Thomas Levine

I think I need a pre-amp for the microphone that I want to plug in to the
LR-16. Is this right? If so, where can I buy a cheap (and low-quality)
pre-amp? Or, maybe the thing I need is called something else.
I don’t know much about audio equipment, as you may guess.

Do I need a pre-amp?
I arrived at the idea that I need a pre-amp by reading the LR-16 manual
and by conducting the following experiment.

I have an LR-16, a personal computer (PC), and a microphone. The personal
computer has a microphone port and a headphones port.

Micropone output PC output
LR-16 input Can’t hear Can hear
PC input (low mic boost) Can’t hear Can hear
PC input (high mic boost) Can hear Can hear (loudly!)

I plugged these things into each other in the various combinations above and
heard or didn’t hear the results above.

In addition to using the built-in PC sound card, I also tried
a cheap USB sound card,
and the results were the same as with the built-in card.
I bought this on eBay and have the link to the item in case anyone is curious,
but I’m not including it because the forum restricts the posting of links.

This makes me think that my sound cards have pre-amps or the sound system
software does something equivalent.

Adding to my belief that I need a pre-amp, I see that you can lower the volume
on individual channels within the LR-16 but can’t increase their volumes; the
default gain level is 0 decibels, and the only other options are negative

Cheap pre-amps
I want to buy a small, cheap pre-amp for this microphone. I want it to be small
and cheap because bad quality is fine for what I’m doing and because I want
the pre-amp to be easy to carry.
I’m going to have several similar inputs and thus several pre-amps.

I found a bunch of things marketed as pre-amps, but I don’t really know what
I’m doing. Search for something like “pre-amp board”, “amplifier board”, or
“build a pre-amp”.

But I’m concerned by my inability to find small a cheap thing that takes.
On one hand, this could be a strange thing that few people need and that there
thus is little market for. On the other hand, it could indicate that I’m doing
something more strangely than I need to. The FiiO E3 is an example of an
off-the-shelf thingy that does what I want. The forum limits how many links
I can post, so you can search for information about the FiiO E3.

Anyway, I arrived finally at the following cheap board that I think does what
I want. If I connect this board to power, connect the input to the microphone,
and connect the output to the LR-16, should the microphone play loudly enough?