2143443898_5c1e3c9f6d.jpegAfter posting the review of the Presonus Eureka, several of you asked me how to exactly connect an external preamp to an audio interface.

While this may seem simple enough, a lot of home studio owners are doing this wrong. It’s not the end of the world, don’t worry. However, you need to know the proper way to connect these things, since it might adversely affecting the quality of your recordings.

Mic Input vs. Line Input

What is the purpose of a preamp? Why does it exist? As I mentioned in Intro to Preamps, microphones produce a very low-level signal. Without a microphone preamp, the signal remains unusable.

A microphone preamp amplifies the signal from mic level to line level.

Most audio interfaces include anywhere from one to eight preamps. The inputs to these preamps are 3-pin XLR connections. You simply connect the microphone directly to the preamp via the mic input.

Most interfaces also include a number of line inputs. These accept line level signals.

Line level signals don’t need to be amplified by a preamp. They are already at the appropriate level.

Examples of devices that produce line level signals:

  • Microphone preamps (more on this below)
  • Compressors
  • EQs
  • Rackmount effects units (reverbs, delays)
  • Mixers
  • Keyboards
  • CD player/recorders

Connection Clarification

There are essentially 4 types of connections you’ll deal with in your studio: XLR, 1/4″ TRS, 1/4″ TS, and RCA. Any of these can be line inputs.

XLR and TRS are balanced connections. Most line inputs on audio interfaces are 1/4″ TRS connections.

TS and RCA are unbalanced connections. (More on this another day.)

Here’s the tricky thing. Mic inputs are also XLR connections. You can see how this could easily get confusing.

Hooking Things Up

Here’s a general rule of thumb: Connect microphones to microphone inputs, and connect line outputs to line inputs.

Let’s take the Presonus Eureka, for example. It has an XLR mic input, and that’s where I connect the microphone (obviously).

The Eureka also has both XLR and TRS line outputs (you can use either one). The back of my 003 has XLR mic inputs and TRS line inputs. Which should I use for the Eureka?

Answer: One of the TRS line inputs.

So, I use a standard 1/4″ TRS cable to connect the line output of the Eureka to one of the line inputs on the 003. If I wanted to, I could a cable that has an XLR female connector on one end (for the Eureka’s XLR output) and a TRS connector on the other (for the 003). Either one of these would work.

Line Output + Mic Input = Trouble

A lot of people run the line output of their microphone preamp into the mic input of their audio interface. This is unnecessary, because you’re essentially running the signal through two microphone preamps. This can result in distortion and a degradation of the sound.

I recently saw someone post on Twitter that they tried running their preamp to the line input instead of the mic input, and that it made an amazing difference.

It’s true, using the proper connections and gain-staging is very important when recording. Go check your rig and make sure you’re connecting everything properly.

Did this help? Got questions? Leave a comment.

[Photo by jennie-o]

  • Bob Sanders

    I’ll post pics if i need 2

  • Bob Sanders

    I have a blue baby bottle and a art tube preamp and a fostex 3070 compressor and a mbox pro 3 how should run it

  • The Reen

    Hi! I’m really really confused and new at this so I hope you can help; please bare with me.

    I’ve been recording for a couple of years on my own but it’s all been through my usb interface and a usb mic. I’m about to get a universal audio la 610 mkII preamp and an akg c-214. I see that the 610 has a mic in, line in, and line out. They all look like mic cable connections. I know that I will connect the mic to the mic in, what would go in the line in? Is there a way to connect two mics, say for double mic’ing an amp or guitar?

    Also, I have an RME Babyface and it has a breakout cable that has a R and a L mic cable style in, and a R and L mic cable style out. I’m pretty sure the line out from the preamp will be connected here into one of the in’s, but does it matter that it has a right and left and there is only one line out from the preamp? Will there be some kind of sound degradation?

    Thanks for your help!

    • http://www.homestudiocorner.com Joe Gilder

      It’s a single-channel preamp. You can’t use a microphone and anything else. The line input is for running line-level signals through the preamp to “warm” them up. I’ve never used it before really.

      • Rev

        I think the Solo 610 sounds amazing for recording bass direct. I use the line input all the time. Great for guitar, too… Wonderful pre-amps!

