When does it make sense to use a pre-amp? I'm using the Shure SM57 with the Focusrite Scarlett Solo (3rd Gen) to record my podcast. This mic requires a lot of gain - I always have the gain on the interface turned up to the max which sometimes mean a lot of unwanted noise.

Could a preamp help with this? Is there any reason for me to use a FetHead or similar?


The Scarlett has a pre amp built into it. Most likely the issue is the distance you have the microphone from your mouth. An SM57 is not ideal for podcast recording because you will need the microphone inches from your mouth, as well as dealing with proximity effect. You would benefit more from a condenser microphone than an external preamp.

  • Ah, thank you. I did not know that. I'm ok with the mic inches from my face, I've gotten used to that. I specifically went with a dynamic mic because my understanding was that a condenser mic is more suited for a studio setting or in a space where there are sound treatments, which I don't have in my room. I don't have any of that and am pretty happy with the SM57 sound. I'll just have to tolerate practically kissing the mic while talking ;) – LuxuryMode Feb 14 at 6:05
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    @LuxuryMode not at all. I use a condenser microphone in my bedroom all the time with a Scarlett, no acoustic treatment, and have perfectly clean audio. But if you like the results of a 57 then use whatever equipment gives you the results you want. – Timinycricket Feb 14 at 6:14

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