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10 Best Microphone Amplifiers & Their Reviews For 2021

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All you need is a microphone amplifier!

New musicians are entering the foray of the huge musical world, podcasters setting aside their day-to-day work to sit down and converse with thousands of eager ears, and we also have those of you with a paltry passion for karaoke – y’all need a microphone amplifier!

We all need that new preamp for something and this is a list of the top ten pieces of kit out on the market right now, featuring powerhouses, classics, and extraordinary pieces of engineering and design.

Expect entries from famous brands in the audio world such as PreSonus, Behringer, Grace Design, and ART.

Audio specialized engineers at the top of the sound creating game and geniuses striving to produce that next level audio product.

We have catered to all budgets in this list so, expect a mixture of high-end behemoths and placid pieces of magical engineering, which keep the music industry on its feet.

Table of Contents


Last update on 2021-05-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

10 Best Microphone Amplifiers Reviewed

Here’s the list of the top ten microphone amplifiers.

1. Focusrite Scarlett Solo

Focusrite Scarlett Solo (3rd Gen) USB Audio Interface with Pro Tools | First
  • One of the best performing mic preamps the Scarlett range has ever seen, now with switchable air Mode to give your...
  • High-performance converters enable you to record and mix at up to 24-bit/ 192kHz.
  • Quick start tool to get up and running easier than ever.
  • Includes Pro Tools | First Focusrite Creative Pack, Ableton Live Lite, Softube Time and Tone Bundle, Focusrite’s...
  • LIMITED TIME OFFER: FREE Acustica Audio Cream2 upon registration and download.

Last update on 2021-05-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Focusrite enters our list here with their Scarlett Solo, promising the engineering that Focusrite is known for and a few improvements in this: the 3rd generation of the popular preamp series.

This device is an absolute dream for beginners.

The Scarlett Solo includes a quick start tool to get you up and running in no time at all, which is a godsend for newbies of the preamp world.

With the addition of a simple audio interface, this is the most beginner-friendly preamp on the market.

Includes a switchable air mode, a lovely little bonus that boosts the sound and gives it a more open feel.

Also has the option of high-headroom input for those guitar and bass players.

This entry wins our prize for the most beginner-friendly option out there in the market today, and it’s our recommended take for first-time buyers.

Pros & Benefits:

  • 3rd generation of a popular release
  • Extra features give it that extra buzz
  • Switchable air mode is a fantastic addition
  • Input for guitars and bass gives it that adaptability
  • Beginner-friendly star prize for this feature and with good reasoning

Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

2. PreSonus Audiobox

PreSonus AudioBox USB 96 2x2 USB Audio Interface with Studio One Artist and Ableton Live Lite DAW...
  • 2 high-quality Class-A mic preamps make it easy to get a great sound
  • 2 high-headroom instrument inputs to record guitar, bass, and your favorite line-level devices, plus MIDI I/O
  • Studio-grade converters for 24-bit/96 kHz recording and playback
  • DAW Recording Software – Studio One Artist and Ableton Live Lite
  • Over $1,000 of computer recording software plug-ins – Studio Magic Plug-In Suite

Last update on 2021-05-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

If you’re looking for convenience and ease of use then look no further than PreSonus Audiobox.

PreSonus continue their impressive charge into audio technology with the addition of this Mic-Preamp into their lineup.

Well known in the industry for its small size, mobility, and adaptability, you will have no problem traveling with this cute-sized box.

However, don’t be fooled by its size.

The Audiobox packs a punch when it comes to the audio range: this pocket-size machine has a deceptively wide range of tones prepped up in this prepackaged pilfer of sound

Ideal for singers, podcasters, and guitarists thanks to its creative potential and flexibility.

A strong chassis is a lovely finishing touch to this impressive box and ensures you a damage-free preamp that will toughen through any adventure.

Pros & Benefits:

  • Easy to use a fantastic quality for all levels
  • Small size gives it a mobility tick
  • Large audio range is such a huge advantage to have for all users
  • Creative flexibility
  • Strong chassis for tough adventures

Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

3. Grace Design M101

Grace Design m101 Single channel microphone preamplifier
  • 12 position gold plated rotary gain switch
  • The m101 is ready to give any mic preamplifier a run for its money

Last update on 2021-05-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Plonking its way into our list is the beautiful Grace Design M101.

