DJ Equipment for Sale: Choosing the Right Preamp
A preamplifier, or referred to as a preamp, is just one of many tools a musician needs in order record with a microphone. At it’s core a mic preamp is able to amplify a weak signal that comes from the microphone when it’s in use. It boosts the line level, and this makes the audio easier to record on any recording device. A preamp increases the line level, but also provides a stable gain as well.
When you’re using a microphone without a preamp. Trying to make a recording will result in either low levels or no recording audio at all. The signal coming from the microphone is too weak. It will most likely be completely unusable and distort the sound to the point where it becomes unrecognizable. So choosing the best preamp to fit your needs and to give you the best sound as possible when paired with your microphone is very important.
Types of Preamplifiers for DJ Equipment Packages
There are three types of preamps you can choose from. Each one is different and meets different needs. There is the tube, solid state, and hybrid preamps. When picking one it comes down to how compatible the preamp is with your microphone, and the type of sound you’re going for.
Tube preamps are based off of vacuum tube technology. They’ve been around ever since the start of recording technology. While it may seem that tube preamps are a representation of a bygone age of old technology, many musicians still prefer the tube preamps to amplify the signal in their microphone. Due to the tube being built directly into the preamp.
Solid state preamps on the other hand are more updated in terms of technology. They are transformer base, but add less color to the audio being recorded. However, the audio recorded using a solid state preamp is more accurate. One of the major differences in the distortion this preamp adds to the recorded signals.
Hybrid preamps on the other hand are simply a combination of the two previous preamps. So you can get the best of both preamps, but with varying results.
Distortion is Usually the Deciding Factor for a Reliable Preamplifier
Distortion can be one of the key issues to help you determine whether a preamp is right for you or not. When you run out of headroom on the circuit, which is when the output voltage extends beyond the power capacity of the supply voltage, is when you will experience distortion. In most cases, distortion with the solid state preamps can be highly unpleasant. It can even end up ruining your entire recording too.
Distortion that is caused by tube preamps on the other hand is not quite unpleasant to hear. In fact, it even adds a little character to the sound you’re recording. It has been one of the key factors of why people prefer go to with the older style of preamp instead of the newer models. Tube preamps have a reputation for always delivering high quality sound and are able to even out those high voltages.
The type of preamp you choose is based solely on your preferences. When you’re presented with two high quality choices. It can be hard to decide which one is the right fit for you. Vocalists tend to go with tube preamps to give the sound a fuller and richer quality. The tube preamp also produces a certain clarity to the vocals as well. State preamps can be uses for vocals too, but causes them to sound flat and thin in comparison to the tube preamp.
Musicians on the other hand who play the guitar or drums. Prefer to use the solid state preamps because they are able to catch each guitar pluck or snare hit without missing a beat. Tube distortion is very pleasant with vocals, but garbles when it comes to a speedy instrumental being played. Making the solid state preamp preferable to musicians over the tube preamp.
When picking out a premap, you may want to take into consideration how much the preamp is adding to the sound overall. You can do this by doing a recording of test audio to check. A good preamp is supposed to be quiet, and should not have any noise that is noticeable. Even when you begin to reach higher levels.
The quality of the preamp also depends on how good your sound is going to be. High quality preamps will of course always be one step above the lower quality ones. Better designed preamps have a better sound quality and will improve your recordings overall. While a lower quality preamp will not perform as well, and may even mess up your recordings too. Forcing you to either do them over or mess with the settings to get your recordings to sound better.
Overall, the best preamp for your microphone does require a bit of testing. It’s always good to do test audio if at all possible when it comes to preamps. Each preamp is better for certain recordings, and not highly recommended for others. If you’re a vocalist you should consider looking into a high quality tube preamp. If you’re a musician, be sure to try out the solid state preamps to get the most out of your recordings. You will have to do a bit of tweaking to find the right settings for your preamp.