Today we are taking a look at what is the best mic preamp under $100. This is actually something I have been wanting to take a look at for a while. We have a ton of preamp reviews here on the site, but these are for turntables. We have had a few people ask us about getting preamp for a microphone so I thought it would be great to take a look at some of the most popular ones out there that cost under 100 bucks. If you feel that you may need a mic preamp, well you have certainly come to the right place.
What Does A Mic Preamp Do?
Some receivers will have a mic input that you can plug a microphone into and that can be fun. However, if you are serious about the audio that you are recording, you will certainly want a mic preamp. A microphone on its own usually has a very low volume and the preamp just like it does with a turntable will bring the volume up so that it is of a higher quality. If you are just messing around, doing a bit of karaoke, or making the odd recording here and then you probably can get by without one.
Who Needs A Mic Preamp?
Ok, so this is a bit more on the personal side, but as you are reading this article about finding the best mic preamp under $100, I would wager that you may think that you need one. While the most obvious answer is for people who want to make their own music. There are other reasons why you may want a mic preamp. One of my favorite apps/sites is Podbean. which is a podcast site. You can bet your bottom dollar that all of the more “professional” podcasts will have a proper setup with their microphones connected to a mic preamp. People who work in the world of voice overs or those who like to make YouTube videos with a separate vocal track may also want to use a mic preamp.
The 6 Best Mic Preamp Under $100 Reviews
I will admit that this is a little bit out of my area of expertise, but I have done my homework and picked what are some of the more popular models available at this price point and way under!
1: TNP 2 Channel Microphone Mini Audio Stereo Mixer
2: Rolls Mini Microphone Preamp
3: USB 2×2 Audio Interface with Mic Preamplifier
4: Sarmonic Sound Rig
5: ART Tube MP Project Series Microphone Preamp
6: IK Multimedia iRig Pre HD Digital Microphone Interface
TNP 2 Channel Microphone Mini Audio Stereo Mixer
I thought we would start at the lower end of the pricing spectrum with this TNP 2 Channel Microphone Mini Audio Stereo Mixer which as I write this is priced at only $37.99. This one has inputs for two microphones at the same time. Each mic has its own volume knob and it can be screwed into a desk if you want. It is a very compact device so it takes up very little space.
On the back, there are your standard white/red RCA outputs. This does mean that if you wanted to record on a computer you would need to buy something like this RCA to USB cable which costs under ten bucks. If you just want to be able to sing or plug your microphone into some speakers, a receiver, or whatever, this will more than get the job done.
What Other People Are Saying
Outside of Amazon, there is not a ton of information about this, but I did find this short video that shows some of the main features of this mic preamp. There are close to 50 customer reviews on Amazon and it is currently sitting at an 81 percent positive rating. One review that caught my attention had this to say, “Worked perfectly and solved a problem for our small theater company. Very clean sound for an inexpensive unit.” If it is good enough for a theatre company it is good enough for me.
I think that the TNP 2 Channel Microphone Mini Audio Stereo Mixer is a great buy for the price. Even if you factor in the extra 8 bucks or so on the RCA to USB cable you may need, this thing is still coming in at under 50 bucks. It may not be fancy, but it is certainly going to let you be able to record, sing, or whatever at a much better volume.
- The asking price is great
- It can support two mics at once
- It can be screwed into place if necessary
- The unit is very compact
- You may need an extra cable
- That big red light on the front sure is ugly!
Rolls Mini Microphone Preamp
Next up we have this Rolls Mini Microphone Preamp which had to be on our list looking for the best mic preamp under $100 as Rolls is a company that has made one of our other lists looking at best phono preamps under $100. This one is currently priced at $56 which is a great price for a mic preamp. This is clearly designed to be as easy to use as possible, just like before you may need that extra cable if you are connecting it to a PC. However, if you need it to make announcements, sing, or something like that it is ready to go out of the box. It is worth noting that this only has an input for one microphone.
This is not going to be used when Aerosmith plays Wembley Stadium. However, for those who have more basic needs, I can see this being something they are very happy with. It has your dial so you can get it just the way you want and as I said, it could not be any easier to use. It may lack the frills, but it makes up for it in reliability if you ask me.
