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Why Do I Need A Mic Pre-Amp?

Published: Wed August 19, 2015  News Feed
With the excellent Focusrite ISA One now back in stock at a much lower price (you'll save over £200 OFF SRP!), it seems like the perfect opportunity to look into its features and discuss why having a dedicated mic preamp can be such a great idea!

ISA One

If you use a microphone, you'll need a preamp, simple as that. The audio signal of a microphone is weak and needs to be amplified for better results. In addition to this, if you're using a condenser microphone it'll need phantom power to work. Luckily, most audio interfaces with mic inputs will feature a preamp section and provide you with all you need to get your recording done.

So why should you bother with a mic preamp, then? Well, most studio pros will tell you that having a dedicated mic preamp is an essential step if you want to achive high-quality recordings, especially for vocals and acoustic guitar.

Your Audio Interface Was Designed Primarily to Convert Analog-to-Digital... NOT to be a preamp!

Digital audio interfaces have built-in preamps mostly for the sake of convenience. While it's true the more high-end interfaces such as Avid Pro-Tools Quartet, Apogee Duet or Focusrite Clarett 8 Pre X will have great pres, a dedicated preamp will do the mic pre-amplification job even better - after all, it was designed especifically for this purpose.

Audio Interface vs. Mic Preamp

If you're a beginner or on a tight budget, recording on a DAW, a cheap audio interface will do.

If you have a decent budget, recording on to a DAW, but has limited space, a high-end audio interface with a great pre will do.

However... the best option will always be to have a dedicated preamp, which you can plug to the line input of your interface, for the signal to be converted to digital.

Professional studio sound... on the cheap!

We've created two Focusrite ISA One Microphone packages that'll save you loads of money, while delivering outstanding quality! The design for the ISA preamp is modelled on Focusrite's roots and the original Forte console made for George martin's legendary AIR studios. The ISA One delivers Focusrite's prestigious ISA transformer-based preamp in a rugged and portable chassis, at a groundbreaking price.

ISA One

ISA One features the classic vintage microphone pre-amplifier topology from the original ISA110 module, including the Lundahl L1538 transformer and bespoke zobel network. The original 110 pre amp formed the cornerstone of each channel of Focusrite's legendary Forte console and was used on countless professional productions it remains one of the best microphone preamp designs of all time.

The Focusrite ISA One Preamp + sE Electronics X1 Microphone Studio Bundle gives you a complete, all-in-one vocal solution, to plug into your audio interface or recording device. For less than £500, it is a real bargain!

Perhaps even better, is the Focusrite ISA One Pre-Amp + sE 4400a Microphone Bundle, which will save you over £500 OFF SRP!

Once you start using an analogue preamp with a great condenser microphone, you won't believe your ears!

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Focusrite ISA One Single-Channel Microphone Pre-Amp

The design for the ISA preamp goes right back to Focusrite's roots and the original Forte console made for AIR studios. Used on countless professional productions it remains one of the best microphone preamp designs of all time. That's why they haven't changed it, apart from the inclusion of the impedance control for easier use with the range of different…

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Focusrite ISA One Preamp + sE Electronics X1 Microphone Studio Bundle

This bundle offers you a complete vocal recording package for your home studio, to help you achieve the best possible recording quality whilst saving some good money! It includes Focusrite ISA ONE preamp, sE Reflexion Filter TM RF-X, sE X1 condenser microphone, sE Shock Mount and Pop Filter Kit plus a 3m Microphone Cable.
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