If you are thinking about extending the family members of your studio and buying a preamp, there are a few things that may or may not cross your mind and thing that you should consider before going ahead with your purchase. When you will go through Google, you will realize that there are hundreds of preamps available in the market, but which product will determine your requirements is the hard question to answer.
A preamp’s role is crucial in creating a quality sound. The job of a preamp is to take an audio signal from an instrument or microphone and it a sonic like definition and shape before that is signal is amplified further for output through speakers and headphones or audio processing. This may sound a very boring task but if you are sound fanatic, you know exactly how much warmth, immense character and dimension can be added to your audio playback by a preamp.
A preamp is more than some knobs and controls. It is a complete software that is designed to provide you with optimized sound quality. There are certain things that you must keep in mind before you go ahead and buy your product. Following are a few tips that you can consider before you go ahead and look for a preamplifier.
Is It What You Need?
A preamp comes with numerous specifications and usage guide. You should know the exact reason you need your preamp for. If you want It for outdoor sue, the product specifications will be different and if you need it for studio use, the specifications will be different again. Make sure you choose the right preamp according to your requirement.
Your product needs to be cost effective and budget friendly. If you are willing to spend a lot of budget on your preamp, make sure you are buying a quality product that will last for years to come. Do not spend too much on something that does not provide you long lasting guarantee.
Have A Look Around
Once you have stepped into the market or have searched online, you will know all about the available products in the market and which product suits your needs best. Compare different products with one another and also find recommendations. Google is filled with feedback and product suggestions. You will always find something useful that will answer your queries. After comparison, choose the product that fulfills all your requirements and it is in your budget as well.
So, these were a few key points that you need to keep in mind before buying a preamp. If you are looking for recommendations, following are a few preamps that you can buy under $500.
Best Preamps Under $500 (Comparison)
|Warm Audio WA12-500 MKII Preamp||2.3 lbs||Check Price|
|Cambridge Audio Solo MM Phono Preamp||1.5 lbs||Check Price|
|ART VoiceChannel Preamp||13 lbs||Check Price|
If you are looking for something economical and topnotch, WA12 is your key to success. This is lightweight, a small piece of technology that could have a great impact on your sound quality. The product is level 1 preamp and performs great when paired with the right products and used the right way.
WA12 is designed exclusively to turn plain sound into exciting piece of audio production. The product comes with 2 Meg Ohm True HI-Z on the front panel that sends instrument signal through the entire circuit including both Cinemag transformers and the discrete operational amplifiers. The product is easy to use and does not take too much time of the user as well. The tone button switches the input impedance from 600 ohms to 150 ohms and also changes tone of both, HI-Z inputs and the mic.
This is a 1731 style operational amplifier that is of high voltage. the product literally takes little to no space and it is very easy to carry with you. warm audio provides one of the best preamps that are available in the market and this product is surely one of their best productions.
If you want something easy to use, comes in high voltage and provides you with a clean and clear sound, you can surely go ahead and buy WA12. It is of great use, comes in highly affordable price and since we are doing an article of best preamps under $300, this one surely had to be on top of the list. You can check out its specifications with more clarity on Amazon and it’ll help you understand the weight and delivery process of the product better.
Like all other products, it also comes with a few pros and cons and some of them are enlisted below.
|High Voltage||Does Not Offer Extensive Features|
|Easy To Use|
The product is of high voltage, comes in great condition, it is easy to use and is performance-oriented. It is a recommendation for all those who want nothing less than a not so complicated preamp for their audio system.
Solo MM phono amplifier provides you with fast responsiveness, low-noise operation and excellent precision. This one of a kind preamp plays with clarity and warmth and now you can hear the countless sonic waves by using a dedicated phonostage for a song with the Cambridge audio solo MM phono preamp. You can wire the warmth, naturalism and dynamics from vinyl LPS. This duo consists of a cutting-edge switch-mode power supply for high output, fast responsiveness, low-noise operation and excellent precision.
