I ordered a Triton Audio FetHead in-line preamp and it’s here. So what does it do?
You can click the above link for specs but the short of it is, it provides +20db of “ultra clean gain.”
Why would you want this? The simple answer is cleaner audio at higher levels.
If you follow my microphone for podcasting advice, you’re likely using a dynamic microphone (Heil PR40, Shure SM58, ATR2100, etc). Often, these mics need a lot of gain in order to achieve proper audio levels which means cranking the preamp (gain knob) on your mixer or recorder close to its max. In general, I like to keep any preamp I’m using below 70% of full when possible. (Audio sample below).
A lot of preamps start to get noisy when pushed past 70% of the max. Background noises are amplified and hiss starts to become an issue.
With a FetHead, you start off +20db ahead of a cheaper preamp on your mixer or recording device (i.e. Zoom H4n). That means you get to use a lot less of the gain coming from the cheaper preamp which results in reaching the audio levels you desire with noise free results.
There are two main products that I’ve found that do this. The FetHead and the Cloudlifter. I chose the Fethead because it plugs directly in-line with your mic and XLR cable. It’s slightly more compact, easy to use on handheld mics, highly portable and doesn’t require an extra XLR cable. Both are powered by phantom power.
Based on over a year’s experience with the Fethead I can say that it’s truly a tiny piece of magic;) It does exactly what it says… provides ultra clean gain and sounds fantastic.
Here’s the unboxing video along with a link to the podcast episode where I talk about the FetHead and provide an audio sample.
If you jump ahead to minute 15 I talk about what the Fethead is and what it does. If you just want to hear the results, skip ahead to minute 24 where I demo the unit.[audio:http://traffic.libsyn.com/thepodcastersstudio/TPS_072_FetHead_Inline_Microphone_Preamp.mp3|titles=Fethead sample begins at 24:00]
The Podcasters’ Studio #72 – FetHead In-line Microphone Preamp
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