need more gain - peavey or ????

need more gain
low spl source eg chamber music
distance at conductor position eg xy stereo
not enough gain to avoid noise on low spl content

peavy 6 has been recommended here
i am leaning to the pv8 or pv10

but is the noise and quality better than say
behringer 1204 or other
or yamaha or ???

the xenyx preamps in the behringer look very good
i note some models have 2 of those and others of a different design

dont need the ultimate just good
equal or better preamps
to say an edirol ex25 interface or an emu 0404

i would like to keep this in the $100 range
but would consider up to $250 if the quality and features
were really worth paying more

any suggestions or comments ?

The PV6 comes in a USB version. I have the analog version because the digital converter in the Mac is top quality, and I think the USB version came out after I bought mine. If you get the appropriate mixing board and it has USB built-in, then you will have solved two problems at once and your cost calculations should reflect that.

The PV6 is the smallest, well-built mixer I could find with very good gain, low nose, metal shielding, good headset monitoring and Phantom Power. We have three at work for training videos and I have one.

You can consider the large wall socket type power supply a disadvantage (it’s not a wall-pack. It’s a supply with two cords). The mixer is not portable, but it doesn’t have USB power problems, either, and it will drive stand-alone sound systems.


The Behringer Xenyx mixer pre-amps get a bit noisy when the gain is turned up to maximum.
Several of the ART pre-amps can provide up to 70 dB of gain (which is huge).

I only need 20-30 dB more - the best i can calculate from my meter measurements and the v/pascal spec for the mike, etc.

we have existing interfaces that digitise so I am looking for pure analog gain. wish they had these usb types before we got the others.

dont need portable. going to be in the living room with the rest of the stereo stuff, piano, etc.

it may come down to who has a sale when i have the money and finally convince myself to just buy it.

need to look at the ART that has been mentioned.

nobody seems to talk about yamaha so looks like that one is going to be off the short list.


wish they had these before we got our interfaces.
we could have saved some money.

they all seem to look good by the specs in their manuals.

nothing beats using them to really know how they work.
the ads at the dealers are all good hype and too many reviews are just bitter about some little thing which is often the operators problem.

i like a/c power. would reject anything usb powered from the pc.

now i need to look at the ART that has been mentioned.

found the ART

looks good except for the TUBE
I would prefer something solid state

that said the ART still looks good but
some of them only have 40dB gain
the high gain seems to be USB not analog
and the rest of them are really out of budget range

Push comes to shove I buy a DIY mike kit and solder it myself

but I think that the peavey or behringer would do the job
would really like to know why so many people bad mouth behringer
we use their board at church and it works fine - has for years

is this a prestige issue or a true technical issue about beheringer that makes folks poopoo their stuff
how do they stay in biz if it is really that bad ?

Behringer produce some very good hi-tech equipment and budget prices. They manage to cram in a lot of features and high specification in the price range and they are very popular in the semi-professional market in the UK. I also own quite a few pieces of Behringer equipment myself. They do cut some corners (as do all other manufacturers that compete at the budget end of the market), but their electronics are generally high quality and perform well. One Behringer item that I thought a little disappointing was their 15 band Eq. - the plastic knobs on the sliders look very pretty with peak level LEDs in each, but they fall off easily, so I would not recommend it outside of home use.

I mentioned that the Xenyx desk pre-amps get a bit noisy when the gain is turned up to maximum because I’ve used a couple of them and they do get a bit noisy when the gain is turned up to maximum, but that is not surprising or unusual for the price. The Behringer desks still offer excellent value for money, but if you’re needing very high gain the Xenyx pre-amps may not be able to provide that without also giving you a significant amount of hiss.

More than what?

