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my budget is $350 and I need a decent tube pre for recording electric guitar direct.

please refrain from dissing this preamp if you have never used it.
I hate it when people assume that every piece of gear made by a particular manufacture sucks. I know its crap compared to sabatron or avalon... those are out of my price range. I just want to know if its quality for the price.

about me:
I'm a musician not a recording engineer. I'm not interested in making pro quality recordings. I just want to make a demo.
I hate all the over polished crap on the radio anyway.

here is the only review I could find on the Pro Channel. let me know what you think.



LittleDogAudio Tue, 01/25/2005 - 19:44

Yep, it's cool piece. I have a client that I do some mastering for and I'm always amazed at his guitar tones. He uses the Art Pro with an SM57.

All gear needs to be evaluated on the Bang-for-the-buck scale.

This piece rates fairly high imho. Is it a Pendulum or Manley?
Does it cost $350?

btw. he is a great engineer, the box does NOT get the great guitar tones by itself.


bobbo Tue, 01/25/2005 - 19:52


Now I have one of these preamps and I love it, Check out user reviews at, here's the link also over at everyone loves this preamp, all though I don't know if it will work very good with guitar, out of all the people that I've talk about this pre to they never used it as electric guitar pre. I have used it with recording bass guitar, it is the pre I use for tracking kick drum, I've miced up guitar, I have used for vocals (clean/and super distorted). I love it. the thing has a list price of like $799 usd and the street price is now $299. Thats just my opinion, I have yet to use (in my own personal studio) $1500-3000 dollar preamp/channel strips and I am sure they are much better, but for the money the pro channel I think is nice.


bobbo Tue, 01/25/2005 - 20:04

re change

I haven't personally but a guy on had changed the preamp tube to a shugnug (I forget how to spell it) 9th gen or something like that and he said it sounded really good, but there are some people that liked the way the stock tubes sounded. I think you would be happy having that pre.


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anonymous Wed, 01/26/2005 - 08:28

The Vipre is actually $2,400 per channel... not $1,250... and yes "The Brick" is indeed a variation on the theme, but it's over the $350- budget.

If the budget can be stretched, then I would have to suggest "The Brick" [having used both the ART and the GT unit]...

If I were to make another suggestion / comment about the ART... and while it's better than most of the crap you'll find in that budget range or the crap in like Mackie mixers etc... the fact of the matter is that it's not going to make your music sound like "records" [and if it does, that's a sad statement on the sound of modern recordings].

While "The Brick" might be a worthwhile investment, the ART will be something you will outgrow in a year or two. If you decide to go with the ART, I would suggest that you pick it up on eBay or one of the local music papers from one of the other people who've outgrown the unit and moved on to better gear... you can probably save yourself a few bucks, and won't take as much of a financial hit when you outgrow the unit and go to sell it yourself.

Best of luck.

mcmilliron Wed, 01/26/2005 - 10:54

I was also considering The Brick but wasn't sure how it would sound as a DI. the Pro Channel also has a built in compressor which would help me with recording bass and vocals.

Fletcher does The Brick sound that much better than the Pro Channel? have you tried the Pro Channel with Nos tubes?

mcmilliron Wed, 01/26/2005 - 11:03

I want to thank everyone for their advice.

it sucks being a poor musician trying to make things work with budget gear. I wish I could afford the good stuff so I wouldn't have to keep trading/selling shit over and over again.

I will stretch my budget for The Brick if you guys think it will be worth the investment.

mcmilliron Wed, 01/26/2005 - 11:17

I just realized that The Brick doesn't have any unbalanced outputs.
I believe this would be a problem for me because I need to connect the output to my ADA Microcab when I'm recording guitar direct. I live in a apartment complex and I can't mic a guitar cabinet due to bitchy neighbors.

my signal path:

guitar/pedal board/pramp/ADA Microcab/emu 1212m

I then use convolution reverb/cabinet responses to give it some life.

mikE@THECAVE Wed, 01/26/2005 - 22:09

don't want to tell you what to do but if you can control youself ( i know it s hard to wait) and save more cash it is worth the wait to get a higher end unit.good luck 8-)never hurts to talk to sebatron about his one channel pre.He is real down to earth

mcmilliron Thu, 01/27/2005 - 11:37

I'm not really looking for a ultra clean preamp. I like my music to sound dirty but not harsh. I play indie rock and I love it when bands have a raw in your face sound.