  • Mackoy

    Hi I got the same set up as yours presonus eureka and a digidesign double 0 three I didn’t know I was double amping on both gears pretty bad distortion white noise after reading this I went to guitar center and bought xlr female to trs..hooked up the female xlr to my eureka’s output and trs to digi line input 5-8 boot up protools and baammmmm I was totally blown away crystal clear nomore distortion white noise and makes a big difference on my vocals thanks a lot for this tip

    • http://www.homestudiocorner.com Joe Gilder


  • LA

    waddup guys,

    So I have a Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 audio Interface with a Presonus Studio Channel Strip. I use a balanced 1/4 TRS Cable to connect my Presonus pre-amp with my Focusrite interface.

    My Presonus pre-amp has an almost identical back as the Eureka so I connected the TRS cable (and my mic into the mic input) as described in the manual above. Then I connected my other side of the TRS Cable to my Focusrite interface and set it on Line input (cause it has a line and mic input in one). But when I open Pro Tools, he doesn’t seem to connect with it (I get no sound and no sign of reading). While, when I use only my Focusrite Interface (connect my mic directly to my interface) it has no problems reading it on Pro Tools.

    Is there something I’m doing wrong? Do I use the wrong cable, or should I turn on/off something I’ve missed? Is it Pro Tools maybe? I have no clue. I hope someone here can help me out. I’ve been searching for an answer around the internet, but I can’t find it anywhere.

    I’m a rookie at this so any help would be very much appreciated!



  • Raham Ashjari

    Yes , so helpful tanx :)

  • Flemming Lund

    Can I please ask: I need to record a line signal from my guitar into Pro Tools. I have the Mbox 3. I bought an active DI Box (Palmer Audionomix) for the purpose. I have an XLR going out of the box and TRS in the other end going intop the back of the mbox in the Mic/Line input. The line signal I record is extremely low and almost not noticable. Should I use a different cable for the purpose?

    • http://www.homestudiocorner.com Joe Gilder

      You need to go to the mic input not the line input.

      • Flemming Lund

        Thanks for your answer, though I am not entirely sure what you mean? The back of the mbox 3 has 2 inputs both called “mic/line inputs”. Do you mean I need to use the input on the front of the mbox in stead?

  • Jon

    So, I have a phantom powered mic I want to connect. Where do I add the power. I first connect to a tube preamp where I can turn on phantom power and then connect to a compressor and then into a mixer where I have the option to turn on phantom and then into my multitrack where I also have the option of phantom power. my question is where in the chain is it best to use phantom power? At the beginning or end?

    • http://www.homestudiocorner.com Joe Gilder

      Good rule of thumb: always use the shortest route for phantom power. Whatever the mic is plugged into should provide phantom power.

  • lara

    Hello, I am new to recording voiceovers and today, I bought a condenser mic, with interface… Ci1 stein berg and I have it plugged into my mac,..with the right cables, but I don’t have output at all, as I use the speakers on my mac normally. When I go to record, it is not picking up my mic, it is using the internal mic from my mac to record. Any ideas?

    • http://www.homestudiocorner.com Joe Gilder

      Did you turn on phantom power?

      • Paul Drake

        Did you go into preferences in your DAW and assign the input channel to your interface?

  • Leon

    Hey, i just recently purchased a focusrite trakmaster pro and i have a focusrite scarlett 8i6 ive established that having an 8i6 i didnt actually need a trakmaster pro but i simply purchased because i wanted to record vocals with light compression going in, i was wondering if you could help explain to me what is the appropriate and best way to connect my trakmaster pro to my focusrite 8i6 and i currently use logic how can i get logic to read it etc, im sorry if i sound ignorant to this im a 16 year old producer and i am new to analogue equipment etc and i just wanna get the best out of it thanks, Leon

    • http://www.homestudiocorner.com Joe Gilder

      Hey Leon,

      As the article says, you need to run from the line out of the preamp to a line input on the interface. As far as specifics, you’ll probably need to check the manual or maybe talk to the company who sold it to you? Or call tech support. They can help you.
      Good luck!


  • Nemanja

    Hello. first sory on my english.

    I have a Focusrite Saffire 56 Liquide and Spl fronliner. I do not know how to connect them. Spl has only XLR outs. Focusrite interface has a XLR (mic in) and Line In (TRS).

