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Top 13 Best Mic Preamp Under 500 – (Buyer’s Guideline + FAQ’s) in 2021

The best Mic preamp under 500 dollars promises impressive features at a very affordable price.

Gone are the days when people had to spend more than they could possibly afford before getting a top product.

Over the years, there have been a lot of developments across the board, making it possible to get a reliable product at an affordable price and not necessarily pay a premium for top-quality.

No doubt about it, there are several expensive designs of mic preamp on the market with great outstanding features that guarantee exceptional outcomes.

However, you may get it wrong to assume that since the price of a mic preamp is high, it automatically translates to quality.

While this is the basic assumption, it is not always true.

This guide will look at 13 mic preamps that you can invest in without breaking the bank.

These products are all sold for less than $500. Impressively, they offer a great combination of price, performance, and quality at a pocket-friendly price.

The top mic preamps under 500 worth your money are Cloud Microphones Preamp, Focusrite Clarett, ART, Behringer, Presonus, Golden Age Project, TRITON AUDIO, Coda Music Technologies, and Warm Audio.

The Comparison Table of Best Mic Preamp Under 500

PreviewBrand NameDetails
Cloud Microphones
Focusrite Claret
ART TubeMPSTV3
Behringer Ultragain Pro
ART ProMPAII
Cloud Microphones
Presonus AudioBox
ART Tube MP
Golden Age
Golden Age Pre-73 MKIII

What is The Best Mic Preamp Under 500?

Cloud Microphones Preamp is our top choice of best performance mic preamp you can buy for less than $500.

Thanks to the incredible level of improvement it adds to audio signals.

Why is Cloud Microphones Preamp The Best Microphone Preamp Brand Under 500?

Cloud Microphones Preamp is popular for several impressive features and benefits.

It is a well-built audio device that brings the best out of your audio signal (provides impressive & clean gain).

Performance aside, the build quality is outstanding.

Also, its compact design allows users to go along with it wherever and whenever possible.

Compared with several other designs in the market, it offers incredible value for its price.

13 Best Mic Preamp Under 500 Reviews

01. Cloud Microphones – Cloudlifter – CL-2 – Best Popular Mic Preamp

 

Highlighted Features

  • World-class design (Ultra-Transparent)
  • A perfect fit for ribbon & low-output dynamic microphones
  • 2 channel
  • +25db Inline Pre-Amp
  • 7 x 1.93 x 4.72 inches in dimension
  • 98 pounds in weight

If you need a small-sized mic preamp, especially if you do not have sufficient/adequate space to house a bigger design.

The Cloud Microphones – Cloudlifter – CL-2 is just the perfect pick for you.

Impressively, its compact design doesn’t in any way affect its functionality and overall performance & quality.

We love its impressive performance, especially the extra gain it provides to your mic for an enhanced audio quality (a clean sound devoid of audible noise).

If you need to improve the dB floor while recording in a studio or during live podcasts.

There is no other design that can give you a better performance.

Your mic will be significantly improved, ensuring it performs at its best.

Pros

  • Portable & lightweight for easy movement and transfer
  • Produces very low noise
  • Improves sound quality by offering additional gain to power your mic
  • Great value for your money

Cons

  • Designed for a specific mic design

02. Focusrite Clarett 2Pre USB – Best Quality Mic Preamp

 

Highlighted Features

  • Comes with standard USB, USB, and Type-C cables
  • About 119dB dynamic range
  • 4 balanced outputs
  • Mix control software included
  • 34 x 8.27 x 2.17 inches in dimension
  • 11 pounds in weight

Talk about a product or design that lives up to its hype; the Focusrite Clarett 2Pre USB does precisely what it promises and even beyond.

It is designed as a better performer than the Focusrite Scarlett series. It offers a great improvement in sound quality, and it is also bigger.

We are fascinated by its impressive audio interface. This product offers an incredible level of improvement/upgrade over several designs within its price range.

Focusrite Clarett 2Pre USB guarantees an impressive air capability, low latency, and the extra gain is cleaner.

Another remarkable feature is the improved routing capabilities, which ensures you experience a more outstanding performance that meets your recording expectations and needs.

Overall, users are impressed by the clean and clear sound it offers. Also, it is easier to control/adjust to deliver your desired audio signal.

