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We're in the process of upgrading our studio, in I'm in a debate with my producer about which pre-amp to go with. We're looking for the best upgrade to get a better sound in vocals. Our style of music we've been recording has been Rap, R&B, and worship. We're upgrading our mic to a Shure KSM27. Right now we're using the pre-amp built-in our Behringer mixer. I suggested, because of all it's features, that we get the
"ART DPS II Stereo Tube Preamp with Digital Out"
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Of course the PreSonus is $150 cheaper than the ART, but I just think we wouldn't have to go through the upgrading process again any time soon if we go with the ART. And plus I heard that particular PreSonus model has a britle sound, and the tube that comes with it is not quality.

What would you do? As for a budget, I would say that $250 would be the max. If you need more info please feel free to ask. I didn't want to post too much info that you wouldn't want to read all of it.

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anonymous Wed, 04/13/2005 - 12:21

In this price range, it's really a toss up. Keep in mind that the ART has two channels so look at cost per channel, not total cost. Both of these items are going to get you from point A to point B, but I sincerely doubt one's going to do it much better than the other. Get the one with the best cost/features ratio you can afford.

anonymous Wed, 04/13/2005 - 12:40

But wouldn't we get a more warmer sound than the pre from the Behringer Mixer? I heard their pres are crap, and I figured any out board pre would be an audible difference. But the ART pre boast about a V3 with presets to give a warm sound. It sounded good when I read it, but my producer and I are both at a novice level with this equipment.

sproll Thu, 04/14/2005 - 07:42

FWIW, We used the Presonus TubePre for awhile and we thought it sounded marginally better than our mackie pres in the 1604 vlz pro board we have... although in stock form it was a toss up.

We changed the 12ax7 tube from the cheapie one that came in it to an Electro-Harmonix 12ax7 and there was a difference. More so than just with the regular tube that came with it. Please note that its not a night and day difference, but with the modification done it did smoothen out the response on our SP C1 mic and added a bit more low end. Wouldn't work like a Brick though!


anonymous Thu, 04/14/2005 - 09:43

So you're saying it'll be the best choice to go with the Presonus and swap the tube with an Electro-Harmonix 12ax7

I know you said it wouldn't be a night and day difference, but we should hear some difference between the Behringer Mixer's buit-in pres and THIS addition to the set up?

Another question: I've heard the same advice dealing with this particular pre amp, but the person went through explaining several different tubes giving you several different sounds you may be looking for. Can ya'll give some tips on tubes to get for a different sound you would look for or is it just a waste of time?

sproll Thu, 04/14/2005 - 10:11

If you are on the strictest budget and you can't wait to buy anything more expensive, sure. You will likely end up replacing it with something that's actually good. :)

I went to a website called and looked up the different tubes. They are an amazing place, super fast delivery and they know what they are talking about. Plus, they are in Canada. The EH 12ax7 should be the best tube to put in it, for the price. They are pretty cheap, but sound very good.

When you use this, completely bypass your Behringer mixer... don't plug it into the chain at all. Mic to preamp to soundcard/interface. Try it out, I'll bet that you will notice a difference in sound, especially from the Behringer.


anonymous Thu, 04/14/2005 - 14:17

I heard ya'll talking about "The Brick". We're getting by with what we have now so we may be able to wait and save. You can listen if you choose, by clicking the link below. Someone is singing on the beginning of the track titled "Why Should Not Us". Maybe you can hear something we can't.

Let me know what you think, or if you can even tell? I know your style of music may not be rap, but just bare with it for a minute to listen.

Reggie Thu, 04/14/2005 - 20:01

No doubt. I don't hear anything that makes me think "hmm, sounds like he could use a better preamp on this." I think if it is just samples and vocals, don't even worry about getting a different preamp until you can get something that is truly an upgrade. What is it they say; If it ain't fixed, don't break it? It sounds like you probably only really need one good channel of preamplification, so I wouldn't bother with that ART thing.

anonymous Fri, 04/15/2005 - 18:31

If you do for some reason upgrade, i'd say definetely get the TubePre. Its not the largest jump in quality, but it is actually a jump, which i don't think can be said about any other units at the price.... Even stock it should get you a warmer signal, and the tube actually has an effect on the tone, compared to other similarly priced pre's that the tube doesn't really effect tone at all...... i'd say hold out for the Brick though.....thats my next pre purchase.... i got the TubePre a little while ago, and i really only use it for snare drums cuz when you add in the drive it gives you a nice presence that i like for snare drums....

anonymous Sun, 04/17/2005 - 04:42

Hey your music sound good!

Good beats, and the vocals are well fine...well recorded. Done by an engineer on your team? Thru a Behry preamp?
nice work...

for all the talk of 'needing' this and that...i think it's incredidibly important to be specific about what you want to do with it...and also that a lot can be done with a little!

anonymous Fri, 04/22/2005 - 13:55

main problem is at mixdown. My producer says its difficult for him to make the vocals sit in the mix just right. And someone suggested the warmth that a tube pre-amp would bring should do the job. Now I know that eq'n also plays a part, but that was one reason for us looking for a better pre.

The job is getting done, just like getting from point A to point B. But why continue to buy new shoes to walk into town, when you're capable to save the money and buy a car to drive into town.

jonnyc Sun, 04/24/2005 - 13:17

I own the TubePre and honestly it doesn't make a big difference at all. The guy that does your mixdown probably has ears like a bat and can hear every problem like me but if you recorded with a tubepre and the same thing without i very seriously doubt you would ever tell a difference. Honestly after a few rounds with the tubepre(which doesn't have an on off switch) i've unplugged it and pretty much use it for looks. ps save your money for real get about $500 and look for the FMR RNP(real nice preamp) its cheap sometimes as low as 400 and man it makes any mic sounds amazing.

KurtFoster Sun, 04/24/2005 - 13:51

No offence intended to jonnyc but the RNP is the last pre on the face of the Earth I would recommend. 8 volt power supply? Phuleeze!

I had one here to review and after hearing it I decided not to even waste my time writing about it. I did do some comparison recordings between the RNP and a Mackie vlz, with acoustic guitar which I have posted in the AUDIO PROJECTS forum. Most people who listened and responded, voiced a preference for the Mackie pre. It's there for you to hear and then make up your own mind.

To boot, the RNP is so light and small that even the weight of the mic and line out cables running to and from it can cause it to be pulled off the surface it may be sitting on and take a tumble to the floor. The one I had did just that and fell a mere 3 feet to the carpeted floor, at which point, one of the knob shafts broke off. I have had a lot of other gear take a tumble on to much hader surfaces without damage but not the RNP ...

IMO, the RNP is more of a toy than anything else.