Preamp elitism is a big thing in audio recording, in addition to gear elitism as a whole. You’d be forgiven if you dismiss the notion of an EUR 49 tube preamp being any good. Personally, I still have my cheap DBX and ART pres and while they don’t blow minds, they were never the reason why my recordings sounded bad. So I’d at least keep an open mind and give the new MIC300 a shot.
Behringer MIC300 Tube Ultragain
The new MIC300 is Behringer’s third-generation portable inexpensive tube preamp. The MIC200 before it came in 2012. Now, the MIC200 has switchable preamp voicings and is very much a take on the lovable blue box that is the ART TubeMP Studio V3. The MIC300 gets rid of that stuff, which is now found on the EUR 59 MIC500 Tube Ultragain (affiliate link), but keeps the output limiter to prevent the signal from clipping. Another difference is the dark chassis. That seems to be it. If there’s anything else of significance that’s changed, it’s kept under wraps.
On the other hand, the MIC300 is still an EUR 49 tube preamp. At a price this low, it will punch beyond its weight for as long as it outputs any audio at all. The pre has a single 12AX7 preamp tube, +48V phantom power, up to 60dB gain, 20dB pad switch, phase reverse, and 8-segment LED meter. It’s powered from an adapter and it features XLR and 1/4-inch jack microphone inputs and outputs. This means you can also use it as a colored active DI box.
If you have a decent audio interface and a modicum of production knowledge, the MIC300 probably won’t bring a substantial increase in audio quality. Anywhere else where a cheap pre is the right fit – such as hooking up external microphones to digital cameras, effects processors, and anything else that may come up… Tell you what, EUR 50 is not a lot to spend on a little problem solver.
The Behringer MIC 300 Tube Ultragain is available for preorder now at dealers worldwide, such as Thomann.de (affiliate link).