ART TubeMPSTV3 Tube Mic Preamp Review

Nothing hits a musician’s ear better than two things: good sound performance and low cost!

The Art TubeMPSTV3 Tube Mic Preamp is the perfect combination of both. It boasts smooth, warm tones, regardless of the audio source. All while maintaining close-to-minimum noise in the signal path. There’s also the fact that the preamp features as many as 15 voicing presets! 

You can’t find these features easily in this price range. Let’s see why the preamp has been getting a lot of market attention lately.

V3 Technology – Variable Valve Voicing!

The Tube MP comes with the 3Vs technology that’s meant to optimize recording sessions. According to the company, it stands for variable valve voicing, and its presets were engineered by the industry’s top experts.

The technology gives you the option to use the preamp with bass guitars, acoustic guitars, keyboards, vocals, drums, and a couple of more instruments. The preamp is pretty affordable to be offering this wide multitude of settings.

Thanks to the V3 presets, your recording will sound as if you’re using a full-fledged professional preamp. Additionally, you’ll be able to adjust any minor tweaks effortlessly to reach the perfect tone.

To add to the technology’s efficiency, it utilizes the Output Protection Limiter, courtesy of Art. It aims at optimizing the output peak signal and protecting the signal chain’s links.

Operation & Control

Controlling the Tube MP preamp is a piece of cake, as long as you know your way around. It comes with a rotary control that features 15 voicings, along with a neutral position. Each voicing utilizes different degrees of warmth and EQ. The presets include:

  • Neutral
  • Guitar
  • Bass
  • Vocal
  • E-Keyboard
  • Valve
  • Multi
  • Acoustic Guitar
  • Piano
  • Percussion
  • Limit

The preamp has an LED light that turns green when the device is in power. It changes to red when the signal level is near clipping and when the limiter is in operation. The latter only occurs when you’ve activated the OPL.

Aside from selecting and adjusting these presents, the Tube MP works like any mic preamp would work. You’ll need to take a decision regarding the gain boost switch and set both the input gain and output level. You’ll also need to adjust the meter, and you’re done.

You’d notice the presets’ effects better with an electric instrument, but the subtle change will still be clear in other instruments. The tone’s amplification will be too clear to miss. Still, it’s always better to try all presets with all settings, so you can decide what goes best for you. You may be surprised by how each preset works with different instruments.

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Specifications

  • Type: Tube
  • Channels: 1
  • Frequency response: 10Hz–20kHz
  • Dimensions: 5 x 5.5 x 2 inches
  • Power source: 9V
  • Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Construction: steel
  • 1-year warranty
  • Color: blue

Pros

The Tube MP Preamp’s most prominent pro is its low price. Seeing a preamp in this price range may be normal, but not with this wide array of useful features. The device delivers a high quality you’d only find in high-end products, which is one more reason to love it. In terms of functionality, it’s worth more than its cost.

One more thing to love about the preamp is its ease of use. Controlling it and adjusting it is a piece of cake, thanks to the user-friendly interface and the presets switches.

The output limiter is a feature you usually don’t find in preamps in this price range. It’s meant as a safety feature, but it can help you reach aggressive, rugged tones if you hit it hard enough. So, that’s one more option the Tube MP gives you.

Overall, the preamp’s sound output is solid and warm, and it has a comfortable feel to it. It’s detailed but smooth, which is the ideal balance.

Lastly, you can operate the Tube MP preamp as a direct box, although it’s meant to be used with a microphone. You can use it to amplify, enhance, and match the sound of any instrument you plug into it.

Cons

The most common complaint about the Tube MP preamp is the noise associated with it. A lot of users reported that the device becomes a noise source when hooked up to some instruments. The reason isn’t clear, but their issue was unfixable. They supposedly tried to shuffle the presets around, trying to find the problem’s base, but they came up with nothing.

They mentioned that the noise might not be audible with powerful instruments, but it’d be vividly apparent with a quiet mic, for example.

The users said that the noise isn’t intolerable, but they would’ve preferred it if it wasn’t there in the first place. However, we think such a minor downside is justified, considering the preamp’s low price.

One more con is the lack of a balanced-output jack, which is supposed to plug into a balanced cable to deliver two identical signals.

What Customers Had to Say About the ART TubeMPSTV3 Tube Mic Preamp

The Art Tube MP has 65% 5-star reviews on Amazon, with only a minority of 5% 1-star reviews. The substantial gap tells you enough about the preamp’s quality and the customers’ opinions of it.

The customers had a lot to say about the cost-efficient device, mostly good things. They loved how the analog VU meter makes it much easier to visually track the signal. On top of that, they appreciated the multitude of presets that’s hard to find in similar preamps. 

The preamp’s versatility is the customers’ favorite aspect. The fact that they can use it with any instrument they could think of certainly accounts for the positive ratings.

Conclusion

Overall, the Art TubeMPSTV3 Tube Mic Preamp has gained most users’ approval, thanks to its functionality and high efficiency. Plus, the easy controls and the low price have certainly added to the product’s fame.

With such minor downsides, we can consider the preamp to be one of the best on the market, considering it offers an array of presets that you can use on a lot of instruments.

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