What Other People Are Saying
There is not exactly a ton of information about this microphone preamp out there, but I did have a really good look through the over 40 Amazon customer reviews to see what people who have purchased this had to say. Currently, it is only sitting at 75 percent positive reviews which is a little low I will admit, but the people who like this seem to really like it. A review said this, “The sound from the Rolls is a little raw and edgy compared to what we were used to” which to me fits in with the overall “low-budget” feel that they were going for with this.
I am a huge fan of Rolls and have played around with their other preamps. On that basis alone, I am more than willing to give this the benefit of the doubt. It is cheap and it is there to just make it so your voice can be heard. I think those looking for super clarity may be disappointed. Make sure you do some extra homework on this one before pulling the trigger.
- The asking price is very reasonable
- Rolls tend to make good products
- It is simple to use
- The size of this thing is tiny!
- Only one mic at a time can be connected
- On Amazon, it has a bit of a mixed reception
USB 2×2 Audio Interface with Mic Preamplifier
Priced at $69.99 (as of writing) we have this very stylish looking USB 2×2 Audio Interface with Mic Preamplifier. I know a device like this the look of it does not really matter, but man I love this thing. The red casing and then the red and green around the dials really do give this a lot of personality. It is the kind of thing where if you have a video podcast, you would not mind this being out on the table.
On the front of the device, you have two inputs and each one has its own gain dial so you can tweak the sound levels so they are just right for you. On the back, you have your standard RCA outputs as you would expect, but you also have a USB port as well which means you can connect this to your computer right out of the box.
What Other People Are Saying
Like most other mic preamps, there is not exactly a ton of video reviews or unboxings for this thing! However, I did a little bit of digging and found a site in the UK that has a ton of customer reviews for this mic preamp. Before I even found this site, I knew this was going to make our best mic preamp under $100 list. But once I started digging through the reviews and noticed that there are 50 of them and 100 percent are for four and five stars, I was certain it was one of the contenders!
I have to say that if I was going to start a podcast (which I would love to do) about listening to my favorite bands like Guns N Roses or talking about movies or whatever. This USB 2×2 Audio Interface with Mic Preamplifier ticks all of the boxes for what I would want in a mic preamp. It may not be fancy, but it more than gets the job done. It has multiple inputs and it gives you a USB port right on the back.
- It costs way under our 100 buck’s limit
- It is probably the most stylish looking one on this list
- Two mic inputs
- RCA and USB outputs on the back
- The red design may not be for everyone
- You may have to tinker with it to get the sound just the way you want
Saramonic Smart Rig
I know that this Saramonic Smart Rig looks pretty damn weird compared to some of the other mic preamps we have looked at today. However, if you have looked at any of our other preamp reviews you know they come in all shapes and sizes. As I write this, Amazon has this for just under 90 bucks, so you have 10 bucks to spare from our limit. What is neat about this is that it actually has a USB-C attached to the device itself. It also has a headphone jack so if you have the right cable, you can hook it up to a set of speakers, receiver, karaoke machine, or whatever.
On the opposite end of the device is a microphone jack and, on the front, you have your dial and your switcher too. It is very simple to use and the design of it means it can be easily stored away. This does require a 9 volt (the square type) to power it which makes me think this is clearly intended for people on the go. If you do a lot of recording at say a music show or some kind of convention this could be very handy for you. It looks like the idea behind this is all about recording directly to a smartphone.
What Other People Are Saying
I found this really cool video unboxing and review which gives you a much better idea about the size of this thing. Also, the guy on the video speaks very highly of what this mic preamp is capable of. I also had a look at the customer reviews on Amazon and was pleased to see that as of writing this is sitting at 80 percent positive customer reviews.
I think if you are doing the majority of recording on your phone then this Saramonic Smart Rig has to be on your list. The compact nature, the way it is designed with being used while you are out and about is great stuff indeed. As is the fact that the USB cable is directly attached to the top of it.
