Home Studio Q&A:Do I Need A Pre-Amp
To Produce Quality Audio?
By Dan Lenard
Voice Talent & Home Studio Master
Have a question for the Home Studio Master?
His 3-part webinar series on Home Studio Basics begins Nov. 3.
Q: I have a Mic Port Pro. Do I need a mic pre-amp with that? A musician/recording engineer "friend" of mine says I absolutely need one if I want to produce "broadcast Quality" audio. Is he right? -MM in PA
This is a mistake many people make.
The Mic Port Pro or any other USB digital interface IS a Pre-amp.
Pre-amps are what boost the signal before you send it to your digital interface (integrated with the Mic Port Pro), which converts your analog audio into digital information your computer understands.
However, they are mostly designed for low output dynamic mics, and to bring out every last detail of what a condenser mic will pick up.
They're used in professional, acoustically sterile environments
The mistake is that your home studio is not a pristine acoustical environment. So as you add more amplification and sensitivity to your microphone, the more noise will be heard and amplified.
I have a pre-amp, but I stopped using it. There's no need to be double-amplifying your mic.
So I would say; no you don't need an external, separate pre-amp, no matter what anybody tells you. They don't understand a home voice over studio.
NEEDED FOR LOWER OUTPUT
Now, if you had a mic with lower output, like the RODE brand mics (which are excellent microphones for voice work), you could add a pre-amp inline and run its output to the Mic Port Pro.
But you don't need a $1,000 pre-amp!
A little cheapie for $100 or so will give you just enough extra boost.
Think less about "broadcast quality" and more about how you sound when you talk to other people.
With digital recording, if you use proper mic technique and are in a good acoustical environment (not perfect, mind you), your audio will be far superior to what you hear from your local news each night.
ABOUT DAN ...
Dan Lenard is a veteran radio personality, educator and voice talent - accredited by Society of Accredited Voice Over Artists (SaVoa), and serves on the SaVoa Advisory Board. As the Home Studio Master, he is a sought-after consultant - often solving problems by phone and email correspondence, and teaching in VoiceOverXtra webinars. His three-part webinar series on Home Studio Basics begins Nov. 3, detailing how to build, equip, record and edit - the right way.
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