    When I connect the SPL Frontliner line out to line in (trs) from Focusrite,
    the signal is very quiet, and as hard to sing on the microphone,
    Focusrite dont shows clips, and VU meter on SPL Frontliner shows…
    I tried a variant of SPL LINE OUT Connect with Focusrite Mic in, but then the signal is too loud. I do not know what to do?

    And another question: does it matter whether the line in or mic in? Are the Focusrite Mic Preamp is activated only when you crank the gain on the channel Focusrite?

    • http://www.homestudiocorner.com Joe Gilder

      Sorry, Nemanja. This isn’t really the place for product-specific questions. You’ll need to contact the manufacturer or consult the user manual.

  • Chris Thompson

    I just bought a Presonus Eureka, and I have a Presonus Firestudio Project. How would I set this up? I believe I go mic cable to Eureka “microphone input,” via XLR. Then I would run the eureka output to my interface, but I am now doubting how. Do I run out of the eureka via TRS or XLR, and do I run that into “mic/instruments” input (1 or 2), or into “mic/line” (3-8) on the Firestudio interface? I thought I had it down, but after reading this, about the “double preamp” issue, I started to question myself.

    • stenny

      Hey Chris, I had this same question. I BELIEVE that you would use an xlr to trs cable. Or even a trs to trs cable if your pre has a trs out. At any rate, one trs end would go into the combijack in channels 3-8 to bypass the pre. My idea here is that the device won’t know to bypass the pre until a quarter inch is plugged in. Since you are using a preamp prior to the interface in the chain, it should already be at line level, not mic. I also have the presonus firestudio and am in the same boat. Gonna call presonus today and find out for sure. Let me know if you find out too! Appreciate it


      • Chris Thompson

        Thanks so much for the reply! What you said does make sense, about bypassing the “2nd” preamp. I will keep digging, but let me know if you find anything more from Presonus!

      • http://www.homestudiocorner.com Joe Gilder

        Yup. That’s right!

    • http://www.homestudiocorner.com Joe Gilder

      If you check out the manual, it spells this out pretty well. Run it to one of the Line Inputs 3-8. TRS 1/4″ input.

  • Sebastian

    Hi this is my question I have a art voice channel mic preamp but when I connect the condenser mic the condenser mic never turn on, so do I have a mixer to make it work or the pream by it self is supossed to do it… O maybe is the preamp that is not working, cause I used it to record some guitars and it worked but when comes to use the mic the mic never tur on and I use the phna power but nothing happens so I don’t know what to do… Thanks for everything

    • http://www.homestudiocorner.com Joe Gilder

      Sound like you need to call the manufacturer probably.

  • http://currentphotography.com/ CurrentCo

    Looking for some specific help. I’ve scoured the internet but can’t find anything.
    I’m looking at purchasing an Art Pro MPA II to (budget) sweeten my fatheads and bass guitars. I’d be feeding it into a focusrite scarlett 18i20. my problem is, I need to reserve the two front preamps on the focusrite for some other mics because they have a -10db pad (when recording drums).
    So my question is, can I feed the Art Pro MPA ii outputs into 3-8 on the back of the focusrite? their website says that signals will go through their preamp inputs regardless, yet not much coloring takes place. But if I used a balanced TRS output from the MPA in the a TRS in a “3-8″ input on the focusrite (which are combo jacks), will it recognize it as a line input and make the proper adjustment? Or do I risk blowing my focusrite preamps on 3-8 by not using the “line” button available on 1 and 2? Also is there a way to select one of the “3-8″ inputs as a line input from the Mix Control software?
    Does all of this even matter if I simply keep the pots at 0 gain?
    If anyone has some advice, then thank you in advance!

    • http://www.homestudiocorner.com Joe Gilder

      Sorry man. Tech support is outside of what I do here. Maybe check with Focusrite?

    • Shaq H

      I’m looking at getting the exact same set up. Check out ART’s digital version of the MPA Pro II. It is the exact same pre, but with the addition of optical in’s and out’s on the back, so it costs a little bit more money. The Focusrite Scarlett has optical in’s and out’s, so it will work seamlessly. All you have to do is buy a $12 optic cable to connect them to each other. By using this method, not only will you avoid trying to figure out if the Focusrite will engage the pre on a TRS input, but you’ll technically be adding two more mic pres to the Focusrite, rather then having to use up the two Focusrite channels to run the MPA.