- It has a built in USB cable
- The perfect mic preamp if you are on the go
- Great if you like to record away from home
- It costs under 100 bucks
- It does require a 9-volt battery
- There is no standard RCA output
ART Tube MP Project Series Microphone Preamp
We are getting closer to our pricing ceiling with this ART Tube MP Project Series Microphone Preamp as it is currently priced at $89.99. This is a tube amplifier and it is aimed more at people who are a tad more serious about their recording. There is no USB output, but your standard output jack on the back. Actually, the inputs and outputs are both on the back and I am not sure how happy I am about that.
What makes me think this is a more “professional” mic preamp is what is on the front of the device. You have buttons for a variety of options as well as your standard gain and volume dial. It gives you a lot more control over the quality of sound you are going to be getting from your microphone and I am sure this will make it more of an attractive option for those who are serious about their recording quality.
What Other People Are Saying
Check out this fantastic video showcase if you want to see just what this thing can do. I will admit, I was a little on the fence about including this on our list for the best mic preamp under $100, however, this video 100 percent made me change my mind. There are currently 84 customer reviews on Amazon and 85 percent of these are positive reviews. For the most part, people who have purchased this are very happy with it.
I know that the design, not the most attractive, but I do feel that this ART Tube MP Project Series Microphone Preamp has a great deal going for it. The asking price is not bad at all and if you feel that you are more of a “professional” and want to have more control over the way your voice sounds. The various options/buttons this thing has are going to allow you to have that better control.
- This is very professional
- It has extra settings you can play with
- They have made it easy to use
- It looks like it has a very sturdy build
- It is not exactly the most attractive preamp I have seen
- The flashing LED lights on the front look like they would get annoying
IK Multimedia iRig Pre HD Digital Microphone Interface
Last, but by no means least we have this IK Multimedia iRig Pre HD Digital Microphone Interface. This like one we looked at earlier is designed with recording on the go in mind. There is actually a great pic on Amazon where a guy has this on a boom mic with a phone connected to it. The asking price for this is $99.99 so it is right at the top of our pricing spectrum so that is something you have to keep in mind. I think that it has a very elegant and stealth like design where most of the time you probably will not even notice it is there.
On one end of the device, you have your microphone input. On the other, you have your USB and your standard headphone jack style output. This does actually come with some great recording software which I think is a very nice touch. You also have your dial for how much gain you want and a volume dial as well. I think no matter if you were recording on the go or even if you were making something like a podcast at home, this would be great for both.
What Other People Are Saying
If you want to get super nerdy and into all of the nitty gritty that this mic preamp has going on check out this video review where you can see exactly what this is going to give you. With just over 150 customer reviews and 83 percent of them being positive it does seem like this is a very popular device. A guy who teaches fitness classes had this to say “Since adding the IRIG to my collection of audio equipment, my sound has improved tremendously.” Which I feel is a great advertisement for this.
I am very, very impressed with the IK Multimedia iRig Pre HD Digital Microphone Interface. It is such a neat little device that is going to give your vocals way more kick and boom than its small stature actually suggests. What I think is great about this is that you are getting the best of both worlds with this. You are getting a mic preamp that is great if you are on the go, recording on the road. On the flip side of this, you are also going to be very happy with the results if you are recording at home with this thing sitting on a table.
- It has a very compact design
- Great if you want to record while you are out and about
- It comes with some great free software to use
- It is also fantastic if you want to record at home
- It is right at the top of our price limit
- It does require two AA batteries
What Is The Best Mic Preamp Under $100?
If you have looked at any of the turntable reviews, projector reviews, speaker reviews, or any of the other reviews I have done, you will notice sometimes I have a hard time picking a clear-cut winner. That is not going to be the case this time as there are two that I feel stood out over the rest. The first one I want to talk about is the USB 2×2 Audio Interface with Mic Preamplifier. I love the whole style of this device and if you are going to be recording at home and it is going to have a permanent home this is perfect, plus it only costs like 70 bucks. The other option is for those of you who will not just be recording in the same place all the time. I know that it costs $99.99, but honestly, the IK Multimedia iRig Pre HD Digital Microphone Interface truly is a device that can do it all.