Knowledge Base


Difference Between Mic, Line & Instrument Level

Published 14th October 2021

Updated May 20, 2022


It is important to understand these three terms for the correct Gain Staging of your audio and help avoid overdriving or overloading your equipment.






Most PreSonus Interfaces have two if not all three of these input types depending on which device you own. The Quantum 2626 pictured above shows inputs 1 -2  are expecting a Mic/Instrument input level while inputs 3 -8 are expecting a Mic/Line input level. 



1. Mic Level 

This is the weakest signal type in this article and must be boosted by means of a preamp to bring it up to Line  Level. Microphones are the most common input source for this signal type.






 2. Instrument Level

A stronger signal but still requires amplification to reach Line Level. They are most commonly used for guitar/bass and can be connected directly to the input without the need for a D.I. Box.  Although using a D.I. Box is needed for instruments with "active pickups".






3. Line Level

The strongest signal of the three and does not require amplification. Common devices that output at this level include keyboards, synthesizers, compressors, mixing desks, etc. 








PLEASE NOTE: If you connect a device with a Line Level output (such as a keyboard) to an input that is expecting a mic or instrument level (an AudioBox), and you increase the volume, then you may cause permanent damage to your interface by overloading the device's input.



 Please contact PreSonus Technical Support by creating a Support Ticket at for further assistance.

>How to create a support ticket<



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