The Bottom Line

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The main points to consider when choosing a microphone preamplifier for use with a ribbon microphone are;
  1. A suitable preamplifier should have lots of clean gain. Choose a preamp that has enough gain to suit your recording needs. For example, loud rock recording requires less gain capability than classical recording. We recommend 60 dB (or greater) total gain capability.
  2. Make sure that the input impedance of the preamplifier is high enough to impose a minimal load on the microphone. The rule of thumb is that the input impedance should be at least 4 to 5 times higher then the output impedance of a given microphone.
  3. Choose a preamplifier that offers very low noise performance, especially at the higher gain settings expected with ribbon microphones.
  4. Coloration. This is strictly optional and at the users discretion.
There are many excellent preamplifiers on the market today. Choose one that fits your budget and offers good performance, but remember that you get what you pay for. If you have an opportunity to audition one or more preamplifiers before you buy one, do it. Microphones and preamplifiers work together as a team and some matches are just better than others.

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