Pros

  • Supports connection to PC
  • Eliminates unwanted interference or distortion
  • Quality build material for long-lasting operation/use
  • Supports both home and studio use

Cons

  • Doesn’t come with a cable
  • A bit bulky

03. ART TubeMPSTV3

 

 

Highlighted Features

  • Ideal device for home recording
  • Metal casing and rounded edges
  • Includes a rubber foot pad & analog meter
  • Each part of the preamp is well labeled
  • 0 x 5.5 x 2.0 inches in dimension
  • 5 pounds in weight

ART TubeMPSTV3 is an excellent product choice for individuals that are into home recording.

It comes equipped/loaded with all the features you need for easy use and operation, and most importantly, to get desired outcomes.

The metal case depicts what a well-constructed device this is, especially when you consider its affordable price.

Also, the rounded edges and its conventional blue color give it a unique and attractive appearance that distinguishes it from most designs.

Installation is more straightforward, ensuring you do not have to spend extra cash to get it set up by a professional.

All the parts, including the connectors, are appropriately labeled to ensure connections are made rightly.

The performance is remarkable. It supports quiet and smooth sound at every use. Users can record without any limitations and at various high-quality bit rates.

Irrespective of how long it stays on, especially on those busy recording days where it may have to stay on for hours or days, it doesn’t overheat.

However, ensure you avoid using it in a room with a temperature over 21 degrees Celsius.

Pros

  • Guarantees reliable and long-lasting performance
  • You can easily store & move around with it
  • Well-constructed and offered at an affordable price
  • Clean and clear sound

Cons

  • Doesn’t have a power switch

04. Behringer Ultragain Pro MIC2200

 

Highlighted Features

  • 10Hz to 200 kHz bandwidth
  • Independent line driver
  • +48 V phantom power
  • 12 dB high-pass filter
  • 02 x 8.54 x 1.75 inches in dimension
  • 07 pounds in weight

Behringer Ultragain Pro MIC2200 is an affordable design that gives the feel and performance often awarded to the expensive designs.

If you need a major upgrade to your sound quality- desire an unbelievable level of smoothness and clarity added to your top end. This design gives you the significant lift you want.

The hype doesn’t end at the quality of sound it gives, especially the massive reduction it brings to the noise level.

Another fascinating feature and addition we love about it is the smooth/silky response it offers.

You can easily control the settings and access the numerous features it offers to match your expected results.

If you are looking for a mic preamp that improves your vocals significantly, Behringer Ultragain Pro MIC2200 does the job excellently by adding a warm sound.

To achieve excellent results and worthy performance during use, ensure all components are tightly connected.

Pros

  • The components/parts are constructed using top-quality materials
  • Its rugged build guarantees longevity
  • An excellent choice for home & studio applications
  • Impressive sound quality similar to what a vintage tube preamp gives

Cons

  • A bit fussy
  • You need a lot of time and patience to set it uprightly

05. ART ProMPAII

 

Highlighted Features

  • Double channel
  • Plate voltage is selectable (low & high)
  • Made from premium steel & aluminum materials
  • 74 x 18.98 x 3.46 inches in dimension
  • 1 pound in weight

ART ProMPAII is the second ART mic preamp on our list.

These two designs have one thing in common- delivering an incredible level of performance at a great price.

If you need a reliable and top-performance mic preamp for both home and studio recordings at a fair price (without necessarily spending more to achieve a similar quality and performance offered by some of the premium designs).

This quality tube mic preamp is worth looking at.

You will appreciate how it dramatically improves your mic’s performance by adding the missing flavors it needs to achieve excellent sound quality.

It equips or supplies your microphone with all the gain it needs, and it adjusts or flips the sound coming out of it across various levels and according to what you need.

We love the build and the appearance. Especially the accurate metering and the sturdy & easy-to-use controls.

When it comes to quality and performance, the ART ProMPAII performs optimally without holding anything back.

Pros

  • Guarantees flexible microphone voicing
  • Noise distortion/ interference is extremely low
  • Intuitive controls and it produces excellent sound
  • Offered at a price that doesn’t break the bank

Cons

  • Tube quality is not on the same standard as the rest of the design
  • Bulky design

06. Cloud Microphones Cloudlifter CL-1

 

Highlighted Features

  • Single channels preamp
  • Quality Alloy steel material
  • Supports home, studio, and live recordings
  • LyxPro LCS premium series cables
  • 23 x 6.42 x 4.8 inches in dimension
  • 39 pounds in weight

Irrespective of the type of microphone you use (tube, battery, power-supply operated, or even passive dynamic microphones).

