Best Preamps for Snare and Kick Drums

Written By James Quinn


When producing professional music, the ordinary amplifier might not be enough. You will be required to get an extra form of amp called a preamp to allow in combining the music with the band. The band involves a combination of different musical instrument sound.

One of the musical instrument that is key in band creation is the drums. However, the drums, unlike most inputs, have high exposure to distortion and vibration. You will, therefore, require to source for a preamp that not only combines different sounds but also isolate the sound from noises.

As much as there is need to research before making a purchase, we acknowledge that It might be quite a hustle to go window shopping while comparing different preamps features.  We have therefore taken the task of reviewing the best preamps for drums for you. We have not only ranked them but also outlined the features and their favorability to drums.

We have analyzed them as below:

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Best Preamps for Drums - Comparison Table

Best Preamps for Drums - Reviews

#1. OUR OVERALL TOP PICK 2019

Universal Audio SOLO/610 Classic Vacuum Tube Mic Pre & DI Box

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1. Universal Audio SOLO/610 Classic Vacuum Tube Mic Pre & DI Box

OUR RATING

IMPORTANT FEATURES

Universal Audio SOLO/610 amp is designed to offer you classic versatility. Just like it is referred to, it is a universal form of an amp as it readily connects with many audio devices. It is very famous and widely used for mic setups making it among the most sought-after universal audio amps.

Mics are key in music recording. They are very pivotal in relaying sound inputs for recording. This preamp gives a convenient recording room atmosphere. This means that the sound relay is free of feedbacks, distortions, and vibrations. This universal preamp is among the best for studio recording.

Other than being very good for studios and home recording, it delivers excellent sound for outdoor events.  During stage performances, one can comfortably control the sound frequencies hence giving out a very convenient output sound. It is actually known for its signature quality sound output.

All these features are contained in a compact casing made of durable material. This compactness gives it a lightweight feature which makes it very portable.

Despite being made to meet the USA standards for quality, it trades at very affordable prices. We considered this as one of the budget preamps for mics.

PROS

  • Made to deliver excellent sound output
  • Connect with different audio input
  • Provides a conducive room recording atmosphere for studios
  • Very affordable
  • Simple, compact and very portable

CONS

  • Has only one channel

INDEPENDENT REVIEW

2019 RUNNER UP

ART TubeOpto 8 Tube Microphone Preamp 8 Channel Class A Digital 24Bit Audio I/O 44.1 or 48kHz

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2. ART TubeOpto 8 Tube Microphone Preamp

OUR RATING

IMPORTANT FEATURES

If you are looking for a preamp that will support a large number of mics, then you should give Art Tube Opto 8 a shot. It will give you a platform to plugin about eight different audio inputs.

All the eight audio tubes are fitted with interfaces to ensure that sound is effectively relayed.

You are also able to control the input performance. This is because of the control system design for the channels outputs and input.

You can also connect the amp to different control inputs like the iPad and computers. It has a widely connectible port. This makes it very possible to configure it to different music and audio systems.

In addition to the audio interfaces, the amp has disc recorders. This is an equivalent of DAW that gives you and an instantaneous recording of albums directly to the disc.

The filtered sounds from the mic through the mic amps can be recorded into discs for editing after a performance.

The channels have very extended monitors for controlling the levels of output. The peak and of the preamp is also regulated even from a distance.

This means the level of the out can be varied to different levels as may be needed.

PROS

  • Has wide range audio control monitors
  • It is widely connectable to different systems for configuration
  • Has disc recorders for post-performance editing
  • Operates like DAW hence allows for different sounds mixing
  • Produces high-quality sound

CONS

  • May be subject to overloading

Solid State Logic Alpha VHD (4-Ch Preamp)

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3. Solid State Logic Alpha VHD (4-Ch Preamp)

OUR RATING

IMPORTANT FEATURES

Solid State Logic Alpha will combine sound from different inputs to give you an ultra-clean output. The essence of making good music is to mix different inputs to bring out a competitive sound beat.

This preamp combine unbalanced and balanced inputs its channels with precision such that they are naturally felt with clarity.

If you need to switch inputs for better performance, this preamp allows switching to accommodate different inputs like the mic, drums and other instruments levels.

You are also able to control the levels of the instruments to give out the desired outcome. This is due to the very sensitive sound control systems installed in it.

There is always the possibility of overloading a preamp or any DAW. This usually happens when they can support different types of inputs at the same time.

When this happens, the possibility of crash or destruction is usually high. This amp is cushioned from this as it has a pad switches which signals you in case you have overloaded it.

The most drum-friendly trait of this amp is the presence of a trim control. They have curves release ability to minimize any distortion and vibrations.