For the PCB board, Solo preamp comes with surface-mount technology that results in black backgrounds, cost-belying accuracy and short signal paths. The construction of steel-and-aluminum construction exudes elegance and stability. Solo also lets you have and save more money to spend on records if you are not interested in moving-coil compatibility. The ultra-slim Solo makes high-end analog magic affordable and addictive not to mention the clarity and sleek playback offered by this device surpasses many built-in phono preamplifiers.
The product also allows you a compact overall design with short signal path that is an advantage of the switch-mode power supply and surface mount technology. This feature also guarantees you greater precision, lower background noise levels that are free from all the humming and noise that can badly corrupt vinyl’s delicate low-level signals, and a faster response in reduction. Cambridge audio employed smaller transformers while improving or maintaining power-output levels by specifying switch-mode power output levels. For improved energy efficiency this preamp features switch-mode power supplies and software control. If unused for 20 minutes this preamp switches to standby mode.
The product is all about delivering some amazing sound from your records. All these features make this product one of the best options if you want to buy a preamplifier on a budget. The product is just simply there at every point if you pair it up with the recommended devices. Solo is one of the most affordable preamps that are available in the market today. You will not be able to find any other circuitry and specification of this price. This is a tight, heavy little machined aluminum box that really fit the bill for you and once you buy, you won’t be regretting your decision to spend money on this purchase.
Like all other products, this one also comes with a few pros and cons as enlisted below.
|Affordable||None That We Could Find|
Highly affordable, provides sleek playback and great warmth. This preamp should be on your list if you are looking for style, quality and performance all at one place.
To all your recording and computer audio interface needs, the ART VoiceChannel is the answer to your prayers. The product is built to provide all in one input solution for digital and analog recording. A true second generation discrete class-A microphone preamp, the ART Voice Channel is capable of providing a clean quiet gain while it maintains incredible transparency. The Voice Channel’s semi-parametric EQ offers you with wide tune-ability and it comes with an integrated full variable powerful dynamics processor that subtly controls noise and transients of the most demanding sources. If you require added versatility, you can patch the EQ before or after the dynamics processor while separate insertion jacks allow you quick quiet in-line connectivity to external signal processing gear immediately after the Mic preamp before the EQ and dynamics processor in the signal path. There is another patch point that exists right before the A/D convertor.
ART Voice Channel provides you with a wide range of outputs to switch from that include 44.1 KHz to 192 KHz AES/EBU, S/PDIF, ADAT and USB. Audio levels of both analog and digital meters is also provided by detailed indication. For any recording application in the world, ART Voice Channel features and ideal input solution. The product is a tube microphone preamplifier that comes with selectable plate voltage and offers you with variable input impedance, definition from proven ART Tube Preamp design, exceptional warmth, smooth sounding dynamics control that include expander, compressor, de-esser, selectable pre or post compressor in signal path, gate powerful parametric EQ and flexible digital connectivity that includes ADAT lite-pipe, EBU, AES, PDIF and TOS. The digital output supports 44.1 to 192 Khz and you can connect the USB directly to the computer or laptop. The Digital MPA Solid Gold. A high quality mic preamplifier is defined by warmth, presence and clarity – core elements that make an audio processor desirable. ART Audio has produced this microphone preamplifier that captures all these elements, with an exceptionally affordable price.
The ART voice channel is one of the best and easiest sounding that you can ever use hands down. One cannot really describe how amazing this preamp is only to say that this device holds plenty of power with little to no noise. The compressor comes with tons of options and the impedance lets you have a lot of tonal control. It also enables a single mic having lots of voicing options. The only glitch that it may have for some people is that it does not have a low latency playback, which may be a problem. Otherwise, the product is good to go.
Like all the products, this one also comes with a few pros and cons as enlisted below.
|High Power||No Low-Latency Playback|
When on a budget and you are finding some amazing tools to add to your audio playback library, this one product answers all your unanswered prayers for sure.
The preamps we have on here under $500 are among the best available on the market right now. If hey have any reported issues regarding their quality or performance, they have been mentioned in this publication. We hope this publication is able to sort out a lot of questions for you. If you still have some queries left, feel free to contact us and we will get back to you.
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