Cloud Microphones Cloudlifter CL-1 gives you all the support you need to take your sound quality to a greater level.

The LyxPro LCS premium series cables in the pack support a wide range of use and operation.

It adds a significant level of improvement to your mic by ensuring it performs at the right volume and with the noise level drastically reduced or lowered.

Once connected the right way, it gives your mic the needed boost, ensuring it attains that performance level you never thought was possible.

Your vocals will sound better than ever before.

If you are a recording artist who goes around from city to city and needs a mic preamp that supports your lifestyle.

This design can be easily stored and moved across various locations of your choice without adding excessive weight to your load. Thanks to its portable size.

Pros

  • Requires phantom power only
  • Easy to install and operate
  • Compatible with a wide range of microphone designs/types
  • Robust build & portable design

Cons

  • The cable’s quality is average

07. Presonus AudioBox 96

 

Highlighted Features

  • Professional Headphones and boom stands
  • Eris 3.5 Pair Monitors
  • LyxPro studio-grade mesh microphone pop filter
  • Studio microphone with an XLR cable
  • 7 x 15 x 9 inches in dimension
  • 2 pounds in weight

One solution to all of your recording needs. Presonus AudioBox 96 is one to beat for the price.

A few products within its price range can fight off the impressive performance it offers.

There are several things to like, appreciate, or get attracted to about this product once you install it and start using it for your recording needs.

We love its intuitiveness and how easily users can connect and enjoy the incredible benefits/advantages it offers.

Whatever you need to enhance your recording experience or keep you going, this device provides all.

You will not experience any latency in the system once connected to your mic. The sound clarity it offers is outstanding.

The interface is decent and easy to use, and the knobs and controls are sturdy and powerfully designed.

Also, the durable aluminum casing supports constant use. It ensures it withstands the pressure that may arise from moving it from one point to another. You will be impressed with the overall appearance.

Pros

  • Enhances vocal recording quality
  • Remove harsh plosive sounds completely
  • A perfect design for home & studio recording

Cons

  • The USB cord is sub-par

08. ART Tube MP Project Series

 

Highlighted Features

  • Quality aluminum material
  • Hybrid design
  • About 70dB of clean musical gain
  • Precision LED level metering circuitry
  • 7 pounds in weight

ART has an incredible/impressive record of producing exceptional tube preamps, which is evident in how people have embraced all of their series since launch.

Riding on the hype the previous models have created is the ART Tube MP Project Series.

Starting from when you unbox it until the setup is complete and eventually put this instrument into use/operation.

It oozes the feel of a product specially created to deliver the unimaginable or do the unthinkable (beyond what it promises to offer).

The aluminum body frame gives it a robust appearance, showing how much of a powerfully built design we have here.

The LED-level metering circuitry is another exciting feature that comes with it.

The ART Tube MP Project Series is built to offer once in a lifetime sound/audio experience.

Its exceptionally built audio interface allows users to easily connect their mic safely. In the process, it delivers a sound output that is smooth, clear, and free from distortion.

The portable size makes it an instrument for the road. You can easily pack it alongside the rest of your luggage while going on trips without adding any significant weight to your load.

We love what this device does, considering how affordable the price is. The price is just great for what it offers.

You will feel, hear, and love the difference it makes in your sound.

Pros

  • Offers professional quality and performance at a pocket-friendly price
  • Guarantees high output signal drive capability
  • Extremely low noise
  • Portable- easy to store and move around with

Cons

  • No power switch

09. Golden Age Project Pre-73

 

Highlighted Features

  • 1 channel
  • 70dB of gain
  • Phantom Power
  • 13 x 10 x 4 inches in dimension
  • 4 pounds in weight

Golden Age Project Pre-73 produces an awe impression from the first moment you have it connected to your mic and record with it.

Since its introduction to the market, it has gathered a significant number of recognitions from many professional artists about the vast transformation it has added to their home studio.

If you are not satisfied with the sound quality produced in your home studio, and you have always wanted a reliable preamp that does the job excellently well yet at an affordable price.

This device offers that missing link you have always desired.

