Best Single Channel Mic Preamp

Best Single Channel Mic Preamp

Let’s add some of that that warmth and silkiness of an analog tube sound to your recordings and audio productions, with the single channel mic preamp to buy on the market right now.

Quick answer:

Universal Audio LA-610 Mk II – Best value rackmount preamp, with full featured channel strip based on the legendary LA-2A.

Focusrite ISA One – Best value desktop preamp, with the sound of the legendary Focusrite Forte console.

ART Tube MP Studio V3 – Best affordable desktop preamp, with authentic tube sound.

ART Voice Channel Tube Channel Strip – Best low cost rackmount preamp, with full channel strip, multiple digital outputs
and authentic tube sound.

The rest of this article covers a few more preamps to look at. So if the above doesn’t seem right for you, just take a look at what we’ve gathered together below to review.

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Top 10 Best Single Channel Mic Preamp

  1. Behringer Tube Ultragain MIC100
  2. ART Tube MP Studio V3 Tube Microphone Preamp
  3. ART Voice Channel Tube Channel Strip
  4. Focusrite ISA One Desktop Microphone Preamp
  5. Warm Audio WA73-EQ Microphone Preamp & EQ
  6. Universal Audio 710 Twin-Finity Microphone Preamp
  7. Universal Audio SOLO/610
  8. Universal Audio LA-610 Mk II Tube Channel Strip
  9. Avalon VT-737sp Tube Channel Strip
  10. Rupert Neve Designs Shelford Channel Microphone Preamp

Best Single Channel Mic Preamp Reviews

Behringer Tube Ultragain MIC100

Behringer Tube Ultragain MIC100

Pros
  • Warm tube sound
  • Also works as a DI box
Cons
  • Not particularly adjustable
See price @ Amazon
Best features and specs

Behringer Tube Ultragain MIC100 is a microphone preamp that utilizes a 12AX7 tube to give an exceptional warmth to your sound at a very reasonable cost. With its 12 dB pad, it’s compatible with any microphone and also could be used as a direct box for guitar and bases.

User impressions

Users agree that Behringer Tube Ultragain MIC100 is very affordable and gives good coloration and dynamics. Also, users like that this preamp has a DI box.

What we think

Although the Behringer Tube Ultragain MIC100 offers very convincing analog sound, there not much could be done when it comes to the adjustments. It’s a very simple and reliable tool that gives you a very consistent tube tone but nothing on top of it.

Bottomline

Behringer Tube Ultragain MIC100 is a great choice for someone who is looking for a very consistent and reliable tube preamp that lets you achieve great results quickly and effortlessly. The sound quality is also exceptional, especially considering how reasonably it’s priced.

ART Tube MP Studio V3 Tube Microphone Preamp

ART Tube MP Studio V3 Tube Microphone Preamp

Pros
  • Very reasonable price
  • Authentic tube sound
  • Very convenient presence
Cons
  • None that we know of
See price @ Amazon / @ Sweetwater
Best features and specs

ART Tube MP Studio V3 is an extremely compact tube microphone preamplifier that has a lot of presence specifically tailored for various individual instruments. It also has a built-in limiter and the ability to be used as a direct box for basses and guitars.

User impressions

Users like ART Tube MP Studio V3 for adding a nice tube feeling, being affordable and generally just amazing. Users add that this preamp has presets for every instrument and vocal too.

What we think

ART Tube MP Studio V3 is a perfect example of how looks can deceive. At first glance, it doesn’t look particularly promising, but once you fire it up, you’d be amazed by the results and how quickly you can achieve them.

Bottomline

ART Tube MP Studio V3 is a great choice for someone who is looking for a very compact and extremely capable tube microphone preamp that has a lot of flexibility and versatility while maintaining the simplicity of use. Considering how reasonably it’s priced, you honestly wouldn’t expect it to be this good.

ART Voice Channel Tube Channel Strip

ART Voice Channel Tube Channel Strip

Pros
  • Full channel strip
  • Multiple digital outputs
  • Authentic tube sound
Cons
  • None that we know of
See price @ Amazon / @ Sweetwater
Best features and specs

ART Voice Channel Tube Channel Strip is a tube preamplifier with a full channel strip that offers you a parametric EQ, compressor, expander, de-esser, and gate. It also offers you USB connectivity, which means that you can connect it to your computer or laptop without an additional audio interface.

User impressions

Users say that ART Voice Channel Tube Channel Strip has amazing sound and lovely harmonic distortion. Users like that this preamp has a lot of outputs, solid built, and both analog and digital meters.

What we think

While choosing a perfect single-channel preamp, why settle just on the preamp itself? It never hurts to have an analog EQ and compressor at your disposal, especially if they’re both of very high quality.

Bottomline

ART Voice Channel Tube Channel Strip is a great choice for someone who is looking for a tube preamp that also offers a pack of features, channel strip, and digital output. The price, of course, is something to consider, but if you think about what you actually gain with this preamp, it doesn’t really seem that high.

