Skip to main content

I keep seeing posts of people asking what Preamp they should get for $500 or $600, and if there is anything that is good out there. I have an ART Digital MPA Gold channel mic preamp that I am as pleased as punch with. As far as I know it is all tube and to me it sounds great! Granted, it is my first real preamp, so I don't have a lot to compare it to (I do have some seventh circle audio stuff on the way, but it will take some time to build that). But I have been absolutely satisfied with all of my results so far. It sounds *great* to me when mic-ing my Marshall half-stack, it sounds very good on vocals, it has a very good sound direct-in, and it is very flattering when used as the preamp for drum overheads. I am even thinking about getting another one so I can use one for drum overheads and one for guitars.

I guess my reasons for this post are two-fold:

First, I just wanted to let everyone know that I really like this preamp and I find it to be a *huge* improvement compared to preamps on a mixer or Digi 002. Anyone looking for a good preamp on a budget should seriously give this unit some consideration. If you don't need the built in Digital converters the standard ART Gold Channel is about $100 cheaper.

Second, since I don't have much to compare it to directly, I wanted to ask others who have used it where they would say it lies sonically- i.e., what high-end preamps is it similar to (if any), how the quality compares to other more expensive stuff. Like I said I really like mine but I don't have a lot to compare it to so I was curious what others with more experience would liken it to.


KurtFoster Thu, 01/20/2005 - 14:42

First, I think it's great that you found somthing you like. Good for you and enjoy it!

I don't want to burst your bubble but IMO the quality of any ART preamp, does not compare with a high end pre ... it's a close but no cigar. Once you get thoes Seventh Circle pres built, you will hear this for yourself. It's not about the tone, it's about the depth and a sense of dimension .... cheap pres just don't do that.

As far as it being better than a small mixer, I think you're hearing the tube in action. I bet if you were to run the mixer through a tube somewhere, you would hear the same improvment. Why don't you post some samples and let us hear this for ourselves .... I'm willing to bet in a double blind test, a lot of people will say the mixer sounds as good or better..

As for it sounding better than the preamps in the 002, I'm not surprised ... they are pretty bad.