When playing the drums, a lot of vibrations and unnecessary sounds may be present. This amp compresses the noises and distortions to deliver a clear sound.

PROS

  • Have sound distortions compressors hence delivering clear sound
  • The amp allows for mixing of different sounds
  • Very light and made of hard to break material
  • Have a larger number of channels supports

CONS

  • It may be unable to isolate very extreme vibration

INDEPENDENT REVIEW

ART ProMPAII Two Channel Discrete Class A Microphone Preamp

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4. API 3124+ Discrete 4-Channel Microphone/Line Preamplifier

OUR RATING

IMPORTANT FEATURES

When playing drums for professional music or home recording, you will need an amp that will allow both high and level inputs.

At the same time, it should be able to isolate distortions from the real musical instruments sounds. API 3124+ allows for different inputs like the drums, guitars and other low-level inputs.

At the same time,   the output channels are fitted with audio interfaces to allow for effective sound sieving.

This means the sound will be effectively mixed and free of any distortions. You are also able to control the levels of these instruments sounds through the amps sound control systems.

Despite supporting multiple inputs, there is no fear of producing unbalanced sounds. The preamp allows you to monitor the sounds mixing to personalized levels. That is to means you only get the outcome of sound that you have set.

When exposed to excessive vibrations, most amps will be prone to sound breaking. This is due to the interference with the sound isolation capability. But for this amp, it allows for even high-level inputs.

This feature makes it one of the best preamps for pianos and high-level input drums. 

PROS

  • Has good connectors for different inputs
  • Has effective output channels for delivering clear sound
  • Unlike most preamps, it can support high-level inputs
  • Gives the user a full music workstation experience

CONS

  • Slightly expensive, but fits the bill

INDEPENDENT REVIEW

PreSonus DigiMax D8 Eight-Channel Preamp with 48 kHz ADAT Output

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5. PreSonus DigiMax D8 Eight-Channel Preamp with 48 kHz ADAT Output

OUR RATING

IMPORTANT FEATURES

Our top contender for the best preamps for drums is Presonus Digimax D8. This is a preamp that has input for virtually every audio device.

The eight channels extend the parameters of the number of audio inputs that can be plugged in these preamps. Some of the audio equipment include mics, guitars, keyboards, drums etc.

Its wide range of equipment support makes it very versatile and usable in different settings. It is good for the studio set up as it has high sound isolation abilities. It can deliver quality recording sound which is free from distortions and vibrations. 

The fact that it uses analog outputs makes is very good preamp for using for outdoor performances. These analog outputs are widely connectible to most sound output devices and amplifiers.

Another useful feature of this preamp is its high resolution of up to 48k. This level of resolution allows you to control the kind of output you get. You are able to monitor the sound of the different instrument and how it is mixing to achieve a balanced sound.

With this kind of high-performance preamp, it is possible to overload with many inputs. This would be most likely due to the fact that it supports both high and low-level inputs.

Presonus Digimax D8 allows you to know when you have feed more inputs that can be supported. The pad switches will show signals to alert you hence reducing chances of a sound crash.

PROS

  • Has a considerably high voltage of above 30v
  • Delivers transparent and clear sound
  • Has a high-resolution level
  • Can connect with many inputs supported by the 8 channels
  • Uses analog output lines that can be converted to digital lines

CONS

  • None reported

INDEPENDENT REVIEW

Best Preamps for Drums - Buyers Guides

The involvement of multiple instruments in any context often produces varying sounds. With the conventional amplifier, getting the desired sound output from drums and other instruments is never easy for everyone. This is where the best affordable preamp comes into play.

Getting one of these will help to harmonize and synthesize these sounds from different sources. As simple as it may seem, identifying the best match for every specific use case isn't an easy task for every potential buyer in the market.

Given the above fact, we dedicated some time to create this preamp buying guide for people like you.

To make this worthwhile, we explored a lot of other preamp reviews and comparisons. In addition to this, we also look into some reputable sales stats to come up with a list of the top-rated models among the current bestsellers. However, the main thing having enough relevant information that will aid your eventual purchase decision. Without overwhelming you with an oversized number of options of course.

Bearing in mind that what suits user A may not work user B's intended use cases, we looked at the most relevant factors from different angles. While reading the post, observe how the key points will help you think through the best preamp comparison.

Preamp Application 

Probably, no one comes to the market to buy a product without being clear on what they want to use it for. However, the interesting thing is the level of clarity in this case often differs a lot. The important question is – what exactly do you want to use a preamp for?

For example, below are some of the reasons why many people are actively looking for the best preamp within their current budget.

Preamp For Live Vocals: Both for choir, DJ service and stage performance, the preamp can be applied in a different live vocal environment. But the main thing is that what applies here may not apply elsewhere because of other types of context-specific instruments that may be involved.