Focusrite ISA One Desktop Microphone Preamp

Focusrite ISA One Desktop Microphone Preamp

Pros
  • Sound of legendary Focusrite Forte console
  • Solid-state design
Cons
  • No direct monitoring
See price @ Amazon / @ Sweetwater
Best features and specs

Focusrite ISA is a very compact and durable microphone preamp based on the preamp that could be found in the legendary Focusrite Forte console. It has different outputs for microphone, line and instrument level sources. It comes with additional BrainworX digital emulation of ISA110 and ISA130 modules.

User impressions

Users like Focusrite ISA for being absolutely amazing and adding a lot of detail to anything that you’re recording. Users add that the feature that attracted their attention is that preamp is a versatile DI.

What we think

Focusrite never disappoints when it comes to sound and build quality. We’ve been using one of their audio interfaces for years now and have only good things to say about it.

Bottomline

Focusrite ISA is a great choice for someone who is looking for a very reliable mic preamp with very solid build quality and a legendary sound. Although it uses solid-state technology, it still offers you plenty of very subtle but yet noticeable coloration.

Warm Audio WA73-EQ Microphone Preamp & EQ

Warm Audio WA73-EQ Microphone Preamp & EQ

Pros
  • The iconic Neve 1073 sound
  • Additional British EQ section
Cons
  • The front panel can be a bit overwhelming
See price @ Amazon / @ Sweetwater
Best features and specs

Warm Audio WA73-EQ is a hand-made and very meticulous recreation of the iconic Neve 1073 preamp that basically established the sound of the 70’s. It’s a full-sized rack mount unit that also features a classic 3 band British EQ section that follows all of the subtleties and nuances of the original one.

User impressions

Users agree that Warm Audio WA73-EQ is absolutely fantastic, has modern and great sounding with plenty of i/o options.

What we think

Even if you’d find an original 1073 in decent condition, you’d be shocked and amazed at how much it actually costs. Warm Audio WA73-EQ gives you the same sense and functionality as the original unit but at a fraction of the cost.

Bottomline

Warm Audio WA73-EQ is a great choice for someone who is looking for a legendary Neve preamp with contemporary features and made from modern components. If you look at the price of this preamp without context, you may consider it to be a bit high. But note that it actually is much cheaper than the original one.

Universal Audio 710 Twin-Finity Microphone Preamp

Universal Audio 710 Twin-Finity Microphone Preamp

Pros
  • Both solid-state and tube sound
  • Exceptional quality
Cons
  • No independent drive controls for the two signal paths
See price @ Amazon / @ Sweetwater
Best features and specs

Universal Audio 710 Twin-Finity offers you both tube and solid-state circuitry that you can use separately or blend together at your own liking. Although it doesn’t have a dedicated Drive knob, it offers you different gain stages to control the amount of vintage coloration.

User impressions

Users are quite impressed with Universal Audio 710 Twin-Finity as it’s one great-sounding preamp, versatile, and has a solid build. It has a lot of hookup options and provides a clean signal.

What we think

One thing that all UAD devices have in common is their exceptional sound quality. There’re a few other manufacturers who could rival them. And if you add to the mix extremely durable build quality, UAD devices are almost unbeatable.

Bottomline

Universal Audio 710 Twin-Finity is a great choice for someone who is looking for a premium microphone preamplifier that offers you both solid-state and tube circuitry on top of staggering build quality. When it comes to cost, it’s rather on the pricey side of things, but after all, it was made by Universal Audio, so it’s kind of expected.

Universal Audio SOLO/610

Universal Audio SOLO/610

Pros
  • Exceptional tube sound
Cons
  • Weird form factor
See price @ Amazon / @ Sweetwater
Best features and specs

Universal Audio SOLO/610 is a tube microphone preamp that utilizes the circuitry of a vintage Putnam 610 console and offers you an exceptional build quality with a very sleek design. It has a very distinguishable vintage tube sound with a very subtle modern flavor to it.

User impressions

Users like Universal Audio SOLO/610 for being versatile, having vintage sound and detail. The DI feature is liked by the majority of users and works just superb with everything that is being connected to the preamp.

What we think

There’s no point in discussing the sound of UAD devices because it obviously is as good as it gets. But this one, in particular, has one additional valuable feature. It’s extremely nice to look at, so Universal Audio SOLO/610 would be perfect if you want to add aesthetic value to your studio.

Bottomline

Universal Audio SOLO/610 is a great choice for someone who is looking for a very robust tube preamp with a very beautiful design and vintage heritage. If you’re discouraged by the price, think of it as an investment into your professional future.

Universal Audio LA-610 Mk II Tube Channel Strip

Universal Audio LA-610 Mk II Tube Channel Strip

Pros
  • Based on legendary LA-2A
  • Fully featured channel strip
Cons
  • Can be difficult to see the positions of the toggle switches
  • No side-chain linking facilities
See price @ Amazon / @ Sweetwater
Best features and specs

Universal Audio LA-610 utilizes the preamp unit mentioned before and a very thorough recreation of a legendary Teletronix LA-2A compressor on top of a 2 band EQ. And all of it with the exceptional build quality and premium sound that UAD are famous for.