The M101 is a heavyweight in the preamp industry and is known for its solid build and overall balance.

If you want stunning, crystal-clear sound without that awful background noise then rest your eyes on this machine: with incredible headroom and bandwidth expect gorgeous sounds from this preamp.

For sturdiness, you really have to commend Grace Design on such a fantastic job, the M101 has a laser-etched black anodized front panel for what they claim to be a “bombproof” surface!

All the switches on the M101 come conveniently attached with LED lights for that extra comfort and sound of mind use.

Suitable for professional use in studios or even live performances, this machine has truly been designed with grace.

Pros & Benefits:

  • Overall balance gives this machine a hint of dignity
  • Crystal clear sound just what you would expect from Grace Design
  • Laser-etched black anodized front panel – amazing feature t give it that unique bonus
  • LED lights for ease suitable for every level of user and those of you singing well into the night
  • Professional and amateur use a no brainer for that as[piring musician, a purchase you can lay your hat on

Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

4. Cloud Microphones CL-1

Cloud Microphones Cloudlifter CL-1 Mic Activator
  • Uses Phantom power to give passive mics (mainly used for dynamic and ribbon mics) up to +25dB without passing...
  • Easy to use self contained design requires only Phantom power to work. **Does not use Phantom power to power mics
  • Recommended for use with all passive dynamic microphones
  • Compatible with tube, battery, or power supply driven microphones – safe for all passive ribbons with no transfer...
  • Does not power the mics themselves using Phantom power (that is not what this is designed for). instead, place the...

Last update on 2021-05-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Looking for a nifty gadget?

Then read this entry into our list; Cloud Microphones Cloudlifter CL-1 is a sweet bit of kit for any musician out there.

Providing professional acoustic and the squeaky clean sound that every musician garners for is no mean feat when you have a piece of kit this small, but the Cloudlifter does that and more.

The CL-1 works with all passive mic models and generates a better sound quality by forcing those solid sounds through the XLR cables.

Versatile and adaptable the CL-1 has no boundaries when it comes to usage; perfect for live performance, recording, and broadcasts, it’s a swift little pick up for multiple reasons.

Don’t think that because of its small size the CL-1 cant put up a fight, this little powerhouse is as tough as it gets, guaranteeing a long life of pure beautiful sound.

Perfect for beginners the Cl-1 houses basic features with a few cheeky bonuses for those who want that extra something in their preamp setup.

Pros & Benefits:

  • Nifty design and pocket rocket features is a big plus

  • Clear sound an absolute must-have for its quality
  • Professional acoustic – a top of the range feature in a low-end kit
  • Versatile – an advantage over its competitors
  • Tough build – designed with mobility in mind the toughness of the CL-1is ideal for traveling
  • Good for beginners

Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

5. PreSonus Tubepre v2’s

Presonus TubePre v2 Tube Preamplifier DI Box
  • 12AX7 tube-based preamp with XMAX solid-state input stage
  • Gain control and Tube Drive saturation control
  • Low-noise dual-servo (no capacitors) gain stage
  • Separate instrument and mic inputs
  • Phantom power, HP filter, -20 dB pad, and polarity-reverse

Last update on 2021-05-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

PreSonus addition to this list is a hallmark of their fantastic reputation when it comes to the build and high-quality musical gear.

Constructed with toughness in mind the Tubepre v2’s case protects it from all wear and tear, which is ideal for travel and enduring hardship.

PreSonus has also provided us with a fantastic range of tones, giving this preamp another feature to add to its already long list.

XMAX preamps built-in deliver those extraordinary rich tones, resonant lows, and angelic highs for an overall quality that PreSonus are built on.

This can be used as a preamp, or for the new generation of Jimmy Hendricks out there, a dynamite direct box for guitars.

