I'm wondering if anyone's tried an ART Pro Channel as a front end for the Berg IPs? I've been searching for the right front end for my IP/EX112 ever since I got the amp. I've tried a few different pre's, most recently the Summit TD-100. It's a very high quality piece, but I really wanted more control over my tone. I especially missed having compression and EQ available. I tried Summit's TLA-50 with the TD-100 but I find I don't like the sound of the TLA that much, and I was still lacking EQ (other then the EQ on the bass). I was thinking a 1ru comp like a dbx or something but then, along with a compressor, I'd need a larger rack... I searched Basstasters for pre's that have on-board compression and EQ, and I really like how the ART Tube Channel sounds. It looks to be very similar to the Pro Channel that has replaced it, so I ordered up a Pro Channel. I've been playing around with it now for a couple of weeks and IMO it is the best pre I've tried with the IPs! ART doesn't get a lot of love around TB. Do you think it could be because their stuff is relatively inexpensive and 'non-boutique'? I paid $270 for the Pro Channel (new). Comparing the sound of this unit to the more expensive stuff I've tried has convinced me that the Pro Channel would be a bargain at twice the price! I was wondering if anyone has tried the Pro Channel (or maybe the old Tube Channel) and if so, what do you think? So far, for me, it's the perfect front end for the IP stack. I like way the gain staging works-- you can crank the input gain to drive the preamp tube as much as desired, and then set the output level of the mic pre section without effecting the tube drive. The Summit can't do this. In fact, it's basically the whole reason for the "Berg Mod", which allows a higher setting on the output gain control to drive the tube without producing too hot of an input signal for the IP to handle. The Pro Channel has both optical and tube compressors with attack and release, ratio, and threshold controls as well as make up gain. The optical is clean and transparent, and is faster then the tube compressor, which acts more like a traditional leveling amplifier type comp. I like the optical when I want to add some punch. The tube comp works well for smoothing things out, and adds additional warmth. The EQ is four band-- shelving type on the LO and HI, and parametric on LoMids and HiMids. I find it a very usable EQ, although I try to use only a little cut for finger noise and maybe a touch of LoMid moost to add thump, unless there is a real room problem I need to deal with! In addition to the 4 band, there is a seperate Lo Cut control in the preamp section that provides a hard roll-off below a selectable frequency. This is a good set up, as I can roll off all the lows below say 40 or 50 hz to quell a rumbly-muddy room or 'hollow stage" effects and still have control over the lows above that point using the LO shelving in the EQ section. The Pro Channel has plenty enough gain to drive the power section of the IP to full output, and it has lots off flexibility and tone control to achieve the tone I've been looking for. IMO, it really brings out the best in my IP/EX112 stack! I think this thing sounds really good! So, I'm wondering "have I drunk the kool-aid"? Like I said, ART doesn't seem to get much love around here. Maybe I just have a lead ear (or whatever the opposite of a golden ear is)! Has anybody tried out a Pro Channel (either with the IPs or whatever)? If so, what are your experiences with this piece?