at the many varieties of preamps. And let’s choose the perfect mic preamps as per your requirements. Before starting working on your track check out whether the smsl remote works properly or not

Channel Strips Preamps

A channel strip is an enclosure that houses a microphone preamp. As well as additional signal-processing electronics. The goal is to give everything you need to record in one easy-to-use program. 

Source: Sweetwater

It may have EQ and compression/limiting as some of its key characteristics. Like the Rupert Neve Designs Shelford Channel Microphone Preamp.

It may not have EQ like ART VoiceChannel Tube Channel Strip or dbx 286s Microphone Preamp & Channel Strip Processor.

You might even wonder what channel strip preamps have to offer? 

You get a complete signal chain in a channel strip preamps if you obtain one. For you, as a musician, this means less noise when connecting different devices. We can’t dispute the fact that it’s a lot easier to use.

Tube Microphone Preamplifier

Tube microphones use one or multiple vacuum tubes to boost the mic signal. Warm, open, and “fat” is how they sound, as described.

What about the THD (Distortion) of the high tube preamp? Fear not! Consider yourself fortunate if you come across one.

Tubes are at their best when they deform. You’ll notice that a small amount of distortion gives a nice touch to the sound. THD is a typical issue when solid-state/transistors distort the sound. 

But not with tubes; trust me when I tell you they sound incredible. Unfortunately, they are all doomed, thus the companies concentrate on manufacturing tube equipment with low THD. That’s why everything becomes linearly magnified.

Source: Head-fi

Considering how dynamic musical data is, let’s just presume they’re doing something around the peaks. You won’t (can’t) obtain full tube power if you want it. I understand how sad it is! 

On that note, you can check out these amazing tube preamps that I’ve gathered here.

As an alternative, some producers have begun to fulfill this demand using handmade preamps. It also performs admirably. 

You can check some great mic recommendations for Cajon.

Solid-State Preamps

In them, there are no tubes. Solid-state mic preamps employ transistors to boost a microphone’s signal.

The design, amplifier components and circuitry (op-amps and transistors), and transformers all help in amplification (if it is transformer-based).

Solid-state preamps provide a crisp, transparent sound with no distortion. They can also tolerate higher gain levels without distorting.

A note regarding distortion: it will be included in the recording anyway (via saturation plugins). If you don’t already have it, you may think about including it in your voice mixes.

So, go ahead and try adding some distortion to your music creatively. As a result, your original recording will be warped. 

Conservatives recommend recording everything clean and then re-amping to distort out of the box if needed. The best recordings, on the other hand, are those that start off “juicy” right!

If you’re talking about juicy then nothing beats this Peavey Decade-inspired Solid State preamp pedal, based on Josh Homme’s “secret weapon”.

Hybrid Preamps

Tube and solid-state technologies are used in hybrid mic preamps.

You may not find them as appealing as tube and solid-state options. But the idea of combining the finest of both worlds is incredible. Solid-state mic preamps with a tube stage for warmth and coloring are common.

And here’s a great example of combining the best of both worlds.

In most cases, solid-state components drive the input stage, whereas tubes drive the output stage.

As a result, you have a variety of options. Let me suggest to you some mic preamps that have been always talked about. 

You can just choose between all these best mic preamps as much as you need. These will help you to increase your music track quality.  

Don’t forget to keep your studio clean enough. So that you may work with your music in a nice mood.


Do I need an amp and a preamp?

Yes, both are required. A power amplifier requires a signal at line level, which requires the use of a preamp. Without an extra dedicated power amp, you could go from a preamp to active speakers. Because active speakers feature built-in power amplifiers for each driver. However, with passive speakers, it wouldn’t work.

Is a Preamp Required for My Condenser Mic?

Condenser mics require a mic preamp because they require 48 volts of phantom power to operate. Furthermore, because the microphones’ audio signal is weak, they require a preamp to boost it. Before it can be delivered to mixing consoles and other recording equipment.

Why Are Mic Preamps so Expensive?

Preamps and receivers of the highest quality have always been and will continue to be pricey. Because the producers utilize the most up-to-date and best-available technology. You must pay for that quality. You will find cheap mic preamp also but they are surely not worth it.


We hope you have got a complete idea about how many mic preamps do I need! 

It all depends on your wants, specifications and the number of mics you have. Just choose the preamps that blend with your genre perfectly.

So, good luck with your new creation! 

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