      • http://currentphotography.com/ CurrentCo

        Thanks. That’s a good idea. however I wanted that sorta analogue and tube coloring from the mpa. I went ahead and purchased it. Using balanced 1/4 trs cables it hooks in and works just fine. after reading more into it, I found out that the combo jacks on the scarlet automatically switch to line input when a 1/4 is inserted. I’ve only messed with the preamp once, but it added a little warmth and body to a bass guitar and my mics. I also purchased it for the impedance control to bring out clarity in my fathead ribbons, which it does well and are much more usable now as opposed to plugging them straight into the focusrite’s pre’s, which have a lower set impedance. As for having more inputs, I plan on buying another octa-pre when the time comes. So thanks!

        • http://www.homestudiocorner.com Joe Gilder


  • Eric b

    Wow. I’ve always gone out out of vt 73y int xlr mic In. And I could hear conversation from across. My duplex into other duplex lol. Can’t wait to try this. Ps. I am no audio am mature. Been doin his for 10 + years. And it is so true u learn spmethint new I’m this industry every day. I love it

  • Cleo

    I have a new laptop and will be upgrading to Pro Tools 11 and using Garageband for scratch recordings. I have to start from scratch as far as recording preamps. (Had the old mbox pro). I’m recording with a Neumann km105, and a Neumann TLM102. I have a MacBook Pro, do you have any suggestions for USB preamps or mixers that connect to my laptop?

    • http://www.homestudiocorner.com Joe Gilder

      Check out anything from Presonus.

  • McLovinnn

    Hi, does the phantom power need to be turned on for the preamp and the interface? Or just one of them? I have the mic>preamp>interface line in.

    • http://www.homestudiocorner.com Joe Gilder

      Phantom power needs to be on for the first thing the mic is plugged into. So it’d be the preamp in your case.

  • jonah_hosea

    Hi Joe,
    I’m not sure I understand completely, but it sounds like I may be getting signal degridation with my setup. I am running my mic -> presonus tube pre -> motu ultralite mkiii -> computer via firewire.
    The tube pre was suggested by a guitar center employee so I get a warmer analog sound to my vocals.

    • http://www.homestudiocorner.com Joe Gilder

      No degradation, as long as you’re running to the line input on the MOTU.

  • jay

    my xlr cable from my mic goes through my studio projects vtb1 input
    then i have another xlr cable running out my Vtb1 into my m-audio fast track ‘usb’ im not noticing much of a difference. am i doing something wrong?

    • http://www.homestudiocorner.com Joe Gilder

      Need to use the line input on your interface. Should be 1/4″

  • chris

    just real quick I gotta ua 710 going line out to my presonus1818 to line in xlr to xlr that’s cool right or does the trs input work better as the input connection?

    • http://www.homestudiocorner.com Joe Gilder

      Use the TRS input. The XLR inputs are mic inputs. The TRS are line inputs. You have to use line inputs.

  • toad

    yes it helped a lot I’ve been stuck on this for a while because with a two channel interface this is not a problem people don’t tell you when u upgrade to more inputs to watchout for this its almost likea secret

  • Shaun

    Hey Guys I’ve got a presonus mic preamp I’ve ran my mic line into the mic input on the preamp and ran a trs line from the output of the preamp into my motu interface line in but am getting no signal?

    • http://www.homestudiocorner.com Joe Gilder

      Hey Shaun,

      Sorry, we don’t do technical support. You might want to contact MOTU?


  • AB

    I have my GA pre 73 mic plug in from the mic to the ga pre 73 and out wire from the pre 73 to mic audiobox am I doing this wrong cause I looked behind the pre sonas audiobox and saw midi in-out do I need to get a wire for that confused lol help marine1028@yahoo.com and also it’s suppose to show green light right mine is not showing is it cause that problem.

    • http://www.homestudiocorner.com Joe Gilder

      MIDI is completely different from audio. You don’t need to do anything with MIDI. Just run out of the pre into the line inputs on the AudioBox. If you’re having issues with it, you probably need to contact Presonus tech support.
      Good luck!

