For the money this tube does a pretty good job. I tell my students that want a tube preamp for their home studio www.comia.us that this is a great way to learn the art of tube pre amps. The sound is colored but in a pretty good way. Trust me I use top of the line pre amps all day but this unit for a desktop unit is very good. In the old days of recording we use to "ride the input" meaning controlling the signal as it is being recorded. This unit is great in that it sits on the desk and it so reasonable it really does the trick and it can take a hit. There are settings that are all over the internet that a lot of guys share or post but there is really not much to the unit. It has a simple design to it. I recommend this unit for my beginning students that are not aware of any uses for tube or that may over do it and not recognize the sound of a tube pre amp. Most younger guys have never use a tube at any time in their lives unless they play guitar and know the difference. Most can't even hear what tube can do for the sound. Sometimes I get a bit of a buzz from the stock tube but it goes away. It is not to noisy for the money but it does have a bit of noise. Always watch the way you use this tube pre amp. If you are slamming the tube you will hear everything including the noise but if you just use it in moderation it will bode well for you. Don't try to saturate the unit with really hot levels of inputs.
Very easy to use and not hard at all to get use to. Great sound for the money. I like it for simple vocal tracks and it is a good starting point for people that do not know how to use pre amps with tubes. It is extremely simple to set up and use. I do like the table top aspect of the unit. I like the fact that you can use it and ride your input stage right by your right hand. I ride the input all the time when recording vocalists and I wish more tube pre amps and or pre amps that other companies would make table top units. As engineers having the input gain right at your finger tips is a real plus when I record vocalists.
Colored sounding but not in a bad way very decent and the tube is fine. Don't waste money switching it out. The sound is somewhat like a gritty tone that is not real high quality but in no way does it sound bad. It is like the blue tube or the old blue tube presounus tube amp pre amps that you could get for about 150.00.
For the price I would really consider this unit. It gives you a tube sound for a very low price. You can't beat it. Again for the price what is out there that can even compare. I saw a review where they were saying the MPA II was ten times better but I have them and they are not 10 times better than this pre amp. I would say the main difference is the gain input stage and in some ways this unit is very much like the MPA.
Art's Tube MP is exactly that, a tube mic pre-amp. It features xlr and 1/4inch inputs and outputs, and it is a desktop model which makes swapping cables a little bit more convienient. Newer models also include a decent VU meter and a brickwall limiter.
With the Tube MP, what you see is what you get. And in this case, it's not so much. Connectivity is quite ample, gain staging is sufficient for nearly any input source, phantom power and phase reversal are nice, and the limiting is a nice option but not all that great.
The controls are absurdly simple, a novice could use the Tube MP with no problem.
Setup and functionality are very straightforward though the lack of a power switch is a bit of a pain.
The manual is clear enough for what it has to say, which isn't much.
Sound quality? Well transparent would be the last word I would use to describe the Tube MP, moderately colored would be my choice. However, don't take that wrongly, what we all want from a tube mic-pre is to beef up or in some other way improve our sound.
The Tube MP accomplishes this quite well when you balance the price point with the overall product. The Tube MP does indeed impart some warmth to the signal but in my opinion it's more noticeable quality is a small amount of extra "focus" to the sound. In my experience the Tube MP has really helped with tightening up the upper midrange and treble of the source, and is helpful with virtually any microphone for adding a bit of "life" to the sound.
One thing to consider, Many complain that the included tube is just not all that great. The factory tube (12ax7a) is often replaced by the end user. A groove tube or a j-tubes replacement are common choices. Also, the unit can opperate with other 12a... tubes, a 12at7 for example. So, you may consider just swapping it out for a few other types and choosing the one that sounds the most pleasing to you.
As far as the complaints over the factory tube, I'm in agreement. The packaging claims, "built-in hand-selected 12ax7a tube." Well, if they mean to imply that some one actually picked a tube out of a box and manually installed it then I would say, "Yes indeed!" However, the idea that someone actuall installed a tube and then said, "This one's not quite good enough, let's try another!", is very unbelievable for a product of this price.
What to admire most about the Tube MP is the price, quite obviously. What to dislike the most is that for a certain amount of extra money you could have purchased something far superior.
For the price, the Tube MP beats anything else available and it has a "best bang for the buck" factor as well. It sounds decent, it works, what do you expect for less than 50$?
Consider this, Art's Pro Channel sells for approx. 300$. Is it worth 10x as much as the Tube MP? Probably more like 8x. But all the added features and overall functionality are worth the extra money.
When choosing this piece of gear I urge you to consider, "What do I really want out of this product?"
I have the original and most basic model ART Tube MP. It is black with no VU meter. I have been recording music for many years but I am not a professional. In recent years I have taken great interest in tube related amplifiers and equipment and enjoy doing sound tests etc. I feel that I know a LOT about the Tube MP.
I bought it in the early 2000s but I don%27t remember where or for how much.
The most basic model Tube MP is a great value because it is so inexpensive, well made, and good sounding if used right.
The only thing I don%27t like about the unit is the information provided with it. It took me quite a while to learn how to get the most out of it. I documented my experiences and what I learned in the form of videos which you can find on YouTube if you search under the name 'ToneTaster'.
Amazing construction for $30.00!
The ART Tube MP is great for the money if you know how to use it. If you don%27t it can mess up your sound. I have not tried the other more expensive models but I tend to think that the simple one is all you need and its wiser to save your money for a great preamp rather than spend few hundred for a fancier one of these.
I had just bought a condenser mic that required phantom power, but i was unaware that I didn't have anything that would supply it. I went to long and mcquade and bought it for $80 canadian. Because I've been sold on the superior sound of tubes, i bought this unit instead of just a basic phantom power provider. I was told it would work on other intruments that weren't mics.
this thing is absolutely amazing, although it's really a preamp for a mic, I use it all the time with my guitar. I have a line6 spider2 amp and a digitech gnx3 which i use to get my distortion sounds, and i used to think they sounded great and very close to the originals before i plugged my guitar into this thing. It contains a 12AX7 tube, the kind of tube in most highend preamps of your favourite marshall, mesa, fender etc. This unit turns the digital models in your processor or amp into the real things that play just like the tube amps. I dont know why more people dont try it.
you can use both outputs at once, but only one input, if I had forked out the money to buy the next model it would have two channels, so i have no reall grounds to complain.
tough metal casing, the knobs are perfect, smooth turning but with enough resistance to be very precise.
if your doing anything digital and want that classic tube tone of the higher end equipment, then here's your $80 solution, 69US i think. especially if your amp or floor processor is a digital amp modeler, buy this thing.