If my cheapie Behringer mini mixer, which I bought for only about $75, can have a good, very low noise mic preamp, why can't someone make a portable, battery operated mic preamp that doesn't cost an arm and a leg?
It looks like the Behringer runs off a 9V "wall wart". You should be able to rig-up a battery. I have no idea if normal 9V battery would supply enough power/current, but 6 AA batteries most-likely could power it. The battery is an additional item to carry, but it might be the best compromise.
I have a Roland R-26 portable recorder and various mics, such as an Audio Technica AT8035 shotgun condenser mic and a Shure MX-184 Lavalier condenser mic. I typically plug either of those mics, with an XLR cable, directly into the Roland R-26's XLR input. I record mostly human voice, as well as nature sounds, and I get a lot of noise (hiss) with this combination, which makes me think that the signal level isn't sufficient. (NOTE: For comparison, I get far less noise when I run either of those mics through either my mini Behringer mixer or my little Yamaha mixer, using phantom power, and then into the R-26. Problem is, those mixers require wall outlet power and aren't portable, so I can't carry them with me outside.) The Roland R-26 recorder has phantom power, which I use. Also, I've tried recording with the R-26 phantom power off and a battery inside the AT8035 mic. (The Shure MX-184 can't take a battery.) Anyway, I have the exact same noise/hiss issue with a battery in the AT8035. I suspect that the Roland R-26 mic preamp just isn't up to the job of cleanly recording voice and nature sounds. I read somewhere that recorders such as the R-26 are intended primarily for use recording live music, which would provide a much louder signal. Makes sense. Have others had this same issue with the R-26?Anyway, I want to make this mic/recorder combination work without it costing me a lot of money. Does anyone know of a good single-channel mic preamp for under $400? Everything that looks good costs more than the R-26 recorder.Also, I'm curious. If my cheapie Behringer mini mixer, which I bought for only about $75, can have a good, very low noise mic preamp, why can't someone make a portable, battery operated mic preamp that doesn't cost an arm and a leg? Why does a portable, single-channel mic preamp have to be so darn expensive? Finally, if not a dedicated mic preamp, does anyone know of a small, portable, battery-powered ultra low-noise mini mixer that has phantom power and that might do the trick?I'd appreciate any helpful suggestions and advice. Thanks!
Behrnger has long provided a < $100 mixer that runs off of 3 each standard 9 volt batteries. I have one and it works.http://www.behringer.com/EN/Products/1002B.aspxCaveat - it provides phantom power, but at far less than the standard 43 volts DC. The world is full of condenser mics that run well with as little as 12 volts phantom power, but you have to be careful to use them with this device. If memory serves, battery life is somewhere between 10 and 20 hours with good fresh alkaline 9 volt batteries.
Check out FetHead Phantom.