  • Ldhuke

    Thanks Joe gilder For your time ,, this is my situation here..i got eureka mic pre coming line output to line input in my digi 003 (input 5) this is the thing .i dont know if i have to switch to + 4 or -10 the line input in my 003 ? because i readed something explaining that +4 is balance and -10 is unbalance so i have to go +4 ..so if i set it. +4 i have to push the eureka to hard to get good level inside protools and most like it is going to be distorted even if inside protools is not hot and I have to push up fader to be able to listen but when I go -10 signal is ok I be able to get good level ,fader don’t need to go more then +1 and no distortion ..

    • http://www.homestudiocorner.com Joe Gilder

      +4 is the proper setting. If you’re getting distortion, something else is wrong. Likely you’ve got something set wrong on the Eureka.
      Otherwise, if -10 sounds okay, then go for it and start recording some music! :)

  • LKDolbear

    Hello, this is my first question on this awesome site..so I figured I’d jump right in and make myself look stupid. I have bought a Presonus Eureka and am connecting it to an Focusrite Saffire Pro24 DSP. I’ve connected the output of the Eureka to the line input at the back of the Focusrite. When I plug my bass or microphone into the Eureka I can see the levels move on both the Eureka and focusrite but Im not sure how to get Studio One to hear the instrument or vocal, as the only inputs I can attach to a track in studio one the ones on my focusrite. When I take the insert out of the back of the Focusrite and plug it into one of the instrument/mic inserts on the front, Studio one picks up the sound, but am I right in thinking that is not what I should be doing as I would then be using two pre-amps? Instruction manuals are offering no help at all. Any help would be gratefully received.

    Thanks, Lindsey

    • http://www.homestudiocorner.com Joe Gilder

      Sorry, Lindsey. That sounds like a tech support issue. Maybe call Focusrite or check the manual?

      • LKDolbear

        Ah ok, the manual is useless :-s I guess I just wanted to clarify that if I have my mic plugged into the Eureka, which is attached to the input of my audio interface and then add a track in studio one, when it asks me what input to attach the track to, should the Eureka appear as an option? Sorry if this is still a tech support issue, I can contact Presonus and Focusrite. This is my first attempt at using a channel strip and I’m just a tad confused!

        • http://www.homestudiocorner.com Joe Gilder

          It won’t appear as “Eureka” magically. You have to choose the correct input on your interface. It’ll be a number, like “Input 3″

          • LKDolbear

            Yeah for some reason it wouldn’t let me add the extra inputs before and now all of a sudden it has. Not sure why it wouldn’t before or why it’s suddenly working now..I’m just glad it is!

            • http://www.homestudiocorner.com Joe Gilder


  • Chill Ric Jones


  • Chill Ric Jones

    Joe I am running a Blue BabyBottle Mic to a TrakMaster Pro Pre Amp (Thru XLR) then the Pre to my M Box 2 (Thru TRS) and the M Box to the PC thru USB is this correct?

    • http://www.homestudiocorner.com Joe Gilder


  • Bo Mullins

    I purchased a Fishman Cello Pickup and PRO-EQ Platinum preamp to use for home recording (not high tech) my practice sessions. What do I need other than my desktop computer’s Realtec HD sound card, speakers and the basic recording software currently on the computer?

    • http://www.homestudiocorner.com Joe Gilder

      I’m not sure what you’re asking, Bo? If you’re needing to buy equipment to set up your studio, call up my friends at Sweetwater. They can help you figure out what makes the most sense for you (there are hundreds of options).


  • Joeycapucino

    Hey Joe,

    I was wondering what your recommendation would be with this scenario. I use an RME UFX interface with Black Lion Audio Premium Modification. I also have an M-audio ProFire 2626 with the same BLA mod. I am just experimenting with different hookups. I have some nice mic pres API 3124 (4 pre’s) and Aurora Audio GTQ2 (2 pre’s w/EQ).

    The last session I used a combination of the mic pre’s on the UFX along with the mic pre’s of the ProFire 2626 going out ADAT into ADAT in of the RME. (I also used the GTQ2 for kik & snare and went XLR into my BLA Red Sparrow A/D converter and AES out of the Sparrow into AES in on the UFX. (It sounded really good)

    My questions are:

    1. Would it be more advantageous not to go out ADAT from the Profire 2626, but to go out line out into the line in’s on the UFX?
    (Do you think line out would be better than ADAT?)