Preamp For Studio Recording: Specifically, there are people that keenly interested in the best preamp for studio recording only. If this is what you want, you can move from here to Amazon to find a lot of affordable models in this category. Even when you just need a preamp for drums, understanding these practical usability variations from one context to the other will help you to identify the best option for you.

Instrument Specific Preamps

First things first. There is no specific category called 'instrument-specific preamp'. However, some of these sound production devices are either meant for one or more instruments. This is one of the key variations that set one preamp apart from the other. Practically, this also relates to the issue of applicability within specific contexts.

The question is – do you have a specific instrument in mind or you need a preamp for multiple instruments? To help you answer that question, below is a shortlist of the most common instruments that work directly with a preamp.

  • Drums
  • Keyboard
  • Guitars
  • Microphone
  • Mixers
  • Speakers

Depending on your level of experience, you should observe that these instruments are meant for input and output systems. The most important thing is to be specific about your intended uses before you commit to buy a preamp on Amazon or from other retailers.

Type of Preamp 

Do you know the exact type of preamp that is best suited for your intended contexts? If yes is your answer, you may want to skip this section. Especially for new buyers, having a relatively high level of clarity about the type of preamp you want will be very helpful. Now, what are the types of the preamplifier in the market?

Solid State Preamp: This type uses transistors to amplify signals instead of a tube. It is known to operate with less heat and minimal distortion. These things are the basis for consistently providing clean and transparent sound. Follow the links above and you'll find a lot of solid-state preamplifiers on Amazon.

Tube Preamp: Even right now, some potential buyers come to market with a specific interest in the best tube preamplifier within a certain budget range. Unlike the one mentioned above, this tube model makes use of vacuum tubes to amplify the mic signal. The interesting thing is that a little bit of distortion adds uniqueness and style to the sound that is being produced. As for this type, most people do instrumental recording sessions find it very suitable.

The only downside is the sound quality tends to degrade as the tube ages from time to time. But it lasts for a long time enough to get value or your money before this starts to happen.

Hybrid Mic Preamp: Just as the name suggests, this is a practical combination of both tube and solid-state preamp. What happens in most cases is that the input signals are driven by solid state components while the tube drives output. This combination promises great warmth and color wherever it is used.

Channel Strips: This is the fourth type of preamp you'll find in the market. With this one, you don't have to purchase extra patching cables as it comes with everything in the package. That means you should expect to have less noise from connecting separate units and a complete signal chain. Based on my findings, this is the type of preamplifier commonly used by people that do home recording.

Number of Channels

Here is another important point. You have to decide the number of channels you need in a preamplifier. To make it easier, you should take into consideration the exact use cases you have in mind. Think about what I said earlier about instrument-specific preamp and the models meant for multiple instruments.

Besides using terms like 'best drum preamp buying guide', other people narrow down their options with specific terms like 'single-channel preamp for vocals' and many more like that.

Generally, you'll find a single channel, dual-channel, four-channel and even eight-channel preamps for drums. Another important factor you have to think through at this stage is the type of output that will be the best suitable option for you. Do you want to use this for simple home recording or group performance? This will help you to determine the number of other instruments that may be required in your setup.

Please note that If you have any doubt or ambiguity about some of these things, consider asking further questions on each product's sales page. Follow the link around each product and you'll have your questions answered by each seller or experienced users from the Amazon community.

Price of Preamp For Drums

What is the price of preamp for drums? What is the best drum preamp under $500? These are some of the questions that a lot of potential buyers often have in mind. But why did I make the price point to be the last?

Well, nobody enjoys reading reviews of products they can't afford. But first, you have to be specific about what you want first. This will now help you to narrow down your options and then begin to make a practical comparison. For most of the products reviewed in this buying guide, the price range is between $200 - $1000. However, the price often varies where a bundle is offered with other relevant peripherals.

Best Preamp Brands

Whether you have a specific brand in mind or not, some of the best preamp brands are well represented in this post. Adding them here is based on positive user experiences, great reviews and impressive sales records. Interestingly, if you are looking for a specific brand name, probably based on recommendation, there is a chance you'll find it here. At this time, some of the best preamp brands include PreSonus, Focusrite, ART, Solid State, Universal Audio and Behringer.

The quality of the sound you get from the musical instruments is hugely determined by the kind of preamp you use. You, therefore, do not have a reason not to invest in a good preamp. If you are aspiring to be a good music maker then it is a high time you gave preamps a serious thought. If you are a drummer you don't have to be let down by distortions of sound. Just invest in a good preamp, if you are on tight budget there are some decent budget preamps for drums including some for snare drums

I hope this article helps you get the one that makes your make masterpieces of music.

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