The Golden Age Project Pre-73 improves your vocals by producing warm, gentle, and clear sound you will love by offering sufficient overhead gain.

Also, it doesn’t create any ambient or output noise.

Overall, it brings your recording instruments to life once added to your audio chain.

If you need a preamp that produces classic sound with controls that are strongly built to last for a long time without breaking the bank. You cannot go wrong with this unit.

Pros

  • Improves vocals greatly
  • Provides an impressive amount of gain
  • Limited noise
  • Offers appropriate amount of vintage coloration

Cons

  • No installation guide

10. Golden Age Project Pre-73 MKIII

 

Highlighted Features

  • 1 channel
  • Vintage style preamp unit
  • 2 transformers
  • 80db of gain
  • 14 x 13 x 4 inches in dimension
  • 77 pounds in weight

Golden Age Project Pre-73 MKIII is an excellent upgrade over the previous series, the MKII. Thanks to the improvement/increase in the amount of gain it offers.

When you check online forums, there are several positive reviews about its performance, especially the impressive boost in sound quality.

After going through all the features this mic preamp offers, we can confirm it’s really worth the hype.

Your vocals are greatly improved, giving you a professional feel and outputs.

If you always feel like you are not doing enough as an artist or think your vocals do not produce that fascinating impression.

This mic preamp boosts your confidence by giving your vocals an incredible amount of lift (sound smooth and warm).

Also, it reduces some of the common issues associated with a few preamps on the market considerably. For instance, problems with sibilance.

The controls are easy to use. The dials perform impressively, ensuring you make necessary adjustments to the gain, color, and drive that meet your needs.

Golden Age Project Pre-73 MKIII does more than giving your mic the upgrade and boost that it needs. It inspires a significant level of creativity and exploration.

Pros

  • Compatible with a wide range of instruments
  • Produces quality sound
  • Comes with a dedicated switch for mic/line

Cons

  • No screw holes in suitable places for rack shelf installation

11. TRITON AUDIO FetHead

 

Highlighted Features

  • 4 matched JFETs
  • Shielded enclosure
  • Made from quality metal
  • Compatible with ribbon and dynamic microphones
  • 3 x 3.54 x 0.39 inches in dimension
  • 55 pounds in weight

We are impressed with the build quality, considering the affordable price it’s sold on the market.

TRITON AUDIO FetHead is designed for individuals who want a reliable preamp at an unbelievable price (people that want a solid design at a very affordable price you wouldn’t have thought was possible).

If you decide to judge this device merely by its price and choose to overlook whatever improvement it may add to your audio chain.

You may end up paying almost double its cost on another product that offers lesser or the same quality.

If you have/own a ribbon or dynamic microphone. The TRITON AUDIO FetHead adds an impressive amount of clean gain that you need to achieve smooth sound (with extremely low noise).

If you think your microphone has gone bad or faulty, possibly because of the dull sound it produces.

Do not throw it away yet. This may be the missing link that your mic needs to come back to life.

Pros

  • Low-noise
  • Durable design for long-lasting performance
  • Very affordable unit
  • Portable and ideal for travel

Cons

  • Doesn’t work for condenser microphones

12. Microphone Preamp Booster Activator MB-1

 

Highlighted Features

  • 1 channel
  • 25dB of clean gain
  • Compatible with dynamic and ribbon microphones
  • Sturdy aluminum housing
  • 7 x 3 x 2.25 inches in dimension
  • 6 pounds in weight

Buying a top-quality mic is a smart investment any recording artist can make. However, it doesn’t end there.

A quality mic that doesn’t have the boost it needs to perform optimally gives a similar feel and performance like one of the regular options around.

The Microphone Preamp Booster Activator gives your audio interface an impressive amount of gain that it needs to deliver the sound you desire or looking for.

If you have checked numerous options of a mic preamp, and it appears that you can’t afford them or are too expensive to purchase, this unit has you covered.

You can save a few bucks with this purchase and achieve similar outcomes offered by some of the expensive designs on the market.

With 25db clean gain for its price, not a lot of products can beat its performance at such price.

We love how sturdy and well-built it looks, which guarantees longevity and reliability.

Its compact design ensures you can easily fit it into the smallest space.

Also, the portable size allows easy movement from one point to another without adding unnecessary load.

