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  #1  
Old 06-18-2022, 11:03 AM
dburna dburna is offline
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Default Dual-mic (XLR) preamp recommendations under/around $500

I currently have a Shure SM81 that can be used as an acoustic guitar mic. I have access to a Shure SM7B that can be used as a vocal mic. Looking for a 2-input mic preamp for under $500 give-or-take with the following features:

1. 2/dual XLR inputs - both mics have XLR outputs
2. Phantom 48V power
3. Mixing/EQ capability a plus
4. standard instrument cable output
5. Headphone jack a plus
6. Low noise and natural sounding - not overly warm or steely (SS) sounding
7. Reliable and well-built
8. Ideally something that could be used as a floor/footpedal controlled unit, but this is not a deal-breaker

If there's something over my price-point that is vastly superior, please let me know. I can consider it.

Thanks in advance for your help on this, -dGB (Dave)

Last edited by dburna; 06-18-2022 at 12:12 PM.
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  #2  
Old 06-18-2022, 12:09 PM
Rudy4 Rudy4 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dburna View Post
I currently have a Shure SM81 that can be used as an acoustic guitar mic. I have access to a Shure SM57 that can be used as a vocal mic. Looking for a 2-input mic preamp for under $500 give-or-take with the following features:

1. 2/dual XLR inputs - both mics have XLR outputs
2. Phantom 48V power
3. Mixing/EQ capability a plus
4. standard instrument cable output
5. Headphone jack a plus
6. Low noise and natural sounding - not overly warm or steely (SS) sounding
7. Reliable and well-built
8. Ideally something that could be used as a floor/footpedal controlled unit, but this is not a deal-breaker

If there's something over my price-point that is vastly superior, please let me know. I can consider it.

Thanks in advance for your help on this, -dGB (Dave)
I'm not sure exactly how you intend to use your pre, but you might look at a Zoom Livetrak L8. All your requirements, plus a whole lot more including EQ, mixing, pan controls, reverb and other effects, 48 volt phantom power on 6 combo input channels, and a full blown digital recorder that captures individual tracks. Runs on AA batteries if you wish, and is under your budgeted amount.
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Old 06-18-2022, 01:20 PM
FrankHudson FrankHudson is offline
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Thinking you may get more/better answers if you clue us in on intended use. Recording? Live/gigging use (and what kind)? Home strum and fun?
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Old 06-18-2022, 01:38 PM
MikeMcKee MikeMcKee is offline
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Highly recommend the MOTU 4pre. Seems like that would cover your requirements.
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Old 06-18-2022, 02:44 PM
GmanJeff GmanJeff is offline
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Be aware that the SM7B requires a lot of gain. I use a Cloudlifter CL-1 with mine; some preamps may function fine without such enhancement, but many will need to be supplemented in that way.
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Old 06-20-2022, 08:38 PM
dburna dburna is offline
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Sorry, didn't mean to ask a question and then disappear. I was waylaid by my wife & daughter for a full Father's Day weekend. It was great.

Bought an acoustic here on AGF a while back, so I was looking into internal pickups to play into an amp, mostly for home use, I am not yet gig-worthy....or even open-mic worthy. The more I looked into all of them, I kept hearing similar comments on internal mics -- nice, but not up to par with an external mic.

So, I looked into external mics and found a good deal on the SM81. The other mic is my daughter's, she uses it for podcasting. Thought I would try my hand at amplified mics to see if I can get a good acoustic sound, but would need at least a pre-amp with 2+ inputs.

Thank you for the recommendations. As it turns out, there was a screaming' good deal on eBay for the Motu 4pre, so I ordered one this weekend. When I get around to it, I'll try to come back and let everyone know how it works out. I'm sure there will be a semi-significant learning curve, but that's half the battle and half the fun.

Best regards, -dGB (Dave)
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Old 06-21-2022, 10:55 AM
Ken Carr Ken Carr is offline
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EAE Stompmix checks all of the boxes you mentioned. It's a great little 4 channel mixer in a pedal form. 2 1/4" inputs. 2 xlr inputs. 48v phantom power. Very tasteful reverb and delay effects. I love mine.
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Old 06-21-2022, 10:58 AM
FrankHudson FrankHudson is offline
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In that sort of use (just for fun self-jamming with myself or maybe a few others) this is what I use:

Home: I just play my acoustic, well, acoustically. For ad lib songwriting ideas or personal "sound checks" I'll sometimes use an inexpensive Zoom handheld or a smart phone. No mics (I use the phone or Zooms built ins) or extra preamps needed.

Studio Space: I use what I use to record as a mic preamp/mixer into powered monitor speakers or headphones. Advantage: I already own it, and of course if I want to record something that comes up, it's easy to do that too. My Scarlett 8 channel with 8 channel Clarett expansion is what I use. Most don't need that many channels, but I've needed more than 8 sometimes when recording with others. The Scarlett 8 channel unit actually works "stand alone" as a mixer, even without the computer on, but again is overkill for most solo guitar vocal people.

Except for likely needing a computer to power your interfaces (sorry, don't know that model off the top of my head) you could do the same. One nice thing about using a "recording setup" for just jamming, playing, and/or practicing is that recording software is a very flexible looper, backing track player, effects device emulator, soundcheck how well I've mastered a technique, song idea scratch pad device too. I think of it as an "audio smart phone" -- in that it can replace a lot of separate things with one solution.

Now on to your mics. I happen to own both, and you may have issues. The SM7B is a famous gain hog, and most small interfaces don't have enough. I use mine with a Cloudlifter powered off my interface's phantom power. Works great with the CL giving me a 20db gain boost. I think there are less expensive devices that do a similar gain boost to the CL, again driven off the interface or mixers phantom power. The SM7B works very well with some voices and I believe does a nicer job in untreated rooms than some other choices.

I bought a used SM81 a year or so ago. I was going to use it to mic cymbals (a classic use for this mic) but I tried it on acoustic guitar. It's not bad in that role, but again it requires more gain than most any small diameter condenser mic that I've encountered. And since condenser mics already are using phantom power for themselves, a CloudLifter or the like isn't a solution. You'll have to see with your interface how well it works.
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  #9  
Old 06-26-2022, 09:50 PM
j.blay j.blay is offline
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See link below. One of many mixers that will meet/exceed your needs.

https://www.sweetwater.com/store/det...r-with-effects
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Old 06-26-2022, 10:46 PM
RRuskin RRuskin is offline
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FMR Audio RNP.
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Old 06-27-2022, 08:19 AM
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ljguitar ljguitar is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeMcKee View Post
Highly recommend the MOTU 4pre. Seems like that would cover your requirements.
Hi Mike
The MOTU M-2 or M-4 have no EQ adjustments (I own an M-2). Also misses original poster (Dave) point #8.

I'd just find a small mixer. Bought a small Mackie 4 channel mixer (2 XLR and 2 ¼" inputs) for $50 on the local FaceBook marketplace, but I'm sure e-Bay, or other marketing platforms have lots to sell us.

Mackie, Yamaha, SoundCraft all build great small mixers. NONE of them go on the floor.

The Grace Felix fits the bill, and is AMAZING - but at $1250 price point.

Hope 'Dave' finds what he needs (original poster).







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