That shouldn’t be a problem unless you are planning to throw it around. They may not be in the same league as tube pre-amps in the $1000’s range, but they consistently receive excellent reviews.

we have existing interfaces that “work”
but on the low level signals the noise is noticable

remember this is very low spl - chamber music
with mikes at front of stage/audience not close miked
based on spl meter readings i am expecting -60 to -70dB at the mikes
wrt 1 pascal – but maybe it will be lower

we need something reasonably quiet to bump up the mikes a bit before we run them into the interfaces
we calculated 20-30 dB would be enough to keep the noise away

while we will compress at the end to a 30dB max range
we could , if we had to, use a compressor/limiter to further tame the recording so we can keep it high enough to avoid the noise
and hopefully no , or very little, noise reduction later on

Why not just use your Zoom H2?

that thing is a BIT PITA to use overall
the quality is minimal
it could be barely just acceptable but it will never be good IMHO for our use

I would like to use higher sample rate and bit depth
as well as somewhat better mikes than their little lectrets

Most equipment with one volume control have only 60dB microphone gain. Voltage gain of 1000 is about the most you can manage without the electronics becoming unstable or doing other naughty things. As I wrote to one manufacturer, I would kill to have just 10dB more gain.

When you slide over the threshold of three operator controls (trim/channel-fader/master), that means multiple amplifiers inside and no more 60dB limit. Everybody who uses simple mixers runs into the same problem. I haven’t measured the Peavey yet, but I’ve never used it with all three controls all the way up.

I used a complete piece of trash unbalanced Tascam mixer for a couple of years and I kept drifting back to it for difficult shoots.

It had the usual three controls. I started paying closer attention and by my measure, the microphone channel gain was just shy of 70dB. I shot several commercial production voice tracks on that thing. I had to keep glass cleaner around to make sure all the unbalanced connectors were surgically clean. It had tape over the two or three faders that failed.

I still have it.



most preamps are 40-70db max with 60 being most common

and they are limited by what can be done with existing components
as well as trying to keep the price cheap
which means they use one IC that is limited
although a very few use discretes for better noise and more gain

with many (maybe most) people recording rock groups or vocalists close up there is plenty of gain

for real recording of a classical group in stereo with mikes back a ways then more gain is needed

rane note 148 and others note the games that makers play with their specs

and that using max gain pushes the quality lower than the measurement at minimum gain

i need to run the numbers again based on the rane note
but i think that about 30db will be optimal for enough gain and minimum noise
and putting the peavey in front of our interface would work without overloading yet pushing us up to better SNR

<<<with many (maybe most) people recording rock groups or vocalists close up there is plenty of gain>>>

That’s what kills people when they buy “respected” equipment and discover they can’t record their acoustic guitar from three feet away. Different show.


with all the acoustic guitars and softer style music you would think that somebody would make an interface that was aimed at their needs

there may be a lot of kids with big metal type bands in their garage
but their disposable income can’t match what adults have who want a different type of equipment and specs

finally got the pv6 manual downloaded

if i read it right
the snr is 90db with knobs at nominal
but mike gain at minimum
so to get +30 db gain from the mikes
the snr would go down to 60dB

that would be more than adequate for me!

also it claims the EIN is -129
which is in the ballpark of other devices
so is there really any difference between these inexpensive
low end consumer preamp/mixer devices ??

most of them claim EIN in the -130 range

does it come down to who is lying or perhaps
played other games with the measurements ???

the peavey BW spec 14-25K +0 / -1 is “good”
but many others claim much better (and a few comparable to worse)

one review claims tascam sounds better
(but apparently costs more than the pv that was reviewed)

and if i read the specs right
the minimum mike voltage the pv6 handles is 10x larger than what my mikes can deliver for another 20dB loss in SNR (or worse?)

might as well skip the preamp and just use a good noise removal program

art usb dual pre has +48dB gain maximum I think. It’s solid state and besides the usb output also has analog monitor outputs.


I don’t know that I agree. Both Noise Removal and Noise Gate cause show damage and you expend production time tuning them for each show. They’re not automatic. Quality of show becomes a post production decision and a time waster.

I’m not crazy about productions that plan on using the emergency lifeboats before the first musical note.


i agree in theory
but if i get the same result wrt noise
whetehr i use the extra preamp or not
then might as well skip it
and just do what i would have to do anyway

Take that upside down. You can get stuck in the nickles and dimes cycle and be there forever.

Under what conditions would you get a perfect recording? No limit at all. Drive up in a Glen-Glenn sound van and run cables out the door. Would that work? Is that overkill?

Now use a smaller van. Still overkill? Work down instead of up. It’s harder to do than you think.