I understand thats its hard for some of you sonic purists to understand why anyone would want a raw sound but you have to understand that it fits the style of music.

Lets say I save my money and stretch my budget to $600

is there anything at that price range that would blow away the Pro Channnel and still give me a slightly colored sound? I don't want a super clean, over polished sound. I'm looking for a dirty yet warm

thanks again for all the great replies :D

mikE@THECAVE Thu, 01/27/2005 - 17:46

well im gunna step aside for guys with more knowledge ,but to me now when you say a warmer dirty sound i think of a guitar box more.Like the POD or something like that.

mcmilliron Fri, 01/28/2005 - 11:47


I think you may have took that last post personal and after reading it again I can see why you would. Sorry about that, I honestly wasn't trying to direct the sonic purist statement toward you.

sorry about that Mike and thanks for your suggestions.

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Kurt Foster Fri, 01/28/2005 - 15:49

I have used the Pro Channel and contrary to Fletchers comment, I do not think it is significantly better than the pres found in a Mackie .... it may sound a little different (I would hope so) but I do not recognize that difference as being an better.

I think this idea that some mid level mic pres and other gear is better than the cheapest gear, is propigated by overzealous dealers who see the chance to "step the buyer up" into a more expensive item ....

Fletcher wrote: If I were to make another suggestion / comment about the ART... and while it's better than most of the crap you'll find in that budget range or the crap in like Mackie mixers etc...

... while stating the obvious ...

Fletcher wrote: .... the fact of the matter is that it's not going to make your music sound like "records" ...

With this last remark I agree ... If you want your recordings to sound like records, you need the best gear ... not mediocre gear which BTW, almost all the cheap stuff is at WORST, mediocre. None of the cheap stuff is really that bad anymore, technology has progressed far enough that even the cheesiest cheapest crap is real ok ... however, the mid level stuff like , RNP, PreSonus, Focusrite Platinum and such, is a little different sounding but not really any better IMO ...

The difference you will hear in a better mic pre is not just tonal but dimensional ... a front to rear component (even in mono) that mid level and budget gear does not provide.

mcmilliron Fri, 01/28/2005 - 16:48

hi kurt :D

So let me get this straight. My Presonus Tubepre which costs about $99 will sound as good as the Art Pro Channel which costs $300 and lists for $500.00?

if this is true, what is the cheapest mic pre that you would recommend?

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Kurt Foster Fri, 01/28/2005 - 16:59

I suggest that you pick up the ART and compare it yourself to the PreSonus ...

I think you will be surprised at how little difference there is .... and if not, perhaps you will have found what you like.

If you decide I was correct, return it and tell them it was not a significant improvement ... somone's gotta start letting these dealers know we aren't going for "the bananna in the tail pipe" anymore.

I normally recomend that people just get a small mixer like a Mackie or whatever cheap pre that has the features they like the lower end of the price range I think it's features that make the difference.

I think the SP VTB1 is as good as any and is sanely priced considering what it is and what it does.

mcmilliron Fri, 01/28/2005 - 18:25

thanks for the advise Kurt :D

I think I'll compare the pro channel against my presonus and see what happens.

what price range would I be looking at for a pro quality tube preamp?

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Kurt Foster Fri, 01/28/2005 - 21:47

I think Sebatron has a single channel unit for about $800 ..... or you can check out the sebatron "channel in a box" pffering, the THORAX ... a VMP based pre amp, a tube eq and tube opto compressor all in one package .... which I think sells for around $1450 or so .... Check the Sebatron website for alll the details ...