Magazine article Guitar Player

Three Flavors of Microphone Preamps

Magazine article Guitar Player

Three Flavors of Microphone Preamps

Article excerpt

DURING THE ANALOG DAYS, RECORDING STUDIOS OFTEN had microphone preamps built into their mixing consoles, so there was no real call for outboard mic preamps. But today's "in the box" warriors who work with DAWs are finding that then the perfect hardware mic preamp is crucial to recording quality. If you're just getting into hardware mic pres, here are some models and settings you should check out. To keep my preamp crafting consistent, I used a Shure SM57 microphone for all of these examples.


I wanted to capture a classic-rock rhythm tone "live in the room" using my Gibson Les Paul Deluxe and an Orange AD15 1x12 tube combo. I choose a BAE 1073, because it utilizes a Class A transformer-coupled design, and a St. Ives (Carnhill) transformer that typically produces a fat, rich tone.

* Set the Output knob to 4 o'clock.

* Set the Microphone input level to 30 using the red rotary pot. If you need more level, adjust as desired.

* Additional level adjustments can be made with the Output knob.

* These simple tweaks to a great preamp should deliver really "live" and rockin' guitar tones.


I was looking for a retro, Byrds-like clean tone for my Eastman 12-string electric, which was plugged into a Fender Twin. I chose the Universal Audio 610 because of its tube warmth. I also find that its subtle, yet extremely musical EO is very useful for shaping guitar tones to sit nicely in a track.

* Set Gain to zero.

* Slowly bring up the Level knob until you get the desired input level to your DAW. …

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