Can I just tell you how “amped” I am about my new MobilePre USB Preamp by M-Audio?  Excuse the pun, but I couldn’t help myself :)  Maybe you have no idea what a preamp is, and that’s totally fine.  Because the truth is, until a few months ago, neither did I.  Basically, what a preamp does is takes the signal from a microphone or instrument and boosts it so that it can be recorded.  In other words, I can plug a microphone and guitar into my preamp (which is connected via USB to my computer), do my thing, and voila!  I have a high-quality recording.

Before my preamp arrived earlier this week, I had been recording all of my guitar tracks just by setting up my Blue Snowball Microphone and playing my guitar directly in front of it.  This worked well enough; my Snowball mic is awesome, but I knew there had to be a better way.  With my old setup, any background noise made while recording the guitar part could be heard (the most common being me knocking the guitar against my desk – oops!).  Now, since the signal goes directly from my guitar into the computer via the preamp, that problem is eliminated.  That means a much cleaner-sounding guitar track, resulting in a much better recording overall.  Oh, and the preamp even has a headphone jack right on the interface so that I can monitor the sound as I am playing!

I should mention that since my aforementioned Snowball mic connects via USB, I don’t need to use my preamp when I record my vocals.  But since there are two microphone inputs in addition to the instrument input, that leaves the option available if I get a new microphone at some point in the future.  You can’t beat that versatility.

I haven’t had much time this week to play with my new toy, but you better believe that I’ll be spending a good deal of my three-day weekend doing just that!  Hopefully I’ll have some brand new songs to show for it, too.  What are your plans this weekend? Are you one of the really, really lucky people who has a four-day weekend?  Happy Birthday, Mr. Lincoln, and for all of you readers who got to stay home in honor of it, enjoy!