Pros

  • Guarantees a massive frequency response
  • Pocket-friendly, compact, and portable
  • Drops the noise floor to a great level
  • An excellent choice for studio and live recording

Cons

  • No installation manual

13. Warm Audio WA12

 

Highlighted Features

  • 1 channel
  • Black in color
  • 20dB clean gain
  • Phantom Power & hi-Z setting
  • 15 x 3 x 11 inches in dimension
  • 2 pounds in weight

If you think that your vocals are underwhelming, and you possibly feel that you can do little or nothing to enhance the quality. Here is where the Warm Audio WA12 comes in.

This design comes with several incredible features that combine powerfully to deliver the smooth and soothing vocals you have always desired.

Considering the tremendous impacts it makes/adds to the overall sound quality.

It is one of the best preamps you can confidently invest in and have excellent results to show for your investment.

This device radiates quality from its build/structure down to its awesome contributions to your audio chain.

The sturdy/robust build ensures it can withstand the stress of constant use and movement from one location to another, in the process guaranteeing/promoting longevity.

Overall, it makes up an excellent addition to your studio. The operation/use is straightforward, and it gets the job done excellently well.

You will be blown away by how much you can get done or achieve with it.

Pros

  • Compact and portable design with an overall sturdy appearance
  • Improves your vocals significantly- makes it smooth and warm
  • Offers incredible value for the money
  • Optimizes your home studio

Cons

  • A bit expensive

Buying Considerations of Best Mic Preamp Under 500

Price

Considering the price range at which the mic preamps are offered, you need to know how much you can comfortably invest and target products or designs within that range.

Impressively, you do not need to spend close to $500 before you can pick a design that gives you the desired outcomes or upgrades that you need in your studio.

However, ensure you have a sufficient budget, at least a bit higher than the average market price.

This way, you will have a wide range of preamps to choose from.

So far, we have listed 13 top-quality preamps worth your money and are offered at different prices.

Go through the list and choose a product that fulfills your expectations, most especially fits your budget.

Compatibility

Do not assume that the mic preamps on the market work for all microphone types/designs.

In most cases, mic preamps are built/designed specifically for some selected microphones.

Hence, the need to check the product descriptions and verify from the vendor if your ideal preamp is compatible with your microphone to avoid quality issues.

Portability

As a recording artist, you may need to travel across cities and various locations from time to time while still staying on track with your recording project.

In that case, you need a mic preamp that you can easily travel with without adding unnecessary weight to your luggage.

As a result, you must invest in one of the top-quality portable preamps you can find around. We have listed a few designs on our list that you can buy.

Build Quality

Choose a design that is robust/sturdy mere looking at it. A preamp made from quality steel, aluminum, and metal is known for incredible strength and durability.

This way, they have all it takes to take the hit and stress resulting from constant use and movement from one location to another.

You do not want a preamp that can easily break under pressure.

Sound Quality

The primary function of a mic preamp is to improve the sound quality that comes out of your mic.

A preamp that can’t filter noise or reduce distortion is not a good buy.

Your design choice must offer a clean sound gain and improve your vocals significantly for the best experience.

FAQ’s About Best Mic Preamp Under 500

What does a mic preamp do?

A mic preamp improves your microphone’s audio signal greatly by ensuring you achieve a significant upgrade in sound quality and vocals.

In the end, it cuts down the need for extra processing drastically.

How much does a top-quality preamp cost?

You can find a top-quality mic preamp under 500 for as low as $80 and as high as $499.

The idea is to ensure you find a reliable preamp for less than $500.

What are the qualities of an excellent mic preamp?

A top mic preamp does more than the basic (amplifying the low audio signal produced by your microphone to achieve a higher line signal level).

In addition, it must ensure the produced signal is cleaner (lower noise and distortion), has a higher gain, and is more accurate.

How long can the mic preamp stay on?

The best mic preamp is built to withstand consistent use. It can stay on for days to support your recording/production needs without overheating.

What is the lifespan of a mic preamp?

On average, a mic preamp can retain its top performance for as long as 4 years.

Ensure you follow the manufacturer’s tips and procedures about handling & maintenance to support consistent and long-lasting performance.

Conclusion

If you are looking for the best mic preamp under 500 dollars to invest in.

The 13 options highlighted in this guide offer a perfect blend of affordability, durability, and quality that significantly improves your audio performance and capabilities.

Go through these products one after another and choose the design you consider the most fascinating option.

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