4 best preamplifier software plugins

Madalina Dinita
by Madalina Dinita
Former Managing Editor
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  • Preamplifier software lets you boost low level signals of a device to the baseline of your recording device
  • Out top list analyses the best solutions available right now, although investing in better hardware might be the solution
  • Noise-cancelling software will help you smooth out the recording that was artificially amplified
  • Check our Audio Hub for more helpful top lists and reviews

The best preamplifier software solutions help individuals boost the low level signals of a device to the baseline level of your recording equipment. For example, you can amplify the gain of your microphone signal.

However, you shouldn’t confuse preamplifier software with hardware. A software solution isn’t as powerful as physical gear, so you shouldn’t expect great results using this method. Nevertheless, you can experiment with some interesting dedicated plugins.

Before proceeding, you should know that a preamplifier (preamp, the hardware term) is a type of amplifier that increases the volume of very weak signals before applying gain.

It’s useful for producing a powerful output signal with high gain from low noise and distortion, which can be further processed or forwarded to an amplifier and loudspeaker. For example, you can amplify your voice.

In this article, we listed 4 preamplifier software tools that you can experiment with on your Windows PC to get the best possible sound out of your microphone.

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What are the best preamplifier software plugins to grab?

Waves Scheps 73

Waves Scheps 73

Waves Scheps 73 is a preamplifier software plugin for microphones, which can be used for recording, mixing or mastering music. With mono and stereo preamp components as well as a three-band equalizer, it was modeled after the classic 1073 preamp and its original specifications.

To be more precise, it comes with a fixed high-frequency band of 12kHz and a high-pass filter of 18dB/octave. Furthermore, you can toggle low and mid-range bands with cut and boost controls.

A mid-range band of 10kHz was identified in the 1073 preamp’s design, but it could only be used on the channel strip of the 1078 successor until it was successfully integrated into this plugin.

To resemble the original preamp, Waves Scheps 73 features authentic saturation and harmonic distortion, ranging from pleasant warmth to heavy drive.

And, to closely examine the audio processing source, you can take advantage of an advanced monitor for the left, right, mono, and stereo channels.

Plus, you can apply various equalization settings to the middle and side stereo content. It’s all thanks to Waves MS Matrix, a plugin that can create MS output from left-right input, or the other way around.

Neve Preamp

Neve Preamp

Neve Preamp is also a preamplifier software plugin modeled after the original 1073 preamp, simulating its characteristics and equalization settings. It’s available for all users who wish to record, mix or master a clean and warm sound through an UA Audio Interface.

Delivered in a simple graphical interface with two knobs, the plugin gives you the possibility to control the preamp through a red knob and the output through a grey one. To toggle microphone and line input mode, you just have to flip a switch.

Recordings can be made with low DSP usage, which means that you can create classic Neve consoles from any DAWs. The plugin may also be used by those who own UAD-2 hardware and wish to mix music and customize equalization options for tone shaping.

Neve Preamp promises to bring the original sound, grit, and behavior of the 1073 preamplifier. It emphasizes your music with saturation and elaborate non-linear circuit behaviors, whether you’re processing acoustic guitar, vocals, drums, bass, or synths.

IK Multimedia EQ73

IK Multimedia EQ73

The 1073 preamp was so popular and heavily used throughout music recording history, that it was incorporated into many preamplifier software plugins, including IK Multimedia EQ73. It faithfully reproduces the sound, clarity and warmth of the classical 1073 preamp.

The plugin proposes a DAW software solution by emulating all the 1073’s original features, including equalization curves, tone shaping, saturation, grit, distortion, circuit designs, gain stages, preamp behavior, as well as interaction between the preamplifer and equalizer.

The equalizer of the IK Multimedia EQ73 comes with three bands to breathe life into any type of tracks, like high-end air or low-end punch. It works with any audio source and type, such as guitars, vocals, snares, overheads, kicks, and bass.

The plugin supports up to 192kHz sampling rates, full-latency compensation, and high-quality oversampling. It’s compatible with the T-RackS CS standalone software program and can be integrated with a VST 2, VST 3 or AAC host.

Acustica Audio GOLD3

Acustica Audio GOLD3

Acustica Audio GOLD3 is a preamplifier software suite with rich features. It comes with 6 distinct equalizers, 7 preamplifiers, 2 compressors, and enhanced routing control. The components of the package can be used as separate plugin processors.

The standalone module with preamps is called GOLD3 PRE and includes a total of 52 preamplifiers.

Based on a wide range of rare preamplifier hardware equipment, the preamp plugins enrich your sound with vintage warmth brought by the harmonic distortion and frequency/phase response of the associated circuits.

The first audio processing task of GOLD3 PRE involves the input preamp. There are three mutually exclusive preamplifiers available for the line, mic and bus, along with an option to switch it off.

This processing stage is followed by output preamps and controls. Each plugin included in the Acustica Audio GOLD3 package has a zero latency version (called “ZL”) which can be enabled during tracking.

Conclusion on the best preamplifier software

Although the power of a piece of equipment can’t be matched by a software solution, you can experiment with the preamplifier software plugins on the list to find the vintage and warm sound you’re looking for.

Therefore, you should check out the plugins on this list when it comes to Waves Scheps 73, Neve Preamp, IK Multimedia EQ73, and Acustica Audio GOLD3.

FAQ about preamplifier software

  • Do I need a preamplifier software?

You need it in case your recording device is of poor quality, the best thing would be to invest in a more reliable gear.

  • Does a preamp improve sound quality?

A preamp contributes mainly to the sound texture and the effect is more visible at lower gains (50 dB). However, the sound shaping of a preamp is not that visible in case of high quality recording devices.

  • What is the best preamplifier software?

We recommend Waves Scheps 73 as the best preamplifier software.