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Tuesday, 05 May 2015 20:38

How to get a tube valve into your guitar preamp stage

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Get a tube preamp into your signal chain Get a tube preamp into your signal chain

Valve Preamp for guitar amp by using the Behringer MIC200 vacuum tube preamp. The Behringer MIC200 is a vacuum tube pre-amp. It is mainly used for mic pre-amping but due to its versatility it can be used to warm up any signal in need of a preamp.

On a budget most amps and pre-amp are diode/transistor based. Putting this preamp into the mix the infamous warmth is added. This is especially interesting when using guitar amplifiers and you wish to add some analogue tube amp warmth.

In the scenario here we use a typical guitar signal chain:

  • Buffer
  • Overdrive and distortion
  • Amp sim (in this case the Joyo Califronia MESA/Boogie amp sim)
  • Delay, reverb and other modulation effects pedals
  • FX return of the amp to only utilise the power amp


We add the MIC200 between the drive pedals and the amp sim. We do this because if we were using a valve amp with tube preamp the drive pedals would be driving the tubes in the preamp stage. Arranging them in this way is an attempt to simulate this signal chain and drive chain.

The result is a definate valve tone back in the signal. The top end sparkles a bit and there is warmth. It does not replace a good valve amp and there is no power amp valve stage which affects the tone after the preamp stage. This is not a bad thing as it means you could get some good metal and high gain tones where power tubes are usually not driven to ensure a cleaner defined tone.

Another advantage is the tube gain and output can be toggled to taste. It is also an inexpensive preamp that can be used in many different scenarios. This version, the MIC200 has some modelling technology and presets, none of these I liked. The only usable ones for me were 'valve' and 'nuetral'.

The Behringer MIC200 can also be used as a DI box:
"The incredible MIC200’s controls consist of: switches for +48 V phantom power, 20 dB pad, Low Cut, and Phase Reverse; plus vintage-style Gain and Output knobs. An 8-segment LED meter provides accurate monitoring of output levels. And when used as a high-end DI (Direct Injection) box in the studio or on the stage, the MIC200 delivers flawless performance and outstanding signal integrity."

"TUBE ULTRAGAIN MIC200 information

Audiophile Vacuum Tube Preamplifier with Preamp Modeling Technology
High-end preamplification for all microphone, instrument and line-level sources. Specifically designed for studio-grade condenser mics
Perfectly matches your studio, live and hard disk recording set-up
Ultra-flexible Preamp Modeling allows you to optimize your recordings
Choose between 16 preamp voicings designed for electric and acoustic guitars, keyboards, bass guitars, drums, vocals and more
Hand-selected 12AX7 vacuum tube with UTC technology for exceptional warmth and lowest noise
Ensures outstanding signal transparency when used as a high-end DI-box"

Last modified on Tuesday, 05 May 2015 21:00

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