    2. Would I be better to use all 6 mic pres (Using for drums) directly into the RME UFX line in’s and then add 4 mic pre’s of the UFX, and then use the other (8) inputs from the ProFire to create 4 stereo tracks via ADAT, giving me 10 mono tracks and 4 stereo inputs, which could pretty much handle a band session with stereo keys and stereo overheads.

    Thank you for your advice!

    • http://www.homestudiocorner.com Joe Gilder

      1. If you go line out, you’re doing an extra conversion that’s completely unnecessary.

      2. I don’t really understand this question, but my answer would be “try it and do what you like” anyway. :)

      • Joeycapucino

        Joe-because the higher end mic pre’s sound better is the reason to mic Pre into the interface & also because there are only 4 mic pre’s on the UFX ( I need 6 at the least).
        (I understand there is an extra stage involved)
        What I did for my tracking session Monday was this:

        Kik/snare into GQ2 thrunBLA Red Sparrow (a/d converter) AES out to AES in on the UFX

        OH L&R into API line out to line in on RME

        HH & TT into mic pre on UFX

        This worked out very well. Sonic detail was very sweet.

        Thank you
        I guess my question about ADAT was a bit confusing and I think I understand that going digitally into the RME from the ProFire 2626 would not add the extra analog stage of going line out. Correct me if I am wrong.

        • http://www.homestudiocorner.com Joe Gilder

          Right. If you connect ADAT from one to the other you don’t have to degrade the audio by going through another conversion.

  • Darcy

    How did I not know this? I have been connecting mics to preamps.. and then connecting the preamp to another mic input.
    You have know idea how incredibly idiotic I feel.

    • http://www.homestudiocorner.com Joe Gilder

      Nah…I bet it’s not hurting the audio too much, but it’s good that you figured it out!

  • Demetrius Ledbetter

    how can o make my mic stereo going thru the eureka compressor

    • http://www.homestudiocorner.com Joe Gilder

      You can’t make a mic stereo. A mic is mono…by definition.

  • eddie_higgins2009

    So I have a xlr mic runnin to preamp then 1/4trs to eq then 1/4trs to compressor then 1/4trs to line input on maudio interface is this correct ? where do I put the eq/ compressor at? Is it in the correct set up

    • http://www.homestudiocorner.com Joe Gilder

      That sounds right to me!

  • Joon

    im using my line input on my interface from my pre, but the interfaces i have use combo inputs… xlr/line/instrument …theres a button that engages each function but i wanted to be sure that the rules you stated still aplly to interfaces like these

    • http://www.homestudiocorner.com Joe Gilder

      You’ll have to read the manual to find out.

  • Garrett S

    Thank you for the very clear explanation step by step. I running my microphone into the presonus studio channel and then trs out into the mic/line input on Komplete Audio 6 interface. I know understand that I need to press the button inward on the Komplete audio 6 mic input which changes the input to line level. That way I am only using the preamp of the studio channel and not the preamp on my Komplete Audio 6. I’ve been unknowingly using
    2 preamps before. I haven’t noticed degradation in sound quality, but I am anxious to see what my sound will be now using only the preamp on the presonus studio channel. Thank you again.

    • http://www.homestudiocorner.com Joe Gilder

      You’re very welcome. You might not notice an audible difference, but now you’re at least running everything “properly.” :)

  • Chris

    Could you post a picture diagram for me of the correct hookups from an audio interface to a preamp? I’m still unsure of what I’m reading.



    • http://www.homestudiocorner.com Joe Gilder

      Hey Chris. It might help to read the manual of your audio interface and preamp. They should both have in-depth diagrams for you.

  • Simon B

    Hi there – great article and very helpful. But I still have a niggling question,as I’m a newbie setting up a studio, and don’t want to make an expensive mistake…
    You suggest taking the line level out of a preamp and inserting into line input of an audio interface, as opposed to the mic input. I understand all of the rationale behind this. My confusion is that the line input on my audio interface (Creative X-Fi Elite Pro) DOUBLES UP as a mic input, or that’s how it’s labelled, at least. It’s not switchable, either physically or via the installed software.
    Is there any kind of “conflict of interest” here? Or if I plug a line source from the preamp into it, will the unit automatically recognise that it’s a line signal (as opposed to a mic)?
    Many thanks in advance.

