Ting Lo Music

Audio Signal Levels

Audio Signal Level Types

  1. Mic level refers to the voltage of the signal generated by a microphone. It is the lowest level signal among the four primary audio signal levels. This signal typically travels through an XLR connection and requires a preamplifier (preamp) to boost it up to line level. Mic level inputs are used to connect microphones to a DI box, mixer, or audio interface.
  2. Instrument level refers to a stronger signal that typically travels through a TS (Tip, Sleeve) jack connection. Despite being stronger than mic level, it still requires a preamplifier (preamp) to reach line level. Instrument level inputs are used to connect instruments, commonly from an electric guitar or bass, to a DI box, mixer, or audio interface.
  3. Line level refers to a stronger signal level that typically travels through a TRS (Tip, Ring, Sleeve) jack connection. Unlike mic and instrument levels, line level does not require a preamplifier (preamp). Line level inputs are used to connect non-instrument devices, such as outboard preamps or processors, or instruments that output line level signals, such as synths, keyboards, and drum machines, to a DI box, mixer, or audio interface.

  4. Speaker level signals have a much higher voltage than line level and require speaker cables for safe signal transfer. Since they are post-amplification, they do not require a preamplifier (preamp). After a line-level signal enters an amplifier, it exits to the speakers at what is called speaker level.

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