Pros & Benefits:

  • Good Brand quality assured with the PreSonus brand of audio tech
  • Tough Casing a common feature but essential
  • Range of tones fantastic for creatives out there
  • Versatile
  • Used with Guitars – a little bonus for guitar players and singers

Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

6. Behringer Ultragain MIC100

Behringer Tube Ultragain MIC100 Audiophile Vacuum Tube Preamplifier with Limiter,Silver
  • High-end preamplification for all microphone, instrument and line-level sources. Complements especially your...
  • Perfectly matches your studio, live and hard disk recording setup
  • Hand-selected 12AX7 vacuum tube with UTC technology for exceptional warmth and lowest noise
  • Ensures outstanding signal transparency when used as a high-end DI-box
  • Sophisticated output limiter prevents the output signal from being distorted

Last update on 2021-05-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Of course, it isn’t a preamp list without including audio experts Behringer, the German giants have to be included in our list and this addition is well deserved.

The MIC100 packs a powerful punch of playful, passionate sounds for all types of usage.

We could have included the next generation, the MIC200 but to incorporate all price points and for the sheer quality per price the MIC100 has to make this list.

High-quality sound packed inside this small machine: the built-in 12AX7 tube solidifies noise into incredible, synchronized music with a large range of sound.

This magic-in-a-box machine can provide that boost needed for recording or be your first entry into mic preamps and still provide you with that top-class sound.

Pros & Benefits:

  • Quality Brand – another entry with a quality guaranteed stamp
  • German/Swiss Engineering
  • Versatile
  • Large range of sound – put a huge tick in this box for creatives
  • Small and mobile ideal for transport and clumsy fingers

Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

7. SSL 2+

SSL SSL2+ 2-In/4-Out USB-C Audio Interface
  • 2-In/4-Out USB-C Audio Interface
  • 2 x SSL-designed microphone preamps
  • Legacy 4K - analogue colour enhancement, inspired by classic SSL consoles
  • 2 x Professional, high-current grade headphone outputs: create a second independent headphone mix

Last update on 2021-05-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

SSL is a top-quality brand in the audio industry and their submission into this list is the aptly named SSL2+.

A perfection of engineering and design means that this machine has multiple unique features giving you something more than what comes out of the box.

This monitor is more than a preamp but offers so much in quality it had to be on our list.

With an incredible preamp comes an amazing noise range and high definition sound.

Includes SSL own designed preamps meaning guaranteed quality.

Easy-to-use controls and switches give this contraption a homely boost, it’s comforting and it also comes with a beginner-friendly monitor.

Pros & Benefits:

  • Top-quality brand – SSL tag of approval
  • Unique features – not just a preamp this monitor has a multitude of features and uses
  • Amazing range – high definition sounds and lots of range on those tones
  • SSL own designed preamps
  • Beginner-friendly

Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

8. DBX 286s

dbx 286s Microphone Preamp & Channel Strip Processor, Mono 4-way
  • Studio quality mic preamp/channel strip processor
  • Classic dbx compression puts great sound within easy reach
  • Frequency tuneable de-esser reduces sibilance and high frequency distortion
  • Enhancer increases the detail and definition of the high and low frequencies
  • Program adaptive expander/Gate. Frequency response: 20Hz to 20kHz

Last update on 2021-05-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Next up on our list is the powerhouse that is the DBX 286s.

If you want stellar basics with incredible special features and an overabundance of uses then you’ve reached the right entry.

Efficiency is the keyword of any DBX 286s description and with good reason.

This fully-featured channel strip has so many uses and benefits I won’t be able to fit them all into this description, but think of a problem you’ve had with other preamps, well this one can solve that and more!

The enhancer on this machine provides fuller definition and fattening to those high and low-end frequencies, a real badass feature!

Studio quality and a solid range of uses put this sound-beast at the top end of our list, a guaranteed home run for good sound and good music.

The DBX 286s has won the prize for the most efficient piece of kit on this list, and it earns our recommendation for that category; professional, adaptive, and ideal for any situation.

Pros & Benefits:

  • Special features
  • Studio quality – a professional bit of kit
  • Excellent customer feedback
  • Variety of uses
  • Efficient
  • Fuller definition to the sound – a reason why professionals love it so much

Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

9. ART Pro MPA 2

ART Digital MPA-II 2-Channel Tube Microphone Preamp with A/D Conversion
  • Variable Input Impedance For Flexible Microphone Voicing.

Last update on 2021-05-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

ART’s MPA 2 is a highly rated, solid preamp and one of the leading pieces of kit on the market.

The MPA 2 has a plethora of features suitable for all needs, and it really stands out among its peers for its ingenuity and creative capabilities that you’ve yearned for.

