Anyone who’s ever used a ribbon mic is aware of a surprising limitation – the output is low. Likewise for good sounding dynamic mics like the Shure SM7B or RE-20, and even the SM57. This isn’t a problem when the program material has a moderately high SPL level, but if that’s not the case you have to live with the subsequent noise that you get when you crank up the mic preamp. The solution is an inline signal booster, but many times that comes with the quality being affected either due to the design or an impedance mis-match. The solution – Royer Lab’s new dBooster.
The dBooster is a simple class A device that present a high source impedance to the microphone (which minimizes loading) and delivers crystal clean gain with virtually no noise or self-distortion. It has two gain settings from the front panel of 12dB or 20dB, and is powered from the 48V phantom power from your console or mic preamp.
While I haven’t tried the dBooster yet myself (and I’m dying to), I’ve been told that while it works well as intended on low output mics, it also works on standard output mics as well, providing some extra headroom that can clean up your sound even though you didn’t realize that there might have been clipping all along.
The Royer Labs dBooster is available for $179. While it might be one of those boxes where you set it and forget it, you also might find that it’s much more than that. You can check out how it sounds with this great video below, but you’ll hear what the unit does a lot better if you listen on headphones. More info can be found here.
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