    • http://www.homestudiocorner.com Joe Gilder

      Not sure on this one. A lot of interfaces have a combo jack, so the 1/4″ internal section is the line input, and the XLR input is the mic input. Otherwise, I’d suggest reading the manual and seeing what the manufacturer says about it. Every manufacturer handles it differently.

      • Simon B

        Many thanks for taking the trouble to reply, Joe. Much appreciated.

        Sadly, the Creative interface came bundled with my pc – you guessed it….there’s no manual and I can’t find the answer by searching the internet for information specific to this interface.

        (There’s no XLR input either)

        Thanks again….

        • http://www.homestudiocorner.com Joe Gilder

          If it came with your PC, then there’s a good chance it wasn’t really meant for recording. I’d get a good USB or firewire audio interface and go from there.

  • donald

    hello quick question, im completely new to how any of this works and i just wanted to know something simple (yes im a amateur), i have a 48-phantom power that runs mxl v63 mic..do i need ANOTHER seperate 48-phantom power to run

    ART Tube MP Studio Mic Preamp? or can i use one 48-phantom power to run both the mic, and the preamp?

  • Anita`

    Hi, please can you help me. I recently bought the NAD 5120 turntable and after connecting it to my LG Mini Hi-fi found the sound quality very poor, was told to buy a pre-amp which i did, its a phono/mic pre-amp Please could you let me know how to connect that to the turntable and the mini hifi. I am clueless when it comes to these things.
    Thanks alot!

    • http://www.homestudiocorner.com Joe Gilder

      Hi Anita,

      I don’t know anything about Hi-Fi. I’d contact someone who does. This site is all about recording music in a home studio. Good luck!

  • miah419

    Ok so i bought this Blue baby bottle mic for studio use, and i have no clue how to operate it what so ever. It was suggested i buy a pre-amp so i picked up a 2 channel tube pre amp… i connected the mic to the input and the output into my computer as well as into an amplifier and i still got ZERO sound what soever ….any ideas at all??

    • http://www.homestudiocorner.com Joe Gilder

      Did you turn on phantom power?

  • Tinkerscuss

    Hi. Just read your comments and so revisited my setup (Neumann TLM49 into Universal Audio Solo610 into Presonus Audiobox 44VSL interface) Used an XLR line out of the AU to a TRS line in on the presonus… Now! I was expecting miracles after reading your article, instead I lost about 70% of the volume and noticed no difference using XLR to XLR either. I also had to crank up the input gain on the 44VSL to get any sound at all. So what’s going on??

    • http://www.homestudiocorner.com Joe Gilder

      Hard to say, Tinkerscuss. Sounds like you need more gain from the Solo610.

  • Yuber

    Hi, I’m thinking on buying a Focusrite ISA One preamp and I’ve noticed it only has XLR outputs. Should I connect it to the XLR input of my interface or use an XLR-to-1/4 converter on my cable into the TRS input? Thanks!

    • http://www.homestudiocorner.com Joe Gilder

      Depends on the interface, but as the article says, you probably want to go to the TRS line input on your interface.

  • Lottylee

    Hi Joe,

    I’m a newbie to this audio stuff.  I read online and bought the DJ Pre II phono preamplifier.  Thought this was going to be including cables and such.  Oye.  So anyhow, before I go any further, I would like some advice about the best ways to get my turntable thru this thing and into a computer.  I have no fancy sound card yet.  Just a couple regular CPU’s running Vista and XP.  Just looking to get some of my rarer albums into mp3 or wav format.

    • http://www.homestudiocorner.com Joe Gilder

      That’s not my expertise, sorry. Call Sweetwater. They’ll have somebody who will know the answer to your question. 800-222-4700 http://www.sweetwater.com

  • Joosoohan

    Hi Joe,
    I have a question.
    I have a thought and please tell me if I am wrong.
    Mic line (xlr) is mono and trs cable is a stereo line.
    What goes into a mic pre is a mono therefore If I want to connect
    my mic pre into a mixer, I should use TS (guitar cable which is mono)
    cable into a mixer line. Is this method right?

    • http://www.homestudiocorner.com Joe Gilder

      Nope. That’s not correct. TRS is mono. The cable used for headphones IS a TRS cable, but it’s actually carrying unbalanced left and right copies of the signal to the headphones. When talking about preamps and line level connections, TRS is always balanced mono.