Among its many features is a low-cut filter, that removes any problems with background noise giving you that crystal clear sound.

For practicality, the designers at ART have conveniently added colored LED front-display and lit-up switches making it easy to use for all levels of ability.

And if you’re particularly clumsy, then worry not, as the MPA 2 has a highly rugged chassis that won’t succumb to breaks or damage easily.

One of the high-end pieces on the market but comes with a raging commendation from audio experts and journalists in the industry, which justifies its hefty price.

Pros & Benefits:

  • Crystal clear sound produces an edge over the competition
  • Rugged chassis – built to last through all the years
  • Easy to use – lots of buttons but easy to use for all levels
  • Lots of features – a high-end product for high-end use and lots of bonuses
  • Excellent reviews and recommendations from big names in the industry

Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

10. Golden Age Project Pre-73 MKiii

Golden Age Project Pre-73 MKIII Mic Preamp
  • Vintage Style electronics, no intergrated circuits in the signal pathEnough gain to handle passive ribbon mics with...
  • The signal path uses only discrete components like resistors, capacitors and transistors
  • The input and output is transformer balanced, using two different transformers, each one optimized for its purpose
  • This is the way audio components were built before integrated circuits became available
  • The circuit used in the PRE-73 MKIII is similar to the preamp section in the classical 1073 module with a...

Last update on 2021-05-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Coming in last is a wonderfully crafted piece of tech, this blows its competitors out of the water for its stylish looks and feels.

If you are in the market for something that gives you that old school feel, hazy summer mornings, lemonade in glass, and punchy sounds emitting from a classic preamp, then this entry will be special to you; it’s the Golden Age Project Pre-73 MKIII

No integrated circuits and a time transcending machine don’t mean poor quality.

In fact, the Golden Age Project has made sure their masterpiece matches up to modern-day designs with discrete components, giving it that sparkly pizzazz.

Each transformer inside this box has been optimized for its purpose by engineering excellence and creative minds behind the Golden Age Team.

The winner of our style prize goes to this lavish bit of kit and with great reason, it stands out among its peers for that gorgeous red look and vintage feel.

Pros & Benefits:

  • For vintage souls, this machine will capture your hearts and warm up you up in a fuzzy way
  • Punchy, warm sounds so that not only is the look vintage but the sound has that feel as well
  • No integrated circuits just like they did in the old days
  • Discrete components – made like an old bit of kit, producing a sound like a modern-day preamp
  • Engineering excellence
  • Optimized transformers for a unique and welcoming twist

Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

Choosing the Preamp that Works for You

If this is your first time choosing a preamp and you’re stuck on what works for you then read this helpful section I’ve put together, breaking down the essentials and tips for preamp beginners.

When considering the best preamp for your use it comes down to three essential points:

  • Style
  • Sound
  • Use

Style is key when choosing a microphone amplifier.

If you’re looking at a vintage piece of class then head to number 10 on our list the Golden Age Project Pre-73 MKiii a beautifully crafted piece of art.

If you’re looking for a technologically advanced bit of modern machinery then look over at number 9 on our list the Art Pro MPA 2.

Style is important visually, when you feel happy with your kit, your music will become that more inspired, and fresh takes will fly out from your creative minds.

Next up is sound, an absolutely key factor when considering a preamp.

If you want crystal clear sound from your mic, then, of course, you should look for the best option on the market and perhaps ignore other factors like the style.

However, if you consider yourself a musical genius like the great Freddie Mercury, then maybe a preamp with a large range of sounds is more suitable; you know, to fit those opera high notes in with your electric guitars and piano.

Finally, the use and features are the most important aspects of a microphone amplifier.

Whether you are a podcaster, musician, live performer, karaoke entertainer, or presenter, you know what type of microphone amplifier suits your needs the most.

Look at the sound as a secondary indicator and style as a last-ditch decider when it comes to your preamp selection.

Final Thoughts

Choosing a preamp is a personal choice and reflects your taste, intentions, and style all in one.

My personal favorites are the vintage classic Golden Age Project Pre-73 MKiii and the behemoth DBX 286s for their ingenuity and adaptiveness.

But adding a vital piece of kit like this is an important decision in moving forward and taking that next step up the ladder.

These ten are the best options on the market right now and, hopefully, you have found what you’ve been looking for right here.

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