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Does the ART tube MP really work as a preamp?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by addylewis, Aug 24, 2005.


which should I get?

Poll closed Sep 23, 2005.
  1. Behringer BDI sansamp copy

    3 vote(s)
    23.1%
  2. ART tube mic preamp

    10 vote(s)
    76.9%
  1. Does it actually make your amp sound like a valve amp?

    I was thinking of either getting that or the Behringer sansamp copy... you know what to do! :bassist:
     
  2. SteveC

    SteveC Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    Get a BDDI if that's the tone you are looking for. I know there are people that have success with Behringer products, but I also know people who have put them in the garbage after a year.
     
  3. Lyle Caldwell

    Lyle Caldwell

    Sep 7, 2004
    Memphis
    What does a valve amp sound like? Because an Aguilar sounds nothing like an SVT which sounds nothing like an old Bassman.

    That said, the ART sounds exactly like a terrible muddy little preamp with a bit of starved-plate 12AX7 distortion layered on top.
     
  4. dunamis

    dunamis

    Aug 2, 2004
    Charlotte
    With all due respect to Mr. Caldwell, I disagree. Basstasters offers clips that may shed some light on this. Here's a quote from their page and a link to the clips for the ART Tube Channel.

    "3.11.05
    It was gone for a minute but now it's back - the Epifani Quest 2 - definitely worth a listen. Speaking of worth, you'll be amazed at this sleeper - ART Tube Channel."

    http://www.basstasters.com/preamps/arttubechannel.htm

    I use ART's Tube PAC (tube preamp and tube compressor) as a DI in 100+ live performances/year, and I think it sounds great. But don't take my word for it-- listen for yourself!
     
  5. The Clap

    The Clap

    Jan 5, 2004
    Scottsdale, AZ
    I had a Tube Pac in my car until last night when my window was broken out and it (and only it!) was stolen. While it may be hot with theives in my neighborhood, it was in my car because I wasn't using it. The preamp is nice and can add some good distortion even, but the compressor isn't so useful, very noticable when engaged and lacks flexibility as you can only select something like a 2:1 and 6:1 ratio. I liked the preamp section though, and was going to use it as a headphone amp -- in fact, I was pondering getting it out of my car just last night.
     
  6. Lyle Caldwell

    Lyle Caldwell

    Sep 7, 2004
    Memphis
    ART's preamps sound good if you've never used a good tube preamp. Their compressors sound good if you've never used a good compressor.

    But once you have, they sound like junk. The tubes are gimmicks that just add noise and distortion on top of muddy flat sounds.
     
  7. bassontherun

    bassontherun

    Jul 9, 2005
    Although I can't speak directly for the tone on the ART pre-amp, I can say that the cheap little ART compressor did a great job in the FX loop on my old SWR Workingman's 12 a few years back. Not a great compressor (had to use it judiciously), but the tone was fantastic compared to the price paid. Really tightened up my sound.

    Gotta admit, I see FX the same way I see strings-- you gotta try it on the rig before you'll know if it sounds good on THAT rig. Can't tell you how many times I've loved a set of strings on one bass and hated them on another bass. Same with the various FX I've owned.

    If the price is right, give it a try. Like Lyle says, you can move up in tone quality as you can afford better gear. For now, if the pre-amp improves the tone you have, it's worth it. If not, sell it on Ebay (or I'd bet there's someone on this forum that would take it off your hands!).
     
  8. SteveC

    SteveC Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    I thought the clip sounded pretty good myself, and I've had some good preamps.
     
  9. cool - are either of them as good as or better than the bass podXT?

    (forgetting effects, just going on the sound quality/modeling...)
     
  10. dunamis

    dunamis

    Aug 2, 2004
    Charlotte
    My point exactly! We should listen with our ears not our wallets! Try a A/B comparison of the clips on Basstasters and you be the judge. To my ears, the ART holds it's own against some mighty high dollar pre's.

    Yeah, yeah, I know... the nay sayers will now post saying you can't go by a clip on Basstasters played through your computer speakers... but at least Basstasters provides level playing field-- all the clips are recorded the same and played through the same speakers.

    Again, listen and judge for yourselves. IMO, we should base our equipment purchases on the sound we get from it not the advice of anyone else (and that includes me)!
     
  11. The Clap

    The Clap

    Jan 5, 2004
    Scottsdale, AZ
    The bass podxt is a totally different device. It shares just about nothing in common with the ART Tube MP. If you're primarily trying to get a tube sound... well, there are a million threads that deal with that, but ultimately the answer is to get yourself a tube amp. I don't think that the ART does a very good job of making a solid state amp sound like a tube amp, but that's just not something that's easily done.
     
  12. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member Commercial User

    Aug 18, 2002
    General Manager TecPadz LLC
    My 2c of experience is based on using the Tube MP over the past 6 or 7 years. The great advantage of this little gem is that it can be used to line up the output of any bass, from passive Fenders to Alembic Series Basses, with the input stage of any standard bass amp. In this sense, they are really more of a levelling pre-amp. I consider them to be the Swiss Army Knife of pre-amps. The tone is fat, and of high quality. I prefer them with a 5751 in place of the 12AX7, but that's a detail. They are great for warming up a solid state amp. I especially like it in front of my old Acoustic 360. They work with upright basses really well. Another great thing about the MP is it's size. I don't know of any other similarly sized package which delivers so much good, fat tone. Again my 2c.

