Sub 1000/$1500 8 Channel Mic Preamps Round Up

03-01-2015 04:00 PM

I’ve spent quite a bit of time thinking about sub £1000 8 channel preamps recently, having been busy with the Audient/Midas shootout. Find the article here and the results here. On last week’s podcast I said that I thought this was an area where there wasn’t a huge amount of choice available. I namechecked offerings from Focusrite as well as Behringer as the popular choices in this category with the Midas offering an quality alternative to the excellent Audient unit at closer to £1000. Since saying all of this I have been remembering other alternatives from other manufacturers and I thought a roundup of available units would be useful. Prices are intended as a guide only, hence there being one unit coming in slightly above £1000.
It turns out there was slightly more choice than I (and possibly you) realised. This is a list and not much more, the intention is to offer an overview of this area of the market, if you need more info specs are easily found online.
8 Channel Mic Preamps

Audient ASP880 £780

Midas XL48 £710

Behringer ADA8000 £150

Behringer ADA8200 £175

Focusrite Octopre MkII £400

Focusrite Octopre MkII Dynamic £500

SM Pro PR8E £150

SM Pro EP84 £280

Presonus Digimax £320

RME Octamic II £1060

ART TubeOpto 8 £400


There are more alternatives than I was aware of in this category though not as many as there seems to be in the crowded multichannel interface market. Buying a smaller ADAT equipped interface and buying preamps seperately is increasingly attractive. That way when you upgrade your interface you can take your preamps with you. Any of these preamps combined with, for example, an Apollo twin or an Audient iD22 would provide enough IO for many, and combined with a larger interface could cater for tracking bands. I for one would always feel less at risk of my hardware being left behind by changes in computer connectivity taking this route rather than the all-in-one approach.
Of course you get what you pay for and the features and quality of these units varies. Most of these units offer some capabilties as either AD/DA convertors or as signal splitters. I have used the most expensive and cheapest of these and even the humble ADA8000 is of perfectly acceptable quality, I have used one many times and have never any issues with the facilities or audio quality. Some of the more expensive units use 25 pin Dsubs which while very reilable and convenient aren’t cheap and this additional cost has to be factored in, especially as they are far more challenging to make up yourself compared to jack or XLR cables.