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Need cheap battery powered preamp

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No personal experience with this, but he's been around for a while and has good notices elsewhere. Most other little preamps are $150 and up.


If you have the bright idea of using a little Cmoy headphone amp as a mic preamp....it won't work. I tried.

But what exactly are you planning to use the preamp for?

You can record speech and acoustic music via the mic input, assuming you have one.

You can record loud music with a battery module via the line input.

A preamp would be good for very quiet sounds, or maybe with a very low sensitivity mic, but I don't see much use for it otherwise.

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I'm looking at the "PreSonus BLUETUBE DP". Thats gonna run you about $200, but will have both a solid state and tube preamp!

After a lot of different configurations I have decided that the mic preamps of most compact recorders, not just minidisc but even the CF and SD recorders, just don't have the quality of an external preamp. I mean, just last week, I borrowed a Behringer 4 channel mic mixer, with built-in phantom power and preamp... DAMN! did that make all the difference.

Now one thing though... I cant figure out why the Line-IN on my MZ-RH1 seems to be more hissy than the mic input... <_<


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The whole point of getting a separate pre-amp is to improve the quality of your sound. I wouldn't try to go too cheap or you could end up with no much improvement at all over the pre-amps in the HIMD units. No doubt a real quality pre can make a world of difference and I've been thinking of getting one myself just for the music I record. But I wouldn't spend $100 to get a slight improvement when I could spend $150-$200 and get a big improvement.

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The internal mic preamp quality of HiMD is quite good actually. Mic + mic placement will make the most significant differences. If I had a HiMD without internal preamp, I'd rather sell it and get one with instead of bothering with an external pre.

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The internal mic preamp quality of HiMD is quite good actually. Mic + mic placement will make the most significant differences. If I had a HiMD without internal preamp, I'd rather sell it and get one with instead of bothering with an external pre.

Exactly right. IMO to get a better pre-amp than the ones in MD recorders you're going to end up spending almost as much as you paid for the MD itself. You'd be better off selling your MD and getting single device that had better pre's. You wouldn't be stuck with carrying 2 devices with you and worrying about power to them and you could likely get more features to go along with the better pre's. A pro level recorder comes to mind with multi-track recording and possibly sound effects (if you want such things).

For a pocket size recorder it will be very hard to beat the quality of the pre's in MD. I'm sure they're some out there that will improve the quality of your MD recordings but they won't be pocket size and they won't be cheap.

I still would like to have better pre's if I could get them but I have been looking for quite a while and nothing has popped up in my budget range so far. From what I understand the XLR-Pro mixer has good pre-amps but they probably aren't that much better than MD pre's and you're looking at $150 for a dual channel unit (for stereo) and not that much of an improvement. A single channel version is about $110 I think. It just doesn't seem worth it to me. I'm not even sure it would be an advantage. I'm just repeating stuff I've seen posted.

I have read the Sound Devices MP-1 portable pre-amp is really good but it costs $300 and it sure won't fit in a pocket and it's a single channel deal (no stereo with this). I've read the Rane MS 1b is pretty good for $150 but it's XLR only so you would need an adapter to use it with a miniplug mic. Of course XLR mics are better and the Rane provides phantom power so you might go with a better mic. It's also a mono device though.

There's likely a lot of stuff on this level available but to get stereo and actually be portable (pocket size is almost out of the question) and in the price range you mention is a tall order.

I think greenmachine is right on track with his suggestion that mic placement means a LOT to good quality sound. But again if anyone can find a pre-amp in the range you mention I'd like one too. I can't seem to find one to fit the bill.

One other thing. If you're looking for less noise in your recordings then likely as not your mic is creating more of it than your pre-amp. You might want to consider getting a high quality mic. You should be able to find a super low noise mic for under $150 and if you match it up with high quality cables you have half the battle against noise won.

I also might suggest that you ask the same question on the Tapers Section board or on the Home Recording board. If they come up with anything even close to your price please let us know.

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  • 4 weeks later...

It just hit me that we don't know what type of mics you will be wanting to use Nolonemo. The MX-34 only accepts XLR inputs or a line level minijack. It would be great if you want to use XLR mics but not if you want to use a plug in power type mic. Some of the stuff I mentioned before is also XLR only stuff.

I'm sure the MX-34 will be great with XLR mics but if you want to use the kind of mics most of use with MD then I don't think it would be such a good choice for you. No doubt Rolls makes quality equipment and it does fall into your price range. But if you already have a mic and it's a minijack mic you might not get much benefit from it.

As I said earlier you would do well to get XLR mics. They are generally better quality mics than miniplug mics. But they also cost more. I don't know what made me think you wanted a miniplug type mixer before. I mentioned that some stuff was XLR and assumed that wasn't what you wanted. I should know better than to assume stuff.

So maybe it will help to let us know what types of mics you have or intend to get.

Edited by King Ghidora
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