    One bad thing about the MP is that it will periodically create ground loops if you use it as a DI in a PA. The unit itself is not grounded. This is something that ART would do well to address, but for 50 bucks, you get what you get.

    I also have one of the ART Tube Channels in a rack in front of an Alembic F1-X. Great combination. However, I must admit that I do not use either the parametric or compressor much and cannot speak to their pros/cons. If you are looking for that fat liquid tone, this will work for you. I do NOT use it as a stand alone bass pre-amp, and can't comment on such use. Some of the previous comments about poor sound quality are not consistent with my experience.

    I've actually started using an old Digitech BP8 for the same purpose; and it works about the same. I know a lot of guys hate the unit, so maybe I'm not too discriminating. Anyway, that also works, while providing some other useful stuff (like a tuner EQ, and volume - I don't use the effects much). A little off topic, but I thought I'd toss it in for free anyhow.

    Oh, I'm not sure I would use the MP as a DI, so can't comment on the Poll here. It's kind of apples vs. oranges.
     
  13. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    In FRONT of a... Isn't that some kind of ...SIN?

    Joe
     
  14. dunamis

    dunamis

    Aug 2, 2004
    Charlotte
    I'd say not really a sin, but more like a guilty pleasure! JMHO, YMMV, etc etc...
     
  15. Both the ART tube MP and the tube Levelar are super products. I have a very nice groove tube in the MP and a 5751 in the Levelar. They both (in series) will drive a power amp very well. I prefer the sound of my Demeter, so that's what I use most of the time. However, for all my church work, I use the two ART devices in front of my small combo. The combo gives me my "monitor" bass on stage, and I run the DI out of the Levelar into the PA.

    REALLY nice, liquid, tubey tone. It's almost overkill to use any chorus whatsoever with this setup. Just killer with the fretless.

    my .02 worth,
    Jay
     
  16. Jarno

    Jarno

    Jan 27, 2005
    I am really glad it's a F1x and not an F2b, _shudder_
    Seriously, a friend of mine has got a studio and he was (and still is) looking for a tube-microphone preamp. He also tried several of the cheaper units (ART, Behringer) and the funny thing is, he told me the preamps in his console sounded warmer than the tube preamps (which is not quite what both of us expected).
    I told him to try some of the more expensive "no frills" tube microphone preamps, preferrably with transformer in and outputs, as these will probably deliver the goods.
    I think I'll end up building him a preamp, with a proper PSU for the tubes (about 300volts,instead of about 45volts) and just a gain control and perhaps a low-cut switch (it's also going to be used for vocals). It's not that hard and a lot cheaper. Have a look at www.Gyraf.dk for inspiration.

    Regards,

    JArno.
     
  17. dunamis

    dunamis

    Aug 2, 2004
    Charlotte
    Agree completely. The Tube PAC is essentially the MP and the Levelar circuits in one box. I use it in live situations to drive a power amp as well as for a DI out to the board. Nice and tubey!

    I have a Levelar as well (used mostly at home wiht a headphone amp). It has a 5751 in it which I prefer over the 12ax7 that was originally in it. I've been thinking of getting a couple more of the NOS 5751's to replace the two 12ax7's in the Tube PAC but just haven't gotten around to locating them yet.
     
  18. TL5

    TL5

    Jun 27, 2005
    Nashville
    The ART Tube MP sounds fine as long as you gain stage it clean. I do not like the sound of it's distortion. For clean boost on instruments it's great. It's an ok Mic preamp, it's not an effects box or amp simulator.

    The Sansamp will do a better job of amp simulation.

    The Behringer is OK, it's output stage seems a little weak. I have Both of the devices you are considering, for my setup it took both of them to get where I wnated to go. The Behringer BDI21 is output to a ART Tube MP then to the poweramp. my amp thread

    If I had to only run one, I'd run the Tube MP but I could get by with the behringer by itself, it's just not as responsive without some help.
     
  19. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member Commercial User

    Aug 18, 2002
    General Manager TecPadz LLC
    I don't pay to much attention to whether I'm heretical or not. My problem is that I often play Fender passives, but every now and then drag the Series I out for grins and odd looks. The Fender's output is so far below the Alembic, that it needs a little more boost to get it where the F1X can work with it. I believe that is called headroom. BTW, my Walter Woods is the same story. With the Alembic, I just set the Channel for unity gain. I've listened carefully with and without the Channel in the signal path, and can't hear any downside to the sound.

    My 2c is that half the problem with getting a bass and amplifier to sound good as a combination is to get the output of the instrument to match the input characteristics of the amp. The ART products perform that function, IME, for not too much dough.
     
  20. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    Is it one or the other that more needs the matching? I mean -- how would this solution apply to me? -I run a passive Peavey to a couple pedals (Aphex Bass Xciter, Boss CS-3 compressor, and a ODB-3 distortion for The Rock band - leave it out for The Funk); then to a GK 700RBII head (then to a JBL 2X15 PA cab).

    Would I put the MP right after the bass, or right before the amp?

    Thanks,

    Joe