User impressions

Users say that Universal Audio LA-610 is versatile, reliable, and an excellent preamp. Users add that when this beauty is paired with the right mic and the suitable settings are in place, the result will make you fall in love with this preamp even more. The input signal is silky, smooth, and creamy.

What we think

With the abundance of UAD devices on this list, you may reasonably think that we’re a bit biased here. Let us assure you, we’re not. It’s just when you’re looking for the best gear on the market, inevitably, you will end up with quite a few UAD offerings.

Bottomline

Universal Audio LA-610 is a great choice for someone who is looking for a tube preamplifier and a vintage opto-compressor in one package. It’s believed that each respectable audio engineer has to have an LA-2A at their disposal and this is your perfect opportunity to get one yourself.

Avalon VT-737sp Tube Channel Strip

Avalon VT-737sp Tube Channel Strip

Pros
  • Additional direct input capabilities
  • Full-featured channel strip
Cons
  • On the pricey side
  • Front panel can be a bit overwhelming
See price @ Amazon / @ Sweetwater
Best features and specs

Avalon VT-737sp is a tube channel strip that offers you a very warm preamp, opto-compressor, and a dedicated EQ section. It’s a premium device intended for very serious professionals, so it’s priced accordingly.

User impressions

Users like Avalon VT-737sp for making everything sound great, warm, full, round, rich, clean, and crisp. It is versatile, has a solid build quality, and increases the quality of any mic and instrument.

What we think

With Avalon VT-737sp, we come to the territory of very high-end professional gear. So if you just want to try things out, this one isn’t for you. But if you’re serious about your audio production endeavors, it would be a serious investment in your professional future.

Bottomline

Avalon VT-737sp is a great choice for someone who is looking for an investment into their studio that only will add value to it. Avalon VT-737sp doesn’t really offer you innovative and exceptional features, but what it does offer you is a very sleek design, robust build quality, and stellar sound based on high-end components.

Rupert Neve Designs Shelford Channel Microphone Preamp

Rupert Neve Designs Shelford Channel Microphone Preamp

Pros
  • Rupert Neve design
  • Full-featured channel strip
  • Legendary and iconic sound
Cons
  • On the pricey side
See price @ Amazon / @ Sweetwater
Best features and specs

Rupert Neve Designs Shelford is a fully-featured channel strip designed by a legendary Rupert Neve. It has a solid-state preamplifier, inductor EQ, and diode-bridge compressor. And all of it is based on the circuitry of various Neve devices that are now considered to be iconic.

User impressions

Users are quite impressed with Rupert Neve Designs Shelford for adding a lot of presence and basically making everything sound “there”. It’s versatile, and has outstanding sound quality and looks.

What we think

No list of preamps would be complete without at least one Rupert Neve device. Rupert Neve Designs Shelford could be considered the greatest hit of various accomplishments that is credited to Mr. Neve, thus providing a perfect opportunity for us to be a part of this great heritage.

Bottomline

Rupert Neve Designs Shelford is a great choice for someone who is looking for a legendary channel strip with a great heritage. Purchasing this device could be the best investment that you could put in your studio since it’s guaranteed that there would be an endless line of clients once they know that you actually own one.

Single Channel Mic Preamp Buying Guide

Microphone preamplifier is an electronic device that prepares a microphone signal to be processed by other equipment, as in the majority of cases, the initial signal is not strong enough to overcome the noise. Preamplifier enhances the microphone signal to the line level by cutting off all distortion and adding stable gain. Despite the simplicity of the process, there are still a few things to consider while choosing the proper mic preamp for your studio.

Important features

When spoken about the most important features that a mic preamp is ought to have, there are a few things that need to be looked at such as sound quality, coloration, being budget-friendly and versatile.

Sound quality

As it was stated above, a preamp does the same thing that an audio interface does. While more reasonably priced preamps tend to be limited in flexibility and tone, there is a chance that they might add noise and coloration that isn’t something that you’re looking for. That’s why we’ve chosen ones that have an outstanding sound quality and are capable of delivering the cleaner and more accurate signal.

Coloration

In our list, the majority of mic preamps are tube-based with only a few being solid-state. And there’s a good reason for that, as the majority of preamps and audio interfaces usually are very clean and transparent, so we’ve chosen those which will give you a sufficient amount of additional coloration.

Budget-friendly

Although usually, we try to make our lists as budget-friendly as possible, in this one we’ve included a range of preamps from extremely reasonably-priced to premium ones, so everybody could find one to their liking.

Versatility

We recognize that versatility these days is crucial, that’s why to help you choose the best single channel mic preamp, we included those that would give you the most flexibility when it comes to adjusting the sound with meticulous precision.

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