  • Randalls

    Hi I have a m audio fast track and a art tube pre. I currently connect iw with the mic going into the art pre via xlr and the xlr output into the fast track. Is this correct or should I use 1/4 to 1/4 connection

    • http://www.homestudiocorner.com Joe Gilder

      You should probably use the 1/4″ inputs on the fast track. XLR inputs are for microphones only, as stated in the article.

  • Deedee

    I bought the silver bullet for my flute with a preamp and am clueless about what I need to do to hook up to my computer or amplifier??

    • http://www.homestudiocorner.com Joe Gilder

      Hey Deedee. Gonna need more information than that. Do you have a recording setup already? Do you have an audio interface that runs into your computer?

  • Adam

    Hi Joe,
    Nice post! I have a question I have been trying to figure out for some time and haven’t found an adequate resolution yet. I have a Presonus Studio Channel that I am using but I can’t seem to get it to work the way I’d like.

    I am sending a Shure SM27 into the Presonus Studio Channel and sending a TRS out and into the line input on my Presonus Firepod (now called the FP10). From there, I go to the input channel on my software (Cubase 6) and begin to adjust the input gain on the Studio Channel. When I set a level, I increase the input gain until the level is at about 75% on the input channel of my software. For some reason, when setting the level with the Studio Channel in my setup, I reach 0 on the VU of the Studio Channel way before it reaches 75% on the input level of my software. If I am recording vocals, this signal would be way too quiet unless I cranked it way up in the mix. Does this preamp just have really low output? Am I doing something wrong?

    If you have any advice, I’d really appreciate it.


    • http://www.homestudiocorner.com Joe Gilder

      I wouldn’t worry about the VU meter. Analog meters were meant to be pushed. As long as you’re not clipping into your software, you’re fine.
      Honestly, as long as you’re happy with the sound I wouldn’t worry about little details like that. :)

  • Darren Marc

    Hi, what’s the advantage of using an XLR to 1/4inch going from my mic pre to my audio interface vs. XLR to XLR?  Currently I go XLR to XLR. 

    Also, I have three places to adjust the level:
    1) mic pre gain
    2) mic pre output level
    3) audio interface gain
    How do I go about adjusting all 3 to give me the best sound?

    • http://www.homestudiocorner.com Joe Gilder

      There’s no advantage of 1/4″ over XLR. It’s exactly the same, just different ways of connecting.
      I would leave the audio interface gain at unity (no gain), and then adjust the preamp to the desired level/sound.

  • biffbiffson

    So, just to clarify, I’ve been checking the internet for hours and I haven’t really gotten a clear answer to my question:

    So I’m using an Alesis MultiMix 8, which has 4 XLR inputs going through the preamp, and 4 line-inputs that don’t go through the preamp because they’re line-level. How can I use those line-levels to record microphones for when I need to record drums? I really need to know before I purchase a tube preamp, and my idea is just that the microphone goes to XLR cable to the preamp, then out of the preamp use a TRS cable into the balanced line-input, and that would be it.

    Is this correct, or am I doing something wrong?

    • http://www.homestudiocorner.com Joe Gilder

      Yep, that’s correct. However, I’m not sure you can record multiple tracks with the Alesis MultiMix 8. I think it only records the stereo mix of all the inputs on the mixer. You’ll want to check on that first.

  • Robin

    im new with home recording
    i have a sound card which is ESI Juli@ with 2xTS line(R&L) in & 2xTS Output
    and behringer ultragain mic200

    so here is what i do, i put the mic into line in on mic200, then i put the output from mic200 into my line in on ESI Juli@ which i only put in 1 slot either R or L

    i have program to monitoring bundled from ESI and i can see there is a sound i can get from the monitoring which the metering are up and down when im testing the mic

    but somehow, when i try to record through the record software by windows, there no sound at all
    somemore i try to use the speaker to listen to the mic it self and i got no sound as well

    fyi : im using windows7 64bit

    do i did a mistake? or is there something wrong with my windows instead?

    thx for ur time to read my problem


    • http://www.homestudiocorner.com Joe Gilder

      I’m sorry, Robin. I don’t really know. Never heard of ESI. You might want to call the company that makes it.