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Old November 24th, 2004, 09:50 AM   #1
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Prosonus TubePRE, junk or good value???

I'm looking for an affordable mic preamp with phantom power to drive a Rode NT1A for V/O work in a home studio. Does anyone have experience with the Presonus TubePRE unit? I only need the one channel and it is very affordable at $99. Other suggestions in this price range welcome.

Thanks,
Joseph Lawrence
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Old November 24th, 2004, 10:49 AM   #2
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I haven't used the Presonus, but it has a good reputation.
I do have the ART Tube MP Studio (the mid-priced version with the VU meter but without the voicing presets) and it seems to work well. It's currently $69.
The main differences between the two would be reputation and the Presonus controls are on the face of the unit (rackmount style) and the ART controls are on the top of the unit (desktop style).
With any of these tube units there will be changes in the sound as the tube ages. Eventually the tube has to be replaced.
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Old November 29th, 2004, 08:53 AM   #3
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I read a review about these stuff on google. Basically what they were saying that every 150 dollar and lower tube-pre-amps were reasonable. YOu only need to add a liitle more spice in pro-production (effects and stuff). Behringer sells these tube stuff for 50 dollar as well.
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Old November 29th, 2004, 07:00 PM   #4
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I've never been too impressed with Presonus' stuff, with the possible exception of the Eureka. I've also used the portable ART Tube preamp and wasn't too impressed with that either. Eventually, you go through this enough and realize that good pre-amps cost and really good pre-amps cost a lot.

If you're doing voice overs at home, I assume you're either recording to a computer or a digital board? In either case the pres you have are probably at least as good as any that you'll find under a few hundred bucks. I have a MOTU audio interface and I'm actually quite impressed with the pres on it. They're not SSL by any means, but they provide nice clean sound.

If you are at the point where you are looking at dedicated pres, I would look into biting the bullet and buying one good channel strip, happy in the knowledge that it will last and do its job for years to come.

Matt
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Old November 29th, 2004, 07:20 PM   #5
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Do you have a mixer already? The Behringer UB-series ones (<$80USD I think; check B&H and local music stores) are excellent value and will give you a cheap mic preamp plus headphone monitoring and metering and -10dBV (consumer line level)/+4dBu outputs.

I believe Behringer copied Mackie's preamp design (which explains how Behringer mixers are a third the cost of Mackie mixers). The companies got into a lawsuit about it and settled out of court and neither will talk about it now.

If you don't have a mixer already I'd probably get this since you will likely want a mixer anyways.
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Old November 30th, 2004, 12:06 PM   #6
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Hands down the best stand-alone preamp in this price range is the M-Audio DMP3. It can be had from Guitar Center or online at Musicians Friend for around $150. It actually has two preamps, so you're getting each one for cheaper than the Presonus. It is absolutely way, way, way better than the Presonus, and definitely worth the extra $50. Check out some reviews online. I think some people at homerecording.com/bbs even have some songs you can download that they recorded with it.

Other good preamps in this price range can be found on Yamaha MG series mixers. You can also usually get a good Soundcraft Spirit Folio mixer on Ebay for this price, which also have great preamps (comparable to the DMP3).

Good luck!
Ryan
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Old December 2nd, 2004, 08:32 PM   #7
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Well, see I'm not that big of an M-Audio fan either, but what the heck. I will say this, if you're running on a Mac think twice before using their audio interfaces. They work great on PCs but the drivers for Mac, in my experience at least, are awful.

Matt
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Old December 3rd, 2004, 08:31 AM   #8
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I agree about the drivers for the audio interfaces. I have a Delta 66 on my PC, and they've put out some funky beta drivers for it in the past. Luckily, they always seem to correct their mistakes fairly quickly, and always keep the old drivers up for download in case you want to go back to one that works.

The DMP3, however, is just amazing. Better by a long shot than the pres in a Mackie board, and just as good as the Soundcraft pres. Very clean, very detailed, good imaging. I wasn't as fond of it's predecessor the DMP2, because it tended to distort with hot mics at the input stage, and there was no built-in pad, so it was pretty useless for some stuff. But they've fixed that on the DMP3 and added some other nice features. For $150 it's a steal (although so is a Soundcraft Spirit Folio for $150).
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Old December 3rd, 2004, 09:08 AM   #9
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Thanks for everyone's input. The M-Audio DMP3 would be a good choice if it had XLR outputs. Correct me if I'm wrong, but according to the specifications on the DMP3, it only has 2 1/4" TRS outputs. This could be overcome with adapters, but I'd rather not.

I'm not recording to a computer soundboard. Right or wrong, I'm currently recording V/O to my GL2 DV tape and then
capturing in Vegas. I render each clip as .WAV file and pitch
the .AVI because I only want the V/O audio.

The mixer suggestions are worth considering, but I can make non-destructive adjustments (EQ) to the digitized audio using Vegas.
I don't mean to seem ungrateful for all the advice, but I purchased the Presonus TubePRE after comparing it against the ART MP Studio at a local music store/recording studio. I took my NT1A along and listened to it with both preamps in turn. I just preferred the sound of the NT1A/TubePRE better than the NT1A/MP Studio combination. I'm not experienced enough with audio to make a more objective statement.

JOseph Lawrence
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Old December 4th, 2004, 06:12 PM   #10
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presonus

I would recommend the ART Pro Channel for $300, then investing some time and about $50 in Telefunken tubes to replace the Chinese ones inside.

It's a perfect match for the NT1-A.

I think the desktop stuff (both ART and Presonus) is crapp.
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