This comprehensive tutorial will show you how to connect a microphone preamp to an audio mixer.

Understanding this crucial setup can greatly enhance your audio recording and mixing capabilities, whether you’re a musician, podcaster, or audio enthusiast.

Microphone Preamps That We Love:

Why Use a Preamp with an Audio Mixer?

Black Lion Audio B12A Quad Microphone Preamp

Before we get into the technical aspects of connecting a preamp to an audio mixer, let’s understand why you want to use a preamp with your audio mixer.

1. Better Signal Quality: Preamps are designed to amplify weak electrical signals, such as those generated by microphones or instruments, to a level suitable for recording or processing. Using a preamp with your audio mixer ensures that your input signals are strong and clean, resulting in superior sound quality.

2. Precise Control: Preamps offer precise control over signal gain, allowing you to adjust levels with accuracy. This control is crucial when dealing with multiple sources and when fine-tuning your sound for recording or live performances.

3. Versatility: Preamps come in various types and models, each with its unique sonic characteristics. This allows you to tailor your sound to your specific needs, whether you’re looking for warmth, coloration, or a transparent signal path.

4. Compatibility: Many audio mixers have built-in preamps, but using an external preamp gives you the flexibility to choose the best preamp for your setup and sound preferences. It also allows you to use multiple preamps simultaneously for different sources.

5. Noise Reduction: Quality preamps often have low noise levels, helping to minimize unwanted hiss or interference in your recordings.

Line Level vs Mic Level

Mic Level vs Instrument Level vs Line Level

Mic level and line level are two distinct signal levels in audio systems, and understanding the difference between them is crucial when connecting a microphone preamp to an audio mixer.

Mic-level signals are very weak electrical signals typically produced by microphones, and they are in the millivolt range.

In contrast, line-level signals are significantly stronger, typically ranging from 0.3 to 2 volts, and are found in devices like mixers, audio interfaces, and preamps.

When connecting a microphone preamp to an audio mixer, it’s essential to ensure that the preamp’s output, which is typically line level, is properly matched to the mixer’s input, which could be either mic level or line level.

Mismatching these levels can result in distorted or noisy audio, and sometimes, it can damage your audio mixer.

Always try to connect your microphone preamp to a line-level input on your audio mixer.

Connecting Your Preamp to an Audio Mixer

Connect Microphone Preamp To Audio Mixer

Finally, let’s go through the step-by-step process of connecting a preamp to your audio mixer.

Equipment You’ll Need:

Step-by-Step Guide:

1. Gather Your Equipment:

  • Ensure you have the necessary preamp and audio mixer ready.
  • Prepare the audio sources (microphones or instruments) that you intend to connect to the preamp.

2. Choose the Right Cables:

3. Set Up Your Audio Mixer:

  • Turn off the power to your audio mixer.
  • Identify the input channels on the mixer where you want to connect the preamp. Ensure these channels are not currently receiving any signal.

4. Connect Your Audio Sources:

  • Use the chosen cables to connect your microphones or instruments to the input of your preamp. Ensure the connections are secure.

5. Connect the Preamp to the Mixer:

6. Power On Your Equipment:

  • Power on your preamp and audio mixer.

7. Set Preamp Levels:

  • On your preamp, adjust the input gain to an appropriate level for your audio source. Start with lower gain settings and gradually increase as needed while monitoring the audio output.

8. Adjust Mixer Levels:

  • On your audio mixer, set the input channel levels to accommodate the incoming signal from the preamp. Ensure that the mixer’s input gain is set to an appropriate level.

9. Monitor and Fine-Tune:

  • Use headphones or monitor speakers connected to your audio mixer to monitor the audio output. Make any necessary adjustments to achieve the desired sound quality.

10. Record or Mix:

  • Once your preamp and audio mixer are correctly configured and the sound quality meets your expectations, you are ready to record or mix your audio with confidence.

Connect Microphone Preamp To Audio Mixer

Golden Age Project Pre73 MKIV Microphone Preamp

Connecting a preamp to an audio mixer is a fundamental skill for anyone working with audio, whether in a recording studio or live sound environment.

Understanding the role of preamps, choosing the right type for your needs, and following the step-by-step instructions provided in this guide will help you achieve superior sound quality and give you greater control over your audio productions.

With the right preamp-mixer combination, you can unlock a world of creative possibilities and produce professional-quality sound with ease.

Connect Microphone Preamp To Audio Mixer Equipment

Connect Microphone Preamp To Audio Mixer Topics

  • 0:00 – Introduction
  • 0:48 – Equipment In Video
  • 1:45 – Pricing & Specs
  • 2:04 – Unbalanced vs Balanced Signal
  • 3:07 – Line Level vs Mic Level
  • 4:42 – Safety Tips
  • 5:40 – Connect Microphone Preamp To Audio Mixer
  • 6:08 – Option 1: TRS Cable
  • 7:00 – Microphone Preamp Setup
  • 8:08 – Audio Mixer Setup
  • 9:39 – Option 2: XLR to TRS
  • 11:05 – Better Quality?
  • 11:32 – Final Thoughts